Tidings – September 2020
In This Issue
Chris Wood, USA
There is a true story about Eratosthenes, a scholar in the ancient Mediterranean world who became chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt around 240 BCE. Eratosthenes had learned from travellers that, in the far southern town of Syene, the shaft of a well did not cast a shadow at noon on the summer solstice. Eratosthenes then measured the shadow cast by a stick in Alexandria at noon on the solstice and, using the angle of the shadow and the distance between Alexandria and Syene, triangulated the circumference of the earth.
This makes me think that perhaps religion today is a bit like science in the ancient world. I can imagine that future generations will have a more advanced understanding and broader view of spiritual realities, and they may have an appreciation for finer details that we cannot yet grasp, but we do have much to work with thanks to a new revelation that will contribute to the further development of spiritual progress for future generations to build upon.
In the same vein as the previous series of 24-hour Urantiathons, a third one was held to celebrate Jesus’ birthday on the 21st and 22nd of August.
The program featured 24 one-hour presentations given by Urantia Book students from 17 countries including the United States, Colombia (SA), Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Germany, Ghana, Uganda, Ireland, Senegal, Switzerland, Spain, Guatemala, Ecuador, Canada, and Brazil.
Hundreds of Urantia Book readers from all corners of the globe came together for this event. Around 1,000 people joined via Zoom at various times during the 24 hours, and Facebook reported 500 viewers. It was truly heart-warming to see so many people delighting in the social contact with new and old friends in celebration of our hero Michael of Nebadon starting out on his journey to complete his final bestowal as Jesus of Nazareth on Urantia. At times it felt like a great big study group. What a privilege to be able to do such a thing while so many of us are in isolation.
Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS)
Dear Friends and Students of The Urantia Book,
For more than twenty years, UBIS has offered free online courses designed to give readers a firsthand experience with the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Our approach is simple. You study the assigned readings, respond to several questions, and discuss one another's answers. Courses are facilitated by trained volunteers. Classwork can be done at any time, on your own schedule, and takes about three to five hours each week.
September Trimester Courses and Schedule
Registration opens on Monday, September 14. Courses begin on September 21 and run for ten weeks.
Please join us!
For more information email: Joanne at Urantia Foundation
Marcelino Ramírez, Venezuela
Answers to Questions by Readers of The Urantia Book
|Merida - Image by David Mark
For many years, I have been answering questions relating to The Urantia Book asked by readers from different countries. Recently I received the opportunity to write this article, including some of these questions and answers, for which I thank our sister Jeannie Vázquez from Uruguay who worked on the selection and reviewed these sets of questions and answers. I am also grateful to the Tidings' editors for making it possible to publish this article.
Question 1: “I was remembering today a conversation we had about the missing link between monkeys and humans. As I recall, you told me that, according to The Urantia Book, there is no such link. Could you remind me why it does not exist?”
Answer: The scientists say that there should be a missing link between the superior simian (gorilla, chimpanzee, etc.) and humans. But in The Urantia Book we are taught:
Marian Hughes, USA
How did we get stranded in Chile? First some historical context. I have always liked meeting new people and experiencing new landscapes, so when I was 16, I joined a group of international exchange students and lived with a family in Colombia, South America. It was a wonderful experience being part of a new family and a good way to improve my high school Spanish. I fell in love with the Latin culture. I was very excited to be able to return to Colombia for the 2012 International Urantia Association conference in Medellin. The city had grown and changed so much since I had been there in 1961.
|Photo credit: EcoCamp Patagonia
So fast forward thirty-five years to 1997, when I was asked to assist with a Urantia Foundation booth at the International book fair in Santiago Chile. Our mission was to present to the people of Chile, El libro de Urantia, the Spanish translation of The Urantia Book. There were hundreds of vendors at this well-attended and popular Santiago Book Fair which was held in the converted Estacion Mapocho, an old railroad station that hosts many exhibitions.
James Woodward, USA
“Make Daily Deposits and Withdrawals from the Bank of God’s Infinite Love”
There is simply no room for anger or vengeance in my God; there is no space for pitiful projections of human imperfections. Such a faith attitude infinitely expands the goodness I can perceive in my Creator. It unlocks the truth my Father wants to share with me. It reveals the beauty that unfolds before me in the living universe.
The divine goodness humbles me. The eternal truth beckons to me. The infinite beauty astonishes me. These revelations swell my soul, the embryo of personal realization.
Stephen Finlan, USA
Urantia Book readers may want to know about my new book, Salvation Not Purchased: Overcoming the Ransom Idea to Rediscover the Original Gospel Teaching (Cascade Books, 2020).
About thirty years ago, I noticed that The Urantia Book gets very passionate whenever it confronts the Christian atonement doctrine. The narrators of the book point out that certain “seraphim are instrumental in supplanting the atonement idea with the concept of divine attunement as a philosophy of mortal survival” (Paper 39:5.6, page 437.5). Consequently, I made a decision to study and write about the development of atonement thinking.
I earned a Ph.D. in Pauline Theology from the University of Durham and am now a pastor in the United Church of Christ. I have written several academic books on atonement. Salvation Not Purchased is a shorter version and is directed at Christian pastors and laypersons.
Using the Bible, I show how the blood-purchase idea is out of step with Jesus’ teaching about how God’s love reaches the pure in heart without any sacrificial payment. I look into Paul’s use of atonement metaphors and how later writers took his metaphors literally, creating a doctrine about God being paid off. I write, “The teachings of Jesus go right against the notion that there would be no salvation until he had spilled his blood. God does not need to be paid or persuaded.” (page 4).
I have created a website for the book: https://www.salvationnotpurchased.com/
Stephen Finlan, Ph.D.
Pastor at The First Church of West Bridgewater
“Stephen Finlan offers a lucid and thorough critique of the view that ‘Christ died for our sins’ is a central tenet of Christianity. . . A provocative and illuminating read for pastors and lay Christians alike.”
—HAROLD W. ATTRIDGE, Yale Divinity School
The world is changing fast and Urantia Association International is in a unique position to foster the Urantia revelation in so many ways. With localized teams in the form of associations springing up across the globe, we are ready to help anyone, anywhere, to study and spread the teachings that we all hold so dear.
|Artist: Carlos Rubinsky
The Association has only one paid staff member to manage and coordinate our worldwide activities. All other services are rendered by devoted students who donate their time (and often their treasure) to the projects that help bring us closer to our heavenly Father. Thank you to our faithful volunteers and donors!
Here is a selection of ways to donate to Urantia Association:
The Tidings newsletter is a quarterly on-line publication that serves as Urantia Association International’s primary communication tool for reaching out to the Association’s membership, supporters, donors, volunteers, and general readership friends. It provides news and information on the many activities and events of the National or Affiliate Urantia Associations around the globe as well as information and announcements from Central Office, the International Service Board (ISB), and the Representative Council (RC). It serves to keep members in touch with one another and gives readers a sense of belonging—of being an integral part of a truly international movement that is designed to promote the Urantia revelation to all corners of the world.
Note: Tidings also occasionally provides news of other Urantia-related activities and events that may be of interest to our supporters and friends. Please note that any interpretations, opinions, conclusions, or artistic representations, whether stated or implied, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Urantia Association International, the National or Affiliate Urantia Associations, or the editorial team of the Association’s Tidings.