Religion And Faith – Part 2 [UBS #14]

As stated in Introduction To “UBS” Study the following is: My opinions posted on this part of the study may or may not be my final feeling on the matter. I’ll be writing (or recording video) as I go, so it’s inevitable that some concepts may not have long enough to settle in my mind so a final thought or feeling can be reached. Some new and non-institutional concepts are going to be introduced, compared to the Bible, looked at with logic, and commented on. Whether or not you agree with these concepts are completely irrelevant. The purpose of this study is not whether you or I agree with the said study or with each other, but to help bring us closer to each other as brethren and ultimately closer to God. Your participation in this study is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

The Foundations of Religious Faith

Assurances of Faith
If any man chooses to do the divine will, he shall know the way of truth. It is literally true, “Human things must be known in order to be loved, but divine things must be loved in order to be known.” But honest doubts and sincere questionings are not sin; such attitudes merely spell delay in the progressive journey toward perfection attainment. Childlike trust secures man’s entrance into the kingdom of heavenly ascent, but progress is wholly dependent on the vigorous exercise of the robust and confident faith of the full-grown man. The reason of science is based on the observable facts of time; the faith of religion argues from the spirit program of eternity. What knowledge and reason cannot do for us, true wisdom admonishes us to allow faith to accomplish through religious insight and spiritual transformation.

Owing to the isolation of rebellion, the revelation of truth on Earth has all too often been mixed up with the statements of partial and transient cosmologies. Truth remains unchanged from generation to generation, but the associated teachings about the physical world vary from day to day and from year to year. Eternal truth should not be slighted because it chances to be found in company with obsolete ideas regarding the material world. The more of science you know, the less sure you can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you are. The certainties of science proceed entirely from the intellect; the certitudes of religion spring from the very foundations of the entire personality. Science appeals to the understanding of the mind; religion appeals to the loyalty and devotion of the body, mind, and spirit, even to the whole personality. God is so all real and absolute that no material sign of proof or no demonstration of so-called miracle may be offered in testimony of his reality. Always will we know him because we trust him, and our belief in him is wholly based on our personal participation in the divine manifestations of his infinite reality.

Religion and Reality
Observing minds and discriminating souls know religion when they find it in the lives of their fellows. Religion requires no definition; we all know its social, intellectual, moral, and spiritual fruits. And this all grows out of the fact that religion is the property of the human race; it is not a child of culture. True, one’s perception of religion is still human and therefore subject to the bondage of ignorance, the slavery of superstition, the deceptions of sophistication, and the delusions of false philosophy. One of the characteristic peculiarities of genuine religious assurance is that, notwithstanding the absoluteness of its affirmations and the stanchness of its attitude, the spirit of its expression is so poised and tempered that it never conveys the slightest impression of self-assertion or egoistic exaltation. Religious force is not the product of the individual’s personal prerogatives but rather the outworking of that sublime partnership of man and the everlasting source of all wisdom. Thus do the words and acts of true and undefiled religion become compellingly authoritative for all enlightened mortals.

Religionists seem to live in effective emancipation from harrying haste and the painful stress of the vicissitudes inherent in the temporal currents of time; they exhibit a stabilization of personality and a tranquillity of character not explained by the laws of physiology, psychology, and sociology. Time is an invariable element in the attainment of knowledge; religion makes its endowments immediately available, albeit there is the important factor of growth in grace, definite advancement in all phases of religious experience. Knowledge is an eternal quest; always are you learning, but never are you able to arrive at the full knowledge of absolute truth. In knowledge alone there can never be absolute certainty, only increasing probability of approximation; but the religious soul of spiritual illumination knows, and knows now. And yet this profound and positive certitude does not lead such a sound-minded religionist to take any less interest in the ups and downs of the progress of human wisdom, which is bound up on its material end with the developments of slow-moving science.

Even the discoveries of science are not truly real in the consciousness of human experience until they are unraveled and correlated, until their relevant facts actually become meaning through encircuitment in the thought streams of mind. Mortal man views even his physical environment from the mind level, from the perspective of its psychological registry. It is not, therefore, strange that man should place a highly unified interpretation upon the universe and then seek to identify this energy unity of his science with the spirit unity of his religious experience. Mind is unity; mortal consciousness lives on the mind level and perceives the universal realities through the eyes of the mind endowment. The mind perspective will not yield the existential unity of the source of reality, the First Source and Center, but it can and sometime will portray to man the experiential synthesis of energy, mind, and spirit in and as the Supreme Being. But mind can never succeed in this unification of the diversity of reality unless such mind is firmly aware of material things, intellectual meanings, and spiritual values; only in the harmony of the triunity of functional reality is there unity, and only in unity is there the personality satisfaction of the realization of cosmic constancy and consistency.

Unity is best found in human experience through philosophy. And while the body of philosophic thought must ever be founded on material facts, the soul and energy of true philosophic dynamics is mortal spiritual insight. There is no real religion apart from a highly active personality. Therefore do the more indolent of men often seek to escape the rigors of truly religious activities by a species of ingenious self-deception through resorting to a retreat to the false shelter of stereotyped religious doctrines and dogmas. But true religion is alive. Intellectual crystallization of religious concepts is the equivalent of spiritual death. You cannot conceive of religion without ideas, but when religion once becomes reduced only to an idea, it is no longer religion; it has become merely a species of human philosophy.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight
Material feelings, human emotions, lead directly to material actions, selfish acts. Religious insights, spiritual motivations, lead directly to religious actions, unselfish acts of social service and altruistic benevolence.

Religious desire is the hunger quest for divine reality. Religious experience is the realization of the consciousness of having found God. And when a human being does find God, there is experienced within the soul of that being such an indescribable restlessness of triumph in discovery that he is impelled to seek loving service-contact with his less illuminated fellows, not to disclose that he has found God, but rather to allow the overflow of the welling-up of eternal goodness within his own soul to refresh and ennoble his fellows. Real religion leads to increased social service. Science, knowledge, leads to fact consciousness; religion, experience, leads to value consciousness; philosophy, wisdom, leads to co-ordinate consciousness; revelation leads to the consciousness of true reality; while the co-ordination of the consciousness of fact, value, and true reality constitutes awareness of personality reality, maximum of being, together with the belief in the possibility of the survival of that very personality.

Knowledge leads to placing men, to originating social strata and castes. Religion leads to serving men, thus creating ethics and altruism. Wisdom leads to the higher and better fellowship of both ideas and one’s fellows. Revelation liberates men and starts them out on the eternal adventure. Science sorts men; religion loves men, even as yourself; wisdom does justice to differing men; but revelation glorifies man and discloses his capacity for partnership with God. Science vainly strives to create the brotherhood of culture; religion brings into being the brotherhood of the spirit. Philosophy strives for the brotherhood of wisdom; revelation portrays the eternal brotherhood, the Paradise Corps of the Finality. Knowledge yields pride in the fact of personality; wisdom is the consciousness of the meaning of personality; religion is the experience of cognizance of the value of personality; revelation is the assurance of personality survival.

The Fact of Experience
Man very early becomes conscious that he is not alone in the world or the universe. There develops a natural spontaneous self-consciousness of other-mindness in the environment of selfhood. Faith translates this natural experience into religion, the recognition of God as the reality —source, nature, and destiny —of other-mindness. But such a knowledge of God is ever and always a reality of personal experience. If God were not a personality, he could not become a living part of the real religious experience of a human personality. The element of error present in human religious experience is directly proportional to the content of materialism which contaminates the spiritual concept of the Universal Father. Man’s prespirit progression in the universe consists in the experience of divesting himself of these erroneous ideas of the nature of God and of the reality of pure and true spirit. Deity is more than spirit, but the spiritual approach is the only one possible to ascending man.

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. Revealed religion is the unifying element of human existence. Revelation unifies history, co-ordinates geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, and psychology. Spiritual experience is the real soul of man’s cosmos.

The Supremacy of Purposive Potential
Primitive man had more religious fear than faith, and the supremacy of spirit potentials over mind actuals is demonstrated when this craven fear is translated into living faith in spiritual realities. You can psychologize evolutionary religion but not the personal-experience religion of spiritual origin. Human morality may recognize values, but only religion can conserve, exalt, and spiritualize such values. But notwithstanding such actions, religion is something more than emotionalized morality. Religion is to morality as love is to duty, as sonship is to servitude, as essence is to substance. Morality discloses an almighty Controller, a Deity to be served; religion discloses an all-loving Father, a God to be worshiped and loved. And again this is because the spiritual potentiality of religion is dominant over the duty actuality of the morality of evolution.

The Certainty of Religious Faith
The religionist of philosophic attainment has faith in a personal God of personal salvation, something more than a reality, a value, a level of achievement, an exalted process, a transmutation, the ultimate of time-space, an idealization, the personalization of energy, the entity of gravity, a human projection, the idealization of self, nature’s upthrust, the inclination to goodness, the forward impulse of evolution, or a sublime hypothesis. The religionist has faith in a God of love. Love is the essence of religion and the wellspring of superior civilization. Faith transforms the philosophic God of probability into the saving God of certainty in the personal religious experience. Skepticism may challenge the theories of theology, but confidence in the dependability of personal experience affirms the truth of that belief which has grown into faith.

Convictions about God may be arrived at through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith, through personal experience. In much that pertains to life, probability must be reckoned with, but when contacting with cosmic reality, certainty may be experienced when such meanings and values are approached by living faith. The God-knowing soul dares to say, “I know,” even when this knowledge of God is questioned by the unbeliever who denies such certitude because it is not wholly supported by intellectual logic. To every such doubter the believer only replies, “How do you know that I do not know?” Said Jesus: “If you love your fellows as I have loved you, then shall all men know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)

Materialism cheapens human life; the gospel of Jesus tremendously enhances and supernally exalts every mortal. Mortal existence must be visualized as consisting in the intriguing and fascinating experience of the realization of the reality of the meeting of the human upreach and the divine and saving downreach.

The Certitude of the Divine
The Universal Father, being self-existent, is also self-explanatory; he actually lives in every rational mortal. But you cannot be sure about God unless you know him; sonship is the only experience which makes fatherhood certain. The universe is everywhere undergoing change. God is the one and only self-caused fact in the universe. He is the secret of the order, plan, and purpose of the whole creation of things and beings. The everywhere-changing universe is regulated and stabilized by absolutely unchanging laws, the habits of an unchanging God. The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless; the truth of God, his relation to the universe, is a relative revelation which is ever adaptable to the constantly evolving universe.

Those who would invent a religion without God are like those who would gather fruit without trees, have children without parents. You cannot have effects without causes; only the I AM is causeless. The fact of religious experience implies God, and such a God of personal experience must be a personal Deity. You cannot pray to a chemical formula, supplicate a mathematical equation, worship a hypothesis, confide in a postulate, commune with a process, serve an abstraction, or hold loving fellowship with a law. True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.

The God-knowing individual is not one who is blind to the difficulties or unmindful of the obstacles which stand in the way of finding God in the maze of superstition, tradition, and materialistic tendencies of modern times. He has encountered all these deterrents and triumphed over them, surmounted them by living faith, and attained the highlands of spiritual experience in spite of them. But it is true that many who are inwardly sure about God fear to assert such feelings of certainty because of the multiplicity and cleverness of those who assemble objections and magnify difficulties about believing in God. It requires no great depth of intellect to pick flaws, ask questions, or raise objections. But it does require brilliance of mind to answer these questions and solve these difficulties; faith certainty is the greatest technique for dealing with all such superficial contentions.

If science, philosophy, or sociology dares to become dogmatic in contending with the prophets of true religion, then should God-knowing men reply to such unwarranted dogmatism with that more farseeing dogmatism of the certainty of personal spiritual experience, “I know what I have experienced because I am a son of I AM.” If the personal experience of a faither is to be challenged by dogma, then this faith-born son of the experiencible Father may reply with that unchallengeable dogma, the statement of his actual sonship with the Universal Father.

The Evidences of Religion
Regarding the status of any religion in the evolutionary scale, it may best be judged by its moral judgments and its ethical standards. The higher the type of any religion, the more it encourages and is encouraged by a constantly improving social morality and ethical culture. We cannot judge religion by the status of its accompanying civilization; we had better estimate the real nature of a civilization by the purity and nobility of its religion. Many of the world’s most notable religious teachers have been virtually unlettered. The wisdom of the world is not necessary to an exercise of saving faith in eternal realities. The difference in the religions of various ages is wholly dependent on the difference in man’s comprehension of reality and on his differing recognition of moral values, ethical relationships, and spirit realities.

Religion, when reduced to terms of reason and intellectual expression, has always dared to criticize civilization and evolutionary progress as judged by its own standards of ethical culture and moral progress. While personal religion precedes the evolution of human morals, it is regretfully recorded that institutional religion has invariably lagged behind the slowly changing mores of the human races. Organized religion has proved to be conservatively tardy. The prophets have usually led the people in religious development; the theologians have usually held them back. Religion, being a matter of inner or personal experience, can never develop very far in advance of the intellectual evolution of the races.

The Reality of Religious Experience
The religious tendencies of the human races are innate; they are universally manifested and have an apparently natural origin; primitive religions are always evolutionary in their genesis. As natural religious experience continues to progress, periodic revelations of truth punctuate the otherwise slow-moving course of planetary evolution. On Earth, today, there are four kinds of religion:
1. Natural or evolutionary religion.
2. Supernatural or revelatory religion.
3. Practical or current religion, varying degrees of the admixture of natural and supernatural religions.
4. Philosophic religions, man-made or philosophically thought-out theologic doctrines and reason-created religions.

Philosophy of Religion
Rationalism is wrong when it assumes that religion is at first a primitive belief in something which is then followed by the pursuit of values. Religion is primarily a pursuit of values, and then there formulates a system of interpretative beliefs. It is much easier for men to agree on religious values —goals —than on beliefs —interpretations. And this explains how religion can agree on values and goals while exhibiting the confusing phenomenon of maintaining a belief in hundreds of conflicting beliefs —creeds. This also explains why a given person can maintain his religious experience in the face of giving up or changing many of his religious beliefs. Religion persists in spite of revolutionary changes in religious beliefs. Theology does not produce religion; it is religion that produces theologic philosophy. That religionists have believed so much that was false does not invalidate religion because religion is founded on the recognition of values and is validated by the faith of personal religious experience. Religion, then, is based on experience and religious thought; theology, the philosophy of religion, is an honest attempt to interpret that experience. Such interpretative beliefs may be right or wrong, or a mixture of truth and error.

Religion and the Individual
The evolutionary soil in the mind of man in which the seed of revealed religion germinates is the moral nature that so early gives origin to a social consciousness. The first promptings of a child’s moral nature have not to do with sex, guilt, or personal pride, but rather with impulses of justice, fairness, and urges to kindness —helpful ministry to one’s fellows. And when such early moral awakenings are nurtured, there occurs a gradual development of the religious life which is comparatively free from conflicts, upheavals, and crises. Every human being very early experiences something of a conflict between his self-seeking and his altruistic impulses, and many times the first experience of God-consciousness may be attained as the result of seeking for superhuman help in the task of resolving such moral conflicts.

Religion and the Human Race
Religion is designed to change man’s environment, but much of the religion found among mortals today has become helpless to do this. Environment has all too often mastered religion. Remember that in the religion of all ages the experience which is paramount is the feeling regarding moral values and social meanings, not the thinking regarding theologic dogmas or philosophic theories. Religion evolves favorably as the element of magic is replaced by the concept of morals.

Man evolved through the superstitions of mana, magic, nature worship, spirit fear, and animal worship to the various ceremonials whereby the religious attitude of the individual became the group reactions of the clan. And then these ceremonies became focalized and crystallized into tribal beliefs, and eventually these fears and faiths became personalized into gods. But in all of this religious evolution the moral element was never wholly absent. The impulse of the God within man was always potent. And these powerful influences —one human and the other divine —insured the survival of religion throughout the vicissitudes of the ages and that notwithstanding it was so often threatened with extinction by a thousand subversive tendencies and hostile antagonisms.

Spiritual Communion
The characteristic difference between a social occasion and a religious gathering is that in contrast with the secular the religious is pervaded by the atmosphere of communion. In this way human association generates a feeling of fellowship with the divine, and this is the beginning of group worship. Partaking of a common meal was the earliest type of social communion, and so did early religions provide that some portion of the ceremonial sacrifice should be eaten by the worshipers. Even in Christianity the Lord’s Supper retains this mode of communion. When primitive man felt that his communion with God had been interrupted, he resorted to sacrifice of some kind in an effort to make atonement, to restore friendly relationship. The hunger and thirst for righteousness leads to the discovery of truth, and truth augments ideals, and this creates new problems for the individual religionists, for our ideals tend to grow by geometrical progression, while our ability to live up to them is enhanced only by arithmetical progression. The sense of guilt (not the consciousness of sin) comes either from interrupted spiritual communion or from the lowering of one’s moral ideals. Deliverance from such a predicament can only come through the realization that one’s highest moral ideals are not necessarily synonymous with the will of God. Man cannot hope to live up to his highest ideals, but he can be true to his purpose of finding God and becoming more and more like him.

Jesus swept away all of the ceremonials of sacrifice and atonement. He destroyed the basis of all this fictitious guilt and sense of isolation in the universe by declaring that man is a child of God; the creature-Creator relationship was placed on a child-parent basis. God becomes a loving Father to his mortal sons and daughters. All ceremonials not a legitimate part of such an intimate family relationship are forever abrogated. God the Father deals with man his child on the basis, not of actual virtue or worthiness, but in recognition of the child’s motivation —the creature purpose and intent. The relationship is one of parent-child association and is actuated by divine love.

The Origin of Ideals
The early evolutionary mind gives origin to a feeling of social duty and moral obligation derived chiefly from emotional fear. The more positive urge of social service and the idealism of altruism are derived from the direct impulse of the divine spirit indwelling the human mind. 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.

Human happiness is achieved only when the ego desire of the self and the altruistic urge of the higher self (divine spirit) are co-ordinated and reconciled by the unified will of the integrating and supervising personality. The mind of evolutionary man is ever confronted with the intricate problem of refereeing the contest between the natural expansion of emotional impulses and the moral growth of unselfish urges predicated on spiritual insight —genuine religious reflection. The attempt to secure equal good for the self and for the greatest number of other selves presents a problem which cannot always be satisfactorily resolved in a time-space frame. Given an eternal life, such antagonisms can be worked out, but in one short human life they are incapable of solution. Jesus referred to such a paradox when he said: “Whosoever shall save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for the sake of the kingdom, shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, 17:33)

It is fatal to man’s idealism when he is taught that all of his altruistic impulses are merely the development of his natural herd instincts. But he is ennobled and mightily energized when he learns that these higher urges of his soul emanate from the spiritual forces that indwell his mortal mind. It lifts man out of himself and beyond himself when he once fully realizes that there lives and strives within him something which is eternal and divine. And so it is that a living faith in the superhuman origin of our ideals validates our belief that we are the sons of God and makes real our altruistic convictions, the feelings of the brotherhood of man. Man, in his spiritual domain, does have a free will. Mortal man is neither a helpless slave of the inflexible sovereignty of an all-powerful God nor the victim of the hopeless fatality of a mechanistic cosmic determinism. Man is most truly the architect of his own eternal destiny.

But man is not saved or ennobled by pressure. Spirit growth springs from within the evolving soul. Pressure may deform the personality, but it never stimulates growth. Even educational pressure is only negatively helpful in that it may aid in the prevention of disastrous experiences. Spiritual growth is greatest where all external pressures are at a minimum. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17) Man develops best when the pressures of home, community, church, and state are least. But this must not be construed as meaning that there is no place in a progressive society for home, social institutions, church, and state. When a member of a social religious group has complied with the requirements of such a group, he should be encouraged to enjoy religious liberty in the full expression of his own personal interpretation of the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience. The security of a religious group depends on spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. A religious group should be able to enjoy the liberty of freethinking without having to become “freethinkers.” There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the brotherhood of man, and dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members.

Philosophic Co-ordination
Religion has to do with the spiritual viewpoint, the awareness of the insideness of human experience. Man’s spiritual nature affords him the opportunity of turning the universe outside in. It is therefore true that, viewed exclusively from the insideness of personality experience, all creation appears to be spiritual in nature. When man analytically inspects the universe through the material endowments of his physical senses and associated mind perception, the cosmos appears to be mechanical and energy-material. Such a technique of studying reality consists in turning the universe inside out. A logical and consistent philosophic concept of the universe cannot be built up on the postulations of either materialism or spiritism, for both of these systems of thinking, when universally applied, are compelled to view the cosmos in distortion, the former contacting with a universe turned inside out, the latter realizing the nature of a universe turned outside in. Never, then, can either science or religion, in and of themselves, standing alone, hope to gain an adequate understanding of universal truths and relationships without the guidance of human philosophy and the illumination of divine revelation.

Always must man’s inner spirit depend for its expression and self-realization upon the mechanism and technique of the mind. Likewise must man’s outer experience of material reality be predicated on the mind consciousness of the experiencing personality. Therefore are the spiritual and the material, the inner and the outer, human experiences always correlated with the mind function and conditioned, as to their conscious realization, by the mind activity. Man experiences matter in his mind; he experiences spiritual reality in the soul but becomes conscious of this experience in his mind. The intellect is the harmonizer and the ever-present conditioner and qualifier of the sum total of mortal experience. Both energy-things and spirit values are colored by their interpretation through the mind media of consciousness.

When the philosophy of man leans heavily toward the world of matter, it becomes rationalistic or naturalistic. When philosophy inclines particularly toward the spiritual level, it becomes idealistic or even mystical. When philosophy is so unfortunate as to lean upon metaphysics, it unfailingly becomes skeptical, confused. In past ages, most of man’s knowledge and intellectual evaluations have fallen into one of these three distortions of perception. Philosophy dare not project its interpretations of reality in the linear fashion of logic; it must never fail to reckon with the elliptic symmetry of reality and with the essential curvature of all relation concepts. The highest attainable philosophy of mortal man must be logically based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the truth insight afforded by revelation.

Science and Religion
Science is sustained by reason, religion by faith. Faith, though not predicated on reason, is reasonable; though independent of logic, it is nonetheless encouraged by sound logic. Faith cannot be nourished even by an ideal philosophy; indeed, it is, with science, the very source of such a philosophy. Faith, human religious insight, can be surely instructed only by revelation, can be surely elevated only by personal mortal experience with the spiritual Adjuster presence of the God who is spirit.

Logic is the technique of philosophy, its method of expression. Within the domain of true science, reason is always amenable to genuine logic; within the domain of true religion, faith is always logical from the basis of an inner viewpoint, even though such faith may appear to be quite unfounded from the inlooking viewpoint of the scientific approach. From outward, looking within, the universe may appear to be material; from within, looking out, the same universe appears to be wholly spiritual. Reason grows out of material awareness, faith out of spiritual awareness, but through the mediation of a philosophy strengthened by revelation, logic may confirm both the inward and the outward view, thereby effecting the stabilization of both science and religion. Thus, through common contact with the logic of philosophy, may both science and religion become increasingly tolerant of each other, less and less skeptical.

The truth —an understanding of cosmic relationships, universe facts, and spiritual values —can best be had through the ministry of the Spirit of Truth and can best be criticized by revelation. But revelation originates neither a science nor a religion; its function is to co-ordinate both science and religion with the truth of reality. The science of the material world enables man to control, and to some extent dominate, his physical environment. The religion of the spiritual experience is the source of the fraternity impulse which enables men to live together in the complexities of the civilization of a scientific age. Metaphysics, but more certainly revelation, affords a common meeting ground for the discoveries of both science and religion and makes possible the human attempt logically to correlate these separate but interdependent domains of thought into a well-balanced philosophy of scientific stability and religious certainty.

Reason is the act of recognizing the conclusions of consciousness with regard to the experience in and with the physical world of energy and matter. Faith is the act of recognizing the validity of spiritual consciousness —something which is incapable of other mortal proof. Logic is the synthetic truth-seeking progression of the unity of faith and reason and is founded on the constitutive mind endowments of mortal beings, the innate recognition of things, meanings, and values. Science discovers the material world, religion evaluates it, and philosophy endeavors to interpret its meanings while co-ordinating the scientific material viewpoint with the religious spiritual concept. But history is a realm in which science and religion may never fully agree.

Philosophy and Religion
Although both science and philosophy may assume the probability of God by their reason and logic, only the personal religious experience of a spirit-led man can affirm the certainty of such a supreme and personal Deity. By the technique of such an incarnation of living truth the philosophic hypothesis of the probability of God becomes a religious reality. The confusion about the experience of the certainty of God arises out of the dissimilar interpretations and relations of that experience by separate individuals and by different races of men. The experiencing of God may be wholly valid, but the discourse about God, being intellectual and philosophical, is divergent and oftentimes confusingly fallacious. A good and noble man may be consummately in love with his wife but utterly unable to pass a satisfactory written examination on the psychology of marital love. Another man, having little or no love for his spouse, might pass such an examination most acceptably. The imperfection of the lover’s insight into the true nature of the beloved does not in the least invalidate either the reality or sincerity of his love.

If you truly believe in God —by faith know him and love him —do not permit the reality of such an experience to be in any way lessened or detracted from by the doubting insinuations of science, the caviling of logic, the postulates of philosophy, or the clever suggestions of well-meaning souls who would create a religion without God. The certainty of the God-knowing religionist should not be disturbed by the uncertainty of the doubting materialist; rather should the uncertainty of the unbeliever be mightily challenged by the profound faith and unshakable certainty of the experiential believer.

Philosophy, to be of the greatest service to both science and religion, should avoid the extremes of both materialism and pantheism. Only a philosophy which recognizes the reality of personality —permanence in the presence of change —can be of moral value to man, can serve as a liaison between the theories of material science and spiritual religion. Revelation is a compensation for the frailties of evolving philosophy.

The Essence of Religion
Theology deals with the intellectual content of religion, metaphysics (revelation) with the philosophic aspects. Religious experience is the spiritual content of religion. Notwithstanding the mythologic vagaries and the psychologic illusions of the intellectual content of religion, the metaphysical assumptions of error and the techniques of self-deception, the political distortions and the socioeconomic perversions of the philosophic content of religion, the spiritual experience of personal religion remains genuine and valid. Religion has to do with feeling, acting, and living, not merely with thinking. Thinking is more closely related to the material life and should be in the main, but not altogether, dominated by reason and the facts of science and, in its nonmaterial reaches toward the spirit realms, by truth. No matter how illusory and erroneous one’s theology, one’s religion may be wholly genuine and everlastingly true.

Religion without faith is a contradiction; without God, a philosophic inconsistency and an intellectual absurdity. The magical and mythological parentage of natural religion does not invalidate the reality and truth of the later revelational religions and the consummate saving gospel of the religion of Jesus. Jesus’ life and teachings finally divested religion of the superstitions of magic, the illusions of mythology, and the bondage of traditional dogmatism. But this early magic and mythology very effectively prepared the way for later and superior religion by assuming the existence and reality of supermaterial values and beings.

When theology masters religion, religion dies; it becomes a doctrine instead of a life. The mission of theology is merely to facilitate the self-consciousness of personal spiritual experience. Theology constitutes the religious effort to define, clarify, expound, and justify the experiential claims of religion, which can be validated only by living faith. In the higher philosophy of the universe, wisdom, like reason, becomes allied to faith. Reason, wisdom, and faith are man’s highest human attainments. Reason introduces man to the world of facts, to things; wisdom introduces him to a world of truth, to relationships; faith initiates him into a world of divinity, spiritual experience. Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of TRUTH.

When reason once recognizes right and wrong, it exhibits wisdom; when wisdom chooses between right and wrong, truth and error, it demonstrates spirit leading. And thus are the functions of mind, soul, and spirit ever closely united and functionally interassociated. Reason deals with factual knowledge; wisdom, with philosophy and revelation; faith, with living spiritual experience. Through truth man attains beauty and by spiritual love ascends to goodness. Faith leads to knowing God, not merely to a mystical feeling of the divine presence. Faith must not be overmuch influenced by its emotional consequences. True religion is an experience of believing and knowing as well as a satisfaction of feeling.

Growth of the Trinity Concept

The Trinity concept of revealed religion must not be confused with the triad beliefs of evolutionary religions. The ideas of triads arose from many suggestive relationships but chiefly because of the three joints of the fingers, because three legs were the fewest which could stabilize a stool, because three support points could keep up a tent; furthermore, primitive man, for a long time, could not count beyond three. Triad deities all had a natural origin and have appeared at one time or another among most of the intelligent peoples of Earth. Sometimes the concept of an evolutionary triad has become mixed with that of a revealed Trinity; in these instances it is often impossible to distinguish one from the other.

Trinity Concepts
The first Earth revelation leading to the comprehension of the Paradise Trinity was made by the staff of the Planetary Prince about one-half million years ago. This earliest Trinity concept was lost to the world in the unsettled times following the planetary rebellion. The second presentation of the Trinity was made by Adam and Eve in the first and second gardens. These teachings had not been wholly obliterated even in the times of Machiventa Melchizedek about thirty-five thousand years later, for the Trinity concept of the Sethites persisted in both Mesopotamia and Egypt but more especially in India, where it was long perpetuated in Agni, the Vedic three-headed fire god. The third presentation of the Trinity was made by Machiventa Melchizedek, and this doctrine was symbolized by the three concentric circles which the sage of Salem wore on his breast plate. But Machiventa found it very difficult to teach the Palestinian Bedouins about the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Infinite Spirit. Most of his disciples thought that the Trinity consisted of the three Most Highs of the universe; a few conceived of the Trinity as the System Sovereign, the Constellation Father, and the local universe Creator Deity; still fewer even remotely grasped the idea of the Paradise association of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The followers of the Islamic faith failed to grasp the idea of the Trinity. It is always difficult for an emerging monotheism to tolerate trinitarianism when confronted by polytheism. The trinity idea takes best hold of those religions which have a firm monotheistic tradition coupled with doctrinal elasticity. The great monotheists, the Hebrews and Mohammedans, found it difficult to distinguish between worshiping three gods, polytheism, and trinitarianism, the worship of one Deity existing in a triune manifestation of divinity and personality. Jesus taught his apostles the truth regarding the persons of the Paradise Trinity, but they thought he spoke figuratively and symbolically. Having been nurtured in Hebraic monotheism, they found it difficult to entertain any belief that seemed to conflict with their dominating concept of Yahweh. And the early Christians inherited the Hebraic prejudice against the Trinity concept.

The first Trinity of Christianity was proclaimed at Antioch and consisted of God, his Word, and his Wisdom. Paul knew of the Paradise Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit, but he seldom preached about it and made mention thereof in only a few of his letters to the newly forming churches. The Christian concept of the Trinity, which began to gain recognition near the close of the first century after Christ, was comprised of the Universal Father, the Creator Son, and the Divine Minister —Mother Spirit of the local universe and creative consort of the Creator Son.

Not since the times of Jesus has the factual identity of the Paradise Trinity been known on Earth (except by a few individuals to whom it was especially revealed) until its presentation in the revelatory disclosures of the study-source. But though the Christian concept of the Trinity erred in fact, it was practically true with respect to spiritual relationships. Only in its philosophic implications and cosmological consequences did this concept suffer embarrassment: It has been difficult for many who are cosmic minded to believe that the Second Person of Deity, the second member of an infinite Trinity, once dwelt on Earth; and while in spirit this is true, in actuality it is not a fact. The Creator Sons fully embody the divinity of the Eternal Son, but they are not the absolute personality.

Trinity Unity and Deity Plurality
Monotheism arose as a philosophic protest against the inconsistency of polytheism. It developed first through pantheon organizations with the departmentalization of supernatural activities, then through the henotheistic exaltation of one god above the many, and finally through the exclusion of all but the One God of final value. Trinitarianism grows out of the experiential protest against the impossibility of conceiving the oneness of a deanthropomorphized solitary Deity of unrelated universe significance. Given a sufficient time, philosophy tends to abstract the personal qualities from the Deity concept of pure monotheism, thus reducing this idea of an unrelated God to the status of a pantheistic Absolute. It has always been difficult to understand the personal nature of a God who has no personal relationships in equality with other and co-ordinate personal beings. Personality in Deity demands that such Deity exist in relation to other and equal personal Deity.

The Trinity is a supersummative Deity reality eventuating out of the conjoining of the three Paradise Deities. The qualities, characteristics, and functions of the Trinity are not the simple sum of the attributes of the three Paradise Deities; Trinity functions are something unique, original, and not wholly predictable from an analysis of the attributes of Father, Son, and Spirit. For example: The Master, when on earth, admonished his followers that justice is never a personal act; it is always a group function. Neither do the Gods, as persons, administer justice. But they perform this very function as a collective whole, as the Paradise Trinity.

Trinities and Triunities
Man is passing through a great age of expanding horizons and enlarging concepts on Earth, and his cosmic philosophy must accelerate in evolution to keep pace with the expansion of the intellectual arena of human thought. As the cosmic consciousness of mortal man expands, he perceives the interrelatedness of all that he finds in his material science, intellectual philosophy, and spiritual insight. Still, with all this belief in the unity of the cosmos, man perceives the diversity of all existence. In spite of all concepts concerning the immutability of Deity, man perceives that he lives in a universe of constant change and experiential growth. Regardless of the realization of the survival of spiritual values, man has ever to reckon with the mathematics and premathematics of force, energy, and power. In some manner the eternal repleteness of infinity must be reconciled with the time-growth of the evolving universes and with the incompleteness of the experiential inhabitants thereof. In some way the conception of total infinitude must be so segmented and qualified that the mortal intellect and the morontia soul can grasp this concept of final value and spiritualizing significance.

While reason demands a monotheistic unity of cosmic reality, finite experience requires the postulate of plural Absolutes and of their co-ordination in cosmic relationships. Without co-ordinate existences there is no possibility for the appearance of diversity of absolute relationships, no chance for the operation of differentials, variables, modifiers, attenuators, qualifiers, or diminishers.

The Paradise Trinity is not a triunity; it is not a functional unanimity; rather is it undivided and indivisible Deity. The Father, Son, and Spirit (as persons) can sustain a relationship to the Paradise Trinity, for the Trinity is their undivided Deity. The Father, Son, and Spirit sustain no such personal relationship to the first triunity, for that is their functional union as three persons. Only as the Trinity —as undivided Deity —do they collectively sustain an external relationship to the triunity of their personal aggregation. Thus does the Paradise Trinity stand unique among absolute relationships; there are several existential triunities but only one existential Trinity. A triunity is not an entity. It is functional rather than organic. Its members are partners rather than corporative. The components of the triunities may be entities, but a triunity itself is an association.

There is, however, one point of comparison between trinity and triunity: Both eventuate in functions that are something other than the discernible sum of the attributes of the component members. But while they are thus comparable from a functional standpoint, they otherwise exhibit no categorical relationship. They are roughly related as the relation of function to structure. But the function of the triunity association is not the function of the trinity structure or entity. The triunities are nonetheless real; they are very real. In them is total reality functionalized, and through them does the Universal Father exercise immediate and personal control over the master functions of infinity.

The Seven Triunities
The First Triunity —the personal-purposive triunity. This is the grouping of the three Deity personalities:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Eternal Son.
3. The Infinite Spirit.
This is the threefold union of love, mercy, and ministry —the purposive and personal association of the three eternal Paradise personalities. This is the divinely fraternal, creature-loving, fatherly-acting, and ascension-promoting association. The divine personalities of this first triunity are personality-bequeathing, spirit-bestowing, and mind-endowing Gods. This is the triunity of infinite volition; it acts throughout the eternal present and in all of the past-present-future flow of time. This association yields volitional infinity and provides the mechanisms whereby personal Deity becomes self-revelatory to the creatures of the evolving cosmos.

The Second Triunity —the power-pattern triunity. Whether it be a tiny ultimaton, a blazing star, or a whirling nebula, even the central or superuniverses, from the smallest to the largest material organizations, always is the physical pattern —the cosmic configuration —derived from the function of this triunity. This association consists of:
1. The Father-Son.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Conjoint Actor.
Energy is organized by the cosmic agents of the Third Source and Center; energy is fashioned after the pattern of Paradise, the absolute materialization; but behind all of this ceaseless manipulation is the presence of the Father-Son, whose union first activated the Paradise pattern in the appearance of Central-universe concomitant with the birth of the Infinite Spirit, the Conjoint Actor. In religious experience, creatures make contact with the God who is love, but such spiritual insight must never eclipse the intelligent recognition of the universe fact of the pattern which is Paradise. The Paradise personalities enlist the freewill adoration of all creatures by the compelling power of divine love and lead all such spirit-born personalities into the supernal delights of the unending service of the finaliter sons of God. The second triunity is the architect of the space stage whereon these transactions unfold; it determines the patterns of cosmic configuration.

Love may characterize the divinity of the first triunity, but pattern is the galactic manifestation of the second triunity. What the first triunity is to evolving personalities, the second triunity is to the evolving universes. Pattern and personality are two of the great manifestations of the acts of the First Source and Center; and no matter how difficult it may be to comprehend, it is nonetheless true that the power-pattern and the loving person are one and the same universal reality; the Paradise Isle and the Eternal Son are co-ordinate but antipodal revelations of the unfathomable nature of the Universal Father-Force.

The Third Triunity —the spirit-evolutional triunity. The entirety of spiritual manifestation has its beginning and end in this association, consisting of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Son-Spirit.
3. The Deity Absolute.

From spirit potency to Paradise spirit, all spirit finds reality expression in this triune association of the pure spirit essence of the Father, the active spirit values of the Son-Spirit, and the unlimited spirit potentials of the Deity Absolute. The existential values of spirit have their primordial genesis, complete manifestation, and final destiny in this triunity. The Father exists before spirit; the Son-Spirit functions as active creative spirit; the Deity Absolute exists as all-encompassing spirit, even beyond spirit.

The Fourth Triunity —the triunity of energy infinity. Within this triunity there eternalizes the beginnings and the endings of all energy reality, from space potency to monota. This grouping embraces the following:
1. The Father-Spirit.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

Paradise is the center of the force-energy activation of the cosmos —the universe position of the First Source and Center, the cosmic focal point of the Unqualified Absolute, and the source of all energy. Existentially present within this triunity is the energy potential of the cosmos-infinite, of which the grand universe and the master universe are only partial manifestations. The fourth triunity absolutely controls the fundamental units of cosmic energy and releases them from the grasp of the Unqualified Absolute in direct proportion to the appearance in the experiential Deities of subabsolute capacity to control and stabilize the metamorphosing cosmos. This triunity is force and energy. The endless possibilities of the Unqualified Absolute are centered around the absolutum of the Isle of Paradise, whence emanate the unimaginable agitations of the otherwise static quiescence of the Unqualified. And the endless throbbing of the material Paradise heart of the infinite cosmos beats in harmony with the unfathomable pattern and the unsearchable plan of the Infinite Energizer, the First Source and Center.

The Fifth Triunity —the triunity of reactive infinity. This association consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Universal Absolute.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

This grouping yields the eternalization of the functional infinity realization of all that is actualizable within the domains of nondeity reality. This triunity manifests unlimited reactive capacity to the volitional, causative, tensional, and patternal actions and presences of the other triunities.

The Sixth Triunity —the triunity of cosmic-associated Deity. This grouping consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Deity Absolute.
3. The Universal Absolute.

This is the association of Deity-in-the-cosmos, the immanence of Deity in conjunction with the transcendence of Deity. This is the last outreach of divinity on the levels of infinity toward those realities which lie outside the domain of deified reality.

The Seventh Triunity —the triunity of infinite unity. This is the unity of infinity functionally manifest in time and eternity, the co-ordinate unification of actuals and potentials. This group consists of:
1. The Universal Father.
2. The Conjoint Actor.
3. The Universal Absolute.

The Conjoint Actor universally integrates the varying functional aspects of all actualized reality on all levels of manifestation, from finites through transcendentals and on to absolutes. The Universal Absolute perfectly compensates the differentials inherent in the varying aspects of all incomplete reality, from the limitless potentialities of active-volitional and causative Deity reality to the boundless possibilities of static, reactive, nondeity reality in the incomprehensible domains of the Unqualified Absolute. As they function in this triunity, the Conjoint Actor and the Universal Absolute are alike responsive to Deity and to nondeity presences, as also is the First Source and Center, who in this relationship is to all intents and purposes conceptually indistinguishable from the I AM.

Triodities
There are certain other triune relationships which are non-Father in constitution, but they are not real triunities, and they are always distinguished from the Father triunities. They are called variously, associate triunities, co-ordinate triunities, and triodities. They are consequential to the existence of the triunities. Two of these associations are constituted as follows:

The Triodity of Actuality. This triodity consists in the interrelationship of the three absolute actuals:
1. The Eternal Son.
2. The Paradise Isle.
3. The Conjoint Actor.

The Eternal Son is the absolute of spirit reality, the absolute personality. The Paradise Isle is the absolute of cosmic reality, the absolute pattern. The Conjoint Actor is the absolute of mind reality, the co-ordinate of absolute spirit reality, and the existential Deity synthesis of personality and power. This triune association eventuates the co-ordination of the sum total of actualized reality —spirit, cosmic, or mindal. It is unqualified in actuality.

The Triodity of Potentiality. This triodity consists in the association of the three Absolutes of potentiality:
1. The Deity Absolute.
2. The Universal Absolute.
3. The Unqualified Absolute.

Thus are interassociated the infinity reservoirs of all latent energy reality —spirit, mindal, or cosmic. This association yields the integration of all latent energy reality. It is infinite in potential.

As the triunities are primarily concerned with the functional unification of infinity, so are triodities involved in the cosmic appearance of experiential Deities. The triunities are indirectly concerned, but the triodities are directly concerned, in the experiential Deities —Supreme, Ultimate, and Absolute. They appear in the emerging power-personality synthesis of the Supreme Being. And to the time creatures of space the Supreme Being is a revelation of the unity of the I AM.

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Religion And Faith – Part 1 (UBS #13)

As stated in Introduction To “UBS” Study the following is: My opinions posted on this part of the study may or may not be my final feeling on the matter. I’ll be writing (or recording video) as I go, so it’s inevitable that some concepts may not have long enough to settle in my mind so a final thought or feeling can be reached. Some new and non-institutional concepts are going to be introduced, compared to the Bible, looked at with logic, and commented on. Whether or not you agree with these concepts are completely irrelevant. The purpose of this study is not whether you or I agree with the said study or with each other, but to help bring us closer to each other as brethren and ultimately closer to God. Your participation in this study is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

This post is extremely in-depth. If need be, write down the subtitle of where you must leave off, and finish reading from where you left off. It is lengthy because it is in my opinion that this information is needed and cannot be shortened any more than it already has been without losing context.

Social Problems
In past ages, since social reforms were largely confined to the moral realms, religion did not have to adjust its attitude to extensive changes in economic and political systems. The chief problem of religion was the endeavor to replace evil with good within the existing social order of political and economic culture. Religion has thus indirectly tended to perpetuate the established order of society, to foster the maintenance of the existent type of civilization.

Religion and Social Construction
Mechanical inventions and the dissemination of knowledge are modifying civilization; certain economic adjustments and social changes are imperative if cultural disaster is to be avoided. This new and oncoming social order will not settle down complacently for a millennium. The human race must become reconciled to a procession of changes, adjustments, and readjustments. Mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed planetary destiny. Religion must become a forceful influence for moral stability and spiritual progression functioning dynamically in the midst of these ever-changing conditions and never-ending economic adjustments.

Society can never hope to settle down as in past ages. The social ship has steamed out of the sheltered bays of established tradition and has begun its cruise upon the high seas of evolutionary destiny; and the soul of man, as never before in the world’s history, needs carefully to scrutinize its charts of morality and painstakingly to observe the compass of religious guidance. The paramount mission of religion as a social influence is to stabilize the ideals of mankind during these dangerous times of transition from one phase of civilization to another, from one level of culture to another.

Religion has no new duties to perform, but it is urgently called upon to function as a wise guide and experienced counselor in all of these new and rapidly changing human situations. Society is becoming more mechanical, more compact, more complex, and more critically interdependent. Religion must function to prevent these new and intimate interassociations from becoming mutually retrogressive or even destructive. Religion must act as the cosmic salt which prevents the ferments of progression from destroying the cultural savor of civilization. These new social relations and economic upheavals can result in lasting brotherhood only by the ministry of religion. A godless humanitarianism is, humanly speaking, a noble gesture, but true religion is the only power which can lastingly increase the responsiveness of one social group to the needs and sufferings of other groups. In the past, institutional religion could remain passive while the upper strata of society turned a deaf ear to the sufferings and oppression of the helpless lower strata, but in modern times these lower social orders are no longer so abjectly ignorant nor so politically helpless. The spirit of religion is eternal, but the form of its expression must be restated every time the dictionary of human language is revised.

Weakness of Institutional Religion
Institutional religion cannot afford inspiration and provide leadership in this impending world-wide social reconstruction and economic reorganization because it has unfortunately become more or less of an organic part of the social order and the economic system which is destined to undergo reconstruction. Only the real religion of personal spiritual experience can function helpfully and creatively in the present crisis of civilization. Institutional religion is now caught in the stalemate of a vicious circle. It cannot reconstruct society without first reconstructing itself; and being so much an integral part of the established order, it cannot reconstruct itself until society has been radically reconstructed. Religionists must function in society, in industry, and in politics as individuals, not as groups, parties, or institutions. A religious group which presumes to function as such, apart from religious activities, immediately becomes a political party, an economic organization, or a social institution. Religious collectivism must confine its efforts to the furtherance of religious causes.

The institutionalized church may have appeared to serve society in the past by glorifying the established political and economic orders, but it must speedily cease such action if it is to survive. Its only proper attitude consists in the teaching of nonviolence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution —peace on earth and good will among all men. Modern religion finds it difficult to adjust its attitude toward the rapidly shifting social changes only because it has permitted itself to become so thoroughly traditionalized, dogmatized, and institutionalized. The religion of living experience finds no difficulty in keeping ahead of all these social developments and economic upheavals, amid which it ever functions as a moral stabilizer, social guide, and spiritual pilot. True religion carries over from one age to another the worth-while culture and that wisdom which is born of the experience of knowing God and striving to be like him.

Religion and the Religionist
Early Christianity was entirely free from all civil entanglements, social commitments, and economic alliances. Only did later institutionalized Christianity become an organic part of the political and social structure of Occidental civilization. The kingdom of heaven is neither a social nor economic order; it is an exclusively spiritual brotherhood of God-knowing individuals. True, such a brotherhood is in itself a new and amazing social phenomenon attended by astounding political and economic repercussions. The religionist is not unsympathetic with social suffering, not unmindful of civil injustice, not insulated from economic thinking, neither insensible to political tyranny. Religion influences social reconstruction directly because it spiritualizes and idealizes the individual citizen. Indirectly, cultural civilization is influenced by the attitude of these individual religionists as they become active and influential members of various social, moral, economic, and political groups.

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. Many individual social reconstructionists, while vehemently repudiating institutionalized religion, are, after all, zealously religious in the propagation of their social reforms. And so it is that religious motivation, personal and more or less unrecognized, is playing a great part in the present-day program of social reconstruction. The great weakness of all this unrecognized and unconscious type of religious activity is that it is unable to profit from open religious criticism and thereby attain to profitable levels of self-correction. It is a fact that religion does not grow unless it is disciplined by constructive criticism, amplified by philosophy, purified by science, and nourished by loyal fellowship.

Religion can be kept free from unholy secular alliances only by:
1. A critically corrective philosophy.
2. Freedom from all social, economic, and political alliances.
3. Creative, comforting, and love-expanding fellowships.
4. Progressive enhancement of spiritual insight and the appreciation of cosmic values.
5. Prevention of fanaticism by the compensations of the scientific mental attitude.

Transition Difficulties
Social leadership is transformed by spiritual insight; religion prevents all collective movements from losing sight of their true objectives. Together with children, religion is the great unifier of family life, provided it is a living and growing faith. Family life cannot be had without children; it can be lived without religion, but such a handicap enormously multiplies the difficulties of this intimate human association. True religion is a meaningful way of living dynamically face to face with the commonplace realities of everyday life. But if religion is to stimulate individual development of character and augment integration of personality, it must not be standardized. If it is to stimulate evaluation of experience and serve as a value-lure, it must not be stereotyped. If religion is to promote supreme loyalties, it must not be formalized.

No matter what upheavals may attend the social and economic growth of civilization, religion is genuine and worth while if it fosters in the individual an experience in which the sovereignty of truth, beauty, and goodness prevails, for such is the true spiritual concept of supreme reality. And through love and worship this becomes meaningful as fellowship with man and sonship with God. After all, it is what one believes rather than what one knows that determines conduct and dominates personal performances. Purely factual knowledge exerts very little influence upon the average man unless it becomes emotionally activated. But the activation of religion is superemotional, unifying the entire human experience on transcendent levels through contact with, and release of, spiritual energies in the mortal life.

There is no danger in religion’s becoming more and more of a private matter —a personal experience —provided it does not lose its motivation for unselfish and loving social service. Religion has suffered from many secondary influences: sudden mixing of cultures, intermingling of creeds, diminution of ecclesiastical authority, changing of family life, together with urbanization and mechanization. Man’s greatest spiritual jeopardy consists in partial progress, the predicament of unfinished growth: forsaking the evolutionary religions of fear without immediately grasping the revelatory religion of love. Modern science, particularly psychology, has weakened only those religions which are so largely dependent upon fear, superstition, and emotion.

Transition is always accompanied by confusion, and there will be little tranquillity in the religious world until the great struggle between the three contending philosophies of religion is ended:
1. The spiritistic belief (in a providential Deity) of many religions.
2. The humanistic and idealistic belief of many philosophies.
3. The mechanistic and naturalistic conceptions of many sciences.

Social Aspects of Religion
While religion is exclusively a personal spiritual experience —knowing God as a Father —the corollary of this experience —knowing man as a brother —entails the adjustment of the self to other selves, and that involves the social or group aspect of religious life. Religion is first an inner or personal adjustment, and then it becomes a matter of social service or group adjustment. The fact of man’s gregariousness perforce determines that religious groups will come into existence. What happens to these religious groups depends very much on intelligent leadership. In primitive society the religious group is not always very different from economic or political groups. Religion has always been a conservator of morals and a stabilizer of society. And this is still true, notwithstanding the contrary teaching of many modern socialists and humanists. Always keep in mind: True religion is to know God as your Father and man as your brother. Religion is not a slavish belief in threats of punishment or magical promises of future mystical rewards.

The religion of Jesus is the most dynamic influence ever to activate the human race. Jesus shattered tradition, destroyed dogma, and called mankind to the achievement of its highest ideals in time and eternity —to be perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect. Religion has little chance to function until the religious group becomes separated from all other groups —the social association of the spiritual membership of the kingdom of heaven. The doctrine of the total depravity of man destroyed much of the potential of religion for effecting social repercussions of an uplifting nature and of inspirational value. Jesus sought to restore man’s dignity when he declared that all men are the children of God. Any religious belief which is effective in spiritualizing the believer is certain to have powerful repercussions in the social life of such a religionist. Religious experience unfailingly yields the “fruits of the spirit” in the daily life of the spirit-led mortal.

What a mistake for Christians to make when, in presenting Christ as the supreme ideal of spiritual leadership, they dare to require God-conscious men and women to reject the historic leadership of the God-knowing men who have contributed to their particular national or racial illumination during past ages.

Institutional Religion
Sectarianism is a disease of institutional religion, and dogmatism is an enslavement of the spiritual nature. It is far better to have a religion without a church than a church without religion. There is a real purpose in the socialization of religion. It is the purpose of group religious activities to dramatize the loyalties of religion; to magnify the lures of truth, beauty, and goodness; to foster the attractions of supreme values; to enhance the service of unselfish fellowship; to glorify the potentials of family life; to promote religious education; to provide wise counsel and spiritual guidance; and to encourage group worship.

But as religion becomes institutionalized, its power for good is curtailed, while the possibilities for evil are greatly multiplied. The dangers of formalized religion are: fixation of beliefs and crystallization of sentiments; accumulation of vested interests with increase of secularization; tendency to standardize and fossilize truth; diversion of religion from the service of God to the service of the church; inclination of leaders to become administrators instead of ministers; tendency to form sects and competitive divisions; establishment of oppressive ecclesiastical authority; creation of the aristocratic “chosen-people” attitude; fostering of false and exaggerated ideas of sacredness; the routinizing of religion and the petrification of worship; tendency to venerate the past while ignoring present demands; failure to make up-to-date interpretations of religion; entanglement with functions of secular institutions; it creates the evil discrimination of religious castes; it becomes an intolerant judge of orthodoxy; it fails to hold the interest of adventurous youth and gradually loses the saving message of the gospel of eternal salvation.

Religion’s Contribution
Political science must effect the reconstruction of economics and industry by the techniques it learns from the social sciences and by the insights and motives supplied by religious living. In all social reconstruction religion provides a stabilizing loyalty to a transcendent object, a steadying goal beyond and above the immediate and temporal objective. In the midst of the confusions of a rapidly changing environment mortal man needs the sustenance of a far-flung cosmic perspective. Religion inspires man to live courageously and joyfully on the face of the earth; it joins patience with passion, insight to zeal, sympathy with power, and ideals with energy.

Economic interdependence and social fraternity will ultimately conduce to brotherhood. Man is naturally a dreamer, but science is sobering him so that religion can presently activate him with far less danger of precipitating fanatical reactions. Economic necessities tie man up with reality, and personal religious experience brings this same man face to face with the eternal realities of an ever-expanding and progressing cosmic citizenship.

Religion in Human Experience
Spiritual growth is mutually stimulated by intimate association with other religionists. Love supplies the soil for religious growth —an objective lure in the place of subjective gratification —yet it yields the supreme subjective satisfaction. And religion ennobles the commonplace drudgery of daily living.

Religious Growth
While religion produces growth of meanings and enhancement of values, evil always results when purely personal evaluations are elevated to the levels of absolutes. A child evaluates experience in accordance with the content of pleasure; maturity is proportional to the substitution of higher meanings for personal pleasure, even loyalties to the highest concepts of diversified life situations and cosmic relations. Some persons are too busy to grow and are therefore in grave danger of spiritual fixation. Provision must be made for growth of meanings at differing ages, in successive cultures, and in the passing stages of advancing civilization. The chief inhibitors of growth are prejudice and ignorance.

Enlargement of vocabulary does not signify development of character. Growth is not truly indicated by mere products but rather by progress. Real educational growth is indicated by enhancement of ideals, increased appreciation of values, new meanings of values, and augmented loyalty to supreme values. Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates; precept or even example is not lastingly influential. Loyal persons are growing persons, and growth is an impressive and inspiring reality. Live loyally today —grow —and tomorrow will attend to itself. The quickest way for a tadpole to become a frog is to live loyally each moment as a tadpole.

The soil essential for religious growth presupposes a progressive life of self-realization, the co-ordination of natural propensities, the exercise of curiosity and the enjoyment of reasonable adventure, the experiencing of feelings of satisfaction, the functioning of the fear stimulus of attention and awareness, the wonder-lure, and a normal consciousness of smallness, humility. Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism —conscience, for conscience is really the criticism of oneself by one’s own value-habits, personal ideals. Religious experience is markedly influenced by physical health, inherited temperament, and social environment. But these temporal conditions do not inhibit inner spiritual progress by a soul dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven. There are present in all normal mortals certain innate drives toward growth and self-realization which function if they are not specifically inhibited. The certain technique of fostering this constitutive endowment of the potential of spiritual growth is to maintain an attitude of wholehearted devotion to supreme values.

Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one’s spiritual life with one’s fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious. The unconscious nature of religious growth does not, however, signify that it is an activity functioning in the supposed subconscious realms of human intellect; rather does it signify creative activities in the superconscious levels of mortal mind. The experience of the realization of the reality of unconscious religious growth is the one positive proof of the functional existence of the superconsciousness.

Spiritual Growth
Spiritual development depends, first, on the maintenance of a living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces and, second, on the continuous bearing of spiritual fruit: yielding the ministry to one’s fellows of that which has been received from one’s spiritual benefactors. Spiritual progress is predicated on intellectual recognition of spiritual poverty coupled with the self-consciousness of perfection-hunger, the desire to know God and be like him, the wholehearted purpose to do the will of the Father in heaven. Spiritual growth is first an awakening to needs, next a discernment of meanings, and then a discovery of values. The evidence of true spiritual development consists in the exhibition of a human personality motivated by love, activated by unselfish ministry, and dominated by the wholehearted worship of the perfection ideals of divinity. And this entire experience constitutes the reality of religion as contrasted with mere theological beliefs.

Religion can progress to that level of experience whereon it becomes an enlightened and wise technique of spiritual reaction to the universe. Such a glorified religion can function on three levels of human personality: the intellectual, the morontial, and the spiritual; upon the mind, in the evolving soul, and with the indwelling spirit. Spirituality becomes at once the indicator of one’s nearness to God and the measure of one’s usefulness to fellow beings. Spirituality enhances the ability to discover beauty in things, recognize truth in meanings, and discover goodness in values. Spiritual development is determined by capacity therefor and is directly proportional to the elimination of the selfish qualities of love.

The goal of human self-realization should be spiritual, not material. The only realities worth striving for are divine, spiritual, and eternal. Mortal man is entitled to the enjoyment of physical pleasures and to the satisfaction of human affections; he is benefited by loyalty to human associations and temporal institutions; but these are not the eternal foundations upon which to build the immortal personality which must transcend space, vanquish time, and achieve the eternal destiny of divine perfection and finaliter service. Jesus portrayed the profound surety of the God-knowing mortal when he said: “To a God-knowing kingdom believer, what does it matter if all things earthly crash?” Temporal securities are vulnerable, but spiritual sureties are impregnable. When the flood tides of human adversity, selfishness, cruelty, hate, malice, and jealousy beat about the mortal soul, you may rest in the assurance that there is one inner bastion, the citadel of the spirit, which is absolutely unassailable; at least this is true of every human being who has dedicated the keeping of his soul to the indwelling spirit of the eternal God.

After such spiritual attainment, whether secured by gradual growth or specific crisis, there occurs a new orientation of personality as well as the development of a new standard of values. Such spirit-born individuals are so remotivated in life that they can calmly stand by while their fondest ambitions perish and their keenest hopes crash; they positively know that such catastrophes are but the redirecting cataclysms which wreck one’s temporal creations preliminary to the rearing of the more noble and enduring realities of a new and more sublime level of universe attainment.

Concepts of Supreme Value
Religion is not a technique for attaining a static and blissful peace of mind; it is an impulse for organizing the soul for dynamic service. It is the enlistment of the totality of selfhood in the loyal service of loving God and serving man. Religion pays any price essential to the attainment of the supreme goal, the eternal prize. There is a consecrated completeness in religious loyalty which is superbly sublime. And these loyalties are socially effective and spiritually progressive. To the religionist the word God becomes a symbol signifying the approach to supreme reality and the recognition of divine value. Human likes and dislikes do not determine good and evil; moral values do not grow out of wish fulfillment or emotional frustration. In the contemplation of values you must distinguish between that which is value and that which has value. You must recognize the relation between pleasurable activities and their meaningful integration and enhanced realization on ever progressively higher and higher levels of human experience.

Meaning is something which experience adds to value; it is the appreciative consciousness of values. An isolated and purely selfish pleasure may connote a virtual devaluation of meanings, a meaningless enjoyment bordering on relative evil. Values are experiential when realities are meaningful and mentally associated, when such relationships are recognized and appreciated by mind. Values can never be static; reality signifies change, growth. Change without growth, expansion of meaning and exaltation of value, is valueless —is potential evil. The greater the quality of cosmic adaptation, the more of meaning any experience possesses. Values are not conceptual illusions; they are real, but always they depend on the fact of relationships. Values are always both actual and potential —not what was, but what is and is to be.

The association of actuals and potentials equals growth, the experiential realization of values. But growth is not mere progress. Progress is always meaningful, but it is relatively valueless without growth. The supreme value of human life consists in growth of values, progress in meanings, and realization of the cosmic interrelatedness of both of these experiences. And such an experience is the equivalent of God-consciousness. Such a mortal, while not supernatural, is truly becoming superhuman; an immortal soul is evolving. Man cannot cause growth, but he can supply favorable conditions. Growth is always unconscious, be it physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Love thus grows; it cannot be created, manufactured, or purchased; it must grow. Evolution is a cosmic technique of growth. Social growth cannot be secured by legislation, and moral growth is not had by improved administration. Man may manufacture a machine, but its real value must be derived from human culture and personal appreciation. Man’s sole contribution to growth is the mobilization of the total powers of his personality —living faith.

Problems of Growth
Religious living is devoted living, and devoted living is creative living, original and spontaneous. New religious insights arise out of conflicts which initiate the choosing of new and better reaction habits in the place of older and inferior reaction patterns. New meanings only emerge amid conflict; and conflict persists only in the face of refusal to espouse the higher values connoted in superior meanings. Religious perplexities are inevitable; there can be no growth without psychic conflict and spiritual agitation. The organization of a philosophic standard of living entails considerable commotion in the philosophic realms of the mind. Loyalties are not exercised in behalf of the great, the good, the true, and the noble without a struggle. Effort is attendant upon clarification of spiritual vision and enhancement of cosmic insight. And the human intellect protests against being weaned from subsisting upon the nonspiritual energies of temporal existence. The slothful animal mind rebels at the effort required to wrestle with cosmic problem solving.

But the great problem of religious living consists in the task of unifying the soul powers of the personality by the dominance of LOVE. Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems. Of health and sanity man understands much, but of happiness he has truly realized very little. The highest happiness is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding. In physical life the senses tell of the existence of things; mind discovers the reality of meanings; but the spiritual experience reveals to the individual the true values of life. These high levels of human living are attained in the supreme love of God and in the unselfish love of man. If you love your fellow men, you must have discovered their values. Jesus loved men so much because he placed such a high value upon them. You can best discover values in your associates by discovering their motivation. If someone irritates you, causes feelings of resentment, you should sympathetically seek to discern his viewpoint, his reasons for such objectionable conduct. If once you understand your neighbor, you will become tolerant, and this tolerance will grow into friendship and ripen into love.

In the mind’s eye conjure up a picture of one of your primitive ancestors of cave-dwelling times —a short, misshapen, filthy, snarling hulk of a man standing, legs spread, club upraised, breathing hate and animosity as he looks fiercely just ahead. Such a picture hardly depicts the divine dignity of man. But allow us to enlarge the picture. In front of this animated human crouches a saber-toothed tiger. Behind him, a woman and two children. Immediately you recognize that such a picture stands for the beginnings of much that is fine and noble in the human race, but the man is the same in both pictures. Only, in the second sketch you are favored with a widened horizon. You therein discern the motivation of this evolving mortal. His attitude becomes praiseworthy because you understand him. If you could only fathom the motives of your associates, how much better you would understand them. If you could only know your fellows, you would eventually fall in love with them.

Conversion and Mysticism
The world is filled with lost souls, not lost in the theologic sense but lost in the directional meaning, wandering about in confusion among the isms and cults of a frustrated philosophic era. Too few have learned how to install a philosophy of living in the place of religious authority. (The symbols of socialized religion are not to be despised as channels of growth, albeit the river bed is not the river.) The progression of religious growth leads from stagnation through conflict to co-ordination, from insecurity to undoubting faith, from confusion of cosmic consciousness to unification of personality, from the temporal objective to the eternal, from the bondage of fear to the liberty of divine sonship.

It should be made clear that professions of loyalty to the supreme ideals —the psychic, emotional, and spiritual awareness of God-consciousness —may be a natural and gradual growth or may sometimes be experienced at certain junctures, as in a crisis. The Apostle Paul experienced just such a sudden and spectacular conversion that eventful day on the Damascus road. Gautama Siddhartha had a similar experience the night he sat alone and sought to penetrate the mystery of final truth. Many others have had like experiences, and many true believers have progressed in the spirit without sudden conversion.

If one is disposed to recognize a theoretical subconscious mind as a practical working hypothesis in the otherwise unified intellectual life, then, to be consistent, one should postulate a similar and corresponding realm of ascending intellectual activity as the superconscious level, the zone of immediate contact with the indwelling spirit entity. The great danger in all these psychic speculations is that visions and other so-called mystic experiences, along with extraordinary dreams, may be regarded as divine communications to the human mind. In times past, divine beings have revealed themselves to certain God-knowing persons, not because of their mystic trances or morbid visions, but in spite of all these phenomena. Altogether too much of the uprush of the memories of the unconscious levels of the human mind has been mistaken for divine revelations and spirit leadings.

There is great danger associated with the habitual practice of religious daydreaming; mysticism may become a technique of reality avoidance, albeit it has sometimes been a means of genuine spiritual communion. Short seasons of retreat from the busy scenes of life may not be seriously dangerous, but prolonged isolation of personality is most undesirable. Under no circumstances should the trancelike state of visionary consciousness be cultivated as a religious experience. The characteristics of the mystical state are diffusion of consciousness with vivid islands of focal attention operating on a comparatively passive intellect. All of this gravitates consciousness toward the subconscious rather than in the direction of the zone of spiritual contact, the superconscious. Many mystics have carried their mental dissociation to the level of abnormal mental manifestations.

The factors which contribute to the initiation of mystic communion are indicative of the danger of such psychic states. The mystic status is favored by such things as: physical fatigue, fasting, psychic dissociation, profound aesthetic experiences, vivid sex impulses, fear, anxiety, rage, and wild dancing. Much of the material arising as a result of such preliminary preparation has its origin in the subconscious mind. However favorable may have been the conditions for mystic phenomena, it should be clearly understood that Jesus of Nazareth never resorted to such methods for communion with the Paradise Father. Jesus had no subconscious delusions or superconscious illusions.

Marks of Religious Living
Evolutionary religions and revelatory religions may differ markedly in method, but in motive there is great similarity. Religion is not a specific function of life; rather is it a mode of living. True religion is a wholehearted devotion to some reality which the religionist deems to be of supreme value to himself and for all mankind. And the outstanding characteristics of all religions are: unquestioning loyalty and wholehearted devotion to supreme values. This religious devotion to supreme values is shown in the relation of the supposedly irreligious mother to her child and in the fervent loyalty of nonreligionists to an espoused cause. The accepted supreme value of the religionist may be base or even false, but it is nevertheless religious. A religion is genuine to just the extent that the value which is held to be supreme is truly a cosmic reality of genuine spiritual worth.

The marks of human response to the religious impulse embrace the qualities of nobility and grandeur. The sincere religionist is conscious of universe citizenship and is aware of making contact with sources of superhuman power. He is thrilled and energized with the assurance of belonging to a superior and ennobled fellowship of the sons of God. The consciousness of self-worth has become augmented by the stimulus of the quest for the highest universe objectives —supreme goals. The self has surrendered to the intriguing drive of an all-encompassing motivation which imposes heightened self-discipline, lessens emotional conflict, and makes mortal life truly worth living. The morbid recognition of human limitations is changed to the natural consciousness of mortal shortcomings, associated with moral determination and spiritual aspiration to attain the highest universe and superuniverse goals. And this intense striving for the attainment of supermortal ideals is always characterized by increasing patience, forbearance, fortitude, and tolerance.

But true religion is a living love, a life of service. The religionist’s detachment from much that is purely temporal and trivial never leads to social isolation, and it should not destroy the sense of humor. Genuine religion takes nothing away from human existence, but it does add new meanings to all of life; it generates new types of enthusiasm, zeal, and courage. It may even engender the spirit of the crusader, which is more than dangerous if not controlled by spiritual insight and loyal devotion to the commonplace social obligations of human loyalties. One of the most amazing earmarks of religious living is that dynamic and sublime peace, that peace which passes all human understanding, that cosmic poise which betokens the absence of all doubt and turmoil. Such levels of spiritual stability are immune to disappointment. Such religionists are like the Apostle Paul, who said: “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8:38-39)

There is a sense of security, associated with the realization of triumphing glory, resident in the consciousness of the religionist who has grasped the reality of the Supreme, and who pursues the goal of the Ultimate. Even evolutionary religion is all of this in loyalty and grandeur because it is a genuine experience. But revelatory religion is excellent as well as genuine. The new loyalties of enlarged spiritual vision create new levels of love and devotion, of service and fellowship; and all this enhanced social outlook produces an enlarged consciousness of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The characteristic difference between evolved and revealed religion is a new quality of divine wisdom which is added to purely experiential human wisdom. But it is experience in and with the human religions that develops the capacity for subsequent reception of increased bestowals of divine wisdom and cosmic insight.

The Acme of Religious Living
The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth. But the Master was so reasonable, so approachable. He was so practical in all his ministry, while all his plans were characterized by such sanctified common sense. He was so free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. He was never capricious, whimsical, or hysterical. In all his teaching and in everything he did there was always an exquisite discrimination associated with an extraordinary sense of propriety.

The Son of Man was always a well-poised personality. Even his enemies maintained a wholesome respect for him; they even feared his presence. Jesus was unafraid. He was surcharged with divine enthusiasm, but he never became fanatical. He was emotionally active but never flighty. He was imaginative but always practical. He frankly faced the realities of life, but he was never dull or prosaic. He was courageous but never reckless; prudent but never cowardly. He was sympathetic but not sentimental; unique but not eccentric. He was pious but not sanctimonious. And he was so well-poised because he was so perfectly unified. Jesus’ originality was unstifled. He was not bound by tradition or handicapped by enslavement to narrow conventionality. He spoke with undoubted confidence and taught with absolute authority. But his superb originality did not cause him to overlook the gems of truth in the teachings of his predecessors and contemporaries. And the most original of his teachings was the emphasis of love and mercy in the place of fear and sacrifice.

Jesus was very broad in his outlook. He exhorted his followers to preach the gospel to all peoples. He was free from all narrow-mindedness. His sympathetic heart embraced all mankind, even a universe. Always his invitation was, “Whosoever will, let him come.” (Mark 8:34; Rev. 22:17) Of Jesus it was truly said, “He trusted God.” (Matt. 27:43) As a man among men he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts his earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. No matter how cruel nature might appear to be or how indifferent to man’s welfare on earth, Jesus never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment and impervious to persecution. He was untouched by apparent failure. He loved men as brothers, at the same time recognizing how they differed in innate endowments and acquired qualities. “He went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38)

Jesus was an unusually cheerful person, but he was not a blind and unreasoning optimist. His constant word of exhortation was, “Be of good cheer.” (Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 16:33) He could maintain this confident attitude because of his unswerving trust in God and his unshakable confidence in man. He was always touchingly considerate of all men because he loved them and believed in them. Still he was always true to his convictions and magnificently firm in his devotion to the doing of his Father’s will. The Master was always generous. He never grew weary of saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Said he, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:8) And yet, with all of his unbounded generosity, he was never wasteful or extravagant. He taught that you must believe to receive salvation. “For every one who seeks shall receive.” (Matt. 7:8; Luke 11:10) He was candid, but always kind. Said he, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” (John 14:2) He was frank, but always friendly. He was outspoken in his love for the sinner and in his hatred for sin. But throughout all this amazing frankness he was unerringly fair.

Jesus was consistently cheerful, notwithstanding he sometimes drank deeply of the cup of human sorrow. He fearlessly faced the realities of existence, yet was he filled with enthusiasm for the gospel of the kingdom. But he controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to “the Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49) This divine enthusiasm led his unspiritual brethren to think he was beside himself, but the onlooking universe appraised him as the model of sanity and the pattern of supreme mortal devotion to the high standards of spiritual living. And his controlled enthusiasm was contagious; his associates were constrained to share his divine optimism. This man of Galilee was not a man of sorrows; he was a soul of gladness. Always was he saying, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” But when duty required, he was willing to walk courageously through the “valley of the shadow of death.” He was gladsome but at the same time humble.

His courage was equaled only by his patience. When pressed to act prematurely, he would only reply, “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) He was never in a hurry; his composure was sublime. But he was often indignant at evil, intolerant of sin. He was often mightily moved to resist that which was inimical to the welfare of his children on earth. But his indignation against sin never led to anger at the sinner. His courage was magnificent, but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, “Fear not.” His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. He was truly brave but never audacious. The Master was a pattern of reverence. The prayer of even his youth began, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matt. 6:9) He was even respectful of the faulty worship of his fellows. But this did not deter him from making attacks on religious traditions or assaulting errors of human belief. He was reverential of true holiness, and yet he could justly appeal to his fellows, saying, “Who among you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46)

Jesus was great because he was good, and yet he fraternized with the little children. He was gentle and unassuming in his personal life, and yet he was the perfected man of a universe. His associates called him Master unbidden. Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: “If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

The Real Nature of Religion

True Religion
True religion is not a system of philosophic belief which can be reasoned out and substantiated by natural proofs, neither is it a fantastic and mystic experience of indescribable feelings of ecstasy which can be enjoyed only by the romantic devotees of mysticism. Religion is not the product of reason, but viewed from within, it is altogether reasonable. Religion is not derived from the logic of human philosophy, but as a mortal experience it is altogether logical. Religion is the experiencing of divinity in the consciousness of a moral being of evolutionary origin; it represents true experience with eternal realities in time, the realization of spiritual satisfactions while yet in the flesh.

The divine spirit makes contact with mortal man, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of the highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward. The divine nature may be perceived only with the eyes of the mind. All such inner and spiritual communion is termed spiritual insight. Religion lives and prospers, then, not by sight and feeling, but rather by faith and insight. It consists not in the discovery of new facts or in the finding of a unique experience, but rather in the discovery of new and spiritual meanings in facts already well known to mankind. The highest religious experience is not dependent on prior acts of belief, tradition, and authority; neither is religion the offspring of sublime feelings and purely mystical emotions. It is, rather, a profoundly deep and actual experience of spiritual communion with the spirit influences resident within the human mind, and as far as such an experience is definable in terms of psychology, it is simply the experience of experiencing the reality of believing in God as the reality of such a purely personal experience.

Faith unites moral insight with conscientious discriminations of values, and the pre-existent evolutionary sense of duty completes the ancestry of true religion. The experience of religion eventually results in the certain consciousness of God and in the undoubted assurance of the survival of the believing personality. Thus it may be seen that religious longings and spiritual urges are not of such a nature as would merely lead men to want to believe in God, but rather are they of such nature and power that men are profoundly impressed with the conviction that they ought to believe in God. The sense of evolutionary duty and the obligations consequent upon the illumination of revelation make such a profound impression upon man’s moral nature that he finally reaches that position of mind and that attitude of soul where he concludes that he has no right not to believe in God. The higher and superphilosophic wisdom of such enlightened and disciplined individuals ultimately instructs them that to doubt God or distrust his goodness would be to prove untrue to the realest and deepest thing within the human mind and soul.

The Fact of Religion
The fact of religion consists wholly in the religious experience of rational and average human beings. And this is the only sense in which religion can ever be regarded as scientific or even psychological. The proof that revelation is revelation is this same fact of human experience: the fact that revelation does synthesize the apparently divergent sciences of nature and the theology of religion into a consistent and logical universe philosophy, a co-ordinated and unbroken explanation of both science and religion, thus creating a harmony of mind and satisfaction of spirit which answers in human experience those questionings of the mortal mind which craves to know how the Infinite works out his will and plans in matter, with minds, and on spirit. Reason is the method of science; faith is the method of religion; logic is the attempted technique of philosophy. Revelation compensates for the absence of the morontia viewpoint by providing a technique for achieving unity in the comprehension of the reality and relationships of matter and spirit by the mediation of mind. And true revelation never renders science unnatural, religion unreasonable, or philosophy illogical.

There are two basic reasons for believing in a God who fosters human survival:
1. Human experience, personal assurance, the somehow registered hope and trust initiated by the indwelling spirit.
2. The revelation of truth, whether by direct personal ministry of the Spirit of Truth, by the world bestowal of divine Sons, or through the revelations of the written word.

What metaphysics fails utterly in doing, and what even philosophy fails partially in doing, revelation does; that is, affirms that this First Cause of science and religion’s God of salvation are one and the same Deity. Reason is the proof of science, faith the proof of religion, logic the proof of philosophy, but revelation is validated only by human experience. Science yields knowledge; religion yields happiness; philosophy yields unity; revelation confirms the experiential harmony of this triune approach to universal reality.

The religious man who finds God in nature has already and first found this same personal God in his own soul. Faith reveals God in the soul. Revelation, the substitute for morontia insight on an evolutionary world, enables man to see the same God in nature that faith exhibits in his soul. Thus does revelation successfully bridge the gulf between the material and the spiritual, even between the creature and the Creator, between man and God. God cannot be found through nature alone, but man having otherwise found him, the study of nature becomes wholly consistent with a higher and more spiritual interpretation of the universe.

True religion is an insight into reality, the faith-child of the moral consciousness, and not a mere intellectual assent to any body of dogmatic doctrines. True religion consists in the experience that “the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16) Religion consists not in theologic propositions but in spiritual insight and the sublimity of the soul’s trust. Your deepest nature creates within you a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a certain craving for divine perfection. Religion is the faith act of the recognition of this inner urge to divine attainment; and thus is brought about that soul trust and assurance of which you become conscious as the way of salvation, the technique of the survival of personality and all those values which you have come to look upon as being true and good.

The realization of religion never has been, and never will be, dependent on great learning or clever logic. It is spiritual insight, and that is just the reason why some of the world’s greatest religious teachers, even the prophets, have sometimes possessed so little of the wisdom of the world. Religious faith is available alike to the learned and the unlearned. Religion must ever be its own critic and judge; it can never be observed, much less understood, from the outside. Your only assurance of a personal God consists in your own insight as to your belief in, and experience with, things spiritual. To all of your fellows who have had a similar experience, no argument about the personality or reality of God is necessary, while to all other men who are not thus sure of God no possible argument could ever be truly convincing.

Psychology may indeed attempt to study the phenomena of religious reactions to the social environment, but never can it hope to penetrate to the real and inner motives and workings of religion. Only theology, the province of faith and the technique of revelation, can afford any sort of intelligent account of the nature and content of religious experience.

The Characteristics of Religion
Religion is so vital that it persists in the absence of learning. It lives in spite of its contamination with erroneous cosmologies and false philosophies; it survives even the confusion of metaphysics. In and through all the historic vicissitudes of religion there ever persists that which is indispensable to human progress and survival: the ethical conscience and the moral consciousness.

Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces the mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it:
1. Causes ethics and morals to progress despite inherent and adverse animalistic tendencies.
2. Produces a sublime trust in the goodness of God even in the face of bitter disappointment and crushing defeat.
3. Generates profound courage and confidence despite natural adversity and physical calamity.
4. Exhibits inexplicable poise and sustaining tranquillity notwithstanding baffling diseases and even acute physical suffering.
5. Maintains a mysterious poise and composure of personality in the face of maltreatment and the rankest injustice.
6. Maintains a divine trust in ultimate victory in spite of the cruelties of seemingly blind fate and the apparent utter indifference of natural forces to human welfare.
7. Persists in the unswerving belief in God despite all contrary demonstrations of logic and successfully withstands all other intellectual sophistries.
8. Continues to exhibit undaunted faith in the soul’s survival regardless of the deceptive teachings of false science and the persuasive delusions of unsound philosophy.
9. Lives and triumphs irrespective of the crushing overload of the complex and partial civilizations of modern times.
10. Contributes to the continued survival of altruism in spite of human selfishness, social antagonisms, industrial greeds, and political maladjustments.
11. Steadfastly adheres to a sublime belief in universe unity and divine guidance regardless of the perplexing presence of evil and sin.
12. Goes right on worshiping God in spite of anything and everything. Dares to declare, “Even though he slay me, yet will I serve him.” (Job 13:15)

We know, then, by three phenomena, that man has a divine spirit or spirits dwelling within him: first, by personal experience —religious faith; second, by revelation —personal and racial; and third, by the amazing exhibition of such extraordinary and unnatural reactions to his material environment as are illustrated by the foregoing recital of twelve spiritlike performances in the presence of the actual and trying situations of real human existence. And there are still others.

Limitations of Revelation
Any cosmology presented as a part of revealed religion is destined to be outgrown in a very short time. Accordingly, future students of such a revelation are tempted to discard any element of genuine religious truth it may contain because they discover errors on the face of the associated cosmologies therein presented. Let it be made clear that revelations are not necessarily inspired. The cosmology of these revelations is not inspired. While divine or spiritual insight is a gift, human wisdom must evolve.

Truth may be but relatively inspired, even though revelation is invariably a spiritual phenomenon. While statements with reference to cosmology are never inspired, such revelations are of immense value in that they at least transiently clarify knowledge by:
1. The reduction of confusion by the authoritative elimination of error.
2. The co-ordination of known or about-to-be-known facts and observations.
3. The restoration of important bits of lost knowledge concerning epochal transactions in the distant past.
4. The supplying of information which will fill in vital missing gaps in otherwise earned knowledge.
5. Presenting cosmic data in such a manner as to illuminate the spiritual teachings contained in the accompanying revelation.

Religion Expanded by Revelation
Revelation is a technique whereby ages upon ages of time are saved in the necessary work of sorting and sifting the errors of evolution from the truths of spirit acquirement.

Science deals with facts; religion is concerned only with values. Through enlightened philosophy the mind endeavors to unite the meanings of both facts and values, thereby arriving at a concept of complete reality. Remember that science is the domain of knowledge, philosophy the realm of wisdom, and religion the sphere of the faith experience. But religion, nonetheless, presents two phases of manifestation:
1. Evolutionary religion. The experience of primitive worship, the religion which is a mind derivative.
2. Revealed religion. The universe attitude which is a spirit derivative; the assurance of, and belief in, the conservation of eternal realities, the survival of personality, and the eventual attainment of the cosmic Deity, whose purpose has made all this possible. It is a part of the plan of the universe that, sooner or later, evolutionary religion is destined to receive the spiritual expansion of revelation.

Both science and religion start out with the assumption of certain generally accepted bases for logical deductions. So, also, must philosophy start its career upon the assumption of the reality of three things:
1. The material body.
2. The supermaterial phase of the human being, the soul or even the indwelling spirit.
3. The human mind, the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter, between the material and the spiritual.

Scientists assemble facts, philosophers co-ordinate ideas, while prophets exalt ideals. Feeling and emotion are invariable concomitants of religion, but they are not religion. Religion may be the feeling of experience, but it is hardly the experience of feeling. Neither logic (rationalization) nor emotion (feeling) is essentially a part of religious experience, although both may variously be associated with the exercise of faith in the furtherance of spiritual insight into reality, all according to the status and temperamental tendency of the individual mind.

Evolved religion rests wholly on faith. Revelation has the additional assurance of its expanded presentation of the truths of divinity and reality and the still more valuable testimony of the actual experience which accumulates in consequence of the practical working union of the faith of evolution and the truth of revelation. Such a working union of human faith and divine truth constitutes the possession of a character well on the road to the actual acquirement of a morontial personality.

Progressive Religious Experience
Moral will embraces decisions based on reasoned knowledge, augmented by wisdom, and sanctioned by religious faith. Such choices are acts of moral nature and evidence the existence of moral personality, the forerunner of morontia personality and eventually of true spirit status. The evolutionary type of knowledge is but the accumulation of protoplasmic memory material; this is the most primitive form of creature consciousness. Wisdom embraces the ideas formulated from protoplasmic memory in process of association and recombination, and such phenomena differentiate human mind from mere animal mind. Animals have knowledge, but only man possesses wisdom capacity.

Christ, when bestowed on Earth, lived under the reign of evolutionary religion up to the time of his baptism. From that moment up to and including the event of his crucifixion he carried forward his work by the combined guidance of evolutionary and revealed religion. From the morning of his resurrection until his ascension he traversed the manifold phases of the morontia life of mortal transition from the world of matter to that of spirit. After his ascension Christ became master of the experience of Supremacy, the realization of the Supreme; and being the one person of the universe possessed of unlimited capacity to experience the reality of the Supreme, he forthwith attained to the status of the sovereignty of supremacy in and to his local universe.

The co-ordination of idea-decisions, logical ideals, and divine truth constitutes the possession of a righteous character, the prerequisite for mortal admission to the ever-expanding and increasingly spiritual realities of the morontia worlds.

The teachings of Jesus constituted the first religion which so fully embraced a harmonious co-ordination of knowledge, wisdom, faith, truth, and love as completely and simultaneously to provide temporal tranquillity, intellectual certainty, moral enlightenment, philosophic stability, ethical sensitivity, God-consciousness, and the positive assurance of personal survival. The faith of Jesus pointed the way to finality of human salvation, to the ultimate of mortal universe attainment, since it provided for:
1. Salvation from material fetters in the personal realization of sonship with God, who is spirit.
2. Salvation from intellectual bondage: man shall know the truth, and the truth shall set him free.
3. Salvation from spiritual blindness, the human realization of the fraternity of mortal beings and the morontian awareness of the brotherhood of all universe creatures; the service-discovery of spiritual reality and the ministry-revelation of the goodness of spirit values.
4. Salvation from incompleteness of self through the attainment of the spirit levels of the universe and through the eventual realization of the harmony of the heavens and the perfection of Paradise.
5. Salvation from self, deliverance from the limitations of self-consciousness through the attainment of the cosmic levels of the Supreme mind and by co-ordination with the attainments of all other self-conscious beings.
6. Salvation from time, the achievement of an eternal life of unending progression in God-recognition and God-service.
7. Salvation from the finite, the perfected oneness with Deity in and through the Supreme by which the creature attempts the transcendental discovery of the Ultimate on the postfinaliter levels of the absonite.

Such a sevenfold salvation is the equivalent of the completeness and perfection of the realization of the ultimate experience of the Universal Father. And all this, in potential, is contained within the reality of the faith of the human experience of religion. And it can be so contained since the faith of Jesus was nourished by, and was revelatory of, even realities beyond the ultimate; the faith of Jesus approached the status of a universe absolute in so far as such is possible of manifestation in the evolving cosmos of time and space. Through the appropriation of the faith of Jesus, mortal man can foretaste in time the realities of eternity. Jesus made the discovery, in human experience, of the Final Father, and his brothers in the flesh of mortal life can follow him along this same experience of Father discovery. They can even attain, as they are, the same satisfaction in this experience with the Father as did Jesus as he was. Jesus was and is the new and living way whereby man can come into the divine inheritance which the Father has decreed shall be his for but the asking. In Jesus there is abundantly demonstrated both the beginnings and endings of the faith experience of humanity, even of divine humanity.

A Personal Philosophy of Religion
The materials out of which to build a personal philosophy of religion are derived from both the inner and the environmental experience of the individual. The social status, economic conditions, educational opportunities, moral trends, institutional influences, political developments, racial tendencies, and the religious teachings of one’s time and place all become factors in the formulation of a personal philosophy of religion. Even the inherent temperament and intellectual bent markedly determine the pattern of religious philosophy. Vocation, marriage, and kindred all influence the evolution of one’s personal standards of life.

Moral cowards never achieve high planes of philosophic thinking; it requires courage to invade new levels of experience and to attempt the exploration of unknown realms of intellectual living. Presently new systems of values come into existence; new formulations of principles and standards are achieved; habits and ideals are reshaped; some idea of a personal God is attained, followed by enlarging concepts of relationship thereto.

The great difference between a religious and a nonreligious philosophy of living consists in the nature and level of recognized values and in the object of loyalties. There are four phases in the evolution of religious philosophy: Such an experience may become merely conformative, resigned to submission to tradition and authority. Or it may be satisfied with slight attainments, just enough to stabilize the daily living, and therefore becomes early arrested on such an adventitious level. Such mortals believe in letting well enough alone. A third group progress to the level of logical intellectuality but there stagnate in consequence of cultural slavery. It is indeed pitiful to behold giant intellects held so securely within the cruel grasp of cultural bondage. It is equally pathetic to observe those who trade their cultural bondage for the materialistic fetters of a science, falsely so called. The fourth level of philosophy attains freedom from all conventional and traditional handicaps and dares to think, act, and live honestly, loyally, fearlessly, and truthfully.

The acid test for any religious philosophy consists in whether or not it distinguishes between the realities of the material and the spiritual worlds while at the same moment recognizing their unification in intellectual striving and in social serving. A sound religious philosophy does not confound the things of God with the things of Caesar. Neither does it recognize the aesthetic cult of pure wonder as a substitute for religion.

Faith and Belief
Belief has attained the level of faith when it motivates life and shapes the mode of living. The acceptance of a teaching as true is not faith; that is mere belief. Neither is certainty nor conviction faith. A state of mind attains to faith levels only when it actually dominates the mode of living. Faith is a living attribute of genuine personal religious experience. One believes truth, admires beauty, and reverences goodness, but does not worship them; such an attitude of saving faith is centered on God alone, who is all of these personified and infinitely more. Belief is always limiting and binding; faith is expanding and releasing. Belief fixates, faith liberates. But living religious faith is more than the association of noble beliefs; it is more than an exalted system of philosophy; it is a living experience concerned with spiritual meanings, divine ideals, and supreme values; it is God-knowing and man-serving. Beliefs may become group possessions, but faith must be personal. Theologic beliefs can be suggested to a group, but faith can rise up only in the heart of the individual religionist. Faith vitalizes religion and constrains the religionist heroically to live the golden rule. The zeal of faith is according to knowledge, and its strivings are the preludes to sublime peace.

Religion and Morality
No professed revelation of religion could be regarded as authentic if it failed to recognize the duty demands of ethical obligation which had been created and fostered by preceding evolutionary religion. Revelation unfailingly enlarges the ethical horizon of evolved religion while it simultaneously and unfailingly expands the moral obligations of all prior revelations. When you presume to sit in critical judgment on the primitive religion of man (or on the religion of primitive man), you should remember to judge such savages and to evaluate their religious experience in accordance with their enlightenment and status of conscience. Do not make the mistake of judging another’s religion by your own standards of knowledge and truth.

Though recognizing that religion is imperfect, there are at least two practical manifestations of its nature and function:
1. The spiritual urge and philosophic pressure of religion tend to cause man to project his estimation of moral values directly outward into the affairs of his fellows —the ethical reaction of religion.
2. Religion creates for the human mind a spiritualized consciousness of divine reality based on, and by faith derived from, antecedent concepts of moral values and co-ordinated with superimposed concepts of spiritual values. Religion thereby becomes a censor of mortal affairs, a form of glorified moral trust and confidence in reality, the enhanced realities of time and the more enduring realities of eternity.

Religion as Man’s Liberator
Intelligent man knows that he is a child of nature, a part of the material universe; he likewise discerns no survival of individual personality in the motions and tensions of the mathematical level of the energy universe. Nor can man ever discern spiritual reality through the examination of physical causes and effects. A human being is also aware that he is a part of the ideational cosmos, but though concept may endure beyond a mortal life span, there is nothing inherent in concept which indicates the personal survival of the conceiving personality. Nor will the exhaustion of the possibilities of logic and reason ever reveal to the logician or to the reasoner the eternal truth of the survival of personality. The material level of law provides for causality continuity, the unending response of effect to antecedent action; the mind level suggests the perpetuation of ideational continuity, the unceasing flow of conceptual potentiality from pre-existent conceptions. But neither of these levels of the universe discloses to the inquiring mortal an avenue of escape from partiality of status and from the intolerable suspense of being a transient reality in the universe, a temporal personality doomed to be extinguished upon the exhaustion of the limited life energies.

Mankind can never discover divinity except through the avenue of religious experience and by the exercise of true faith. The faith acceptance of the truth of God enables man to escape from the circumscribed confines of material limitations and affords him a rational hope of achieving safe conduct from the material realm, whereon is death, to the spiritual realm, wherein is life eternal. The purpose of religion is not to satisfy curiosity about God but rather to afford intellectual constancy and philosophic security, to stabilize and enrich human living by blending the mortal with the divine, the partial with the perfect, man and God. It is through religious experience that man’s concepts of ideality are endowed with reality.

Never can there be either scientific or logical proofs of divinity. Reason alone can never validate the values and goodnesses of religious experience. But it will always remain true: Whosoever wills to do the will of God shall comprehend the validity of spiritual values. This is the nearest approach that can be made on the mortal level to offering proofs of the reality of religious experience. Such faith affords the only escape from the mechanical clutch of the material world and from the error distortion of the incompleteness of the intellectual world; it is the only discovered solution to the impasse in mortal thinking regarding the continuing survival of the individual personality. It is the only passport to completion of reality and to eternity of life in a universal creation of love, law, unity, and progressive Deity attainment. Religion effectually cures man’s sense of idealistic isolation or spiritual loneliness; it enfranchises the believer as a son of God, a citizen of a new and meaningful universe. Religion assures man that, in following the gleam of righteousness discernible in his soul, he is thereby identifying himself with the plan of the Infinite and the purpose of the Eternal. Such a liberated soul immediately begins to feel at home in this new universe, his universe.

Religion and Worship (UBS #10)

As stated in Introduction To “UBS” Study the following is: My opinions posted on this part of the study may or may not be my final feeling on the matter. I’ll be writing (or recording video) as I go, so it’s inevitable that some concepts may not have long enough to settle in my mind so a final thought or feeling can be reached. Some new and non-institutional concepts are going to be introduced, compared to the Bible, looked at with logic, and commented on. Whether or not you agree with these concepts are completely irrelevant. The purpose of this study is not whether you or I agree with the said study or with each other, but to help bring us closer to each other as brethren and ultimately closer to God. Your participation in this study is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

Origins of Worship
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. When religion once evolved beyond nature worship, it acquired roots of spirit origin but was nevertheless always conditioned by the social environment. As nature worship developed, man’s concepts envisioned a division of labor in the supermortal world; there were nature spirits for lakes, trees, waterfalls, rain, and hundreds of other ordinary terrestrial phenomena.

The first item worshipped was the srone, followed by stone hills and mountains. Out of this came the concept of evil spirits in caves and good spirits on mountain tops.

Next worshipped was plants. 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. 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.

Ideas about tree spirits varied greatly among different tribes and races. Some trees were indwelt by kindly spirits; others harbored the deceptive and cruel. The Finns believed that most trees were occupied by kind spirits. The Swiss long mistrusted the trees, believing they contained tricky spirits. The inhabitants of India and eastern Russia regard the tree spirits as being cruel. The Patagonians still worship trees, as did the early Semites. Long after the Hebrews ceased tree worship, they continued to venerate their various deities in the groves. Except in China, there once existed a universal cult of the tree of life.

Early man also worshipped animals. 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. The wisdom of the serpent was a symbol of Greek medicine and is still employed as an emblem by modern physicians. The art of snake charming has been handed down from the days of the female shamans of the snake love cult, who, as the result of daily snake bites, became immune, in fact, became genuine venom addicts and could not get along without this poison.

In religion, symbolism may be either good or bad just to the extent that the symbol does or does not displace the original worshipful idea. And symbolism must not be confused with direct idolatry wherein the material object is directly and actually worshiped.

Man also worshipped the elements. In some parts of the world there are still cults who worship rivers.

Many things and numerous events have functioned as religious stimuli to different peoples in different ages. A rainbow is yet worshiped by many of the hill tribes of India. In both India and Africa the rainbow is thought to be a gigantic celestial snake; Hebrews and Christians regard it as “the bow of promise.” Likewise, influences regarded as beneficent in one part of the world may be looked upon as malignant in other regions. The east wind is a god in South America, for it brings rain; in India it is a devil because it brings dust and causes drought. The ancient Bedouins believed that a nature spirit produced the sand whirls, and even in the times of Moses belief in nature spirits was strong enough to insure their perpetuation in Hebrew theology as angels of fire, water, and air.

Moon worship preceded sun worship. Veneration of the moon was at its height during the hunting era, while sun worship became the chief religious ceremony of the subsequent agricultural ages. Solar worship first took extensive root in India, and there it persisted the longest. In Persia sun veneration gave rise to the later Mithraic cult. Among many peoples the sun was regarded as the ancestor of their kings. The Chaldeans put the sun in the center of “the seven circles of the universe.” Later civilizations honored the sun by giving its name to the first day of the week. 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.

Tribal chiefs died and were deified. Later, distinguished souls passed on and were sainted. Unaided evolution never originated gods higher than the glorified, exalted, and evolved spirits of deceased humans. In early evolution religion creates its own gods. In the course of revelation the Gods formulate religion. Evolutionary religion creates its gods in the image and likeness of mortal man; revelatory religion seeks to evolve and transform mortal man into the image and likeness of God.

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.

Early Evolution of Religion
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.

Exploration of the phenomena of life sooner or later destroys man’s belief in chance, luck, and so-called accidents, substituting therefor a universe of law and order wherein all effects are preceded by definite causes. Thus is the fear of existence replaced by the joy of living.

All religions did not develop from animism. Other concepts of the supernatural were contemporaneous with animism, and these beliefs also led to worship. Naturalism is not a religion —it is the offspring of religion.

All human disease and natural death was at first believed to be due to spirit influence. Even at the present time some civilized races regard disease as having been produced by “the enemy” and depend upon religious ceremonies to effect healing. Later and more complex systems of theology still ascribe death to the action of the spirit world, all of which has led to such doctrines as original sin and the fall of man. It was the realization of impotency before the mighty forces of nature, together with the recognition of human weakness before the visitations of sickness and death, that impelled the savage to seek for help from the supermaterial world, which he vaguely visualized as the source of these mysterious vicissitudes of life.

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. 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.

Early man entertained no ideas of hell or future punishment. The savage looked upon the future life as just like this one, minus all ill luck. Later on, a separate destiny for good ghosts and bad ghosts —heaven and hell —was conceived. But since many primitive races believed that man entered the next life just as he left this one, they did not relish the idea of becoming old and decrepit. The aged much preferred to be killed before becoming too infirm.

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. The ghost soul could be heard and seen, but not touched. Gradually the dream life of the race so developed and expanded the activities of this evolving spirit world that death was finally regarded as “giving up the ghost.” All primitive tribes, except those little above animals, have developed some concept of the soul. As civilization advances, this superstitious concept of the soul is destroyed, and man is wholly dependent on revelation and personal religious experience for his new idea of the soul as the joint creation of the God-knowing mortal mind and its indwelling divine spirit.

The ancients believed that the soul could leave the body in various ways, as in:
1. Ordinary and transient fainting.
2. Sleeping, natural dreaming.
3. Coma and unconsciousness associated with disease and accidents.
4. Death, permanent departure.

Early in evolution sleep was regarded as proving that the ghost soul could be absent from the body, and it was believed that it could be called back by speaking or shouting the sleeper’s name. In other forms of unconsciousness the soul was thought to be farther away, perhaps trying to escape for good —impending death. Dreams were looked upon as the experiences of the soul during sleep while temporarily absent from the body. The savage believes his dreams to be just as real as any part of his waking experience. The ancients made a practice of awaking sleepers gradually so that the soul might have time to get back into the body. All down through the ages men have stood in awe of the apparitions of the night season, and the Hebrews were no exception. They truly believed that God spoke to them in dreams, despite the injunctions of Moses against this idea. And Moses was right, for ordinary dreams are not the methods employed by the personalities of the spiritual world when they seek to communicate with material beings.

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.

The soul was generally thought of as being identified with the breath, but it was also located by various peoples in the head, hair, heart, liver, blood, and fat. The “crying out of Abel’s blood from the ground” is expressive of the onetime belief in the presence of the ghost in the blood. The Semites taught that the soul resided in the bodily fat, and among many the eating of animal fat was taboo. Head hunting was a method of capturing an enemy’s soul, as was scalping. In recent times the eyes have been regarded as the windows of the soul. Those who held the doctrine of three or four souls believed that the loss of one soul meant discomfort, two illness, three death. One soul lived in the breath, one in the head, one in the hair, one in the heart. The sick were advised to stroll about in the open air with the hope of recapturing their strayed souls. The greatest of the medicine men were supposed to exchange the sick soul of a diseased person for a new one, the “new birth.”

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.

Ghost Cults
The ghost cult evolved as an offset to the hazards of bad luck; its primitive religious observances were the outgrowth of anxiety about bad luck and of the inordinate fear of the dead. None of these early religions had much to do with the recognition of Deity or with reverence for the superhuman; their rites were mostly negative, designed to avoid, expel, or coerce ghosts. The ghost cult was nothing more nor less than insurance against disaster; it had nothing to do with investment for higher and future returns. 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.

The savages sat up all night and talked when a member of the clan died; they feared they too would die if they fell asleep in the vicinity of a corpse. Contagion from the corpse substantiated the fear of the dead, and all peoples, at one time or another, have employed elaborate purification ceremonies designed to cleanse an individual after contact with the dead. 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.

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.

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.

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.

The early monospiritism of ghost fear was gradually evolving into a dual spiritism, a new concept of the invisible control of earthly affairs. At last good luck and bad luck were pictured as having their respective controllers. And of the two classes, the group that brought bad luck were believed to be the more active and numerous.

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. The spirits could be counted on to be either good or bad; they were not thought of as being completely temperamental as the early ghosts of the monospiritism of most primitive religions had been conceived to be. Man was at last able to conceive of supermortal forces that were consistent in behavior, and this was one of the most momentous discoveries of truth in the entire history of the evolution of religion and in the expansion of human philosophy. Evolutionary religion has, however, paid a terrible price for the concept of dual spiritism. Man’s early philosophy was able to reconcile spirit constancy with the vicissitudes of temporal fortune only by postulating two kinds of spirits, one good and the other bad. And while this belief did enable man to reconcile the variables of chance with a concept of unchanging supermortal forces, this doctrine has ever since made it difficult for religionists to conceive of cosmic unity. The gods of evolutionary religion have generally been opposed by the forces of darkness. The tragedy of all this lies in the fact that, when these ideas were taking root in the primitive mind of man, there really were no bad or disharmonious spirits in all the world. Such an unfortunate situation did not develop until after the Planetary Prince rebellion and only persisted until Pentecost. The concept of good and evil as cosmic co-ordinates is, even in the twentieth century, very much alive in human philosophy; most of the world’s religions still carry this cultural birthmark of the long-gone days of the emerging ghost cults.

Human prosperity was supposed to be especially provocative of the envy of evil spirits, and their method of retaliation was to strike back through a human agency and by the technique of the evil eye. That phase of the cult which had to do with spirit avoidance was much concerned with the machinations of the evil eye. The fear of it became almost world-wide. Pretty women were veiled to protect them from the evil eye; subsequently many women who desired to be considered beautiful adopted this practice. Because of this fear of bad spirits, children were seldom allowed out after dark, and the early prayers always included the petition, “deliver us from the evil eye.” The Koran contains a whole chapter devoted to the evil eye and magic spells, and the Jews fully believed in them. The whole phallic cult grew up as a defense against the evil eye. The organs of reproduction were thought to be the only fetish which could render it powerless. The evil eye gave origin to the first superstitions respecting prenatal marking of children, maternal impressions, and the cult was at one time well-nigh universal.

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.

Man’s first efforts at defense were directed against the ghosts. As the ages passed, the living began to devise methods of resisting the dead. Many techniques were developed for frightening ghosts and driving them away, among which may be cited the following:
1. Cutting off the head and tying up the body in the grave.
2. Stoning the death house.
3. Castration or breaking the legs of the corpse.
4. Burying under stones, one origin of the modern tombstone.
5. Cremation, a later-day invention to prevent ghost trouble.
6. Casting the body into the sea.
7. Exposure of the body to be eaten by wild animals.

Water was regarded as the best protection against ghosts. Holy water was superior to all other forms, water in which the priests had washed their feet. Both fire and water were believed to constitute impassable barriers to ghosts. The Romans carried water three times around the corpse; in the twentieth century the body is sprinkled with holy water, and hand washing at the cemetery is still a Jewish ritual. Baptism was a feature of the later water ritual; primitive bathing was a religious ceremony. Only in recent times has bathing become a sanitary practice.

Exorcism was the employment of one spirit to control or banish another, and these tactics were also utilized for frightening ghosts and spirits. The dual-spiritism concept of good and bad forces offered man ample opportunity to attempt to pit one agency against another, for, if a powerful man could vanquish a weaker one, then certainly a strong spirit could dominate an inferior ghost. Primitive cursing was a coercive practice designed to overawe minor spirits. Later this custom expanded into the pronouncing of curses upon enemies.

The cult type of social organization persisted because it provided a symbolism for the preservation and stimulation of moral sentiments and religious loyalties. The cult grew out of the traditions of “old families” and was perpetuated as an established institution; all families have a cult of some sort. Every inspiring ideal grasps for some perpetuating symbolism —seeks some technique for cultural manifestation which will insure survival and augment realization —and the cult achieves this end by fostering and gratifying emotion. From the dawn of civilization every appealing movement in social culture or religious advancement has developed a ritual, a symbolic ceremonial. The more this ritual has been an unconscious growth, the stronger it has gripped its devotees. The cult preserved sentiment and satisfied emotion, but it has always been the greatest obstacle to social reconstruction and spiritual progress.

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. In the past, truth has grown rapidly and expanded freely when the cult has been elastic, the symbolism expansile. Abundant truth and an adjustable cult have favored rapidity of social progression. A meaningless cult vitiates religion when it attempts to supplant philosophy and to enslave reason; a genuine cult grows.

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. The old cults were too egocentric; the new must be the outgrowth of applied love. The new cult must, like the old, foster sentiment, satisfy emotion, and promote loyalty; but it must do more: It must facilitate spiritual progress, enhance cosmic meanings, augment moral values, encourage social development, and stimulate a high type of personal religious living. The new cult must provide supreme goals of living which are both temporal and eternal —social and spiritual.

No cult can endure and contribute to the progress of social civilization and individual spiritual attainment unless it is based on the biologic, sociologic, and religious significance of the home. A surviving cult must symbolize that which is permanent in the presence of unceasing change; it must glorify that which unifies the stream of ever-changing social metamorphosis. It must recognize true meanings, exalt beautiful relations, and glorify the good values of real nobility. But the great difficulty of finding a new and satisfying symbolism is because modern men, as a group, adhere to the scientific attitude, eschew superstition, and abhor ignorance, while as individuals they all crave mystery and venerate the unknown. 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.

Fetishes, Charms, and Magic
The first fetishes were peculiarly marked pebbles, and “sacred stones” have ever since been sought by man; a string of beads was once a collection of sacred stones, a battery of charms. Many tribes had fetish stones, but few have survived as have the Kaaba and the Stone of Scone. Fire and water were also among the early fetishes, and fire worship, together with belief in holy water, still survives. Tree fetishes were a later development, but among some tribes the persistence of nature worship led to belief in charms indwelt by some sort of nature spirit. When plants and fruits became fetishes, they were taboo as food. The apple was among the first to fall into this category; it was never eaten by the Levantine peoples.

Certain days of the week were fetishes. For ages Friday has been regarded as an unlucky day and the number thirteen as an evil numeral. The lucky numbers three and seven came from later revelations; four was the lucky number of primitive man and was derived from the early recognition of the four points of the compass. It was held unlucky to count cattle or other possessions; the ancients always opposed the taking of a census, “numbering the people.”

Many people looked upon geniuses as fetish personalities possessed by a wise spirit. And these talented humans soon learned to resort to fraud and trickery for the advancement of their selfish interests. A fetish man was thought to be more than human; he was divine, even infallible. Thus did chiefs, kings, priests, prophets, and church rulers eventually wield great power and exercise unbounded authority.

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. The hearth —fireplace —became more or less of a fetish, a sacred spot. The shrines and temples were at first fetish places because the dead were buried there. The fetish hut of the Hebrews was elevated by Moses to that place where it harbored a superfetish, the then existent concept of the law of God. But the Israelites never gave up the peculiar Canaanite belief in the stone altar: “And this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall be God’s house.” (Gen. 28:22) They truly believed that the spirit of their God dwelt in such stone altars, which were in reality fetishes.

Moses, in the addition of the second commandment to the ancient moral code, made an effort to control fetish worship among the Hebrews. He carefully directed that they should make no sort of image that might become consecrated as a fetish. He made it plain, “You shall not make a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters of the earth.” (Exodus 20:4; Deut. 5:8) While this commandment did much to retard art among the Jews, it did lessen fetish worship. But Moses was too wise to attempt suddenly to displace the olden fetishes, and he therefore consented to the putting of certain relics alongside the law in the combined war altar and religious shrine which was the ark. Words eventually became fetishes, more especially those which were regarded as God’s words; in this way the sacred books of many religions have become fetishistic prisons incarcerating the spiritual imagination of man. Moses’ very effort against fetishes became a supreme fetish; his commandment was later used to stultify art and to retard the enjoyment and adoration of the beautiful.

To become fetishes, words had to be considered inspired, and the invocation of supposed divinely inspired writings led directly to the establishment of the authority of the church, while the evolution of civil forms led to the fruition of the authority of the state. Men have also made a fetish of democracy, the exaltation and adoration of the common man’s ideas when collectively called “public opinion.” One man’s opinion, when taken by itself, is not regarded as worth much, but when many men are collectively functioning as a democracy, this same mediocre judgment is held to be the arbiter of justice and the standard of righteousness.

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.

The fascination of early superstition was the mother of the later scientific curiosity. There was progressive dynamic emotion —fear plus curiosity —in these primitive superstitions; there was progressive driving power in the olden magic. These superstitions represented the emergence of the human desire to know and to control planetary environment. Magic gained such a strong hold upon the savage because he could not grasp the concept of natural death. The later idea of original sin helped much to weaken the grip of magic on the race in that it accounted for natural death. It was at one time not at all uncommon for ten innocent persons to be put to death because of supposed responsibility for one natural death. This is one reason why ancient peoples did not increase faster, and it is still true of some African tribes. The accused individual usually confessed guilt, even when facing death.

Magical charms were concocted from a great variety of things: human flesh, tiger claws, crocodile teeth, poison plant seeds, snake venom, and human hair. The bones of the dead were very magical. Even the dust from footprints could be used in magic. The ancients were great believers in love charms. Blood and other forms of bodily secretions were able to insure the magic influence of love. Images were supposed to be effective in magic. Effigies were made, and when treated ill or well, the same effects were believed to rest upon the real person. When making purchases, superstitious persons would chew a bit of hard wood in order to soften the heart of the seller. The milk of a black cow was highly magical; so also were black cats. The staff or wand was magical, along with drums, bells, and knots. All ancient objects were magical charms. The practices of a new or higher civilization were looked upon with disfavor because of their supposedly evil magical nature. Writing, printing, and pictures were long so regarded.

Word combinations, the ritual of chants and incantations, were highly magical. Some early incantations finally evolved into prayers. Presently, imitative magic was practiced; prayers were acted out; magical dances were nothing but dramatic prayers. Prayer gradually displaced magic as the associate of sacrifice.

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. But a world so filled with charms did much to destroy all personal ambition and initiative. The fruits of extra labor or of diligence were looked upon as magical. If a man had more grain in his field than his neighbor, he might be haled before the chief and charged with enticing this extra grain from the indolent neighbor’s field. Indeed, in the days of barbarism it was dangerous to know very much; there was always the chance of being executed as a black artist.

Sin, Sacrifice, and Atonement
The fear of chance and the dread of bad luck literally drove man into the invention of primitive religion as supposed insurance against these calamities. From magic and ghosts, religion evolved through spirits and fetishes to taboos. Every primitive tribe had its tree of forbidden fruit, literally the apple but figuratively consisting of a thousand branches hanging heavy with all sorts of taboos. And the forbidden tree always said, “Thou shalt not.” As the savage mind evolved to that point where it envisaged both good and bad spirits, and when the taboo received the solemn sanction of evolving religion, the stage was all set for the appearance of the new conception of sin. The idea of sin was universally established in the world before revealed religion ever made its entry. It was only by the concept of sin that natural death became logical to the primitive mind. Sin was the transgression of taboo, and death was the penalty of sin.

Sin was ritual, not rational; an act, not a thought. And this entire concept of sin was fostered by the lingering traditions of Dilmun and the days of a little paradise on earth. The tradition of Adam and the Garden of Eden also lent substance to the dream of a onetime “golden age” of the dawn of the races. And all this confirmed the ideas later expressed in the belief that man had his origin in a special creation, that he started his career in perfection, and that transgression of the taboos —sin —brought him down to his later sorry plight. The habitual violation of a taboo became a vice; primitive law made vice a crime; religion made it a sin. Among the early tribes the violation of a taboo was a combined crime and sin. Community calamity was always regarded as punishment for tribal sin. To those who believed that prosperity and righteousness went together, the apparent prosperity of the wicked occasioned so much worry that it was necessary to invent hells for the punishment of taboo violators; the numbers of these places of future punishment have varied from one to five. The idea of confession and forgiveness early appeared in primitive religion. Men would ask forgiveness at a public meeting for sins they intended to commit the following week. Confession was merely a rite of remission, also a public notification of defilement, a ritual of crying “unclean, unclean!” Then followed all the ritualistic schemes of purification. All ancient peoples practiced these meaningless ceremonies. Many apparently hygienic customs of the early tribes were largely ceremonial.

Renunciation came as the next step in religious evolution; fasting was a common practice. Soon it became the custom to forgo many forms of physical pleasure, especially of a sexual nature. The ritual of the fast was deeply rooted in many ancient religions and has been handed down to practically all modern theologic systems of thought. Just about the time barbarian man was recovering from the wasteful practice of burning and burying property with the dead, just as the economic structure of the races was beginning to take shape, this new religious doctrine of renunciation appeared, and tens of thousands of earnest souls began to court poverty. Property was regarded as a spiritual handicap. These notions of the spiritual dangers of material possession were widespreadly entertained in the times of Philo and Paul, and they have markedly influenced European philosophy ever since.

It was only natural that the cult of renunciation and humiliation should have paid attention to sexual gratification. The continence cult originated as a ritual among soldiers prior to engaging in battle; in later days it became the practice of “saints.” This cult tolerated marriage only as an evil lesser than fornication. Many of the world’s great religions have been adversely influenced by this ancient cult, but none more markedly than Christianity. The Apostle Paul was a devotee of this cult, and his personal views are reflected in the teachings which he fastened onto Christian theology: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” (1 Cor. 7:1) “I would that all men were even as I myself.” (1 Cor. 7:7) “I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to abide even as I.” (1 Cor. 7:8) Paul well knew that such teachings were not a part of Jesus’ gospel, and his acknowledgment of this is illustrated by his statement, “I speak this by permission and not by commandment.” (1 Cor. 7:6) But this cult led Paul to look down upon women. And the pity of it all is that his personal opinions have long influenced the teachings of a great world religion. If the advice of the tentmaker-teacher were to be literally and universally obeyed, then would the human race come to a sudden and inglorious end. Furthermore, the involvement of a religion with the ancient continence cult leads directly to a war against marriage and the home, society’s veritable foundation and the basic institution of human progress. And it is not to be wondered at that all such beliefs fostered the formation of celibate priesthoods in the many religions of various peoples.

Someday man should learn how to enjoy liberty without license, nourishment without gluttony, and pleasure without debauchery. Self-control is a better human policy of behavior regulation than is extreme self-denial. Nor did Jesus ever teach these unreasonable views to his followers.

The first sacrifices were such acts as plucking hair, cutting the flesh, mutilations, knocking out teeth, and cutting off fingers. As civilization advanced, these crude concepts of sacrifice were elevated to the level of the rituals of self-abnegation, asceticism, fasting, deprivation, and the later Christian doctrine of sanctification through sorrow, suffering, and the mortification of the flesh. 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.

The earliest idea of the sacrifice was that of a neutrality assessment levied by ancestral spirits; only later did the idea of atonement develop. As man got away from the notion of the evolutionary origin of the race, as the traditions of the days of the Planetary Prince and the sojourn of Adam filtered down through time, the concept of sin and of original sin became widespread, so that sacrifice for accidental and personal sin evolved into the doctrine of sacrifice for the atonement of racial sin. The atonement of the sacrifice was a blanket insurance device which covered even the resentment and jealousy of an unknown god.

Sheer necessity eventually drove these semisavages to eat the material part of their sacrifices, the gods having enjoyed the soul thereof. And this custom found justification under the pretense of the ancient sacred meal, a communion service according to modern usage.

Cannibalism has been gradually disappearing because of the following influences:
1. It sometimes became a communal ceremony, the assumption of collective responsibility for inflicting the death penalty upon a fellow tribesman. The blood guilt ceases to be a crime when participated in by all, by society. The last of cannibalism in Asia was this eating of executed criminals.
2. It very early became a religious ritual, but the growth of ghost fear did not always operate to reduce man-eating.
3. Eventually it progressed to the point where only certain parts or organs of the body were eaten, those parts supposed to contain the soul or portions of the spirit. Blood drinking became common, and it was customary to mix the “edible” parts of the body with medicines.
4. It became limited to men; women were forbidden to eat human flesh.
5. It was next limited to the chiefs, priests, and shamans.
6. Then it became taboo among the higher tribes. The taboo on man-eating originated in Dalamatia and slowly spread over the world. The Nodites encouraged cremation as a means of combating cannibalism since it was once a common practice to dig up buried bodies and eat them.
7. Human sacrifice sounded the death knell of cannibalism. Human flesh having become the food of superior men, the chiefs, it was eventually reserved for the still more superior spirits; and thus the offering of human sacrifices effectively put a stop to cannibalism, except among the lowest tribes. When human sacrifice was fully established, man-eating became taboo; human flesh was food only for the gods; man could eat only a small ceremonial bit, a sacrament.

Human sacrifice has been virtually universal; it persisted in the religious customs of the Chinese, Hindus, Egyptians, Hebrews, Mesopotamians, Greeks, Romans, and many other peoples, even on to recent times among the backward African and Australian tribes. The later American Indians had a civilization emerging from cannibalism and, therefore, steeped in human sacrifice, especially in Central and South America. The Chaldeans were among the first to abandon the sacrificing of humans for ordinary occasions, substituting therefor animals. About two thousand years ago a tenderhearted Japanese emperor introduced clay images to take the place of human sacrifices, but it was less than a thousand years ago that these sacrifices died out in northern Europe. Among certain backward tribes, human sacrifice is still carried on by volunteers, a sort of religious or ritual suicide. A shaman once ordered the sacrifice of a much respected old man of a certain tribe. The people revolted; they refused to obey. Whereupon the old man had his own son dispatch him; the ancients really believed in this custom.

In olden times, when a new building of any importance was started, it was customary to slay a human being as a “foundation sacrifice.” This provided a ghost spirit to watch over and protect the structure. When the Chinese made ready to cast a bell, custom decreed the sacrifice of at least one maiden for the purpose of improving the tone of the bell; the girl chosen was thrown alive into the molten metal. It was long the practice of many groups to build slaves alive into important walls. In later times the northern European tribes substituted the walling in of the shadow of a passerby for this custom of entombing living persons in the walls of new buildings. The Chinese buried in a wall those workmen who died while constructing it.

A petty king in Palestine, in building the walls of Jericho, “laid the foundation thereof in Abiram, his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son, Segub.” (1 Kings 16:34) At that late date, not only did this father put two of his sons alive in the foundation holes of the city’s gates, but his action is also recorded as being “according to the word of the Lord.” Moses had forbidden these foundation sacrifices, but the Israelites reverted to them soon after his death. The twentieth-century ceremony of depositing trinkets and keepsakes in the cornerstone of a new building is reminiscent of the primitive foundation sacrifices. It was long the custom of many peoples to dedicate the first fruits to the spirits. And these observances, now more or less symbolic, are all survivals of the early ceremonies involving human sacrifice. The idea of offering the first-born as a sacrifice was widespread among the ancients, especially among the Phoenicians, who were the last to give it up. It used to be said upon sacrificing, “life for life.” Now you say at death, “dust to dust.”

Moses attempted to end human sacrifices by inaugurating the ransom as a substitute. He established a systematic schedule which enabled his people to escape the worst results of their rash and foolish vows. Lands, properties, and children could be redeemed according to the established fees, which were payable to the priests. Those groups which ceased to sacrifice their first-born soon possessed great advantages over less advanced neighbors who continued these atrocious acts. Many such backward tribes were not only greatly weakened by this loss of sons, but even the succession of leadership was often broken. An outgrowth of the passing child sacrifice was the custom of smearing blood on the house doorposts for the protection of the first-born. This was often done in connection with one of the sacred feasts of the year, and this ceremony once obtained over most of the world from Mexico to Egypt. Even after most groups had ceased the ritual killing of children, it was the custom to put an infant away by itself, off in the wilderness or in a little boat on the water. If the child survived, it was thought that the gods had intervened to preserve him, as in the traditions of Sargon, Moses, Cyrus, and Romulus. Then came the practice of dedicating the first-born sons as sacred or sacrificial, allowing them to grow up and then exiling them in lieu of death; this was the origin of colonization. The Romans adhered to this custom in their scheme of colonization.

Men eventually conceived the idea that the offering of some part of the body could take the place of the older and complete human sacrifice. Physical mutilation was also considered to be an acceptable substitute. Hair, nails, blood, and even fingers and toes were sacrificed. The later and well-nigh universal ancient rite of circumcision was an outgrowth of the cult of partial sacrifice; it was purely sacrificial, no thought of hygiene being attached thereto. Men were circumcised; women had their ears pierced. Subsequently it became the custom to bind fingers together instead of cutting them off. Shaving the head and cutting the hair were likewise forms of religious devotion. The making of eunuchs was at first a modification of the idea of human sacrifice. Nose and lip piercing is still practiced in Africa, and tattooing is an artistic evolution of the earlier crude scarring of the body. The custom of sacrifice eventually became associated, as a result of advancing teachings, with the idea of the covenant. At last, the gods were conceived of as entering into real agreements with man; and this was a major step in the stabilization of religion. Law, a covenant, takes the place of luck, fear, and superstition.

In connection with the Mother of God cult, in Mexico and elsewhere, a sacrament of cakes and wine was eventually utilized in lieu of the flesh and blood of the older human sacrifices. The Hebrews long practiced this ritual as a part of their Passover ceremonies, and it was from this ceremonial that the later Christian version of the sacrament took its origin. The ancient social brotherhoods were based on the rite of blood drinking; the early Jewish fraternity was a sacrificial blood affair. Paul started out to build a new Christian cult on “the blood of the everlasting covenant.” (Heb. 13:20) And while he may have unnecessarily encumbered Christianity with teachings about blood and sacrifice, he did once and for all make an end of the doctrines of redemption through human or animal sacrifices. His theologic compromises indicate that even revelation must submit to the graduated control of evolution. According to Paul, Christ became the last and all-sufficient human sacrifice; the divine Judge is now fully and forever satisfied.

Sin must be redefined as deliberate disloyalty to Deity. There are degrees of disloyalty: the partial loyalty of indecision; the divided loyalty of confliction; the dying loyalty of indifference; and the death of loyalty exhibited in devotion to godless ideals. The confession of sin is a manful repudiation of disloyalty, but it in no wise mitigates the time-space consequences of such disloyalty. But confession —sincere recognition of the nature of sin —is essential to religious growth and spiritual progress.

Shamanism —Medicine Men and Priests
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.

Since in olden times anything abnormal was ascribed to spirit possession, any striking mental or physical abnormality constituted qualification for being a medicine man. Many of these men were epileptic, many of the women hysteric, and these two types accounted for a good deal of ancient inspiration as well as spirit and devil possession. Quite a few of these earliest of priests were of a class which has since been denominated paranoiac. While they may have practiced deception in minor matters, the great majority of the shamans believed in the fact of their spirit possession. Women who were able to throw themselves into a trance or a cataleptic fit became powerful shamanesses; later, such women became prophets and spirit mediums. Their cataleptic trances usually involved alleged communications with the ghosts of the dead. Many female shamans were also professional dancers.

While many resorted to tricks and deceptions, their reputation as a class, after all, stood on apparent achievement. When a shaman failed in his undertakings, if he could not advance a plausible alibi, he was either demoted or killed. Thus the honest shamans early perished; only the shrewd actors survived. It was shamanism that took the exclusive direction of tribal affairs out of the hands of the old and the strong and lodged it in the hands of the shrewd, the clever, and the farsighted.

Spirit conjuring was a very precise and highly complicated procedure, comparable to present-day church rituals conducted in an ancient tongue. The human race very early sought for superhuman help, for revelation; and men believed that the shaman actually received such revelations. While the shamans utilized the great power of suggestion in their work, it was almost invariably negative suggestion; only in very recent times has the technique of positive suggestion been employed. In the early development of their profession the shamans began to specialize in such vocations as rain making, disease healing, and crime detecting. To heal diseases was not, however, the chief function of a shamanic medicine man; it was, rather, to know and to control the hazards of living. Ancient black art, both religious and secular, was called white art when practiced by either priests, seers, shamans, or medicine men. The practitioners of the black art were called sorcerers, magicians, wizards, witches, enchanters, necromancers, conjurers, and soothsayers. As time passed, all such purported contact with the supernatural was classified either as witchcraft or shamancraft.

Though of ancient origin, the rain makers, or weather shamans, have persisted right on down through the ages. A severe drought meant death to the early agriculturists; weather control was the object of much ancient magic. Civilized man still makes the weather the common topic of conversation. The olden peoples all believed in the power of the shaman as a rain maker, but it was customary to kill him when he failed, unless he could offer a plausible excuse to account for the failure.

Ever and anon, true prophets and teachers arose to denounce and expose shamanism. Even the vanishing red man had such a prophet within the past two-hundred years, the Shawnee Tenskwatawa, who predicted the eclipse of the sun in 1806 and denounced the vices of the white man. Many true teachers have appeared among the various tribes and races all through the long ages of evolutionary history. And they will ever continue to appear (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) to challenge the shamans or priests of any age who oppose general education and attempt to thwart scientific progress.

The shamans dressed well and usually had a number of wives; they were the original aristocracy, being exempt from all tribal restrictions. They were very often of low-grade mind and morals. They suppressed their rivals by denominating them witches or sorcerers and very frequently rose to such positions of influence and power that they were able to dominate the chiefs or kings. Primitive man regarded the shaman as a necessary evil; he feared him but did not love him. Early man respected knowledge; he honored and rewarded wisdom. The shaman was mostly fraud, but the veneration for shamanism well illustrates the premium put upon wisdom in the evolution of the race.

The primitive mind may be handicapped by lack of facts, but it is for all that logical. When thoughtful men observe disease and death, they set about to determine the causes of these visitations, and in accordance with their understanding, the shamans and the scientists have propounded the following theories of affliction:
1. Ghosts —direct spirit influences. The earliest hypothesis advanced in explanation of disease and death was that spirits caused disease by enticing the soul out of the body; if it failed to return, death ensued. The ancients so feared the malevolent action of disease-producing ghosts that ailing individuals would often be deserted without even food or water. Regardless of the erroneous basis for these beliefs, they did effectively isolate afflicted individuals and prevent the spread of contagious disease.
2. Violence —obvious causes. The causes for some accidents and deaths were so easy to identify that they were early removed from the category of ghost action. Fatalities and wounds attendant upon war, animal combat, and other readily identifiable agencies were considered as natural occurrences. But it was long believed that the spirits were still responsible for delayed healing or for the infection of wounds of even “natural” causation. If no observable natural agent could be discovered, the spirit ghosts were still held responsible for disease and death. Today, in Africa and elsewhere may be found primitive peoples who kill someone every time a nonviolent death occurs. Their medicine men indicate the guilty parties. If a mother dies in childbirth, the child is immediately strangled —a life for a life.
3. Magic —the influence of enemies. Much sickness was thought to be caused by bewitchment, the action of the evil eye and the magic pointing bow. At one time it was really dangerous to point a finger at anyone; it is still regarded as ill-mannered to point. In cases of obscure disease and death the ancients would hold a formal inquest, dissect the body, and settle upon some finding as the cause of death; otherwise the death would be laid to witchcraft, thus necessitating the execution of the witch responsible therefor. These ancient coroner’s inquests saved many a supposed witch’s life. Among some it was believed that a tribesman could die as a result of his own witchcraft, in which event no one was accused.
4. Sin —punishment for taboo violation. In comparatively recent times it has been believed that sickness is a punishment for sin, personal or racial. Among peoples traversing this level of evolution the prevailing theory is that one cannot be afflicted unless one has violated a taboo. To regard sickness and suffering as “arrows of the Almighty within them” is typical of such beliefs. The Chinese and Mesopotamians long regarded disease as the result of the action of evil demons, although the Chaldeans also looked upon the stars as the cause of suffering. This theory of disease as a consequence of divine wrath is still prevalent among many reputedly civilized groups.
5. Natural causation. Mankind has been very slow to learn the material secrets of the interrelationship of cause and effect in the physical domains of energy, matter, and life. The ancient Greeks, having preserved the traditions of Adamson’s teachings, were among the first to recognize that all disease is the result of natural causes. Slowly and certainly the unfolding of a scientific era is destroying man’s age-old theories of sickness and death. Fever was one of the first human ailments to be removed from the category of supernatural disorders, and progressively the era of science has broken the fetters of ignorance which so long imprisoned the human mind. An understanding of old age and contagion is gradually obliterating man’s fear of ghosts, spirits, and gods as the personal perpetrators of human misery and mortal suffering.

Disease was treated by chanting, howling, laying on of hands, breathing on the patient, and many other techniques. In later times the resort to temple sleep, during which healing supposedly took place, became widespread. The medicine men eventually essayed actual surgery in connection with temple slumber; among the first operations was that of trephining the skull to allow a headache spirit to escape. The shamans learned to treat fractures and dislocations, to open boils and abscesses; the shamanesses became adept at midwifery.

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. 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.

The priests evolved from shamans up through oracles, diviners, singers, dancers, weathermakers, guardians of religious relics, temple custodians, and foretellers of events, to the status of actual directors of religious worship. Eventually the office became hereditary; a continuous priestly caste arose. As religion evolved, priests began to specialize according to their innate talents or special predilections. Some became singers, others prayers, and still others sacrificers; later came the orators —preachers. And when religion became institutionalized, these priests claimed to “hold the keys of heaven.” (Mat. 16:19)

The Evolution of Prayer
The function of early evolutionary religion is to conserve and augment the essential social, moral, and spiritual values which are slowly taking form. This mission of religion is not consciously observed by mankind, but it is chiefly effected by the function of prayer. The practice of prayer represents the unintended, but nonetheless personal and collective, effort of any group to secure (to actualize) this conservation of higher values. But for the safeguarding of prayer, all holy days would speedily revert to the status of mere holidays.

Prayer is only monologuous in the most primitive type of mind. It early becomes a dialogue and rapidly expands to the level of group worship. Prayer signifies that the premagical incantations of primitive religion have evolved to that level where the human mind recognizes the reality of beneficent powers or beings who are able to enhance social values and to augment moral ideals, and further, that these influences are superhuman and distinct from the ego of the self-conscious human and his fellow mortals. True prayer does not, therefore, appear until the agency of religious ministry is visualized as personal. Prayer is little associated with animism, but such beliefs may exist alongside emerging religious sentiments. Many times, religion and animism have had entirely separate origins.

Both prayer and magic arose as a result of man’s adjustive reactions to environment. But aside from this generalized relationship, they have little in common. Prayer has always indicated positive action by the praying ego; it has been always psychic and sometimes spiritual. Magic has usually signified an attempt to manipulate reality without affecting the ego of the manipulator, the practitioner of magic. Despite their independent origins, magic and prayer often have been interrelated in their later stages of development. Magic has sometimes ascended by goal elevation from formulas through rituals and incantations to the threshold of true prayer. Prayer has sometimes become so materialistic that it has degenerated into a pseudomagical technique of avoiding the expenditure of that effort which is requisite for the solution of problems. 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.

When religion is divested of a personal God, its prayers translate to the levels of theology and philosophy. When the highest God concept of a religion is that of an impersonal Deity, such as in pantheistic idealism, although affording the basis for certain forms of mystic communion, it proves fatal to the potency of true prayer, which always stands for man’s communion with a personal and superior being.

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. 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.

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. 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. When the prayer seeks nothing for the one who prays nor anything for his fellows, then such attitudes of the soul tend to the levels of true worship. Egoistic prayers involve confessions and petitions and often consist in requests for material favors. Prayer is somewhat more ethical when it deals with forgiveness and seeks wisdom for enhanced self-control.

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.

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. 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.

The great religious teachers and the prophets of past ages were not extreme mystics. They were God-knowing men and women who best served their God by unselfish ministry to their fellow mortals. Jesus often took his apostles away by themselves for short periods to engage in meditation and prayer, but for the most part he kept them in service-contact with the multitudes. The soul of man requires spiritual exercise as well as spiritual nourishment. Religious ecstasy is permissible when resulting from sane antecedents, but such experiences are more often the outgrowth of purely emotional influences than a manifestation of deep spiritual character. Religious persons must not regard every vivid psychologic presentiment and every intense emotional experience as a divine revelation or a spiritual communication. Genuine spiritual ecstasy is usually associated with great outward calmness and almost perfect emotional control. But true prophetic vision is a superpsychologic presentiment. Such visitations are not pseudo hallucinations, neither are they trancelike ecstasies.

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.

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. 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. 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.

Modern man is perplexed by the thought of talking things over with God in a purely personal way. Many have abandoned regular praying; they only pray when under unusual pressure —in emergencies. Man should be unafraid to talk to God, but only a spiritual child would undertake to persuade, or presume to change, God. But real praying does attain reality. Even when the air currents are ascending, no bird can soar except by outstretched wings. Prayer elevates man because it is a technique of progressing by the utilization of the ascending spiritual currents of the universe. Genuine prayer adds to spiritual growth, modifies attitudes, and yields that satisfaction which comes from communion with divinity. It is a spontaneous outburst of God-consciousness.

God answers man’s prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness. Prayer is a subjective gesture, but it contacts with mighty objective realities on the spiritual levels of human experience; it is a meaningful reach by the human for superhuman values. It is the most potent spiritual-growth stimulus. Words are irrelevant to prayer; they are merely the intellectual channel in which the river of spiritual supplication may chance to flow. The word value of a prayer is purely autosuggestive in private devotions and sociosuggestive in group devotions. God answers the soul’s attitude, not the words. Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. Pray only for values, not things; for growth, not for gratification.

If you would engage in effective praying, you should bear in mind the laws of prevailing petitions:
1. You must qualify as a potent prayer by sincerely and courageously facing the problems of universe reality. You must possess cosmic stamina.
2. You must have honestly exhausted the human capacity for human adjustment. You must have been industrious.
3. You must surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth. You must have experienced an enhancement of meanings and an elevation of values.
4. You must make a wholehearted choice of the divine will. You must obliterate the dead center of indecision.
5. You not only recognize the Father’s will and choose to do it, but you have effected an unqualified consecration, and a dynamic dedication, to the actual doing of the Father’s will.
6. Your prayer will be directed exclusively for divine wisdom to solve the specific human problems encountered in the Paradise ascension —the attainment of divine perfection.
7. And you must have faith —living faith.

The Later Evolution of Religion
Evolutionary religion arose slowly throughout the millenniums of mankind’s experiential career through the ministry of the following influences operating within, and impinging upon, savage, barbarian, and civilized man:
1. The adjutant of worship —the appearance in animal consciousness of superanimal potentials for reality perception. This might be termed the primordial human instinct for Deity.
2. The adjutant of wisdom —the manifestation in a worshipful mind of the tendency to direct its adoration in higher channels of expression and toward ever-expanding concepts of Deity reality.
3. The Holy Spirit —this is the initial supermind bestowal, and it unfailingly appears in all bona fide human personalities. This ministry to a worship-craving and wisdom-desiring mind creates the capacity to self-realize the postulate of human survival, both in theologic concept and as an actual and factual personality experience.

Religion progressed from nature worship up through ghost worship to fetishism throughout the savage childhood of the races. With the dawn of civilization the human race espoused the more mystic and symbolic beliefs, while now, with approaching maturity, mankind is ripening for the appreciation of real religion, even a beginning of the revelation of truth itself. Religion arises as a biologic reaction of mind to spiritual beliefs and the environment; it is the last thing to perish or change in a race. Religion is society’s adjustment, in any age, to that which is mysterious. As a social institution it embraces rites, symbols, cults, scriptures, altars, shrines, and temples. Holy water, relics, fetishes, charms, vestments, bells, drums, and priesthoods are common to all religions. And it is impossible entirely to divorce purely evolved religion from either magic or sorcery.

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.” (Exodus 20:25) 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.” (Exodus 12:8) All types of social usage and even legal procedures cling to the old forms.

When modern man wonders at the presentation of so much in the scriptures of different religions that may be regarded as obscene, he should pause to consider that passing generations have feared to eliminate what their ancestors deemed to be holy and sacred. A great deal that one generation might look upon as obscene, preceding generations have considered a part of their accepted mores, even as approved religious rituals. A considerable amount of religious controversy has been occasioned by the never-ending attempts to reconcile olden but reprehensible practices with newly advanced reason, to find plausible theories in justification of creedal perpetuation of ancient and outworn customs. But it is only foolish to attempt the too sudden acceleration of religious growth. A race or nation can only assimilate from any advanced religion that which is reasonably consistent and compatible with its current evolutionary status, plus its genius for adaptation. Social, climatic, political, and economic conditions are all influential in determining the course and progress of religious evolution. Social morality is not determined by religion, that is, by evolutionary religion; rather are the forms of religion dictated by the racial morality.

Races of men only superficially accept a strange and new religion; they actually adjust it to their mores and old ways of believing. This is well illustrated by the example of a certain New Zealand tribe whose priests, after nominally accepting Christianity, professed to have received direct revelations from Gabriel to the effect that this selfsame tribe had become the chosen people of God and directing that they be permitted freely to indulge in loose sex relations and numerous other of their olden and reprehensible customs. And immediately all of the new-made Christians went over to this new and less exacting version of Christianity. Religion has at one time or another sanctioned all sorts of contrary and inconsistent behavior, has at some time approved of practically all that is now regarded as immoral or sinful. Conscience, untaught by experience and unaided by reason, never has been, and never can be, a safe and unerring guide to human conduct. Conscience is not a divine voice speaking to the human soul. It is merely the sum total of the moral and ethical content of the mores of any current stage of existence; it simply represents the humanly conceived ideal of reaction in any given set of circumstances.

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. Evolutionary religion makes no provision for change or revision; unlike science, it does not provide for its own progressive correction. Evolved religion commands respect because its followers believe it is The Truth; “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) must, in theory, be both final and infallible. The cult resists development because real progress is certain to modify or destroy the cult itself; therefore must revision always be forced upon it.

Revelation is evolutionary but always progressive. Down through the ages of a world’s history, the revelations of religion are ever-expanding and successively more enlightening. It is the mission of revelation to sort and censor the successive religions of evolution. But if revelation is to exalt and upstep the religions of evolution, then must such divine visitations portray teachings which are not too far removed from the thought and reactions of the age in which they are presented. Thus must and does revelation always keep in touch with evolution. Always must the religion of revelation be limited by man’s capacity of receptivity.

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 Earth by the one hundred corporeal members of the Planetary Prince’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. Except for the work of Van, the influence of the Dalamatian revelation was practically lost to the whole world. Even the Nodites had forgotten this truth by the time of Adam’s arrival. Of all who received the teachings of the one hundred, the red men held them longest, but the idea of the Great Spirit was but a hazy concept in Amerindian religion when contact with Christianity greatly clarified and strengthened it.
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. But the aborted teachings of Adam were carried on by the Sethite priests, and some of these truths have never been entirely lost to the world. The entire trend of Levantine religious evolution was modified by the teachings of the Sethites. But by 2500 B.C. mankind had largely lost sight of the revelation sponsored in the days of Eden.
3. Melchizedek of Salem. He inaugurated the third revelation of truth on Earth. 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. His teachings gradually commingled with the beliefs and practices of various evolutionary religions and finally developed into those theologic systems present on Earth at the opening of the first millennium after Christ.
4. Jesus of Nazareth. Christ presented for the fourth time to Earth the concept of God as the Universal Father, and this teaching has generally persisted ever since. The essence of his teaching was love and service, the loving worship which a creature son voluntarily gives in recognition of, and response to, the loving ministry of God his Father; the freewill service which such creature sons bestow upon their brethren in the joyous realization that in this service they are likewise serving God the Father.
5. This study-source. The papers constitute the most recent presentation of truth to man on Earth. 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. All other celestial ministrations are no more than partial, transient, and practically adapted to local conditions in time and space. While such admissions as this may possibly detract from the immediate force and authority of all revelations, the time has arrived on Earth when it is advisable to make such frank statements, even at the risk of weakening the future influence and authority of this, the most recent of the revelations of truth to the mortal races of Earth.

The future of Earth will doubtless be characterized by the appearance of teachers of religious truth —the Fatherhood of God and the fraternity of all creatures. But it is to be hoped that the ardent and sincere efforts of these future prophets will be directed less toward the strengthening of interreligious barriers and more toward the augmentation of the religious brotherhood of spiritual worship among the many followers of the differing intellectual theologies which so characterize Earth.

The Hebrew religion encompasses the philosophic transition from polytheism to monotheism; it is an evolutionary link between the religions of evolution and the religions of revelation. The Hebrews were the only western people to follow their early evolutionary gods straight through to the God of revelation. But this truth never became widely accepted until the days of Isaiah, who once again taught the blended idea of a racial deity combined with a Universal Creator: “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, you are God, even you alone; you have made heaven and earth.” (1 Kings 8:23; 2Kings 19:15; 2 Chron. 2:12, 6:14; Isa. 37:16) At one time the hope of the survival of Occidental civilization lay in the sublime Hebraic concepts of goodness and the advanced Hellenic concepts of beauty. The Christian religion is the religion about the life and teachings of Christ based upon the theology of Judaism, modified further through the assimilation of certain Zoroastrian teachings and Greek philosophy, and formulated primarily by three individuals: Philo, Peter, and Paul. It has passed through many phases of evolution since the time of Paul and has become so thoroughly Occidentalized that many non-European peoples very naturally look upon Christianity as a strange revelation of a strange God and for strangers.
Islam is the religio-cultural connective of North Africa, the Levant, and southeastern Asia. It was Jewish theology in connection with the later Christian teachings that made Islam monotheistic. The followers of Mohammed stumbled at the advanced teachings of the Trinity; they could not comprehend the doctrine of three divine personalities and one Deity. It is always difficult to induce evolutionary minds suddenly to accept advanced revealed truth. Man is an evolutionary creature and in the main must get his religion by evolutionary techniques.

The quality of a religion is indicated by:
1. Level of 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.

Modern man is adequately self-conscious of religion, but his worshipful customs are confused and discredited by his accelerated social metamorphosis and unprecedented scientific developments. Thinking men and women want religion redefined, and this demand will compel religion to re-evaluate itself. 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. True religion must ever be, at one and the same time, the eternal foundation and the guiding star of all enduring civilizations.

Earlier Study-Posts:
Introduction To “UBS” Study

Where Is God [UBS #1]

Man And Angels [UBS #2]

Introduction To Man, Adam and Eve; And The Lucifer Rebellion [UBS #3]

Creation and Origin of Man [UBS #4]

Evolution of Civilization [UBS #5]

Evolution of Government [UBS #6]

The Full Story of Adam And Eve [UBS #7]

The Nodite And Violet Races [UBS #8]

Evolution of Modern Civilization and Family (UBS #9)

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