(Transcribed and edited from an online presentation given at the 24-hour Online Urantia Event, March 21, 2020)
The name of my presentation is The Benign Virus of Love, which I thought was fitting since we are here in large part due to another type of virus. We are certainly not making light of the seriousness of the Covid-19 coronavirus but rather, we are trying to find comfort in the analogy and security in these teachings. We have seen how quickly a harmful virus can change the world. A benign virus can do the same but in a positive way and even more so.
First, let me thank Chris Wood, Antonio Schefer, Urantia Association, the angels, and my Indwelling Spirit for this opportunity. I really like the idea of an around-the-world 24-hour study group because this revelation is a worldwide gift and people of all faiths, races, cultures, and demographics are studying and living these teachings 24/7. The sun never sets on the Urantia community.
Regarding the coronavirus, please follow all the guidelines for preventing and spreading this malignant disease. Wash your hands, avoid touching your face, use sanitizers, cover your sneezes and coughs, avoid being around others to protect yourself and them. This will pass, and as with the Lucifer rebellion, good things will come from it. We already see an outpouring of love and caring for others that we have not seen in many years. Perhaps families staying at home will begin to connect again and find the value in their home life. Perhaps families will learn how to play together and talk with each other again. Perhaps we will reconnect with old friends by phone or video chat as we check on their health and well-being. Perhaps we will learn that by working together we can solve really big problems. Perhaps as people consider their future they will turn to God. Perhaps as they take a break from their “too busy” lives they will find time to grow spiritually.
The mechanistic naturalism of some supposedly educated men and the thoughtless secularism of the man in the street are both exclusively concerned with things; they are barren of all real values, sanctions, and satisfactions of a spiritual nature, as well as being devoid of faith, hope, and eternal assurances. One of the great troubles with modern life is that man thinks he is too busy to find time for spiritual meditation and religious devotion. [Paper 195:6.7, page 2077.3]
Perhaps now they will.
In Paper 97, “Evolution of the God Concept Among the Hebrews,” one of the common themes we see in the teachings of the prophets that led many to their supposed failure was the new idea of an international God, a God of all nations, rather than a tribal or national God. This advanced teaching was too much for the people of those days but each prophet planted the seeds of a personal God for all men, nations, and worlds. This was the beginning of the idea of the Fatherhood of God and the ideal of the brotherhood of man.
Throughout preceding ages religion had chiefly been an affair of the tribe or nation; it had not often been a matter of concern to the individual. Gods were tribal or national, not personal. Such religions did little to satisfy the individual spiritual longings of the average person. [Paper 121:5.1, page 1336.5]
One thing I think we, as the Urantia community, can do to make this world a better place is to lead and facilitate the internationalization of a personal religion and the realization of the worldwide family of God. Rather than the social distancing caused by an age of technology—when we all need more personal interaction, more human contact—we should support and facilitate online projects like this one, virtual study groups, international events, and translations of The Urantia Book that bring together people from different countries and cultures even though we normally are socially distanced by where we live. We need to get to know each other more so that we spread the benign virus of love.
Let us discover and discuss a few things that The Urantia Book tells us about love and brotherhood. Obviously there is a lot to choose from!
God is like us in that he wants to love and to be loved. He does not want to be feared. He wants you to love him because you choose to love him because of who he is. The more we know God, the more we will love him and strive to become like him and in that process we will also learn to love each other as Jesus and God love us.
Jesus loves mankind with a dual affection. As the Son of God he loves us with a fatherly love—he is our Creator, our universe Father. As the Son of Man, Jesus loves us as a brother—he was truly a man among men. [Paper 140:5.2, page 1573.4]
At the last supper, Jesus gave us a new commandment. He said this new commandment is: That you love one another even as I have loved you [180:1.1].
When I give you this new commandment, I do not place any new burden upon your souls; rather do I bring you new joy and make it possible for you to experience new pleasure in knowing the delights of the bestowal of your heart’s affection upon your fellow men. [Paper 180:1.2, page 1944.5, emphasis added]
There are great rewards for loving and being loved.
God first loved you. God loved you as a Father before you were born of a woman and before you are born of the spirit. God loves you today unconditionally and forever. Nothing you have done, are doing, or ever will do can cause God not to love you. We understand this because, as mortal parents, we love our imperfect children even when they misbehave. As the young Jesus told his mortal father Joseph, the heavenly Father cannot love us less than our mortal parents love us. God loves his people, all people, but more importantly, he loves you—you individually and uniquely, because you are his child — a child of God.
The Apostle Paul 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.”
Our love should be just as binding and bonding upon our relationships with each other as it is with our Paradise Father. Love one another as Jesus loves us. Love our Father in heaven as our Father in heaven loves us.
If we truly believe that God is the father of all people, then we must believe in the brotherhood of all mankind. If we believe in an all-loving and merciful God who loves all his children, then in our efforts to be perfect as God is perfect, we too should be all loving, merciful, and forgiving of our brothers and sisters around the world—even those who we may believe are our enemies, those who think or act differently, and those whose behaviors make them difficult to work with. When we look upon the people of this world with our material eyes, we see the colors of black, brown, red, white, or yellow. We see varieties of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and others. But with our spiritual vision, we see only children of our Paradise Father. And yet I suggest that our material vision can be blind while our innate spiritual vision is 20/20. We know too, that whatever kindness or harm we do to the least of them, we do also to our Father.
So, in the spirit of our worldwide multinational multicultural Urantia family that will gather together in this forum over a 24-hour period, let’s look at how our love can change the world.
You are destined to live a narrow and mean life if you learn to love only those who love you. [Paper 156:5.11, page 1739.6]
Even on normal evolutionary worlds the realization of the world-wide brotherhood of man is not an easy accomplishment. On a confused and disordered planet like Urantia such an achievement requires a much longer time and necessitates far greater effort. Unaided social evolution can hardly achieve such happy results on a spiritually isolated sphere. Religious revelation is essential to the realization of brotherhood on Urantia. While Jesus has shown the way to the immediate attainment of spiritual brotherhood, the realization of social brotherhood on your world depends much on the achievement of the following personal transformations and planetary adjustments… [Paper 52:6.2, page 597.3, emphasis added]
Notice the sentence: Religious revelation is essential to the realization of brotherhood on Urantia. We have had five epochal revelations. You probably have a copy of the fifth one within arms-length at the moment.
Social brotherhood is dependent upon:
1. Social fraternity.
Multiplication of international and interracial social contacts and fraternal associations through travel, commerce, and competitive play. Development of a common language and the multiplication of multilinguists. The racial and national interchange of students, teachers, industrialists, and religious philosophers. [Paper 52:6.3, page 597.4]
Social brotherhood is dependent upon:
2. Intellectual cross-fertilization.
Brotherhood is impossible on a world whose inhabitants are so primitive that they fail to recognize the folly of unmitigated selfishness. There must occur an exchange of national and racial literature. Each race must become familiar with the thought of all races; each nation must know the feelings of all nations. Ignorance breeds suspicion, and suspicion is incompatible with the essential attitude of sympathy and love. [Paper 52:6.4, page 597.5]
Social brotherhood is dependent upon:
3. Ethical awakening.
Only ethical consciousness can unmask the immorality of human intolerance and the sinfulness of fratricidal strife. Only a moral conscience can condemn the evils of national envy and racial jealousy. Only moral beings will ever seek for that spiritual insight which is essential to living the golden rule. [Paper 52:6.5, page 597.6]
Social brotherhood is dependent upon:
4. Political wisdom.
Emotional maturity is essential to self-control. Only emotional maturity will insure the substitution of international techniques of civilized adjudication for the barbarous arbitrament of war. Wise statesmen will sometime work for the welfare of humanity even while they strive to promote the interest of their national or racial groups. Selfish political sagacity is ultimately suicidal— destructive of all those enduring qualities which insure planetary group survival. [Paper 52:6.7, page 598.2]
5. Spiritual insight.
The brotherhood of man is, after all, predicated on the recognition of the fatherhood of God. The quickest way to realize the brotherhood of man on Urantia is to effect the spiritual transformation of present-day humanity. The only technique for accelerating the natural trend of social evolution is that of applying spiritual pressure from above, thus augmenting moral insight while enhancing the soul capacity of every mortal to understand and love every other mortal. Mutual understanding and fraternal love are transcendent civilizers and mighty factors in the world-wide realization of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 52:6.6, page 598.1]
While very little progress has been made on Urantia toward developing an international language, much has been accomplished by the establishment of international commercial exchange. And all these international relations should be fostered, whether they involve language, trade, art, science, competitive play, or religion. [Paper 81:6.19, page 908.8, emphasis added]
Since the 1930’s when we received this revelation we have made some progress in the area of language. English has become the language of business around the world and nearly all our middle school and high school students are taking a second language. Plus, each of our cell phones has the capability of translating words spoken into it in one language to be played as audio in another language for others to hear.
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. [Paper 100:4.4, page 1098.1]
While your religion is a matter of personal experience, it is most important that you should be exposed to the knowledge of a vast number of other religious experiences (the diverse interpretations of other and diverse mortals) to the end that you may prevent your religious life from becoming egocentric—circumscribed, selfish, and unsocial. [Paper 103:1.3, 1130.2]
Not very different from these concepts is the idea that religion is but a shared quest of the good life [92:6.20].
You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor’s motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 100:4.6, page 1098.3, emphasis added]
This very love of God for the individual brings into being the divine family of all individuals, the universal brotherhood of the freewill children of the Paradise Father. And this brotherhood, being universal, is a relationship of the whole. Brotherhood, when universal, discloses not the each relationship, but the all relationship. Brotherhood is a reality of the total and therefore discloses qualities of the whole in contradistinction to qualities of the part. [Paper 12:7.10, page 138.5]
Brotherhood constitutes a fact of relationship between every personality in universal existence. No person can escape the benefits or the penalties that may come as a result of relationship to other persons. The part profits or suffers in measure with the whole. The good effort of each man benefits all men; the error or evil of each man augments the tribulation of all men. As moves the part, so moves the whole. As the progress of the whole, so the progress of the part. The relative velocities of part and whole determine whether the part is retarded by the inertia of the whole or is carried forward by the momentum of the cosmic brotherhood. [Paper 12:7.11, page 138.6, emphasis added]
Let me repeat that. The good effort of each man benefits all men. So, even though you are only one person out of seven billion, every good thing you do benefits all mankind. Never underestimate your importance or your ability to make a difference in the world.
To finite man truth, beauty, and goodness embrace the full revelation of divinity reality. As this love-comprehension of Deity finds spiritual expression in the lives of God-knowing mortals, there are yielded the fruits of divinity: intellectual peace, social progress, moral satisfaction, spiritual joy, and cosmic wisdom. The advanced mortals on a world in the seventh stage of light and life have learned that love is the greatest thing in the universe—and they know that God is love. [Paper 56:10.20, page 648.3]
Love is the desire to do good to others. [Paper 56:10.21, page 648.4]
Service, doing good for others, is a fruit of the spirit.
If you would share the Master’s joy, you must share his love. And to share his love means that you have shared his service. Such an experience of love does not deliver you from the difficulties of this world; it does not create a new world, but it most certainly does make the old world new. [Paper 180:1.5, 1945.2]
I think we can all agree that would be a good thing.
[Jesus said in modern language:] Sonship in the kingdom, from the standpoint of advancing civilization, should assist you in becoming the ideal citizens of the kingdoms of this world since brotherhood and service are the cornerstones of the gospel of the kingdom. The love call of the spiritual kingdom should prove to be the effective destroyer of the hate urge of the unbelieving and war-minded citizens of the earthly kingdoms. But these material-minded sons in darkness will never know of your spiritual light of truth unless you draw very near them with that unselfish social service which is the natural outgrowth of the bearing of the fruits of the spirit in the life experience of each individual believer. [Paper 178:1.4, page 1930.1]
Today’s battle against the material virus has united us in worldwide brotherhood as we have not seen since the days of the Apollo moon missions. Let it be our legacy of this time that:
“We came in peace for all mankind.”
Peace on earth and goodwill for all mankind.
As mortal and material men, you are indeed citizens of the earthly kingdoms, and you should be good citizens, all the better for having become reborn spirit sons of the heavenly kingdom. As faith-enlightened and spirit- liberated sons of the kingdom of heaven, you face a double responsibility of duty to man and duty to God while you voluntarily assume a third and sacred obligation: service to the brotherhood of God-knowing believers. [Paper 178:1.5, page 1930.2]
You may not worship your temporal rulers, and you should not employ temporal power in the furtherance of the spiritual kingdom; but you should manifest the righteous ministry of loving service to believers and unbelievers alike. In the gospel of the kingdom there resides the mighty Spirit of Truth, and presently I will pour out this same spirit upon all flesh. The fruits of the spirit, your sincere and loving service, are the mighty social lever to uplift the races of darkness, and this Spirit of Truth will become your power-multiplying fulcrum. [Paper 178:1.6, page 1930.3]
Throughout the vicissitudes of life, remember always to love one another. Do not strive with men, even with unbelievers. Show mercy even to those who despitefully abuse you. Show yourselves to be loyal citizens, upright artisans, praiseworthy neighbors, devoted kinsmen, understanding parents, and sincere believers in the brotherhood of the Father’s kingdom. And my spirit shall be upon you, now and even to the end of the world. [Paper 178:1.17, page 1932.2]
As we reach the end of our time for this session and as we reach out to share this study period with people of all faiths, races, nations, and cultures around the world, let me close with these thoughts:
On Friday morning, April 21, the morontia Master made his thirteenth appearance. After breakfast with the apostles, Jesus took a walk with them two by two.
As they walked along, Jesus said to John, “John, do you love me?” And when John answered, “Yes, Master, with all my heart,” the Master said: “Then, John, give up your intolerance and learn to love men as I have loved you. Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world. [Paper 192:2.1, page 2047.5]
Let this be our personal mission too.
When you once begin to find God in your soul, presently you will begin to discover him in other men’s souls and eventually in all the creatures and creations of a mighty universe. [Paper 155:6.13, page 1733.1]
And it is then that we will learn to love one another as Jesus loves us; to love even those we believe to be our enemies; to love all mankind with not only brotherly affection but with the love of a father, the love of THE Father. In that day will we find true peace on earth and goodwill to all men as our whole human population around the world becomes infected with the benign virus of love.
As we face this worldwide international pandemic, let us face it and defeat it together as the Brotherhood of Man. As the leaves of the tree of life were for the “healing of the nations,” may the fruits of our spirits bring healing, hope, faith, and eternal security to all mankind. Let us use our light to guide this world out of darkness. Let us put our love for each other ahead of our love for organizations, races, or nations. When it comes to love, don’t wash your hands of your brothers’ problems. Extend the hand of friendship. Don’t cover your light; let it shine far and wide. Don’t become infected with intolerance and indifference. Drink in the tonic of laughter. A merry heart does good, like a medicine. Don’t isolate yourself spiritually. Find a way to serve those who need to be served. Feed those who are hungry in both body and soul. Be of good cheer and spread the benign virus of love.