The Urantia Book--What is it and why is it so?
In as much as it may be a revelation, there are a number of alternative possible opinions that may even grade into one another:
Perhaps it contains revelation.
It is certainly a revelation, partially divine, partially supernatural, partially auto-revelation of inspired human origin, and partially non-revelatory--most material in this category being derived from current (i.e. mid-1930's) human thinking and speculation.
It is a divinely dictated revelation, to be revered as the sacrosanct word of Deity.
It is of purely human origin, the work of well-meaning but misguided individuals.
What may be the most important statement in The Urantia Book is found in Jesus' discourse on true religion, given to his apostles as they proceeded on their mission to Phoenicia. In it, Jesus said:
". . . we will shortly begin the bold proclamation of a new religions religion which is not a religion in the present day meaning of that word, (but rather) a religion which makes its chief appeal to the divine spirit of my Father which resides in the mind of man; a religion which shall derive its authority from the fruits of its acceptance that will so certainly appear in the personal experience of all who really and truly become believers in the truths of this higher spiritual communion. " (1729)
In the present state of affairs on this planet, no religion attributed to Jesus is likely to gain acceptance on the basis of the authority of any book, not The Bible, not A Course in Miracles, not The Urantia Book, and certainly not by decree of any human group or person laying claim to authority. The religion of Jesus will derive its acceptance when, and only when, the fruits of the spirit unfailingly appear in the lives of those who purport to be Jesus' followers! The authority for that acceptance will be derived from those fruits and will be observable in those fruits.
Why did the revelators ascribe overriding importance to this discourse? In introducing it, they state, "Jesus delivered one of the most remarkable addresses which his apostles ever listened to throughout all their years of association with them. "
And they commence with this comment: "This remarkable discourse on religion, summarized and restated in modern phraseology, gave expression to the following truths..."
The revelators are not prone to exaggeration, what they say, they say for a reason. The discourse begins by drawing attention to three manifestations of the religious urge:
Primitive religion. The religion of the physical senses and the superstitious fears of the natural man, the instinctive urge to fear mysterious energies and to worship superior forces.demonstrated in human experience.
The religion of civilization. A religion of the mind--the intellectual theology of the authority of established religious tradition.
True religion--the religion of revelation. A religion of supernatural values, insight into eternal realities, a glimpse of the goodness and beauty of the infinite character of the Father, the religion of the spirit as
The fruits of the fear and superstition within primitive religion were often frightful to behold. The transition state of society from such practices may become a civilization, but such can only be maintained by mutual submission of its members to a set of rules and regulations that must be enforced by delegated authority. Civilizations are maintained by authority. So are religions that are founded upon any divine dictation theory. When a religion becomes organized, inevitably its teachings require interpretation, hence arises the need for an authoritative body to promulgate, then enforce creeds.
The religion that Jesus gave to his apostles, the same one as we are given in The Urantia Book, is a purely personal religion existing by virtue of the communion of its adherents with the indwelling spirit of the Father. Its adherents are given no authority from on high over one another, but they may elect leaders. The sole spiritual power any individual exerts over another comes about through the direct effects of the fruits of the spirit that is perceived in that person's life. In those perceived fruits of the spirit resides the power that can attract men and women to undertake those decisions that will ultimately endow them with eternal life. In doing so, they become freewill sons and daughters of the living God and give obedience to the injunction of the Master to "love one another even as I have loved you. And by this will all men know that you are my disciples if you thus love one another. " (1944)
The Urantia Book appears to have been written so as to be consistent with the requirement that the authority of its teachings should be demonstrated via the fruits of the spirit manifesting in the personal experience of those who accept its revelatory status.
"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