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We begin a new multiweek series on Papers 99 through 103 of The Urantia Book. Affectionately, many students of the papers refer to these as the "religion papers."
A Melchizedek of Nebadon reveals the true nature of religion in these five papers. He starts where most of us find ourselves: thinking of religion in terms of how we are socialized into a religious life.
But there's the rub: What truly is a religious life? We're told that, "...religion should not be directly concerned either with the creation of new social orders or with the preservation of old ones. True religion does oppose violence as a technique of social evolution, but it does not oppose the intelligent efforts of society to adapt its usages and adjust its institutions to new economic conditions and cultural requirements." [99:0.2]
Among others, we're given this insight into social reconstruction: "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." [99:1.5]
And we are led to realize this catch-22: "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." [99:2.2]
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