Journal Editorial – May 2023

Mark Blackham

Welcome to the May 2023 edition of the Urantia Association’s Journal, a publication dedicated to the thoughts, observations, and experiences of Urantia Book students from around the world. Our contributors explore a wide range of topics relating to the fifth epochal revelation, demonstrating both an extraordinary diversity of thought and a spirited unity of purpose. 

Our first article has to do with the fascinating interface between science and religion. “Getting to Know Ourselves Better: The Neurophysiological Basis of Self-Control” by Helena Bañas, a medical doctor, explores the nature of the brain and consciousness in relation to the spiritual forces operating within the mind. In particular, she underscores how the power of personality, in conjunction with the inner Spirit, can actually change the physical structure of the brain, a process known as neuroplasticity.

Helena explains that we consciously create physical changes in ourselves, for better or worse, by means of habitual processes, such as making repetitive decisions, and by giving our concentrated attention to a particular concept. But the real secret of positive self-control and, therefore, beneficial change to brain structure, is achieved by tapping into the power of the inner spirit through acts of love and worship.

Next, is an essay by Zshonette Reed entitled “The Ideological Struggle” in which she addresses the need to proactively counter the misguided ideas fomented by the Lucifer rebellion. Zshonette argues that the crux of the present ideological struggle on Urantia has much to do with the prevailing confusion over true and false liberty. The question she poses is, what can we do about it? And her solution, in part, is to examine and judge individual theories and ideas rather than individuals.

Zshonette explains that much of the confusion is due to the insidious nature of Luciferian philosophy and the degree to which it has permeated all aspects of society and government. She argues that we cannot be complacent with these erroneous ideas and half-truths but, instead, need to adopt an active and determined stance to challenge them in a reasonable and logical way.

Our third article, “Birth of the Spirit and Spiritual Maturity” by Mamadou Diagne, is a brief discussion of what it means to be spiritually mature. Mamadou stresses the important role of religion for maintaining the idea of being born of the Spirit and for drawing closer to God. But he also points to the fault of religions when they emphasize material and cultural aspects over spiritual and fraternal ones, a fault that leads to spiritual immaturity. This conceptual problem, he says, can be overcome by fostering our desire to know and realize the true nature of God as the primordial Source of all reality, and by realizing that we can live in partnership with this very Source.

Ultimately, as Mamadou states, we are all masters of our fate. “While the human biological birth is done without our will, the Spirit’s birth is always done with our will, with our consent.”

In the next essay, it is helpful to recall that one habit favoring religious growth is the act of sharing one’s spiritual life with one’s fellows (100:1.8). And this is just what Christopher Ross does in his article “My Lord and My God!” in which he describes a meaningful spiritual encounter he experienced before he came across The Urantia Book. In his quest for understanding, Christopher makes a critical assessment of his experience in light of Biblical and, later, Urantia Book knowledge. In summary, he accepts his experience as a genuine revelation of Spirit even though, like all spiritual experiences, we can never prove them to anyone else. But we are comforted by the knowledge that “God-knowing mortals hold in their personal experience the only positive proof of the existence of the living God” (1:2.8).

The last article is one of my own. “The Next Life” is a brief summary of what we may expect to encounter once resurrected on mansonia one and, judging from the words of Urantia Book narrators, it will not be an easy transition. Life on Urantia is a far cry from life on a “more normal” world and we will have to make many subsequent adjustments. Nonetheless, we are told, both explicitly and implicitly, the lessons we must learn on the mansion worlds. And the good news is that we can start these changes in our own lives right here on Urantia.