Where are the Modern Day Prophets?

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by James R. Watkins

Most, if not all, of our contemporary leaders are political or social-justice warriors serving an ideology rooted in mortal gain. But where are our spiritual prophets? What of those generational personalities who arrive on the scene from time to time to inspire us to seek for spiritual gain?

Every generation, stretching back in time, has benefitted from its spiritual leaders. From Elijah to Abraham, from Samuel to Moses, on down to China’s Confucius and Tibet’s Gautama Siddhartha, who later became known as The Buddha, even Jesus and moving forward through time to the later appearances of Martin Luther and John Calvin in the West, to Mohammed and later, Gandhi in the Middle and Far East, these spiritual ‘prophets’ brought us a new revelation of God and what it means to be a faith son of the Almighty. 

Conspicuously, and but with the exception of some Christian evangelists like Billy Graham, possibly Joyce Meyer or Joel Olsteen, there is nowhere to be found a truly galvanizing spiritual leader who inspires us to seek for spiritual gains, instead of material ones; someone who can literally change the course of history, as so many have done before.

People are spiritually hungry, and while the embracing of traditional religious teachings appear to be on the decline, people, now more than ever, are devoid of spiritual direction, as if we don’t even want one.

But being a spiritual prophet is more than someone saying just the right words, it is also about having a persuasive personality, someone who can be trusted, someone who is infectious in their teachings, someone who can “win the crowd.”  

Is the 21st Century no longer capable of producing such stalwartl candidates? Is there no one alive today who can speak for God in such a way as to inspire the masses towards positive social and spiritual change en masse?

Even the Pope, loved by millions, has succumbed to putting the Church’s emphasis on repairing social ills, not necessarily spiritual ones. While these efforts are noble and praiseworthy, I have yet to hear or read anything from the pontiff (or the Catholic Church) that has filled me with spiritual hope, or has inspired me to want to ‘labor for the kingdom.’

Perhaps God has put a pause button on sending any new prophets, at least until mankind can decide if it wants one. Perhaps it is premature to judge too harshly on the seemingly vacuous times we live in when such spiritual prophets might be absent from humanity, after all, we are only 18 years into the new millennium.

Perhaps there will be a Jesus renaissance, or maybe the next prophet will carry further the message of Jesus, promoting a true spiritual kinship among the children of a loving Father. It was this message in ancient times that gave so much hope to so many who were lost in a myriad of pagan rituals, mystery cults and secular pessimism (sound familiar?).  Where today is that message that can unite, rather than divide?

Urantia vs. Christianity, Part I

As I peruse the different Christian websites that seek to portray The Urantia Book as a false “religion,” I feel compelled to point out the similarities between Urantia teachings and those of the Christian faith, hoping to facilitate a better understanding between both.

Christians believe in heaven, in the resurrection, in souls, in the ‘Spirit of the Lord,’ which permeates all life. The Urantia Book also proposes these beliefs – and then some.

While the Bible teaches us of this ‘everlasting abode,’ The Urantia Book seeks to fill in the details about this abode by narrating the entirety of the spirit personalities who inhabit it.

In other words, both Christianity and The Urantia Book are saying the same thing, except that The Urantia Book goes into the specifics, while the Bible relies on symbolism (that opens itself to wide interpretation).

Christianity furnishes a backdrop of heaven as one reality, rich with metaphors and symbols and one in which those who simply profess faith in God or Jesus are resurrected in Heaven, where we are to spend eternity worshipping God and living a life of relative ease.

We are told in The Urantia Book what actually happens when we ‘wake up’ on the other side, what kind of forms we take and what it is we actually do in Heaven. Even the transference of our identities and memory-transcripts are detailed.

The Urantia Book explains the process of resurrection, how we are provided forms and what adventures lie ahead in the great beyond.

Like Christianity, the Urantia Book also portrays angels as real, except that the Urantia Book goes into specific details about the different forms of angels, what they do, what their ultimate goals are and how they work in tangent with us who are yet still in physical form and in the afterlife.

Some in the Christian community describe the Urantia Book writings as “gnostic,” a belief filled with “secret names” of spirits and places that have no credibility with the Gospel. 

Jesus tells us “In my father’s house there are many mansions,” (John 14:2, 3), dwelling places by definition, followed by the statement, “If this were not true I would not have told you so.”

The Urantia Book is telling us so by finally telling us the names of these places. 

What differentiates The Urantia Book from other theology is the amount of specific information being provided.

The authors claim the writings were not inspired, they are revelatory. Usually our religious texts are inspired by God, the Urantia text is literal, we are given specific information about the spiritual realm, the physical theatre and the intellectual bridge that bring these two realms into one composite reality.

For example, when describing the intervening energy form that exists between the physical and the spiritual, the authors denote as Morontia:

  1. 0:5.12   …Morontia is a term designating a vast level intervening between the material and the spiritual. It may designate personal or impersonal realities, living or nonliving energies. The warp of morontia is spiritual; its woof is physical….

Just one example of how the Urantia takes concepts already existent in Christian teachings and expounds upon them, giving them much more clarity.

But to minimize the Urantia Book as something heretic, false or sophomoric is to disclose a prejudice towards revelation itself. Which of us can really say God would not want to disclose more reality to us if we can show capacity to comprehend it?

Jesus is central to Christianity just as he is central to the Urantia Book text. The Bible contains eight years of his life, the Urantia Book details his entire life, even to his pre-life as a Son of God about to embark on his adventure as a mortal of the realm and his continuing influence on our world.

There are a thousand great reasons every Christian should read the Urantia Book, but The Urantia Book isn’t for every Christian, nor does it need to be.

In the end, the path to God contains many roads. The Urantia Book is just one of those roads that leads us to a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, God’s creation.

Feel free to comment.

 

 

 

 

The Angelic Influence

AngelAccording to Paper 114 of The Urantia Book, there are an average of about 1.2 billion angels assigned to watch over and work behind the scenes with mankind. Some work with religious leaders, others work alongside our major world leaders, trying to instill hope, trust and cooperation among these mortal working groups.

While we might not be witness to it, rest assured there is a guiding spiritual hand that works toward universal brotherhood, “to be perfect, even as I am perfect,” as the Father, through his sons and daughters, works to move things progressively forward towards universal brotherhood.

Notwithstanding the tumultuous age we live in, having gone from being primitive to “modern” in a relatively sort span of time, these angels still, are playing a part in coordinating our own efforts towards reconciliation.

You can see this play out as we have gone from communal, tribal, to national and to global; the people are willing to cooperate to bring about world peace, but our leaders, driven by money mostly, drag their feet by putting up road blocks towards world peace in the name of political power. The military industry is a main driver, followed by the overzealous exploitation of resources that undermine or sometimes hinder better social progress.

The people want to get along, and do, but governments distrust each other, isolated despots remain free to subjugate their citizens, and then you have pockets of corrupt individuals, whether street gangs in Chicago or ISIS terrorists, who create local conflicts.

But I do believe the angels assigned to us are working hard to help us resolve these problems. I do believe that as ‘we the people’ push towards controlling these negative influences, even better times are ahead.

Angels bring smart people together. Angels inspire cooperative effort among men and women (such as when disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes strike), lower Seraphim might even protect, as best they can, ourselves from even more damage to each other.

When the Las Vegas shooter, a trained marksman, fired off a thousand rounds of ammunition at what can only be described as a fish bowel of people, less than 5% of the people where struck, tragic still, but arguably a lot more people managed to survive.

Could it be the Angels of Mercy where able to move people out of the way of the bullets? Is it possible? It is if you believe in angels.

We can see that real progress is being made towards influencing our recognition that there is universal commonality among most people in the world, a consensus that our shared interest of peace and prosperity is what makes us the same.

The new generation thinks nothing of traveling hither and yon, openly experiencing many world cultures, communicating with friends (and strangers) around the world.

People love peace, and through peace comes a form of brotherhood, and this is what angels are meant to do, promote brotherhood and instigate better thinking so as to make it easier for “the Most Highs to rule in the kingdoms of men.”

To this end, it seems commerce and trade, a free-market environment does much to promote peaceful relations, which will only lead to increased living standards for everyone. Mankind is slowly realizing it is better, and more comfortable, when people get along, have mobility and personal freedoms.

And it is in these circumstances angels are most effective in helping us grow as spiritual beings of the mortal realm.

Being Offended by God

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This is just too important not to comment.Two stories crossed my desk this week, both having to do with large organizations that serve in the public interest being told to remove any vestiges of religious symbols that might “offend” other people who may not share the same religious views, or any at all

Last week the Metro, the Washington DC subway service, wouldn’t allow an advertiser, a religious organization, to post faith-based billboards for the holidays using the term “spiritual,” and just this week the French Red Cross asked its local chapters to remove its symbol, the red cross, from its buildings, so as to “not distinguish between race or religious belief.”

We’ve heard the story before from major retail giants like Target, who in previous years, instructed its employees to not say “Merry Christmas,” but to use the more secular salutation “happy holidays.”

I am completely baffled by why people are offended by intonations or symbols of any religion, but Christianity seems to be the punching bag of choice in recent memory.

Oftentimes it is not someone who actually gets offended, mind you, but because the judgement of decision makers who worry that someone could be offended if they feel excluded by seeing a cross or hearing a Christian phrase.

How would it be if the government of Iraq or Egypt banned its citizens from using the term ‘God is great,’ a common Islamic salutation, because nearby non-believers would be offended? Why then does this happen in the land of the free and home of the brave?

Putting it terms more Americans might better understand, it would be like a Vegetarian going to a mall where food is served and being offended by the fact that everything has meat in it. I suppose someone could make the argument that a Vegan should at least have some options when food is served at a public place, but what if the only option was to offer no food to anyone for fear of offending someone who didn’t like the food being served?

Dissecting this further, what gives the right for someone who has chosen a life without religion (or meat) to impose his/her personal sensitivities upon others who have made different life-choices?

The answer is nothing. People who do not believe in God, or Jesus, or Allah have every right to make that choice, but to the exclusion of preventing others from expressing openly the choice they have made only serves one purpose: To shut down anything and everything that could be seen as offensive.

Since being offended is a subjective reaction, wouldn’t it be better to find out why a person is offended in the first place? Why does the expression of religious faith offend?

Every person reading this who is offended by religious expression should ask themselves this very important question. Is it because you were raised to believe religion is bad? Is it because our educational system has ignored teaching about the great contribution religion has made to mankind, or is it because mainstream media has removed religion from movies, art, music and pop culture, minimizing the positive and life-saving aspects of religion?

I find appeasing self-centered individuals who lack faith somewhat offensive, but the better approach is for everyone to be able to show their true colors, and in this way, people can have real conversations about our differences in order to learn from them. 

In life there are just going to be times where a kid brings gum to school and not everyone gets a piece.

Besides, do you really want to live in a world where all human beings deny the existence of spiritual truths or religious feelings?

What kind of world would that be?

Well, just look around you.