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Tidings – September 2020

In This Issue

President’s Message – September 2020

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.  

We do a disservice when we try to convert others to our own religion. It would be like Eratosthenes meeting the travellers from Syene and instead of learning about their city had insisted that Alexandria is the best city and that they should all move there. When we learn about other cultures, other religious systems, and other interpretations of the best way to live in this world, we are able to perform a type of spiritual triangulation, learning more about the spiritual truths of the universe.    

Students of The Urantia Book can become religious leaders when we listen more than we talk, share more than we lecture, and worship more than we preach. In Paper 92, The Later Evolution of Religion, a Melchizedek says,  

But it is to be hoped that the ardent and sincere efforts of these future prophets will be directed less toward the strengthening of interreligious barriers and more toward the augmentation of the religious brotherhood of spiritual worship among the many followers of the differing intellectual theologies which so characterize Urantia of Satania.  

[Paper 92:5.16, page 1010.4]
In this time of Covid 19, it can be difficult to have discussions and worship sessions “as you pass by.” But it is easier than ever to join online discussions hosted by houses of worship and interfaith panels from across the globe, including an ever-increasing number of webinar presentations offered by Urantia Association International. I hope we come across each other in these discussions in the near future.  

Third 24-hour Urantiathon

Communications Team

A Celebration! 

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 Association hosted the event, which was another in the series of coordinated online conferences alternating between the Education Committees of Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Book Fellowship, and Urantia Association as well as part of the continued classes of Urantia University Institute. One presentation was dedicated to a panel discussion of the future of education within the Urantia Community.  

The event was interactive in Zoom and was also live streamed to Facebook. There was plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion at the end of each presentation. Each presentation was recorded and will be uploaded to the Association’s YouTube channel as separate videos once editing has been completed.  

To view these videos, go our YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/UrantiaAssociationInternational/playlists and click on the Playlist with the title of this most recent event. 

The Facebook recordings are also available on our Facebook page in the videos section at: https://www.facebook.com/urantia.association/videos/ 

Free Online Courses

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 Responds

Marcelino Ramírez, Venezuela

Answers to Questions by Readers of The Urantia Book

Merida - Image by David Mark
Dear Siblings,

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:

Although the evolution of vegetable life can be traced into animal life, and though there have been found graduated series of plants and animals which progressively lead up from the most simple to the most complex and advanced organisms, you will not be able to find such connecting links between the great divisions of the animal kingdom nor between the highest of the prehuman animal types and the dawn men of the human races. These so-called "missing links" will forever remain missing, for the simple reason that they never existed. [Paper 58:6.2, page 669.3]

And so it may be readily seen that man and the ape are related only in that they sprang from the mid-mammals, a tribe in which there occurred the contemporaneous birth and subsequent segregation of two pairs of twins: the inferior pair destined to produce the modern types of monkey, baboon, chimpanzee, and gorilla; the superior pair destined to continue the line of ascent which evolved into man himself. [Paper 62:3.12, page 706.3]

Modern man and the simians did spring from the same tribe and species but not from the same parents. Man's ancestors are descended from the superior strains of the selected remnant of this mid-mammal tribe, whereas the modern simians (excepting certain pre-existent types of lemurs, gibbons, apes, and other monkeylike creatures) are the descendants of the most inferior couple of this mid-mammal group…  [Paper 62:3.13, page 706.4]

The wars within the pre-existent and ancestral race of dawn mammals in which the first humans were born destroyed the superior members of the tribe and, several thousand years later, not one was left alive.

Question 2:Do you think that the whole Father's plan, and the journey to "return" to him, is, so to speak, the way to encourage us to endure eternity?”

Answer: The Father's plan is to “…share the consciousness of all the experience of imperfectness of all the struggling creatures...” [2:2.6, 36.4] Although his plan includes diversion, entertainment, and rest, the Father yearns for all his sons and daughters to use their free will to choose to do his divine will and survive in the eternal life, the career that will lead us to him and to infinity.

Living eternally is not mandatory; every human being freely chooses eternal life or non-existence. The divine plan establishes eternal existence for all children of God who voluntarily yearn for it; we are never compelled against our free will.

Question 3:God the Father-Mother creates Jesus (Michael of Nebadon) and the Spirit of Truth, thus forming the Most Holy Trinity, and then Jesus and the Spirit of Truth directly created human beings? I find it difficult to read and understand The Urantia Book. I would appreciate it if you give me a summary of this subject, in your own words.”

Answer: The Universal Father, the Original and Eternal Son, and the Infinite Spirit are the three divine personalities that constitute the Paradise Trinity; they reside on Paradise, which is located at the center of all creation.

The Universal Father, in union with the Original and Eternal Son, bring into existence the Creator Sons—the order of Michaels, and the Infinite Spirit personally creates the Creative Daughters, the Mother Spirits. Each Creator Son joins with a corresponding Creative Daughter and together they leave Paradise to create a local evolutionary universe in time and space. (Each of the seven existing superuniverses contains a maximum of one hundred thousand local universes.)

The Creator Son and Creative Daughter arrive at their pre-prepared space and with the help of many specialized beings, begin to create the glorious capital spheres of their local universe. Through the evolutionary technique, galaxies and planets begin to emerge. When a planet achieves the required physical conditions, the Life Carriers arrive on that planet and prepare a germ plasm that they implant into the shallow waters of inland seas. This germ plasm receives the vital spark of life from the Creative Daughter—this is the origin of the first forms of planetary life.

After billions of years of evolutionary progress, the first human beings emerge. On our planet, Urantia, this happened around one million years ago, and the first humans were called Andon and Fonta.

A little over 2,000 years ago the Creator Son of our local universe, Michael of Nebadon, incarnated on our planet as a human being just like us. He was born in the natural manner as the son of Joseph and Mary and came to be known as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was an extraordinary example of love; his wonderful life was an inspiration as he proclaimed his liberating, uplifting, and transformative gospel. His comforting Spirit of Truth was poured out upon all human beings on the day of Pentecost after his death and resurrection.

The divine plan of God and his Creator Sons and Daughters is for every human being to choose eternal life. For this, we are endowed with a physical body, a conscious mind, and a personality that gives us self-consciousness and free will and can choose the endless life that God offers us. Also, God helps us with the assistance of his wonderful celestial team as follows:

  1. He has given us a divine spark (or fragment) of himself to indwell our minds. This is referred to as the Thought Adjuster and with our cooperation it guides us to transform our self-centered animal driven tendencies into altruistic spiritual values, which survive after our physical bodies die.
  2. Our Creator Son, Michael (Jesus) has poured out his Spirit of Truth upon all mankind and when we follow the divine guidance, it helps us to increase our ability to perceive spiritual truth and to choose to do the will of our indwelling Thought Adjusters—the divine gift from the Universal Father.
  3. Our Divine Mother (Creative Daughter), known in this world as the Holy Spirit, makes it possible for our human minds to be linked to her mind circuits that assist us in our evolutionary progress.

With all this wonderful help that God gives us, our existence makes no sense if we do not decide to cooperate with him and work to motivate our fellows to make the supreme decision: to choose eternal life.

Question 4:I was reflecting on the variety of information regarding Jesus' life. I find it strange that, as of today, we have not agreed on this wonderful event. Why do you think there are such different versions of the birth and life of Jesus?”

Answer: I consider that the various views on the birth and life of the great Master of Nazareth are due to the extraordinary and impressive characteristics of the work he did. However, the revelators in The Urantia  Book tell us clearly that Joseph and Mary had been married and living in Nazareth, when Jesus …was conceived and was born into the world just as all other babies before and since… [119:7.5, 1317.1]

We also read in The Urantia Book:

Gabriel's announcement to Mary was made the day following the conception of Jesus and was the only event of supernatural occurrence connected with her entire experience of carrying and bearing the child of promise. [Paper 122:3.4, page 1347.2]

Many Old Testament sayings were so distorted as to appear to fit some episode of the Master's earth life... Even the passage, "a maiden shall bear a son," was made to read, "a virgin shall bear a son." [Paper 122:4.4, page 1347.6]  

Many writings describe Jesus as purely divine and others as purely human. The revelators describe him as a person with dual nature, human and divine. And I believe this is the truth because Michael of Nebadon needed to personally experience the human creatures he created through the incarnation in the likeness of a mortal flesh so he may experience and demonstrate that being created imperfect and of animal origin is not an obstacle to achieving maximum spiritual progress when there is willingness and determination to cooperate with God.

Question 5:Do each of the seven worlds surrounding Jerusem also have seven satellites surrounding them?”

Answer: That's right. Seven transitional worlds surround Jerusem, and seven sub-satellite planets surround each of these worlds. The seven tarrying worlds are one of these seven sub-satellite groups, and they surround transition world number one, which is called the Finaliter's World.

Question 6:I read in Paper 130 of The Urantia Book the history of Jonah, which left me confused because the Bible mentions that Jonah was inside a whale for several days until he was thrown out. Still, in The Urantia Book, Jesus relates it to the duties we must perform during our lives.”

Answer: In the book of Jonah in the Old Testament, it is expressed that God sends Jonah to preach in the city of Nineveh, but Jonah flees in a boat from the presence of God, to avoid fulfilling the divine command. But in The Urantia Book, Jesus explains to Gadiah that Jonah's account is related to… "seek to escape the present duty of living by running away to far-off enticements." [130:1.2, 1428.2]

And about the Scripture reference to the "great fish" that swallows Jonah, Jesus explains to Gadiah:

"The escape from the service of light and life can only result in those distressing conflicts with the difficult whales of selfishness which lead eventually to darkness and death unless such God-forsaking Jonahs shall turn their hearts, even when in the very depths of despair, to seek after God and his goodness."  [Paper 130:1.2, page 1428.2]

Jesus perceived that this tradition had greatly influenced Gadiah’s life, instilling in him the idea of trying to run away from duty. Therefore, the Master said nothing that would suddenly destroy the fundamental motivations that guided Gadiah in his life. However, at another time, when Nathaniel asked Jesus about the truthfulness of the Scriptures, the Master answered him:

"These writings are the work of men, some of them holy men, others not so holy. The teachings of these books represent the views and extent of enlightenment of the times in which they had their origin. As a revelation of truth, the last are more dependable than the first. The Scriptures are faulty and altogether human in origin, but mistake not, they do constitute the best collection of religious wisdom and spiritual truth to be found in all the world at this time." [Paper 159:4.3, page 767.5]

"... If the story of Jonah should not be a fact, even if Jonah had never lived, still would the profound truth of this narrative, the love of God for Nineveh and the so-called heathen, be none the less precious in the eyes of all those who love their fellow men. The Scriptures are sacred because they present the thoughts and acts of men who were searching for God, and who in these writings left on record their highest concepts of righteousness, truth, and holiness. The Scriptures contain much that is true, very much, but in the light of your present teaching, you know that these writings also contain much that is misrepresentative of the Father in heaven, the loving God I have come to reveal to all the worlds." [Paper 159:4.4, page 1767.6]

"Nathaniel, never permit yourself for one moment to believe the Scripture records which tell you that the God of love directed your forefathers to go forth in battle to slay all their enemies—men, women, and children. Such records are the words of men, not very holy men, and they are not the word of God."  [Paper 159:4.5, page 1768.1]

"Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures." [Paper 159:4.6, page 1768.2]

"The fear of the authority of the sacred writings of the past effectively prevents the honest souls of today from accepting the new light of the gospel..." [Paper 159:4.9, page 1768.5]

Question 7:How can we rescue Jesus' religion from his long larval stage? I am of the idea that we should preach the gospel in an organized way (I do not mean churches but work as teams) since I see that Urantia readers invest plenty of time and resources in the formation of study groups and conferences. But it only benefits those who already know the book, that is, nothing is done for the millions of people who do not know the life and true teachings of Jesus. How do we address this problem?”

Answer: Some Urantian leaders think that humanity is not prepared yet to receive this revelation, that everything must be carried on with great calm and patience, and they affirm it by quoting texts from The Urantia Book, such as the quote that refers to the impatience of Adam and Eve. In many respects these leaders are right, but I do not fully agree with these views because there is the great danger that many attitudes of indifference, laziness, and fear can be confused with supposed virtues of patience, serenity, and meekness, which contributes to hinder and delay all planetary progress.

I fully agree with your approach, doing what is possible not to fall into impatience or recklessness. Our sacred duty is to make every effort to organize ourselves and sow this renewed and rejoicing message of Jesus in every person or group receptive to these teachings that we find in our daily lives.

This concern you have has a solution, for this is what I have done personally for 24 years: to share all that God has given me with those who allow me to do so. And I will try to keep doing it for the rest of my life, always inspired by Jesus and the revelators, who gave us stimulating paragraphs like these:

In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers—so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve. [Paper 195:10.5, page 2084.5]

The call to the adventure of building a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh. [Paper 195:10.6, page 2084.6]

Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 195:9.6, page 2083.2]

Dear brethren, I hope this article can help you to improve your life. Please share it with other readers if you can. I wish that God and his great heavenly team continue to bless you.

From Merida, Venezuela, receive my fraternal greeting in Jesus-Michael.

Marcelino Ramirez

Stranded in Patagonia

Marian Hughes, USA

Photo credit: EcoCamp Patagonia
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.

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.

As I glanced through the many coffee table photo books of Chile, I was captivated by the diverse beauty of the country, especially the Lake District and the Patagonia area. When the book fair ended and I had a week to travel, that is where I went. I ended up in Puerto Varas, which is a lovely little town on the side of the second largest lake in Chile and a view of the snow-capped Osorno Volcano.

As “chance” would have it, I quickly met a nice group of young people who were quite interested in El Libro de Urantia, so I held a meeting where I introduced about 20 people to the text. One of them took me horseback riding the following year when I returned to further explore this area. I was on the way back after hiking in Torres del Paine National Park and immediately fell in love with this remote location. On that fateful ride, I discovered a gorgeous piece of property for sale in an old growth forest with a magnificent view of Osorno. I thought, what a perfect place to have a second home so, as the price was quite cheap compared to land back home, I bought the land and had a house built which I named La Casa de Vistas Divinas—The House of Divine Views. It was a great base to operate from. A group of women and I made a trip to place El libro in various libraries in Southern Chile and Argentina. This new home became my sanctuary and vacation destination. I needed a base in Chile if I was going to spread the teachings and hold study groups. My husband retired in 2005 and began to join me on my trips there.

So how did a couple of old gringos from Hawaii end up "stranded" in Puerto Varas, Chile? Granted this is not your typical stranded 6,000 miles from home story but it is my story, and many good experiences resulted from this period of travel and isolation.

We had been closely watching the progress of Covid-19 from Hawaii since late December. We had previously decided to journey back to Chile via Rapa Nui, (Easter Island) in March. We planned to meet the Mayor of the island, since he was a reader of The Urantia Book. We did get to meet him and had an interesting breakfast. The Urantia Book mentions Easter Island with an interesting story. (78:5.7, 873.3) Also, we wanted to donate a book to the local library there.

All our non-refundable flights, hotels, and tours were paid for in advance and included later flights all the way back via L.A. to Kona. As we watched the virus advance from Europe to the USA, we had to make the decision to take the trip or not. Do we throw caution to the wind or forfeit thousands of dollars? At that point there were no cases on Rapa Nui and only one in Chile, so we decided to mask and glove up and go for it. We spent three days in Tahiti and donated Le Livre d’ Urantia to the University of French Polynesia. We were extremely careful about where we went and avoided crowds. We had the Internet so we could follow how fast the virus was spreading around the world. 

When we finally arrived at the Puerto Montt airport in the south of Chile we stocked up on frozen food and bought enough fresh food to last two weeks since we planned to quarantine at our home there. We couldn't believe how fast the virus was spreading in Chile from just one case, but soon the borders were closed, international flights were cancelled, and the country went into lockdown. We were trapped! Fortunately, we could take walks on the remote roads in our immediate vicinity. It was starting to get cold as the southern hemisphere autumn was approaching so luckily there was plenty of firewood for our fireplace and wood stove. We were starting to get anxious about returning home, but all our return fights kept getting cancelled.

We soon adjusted to the isolation by taking online courses with the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS), and we started a zoom study group on Part IV of The Urantia Book. I contacted Urantia Book reader friends from around the world, many of whom were very enthusiastic to have something to do while we were all in lockdown. We all appreciated talking and studying together once a week on Sundays. Although we missed our family back home on the Big Island we knew they were also in lockdown, so we wouldn't have been able to see them even if we were there. We had no TV or newspapers so the Internet was our lifeline. Our zoom group is still going strong; it is probably the best thing to come out of our isolation.

Gradually things were starting to open up again in the USA and we finally were able to book a flight on June 2nd. Needless to say it was packed as people had been stuck in the south waiting for the airline to start flying again. We had to sit on the plane for two hours before it took off to process all the people on the flight for tracking. By this time, we not only had our N95 masks but also the added protection of plastic face shields. At the gate waiting area we met four Christian missionaries and told them about The Urantia Book. They said a 2,000-page revelation would be too much for them to read—they were quite old, so I hope their faith kept them safe, since they weren’t protecting themselves with any masks.

We finally touched down on home soil where some fearless Urantia Book reader friends picked us up and drove us home. What amazed me most on the whole trip was when we disembarked in Charlotte and saw all these people sitting close together in bars and restaurants, and at the gate, with no masks on. They had to have masks to get through on the flight but they obviously were very cavalier and removed them as soon as they could. It didn't surprise me that Charlotte had a lot of Covid-19 cases shortly after that time.

After 66 hours door-to-door, we finally made it and started the state-required two-week quarantine. We returned just in time to see our orchids and the Night Blooming Cereus in full bloom. It was good to be home. My son had stocked our fridge with supplies, so we were all set to "hang tight."

We are both very grateful for all the help, seen and unseen, that we received along the way. We both remain healthy, but doubt that we will be traveling anytime soon. We wish those who are still stuck in distant parts of this crazy blue planet Urantia all the best trying to get home, or if you are home, use your time wisely. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful revelation to keep us company. We are the pioneers of this amazing revelation, so stick around as long as you can by wearing your masks, washing those helping hands, and social-distance when in public.

Focus on the Father

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.

The more truth, beauty, and goodness I realize, the more my soul grows in appreciation and capacity for the lovely personality of God. This currency of love is the heavenly medium of exchange in divine relationships; friendship and service are the earthly fruits of God’s cosmic cultivating, and all relationships are divine in potential. “Love is the desire to do good to others.”

Spiritual progress then, is our response to the invitation: To be found with fully outstretched arms to receive the love freely given. Soon, if we pursue these riches, our spiritual vault—managed and guarded by our indwelling spirit of God—becomes filled. This happy status encourages sharing the wealth!

Reluctance to love our imperfect fellow humans will melt as the spiritual light dispels our stingy shadows. We discover that communion with our Creator guarantees direct deposit of divine love. And we come to know that the key which unlocks the infinity bounty of our Father’s intimate affection is to simply love him with all our heart.

The reciprocal exchange between a mortal person and an immortal person­—divine love for human love—commences the moment our gratitude and adoration are focused with fiery joy as we step up to the worship window to transact our holy business.

The Stillness

Salvation Not Purchased

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

Ways to Donate to Urantia Association International

Artist: Carlos Rubinsky
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.  

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: 

Online by Credit Card 

Visit our website to access our secure online donation form at: https://urantia-association.org/donate 

Unrestricted Giving: Choose General Fund on the online donation form for unrestricted donations that can be used for any purpose, including all administrative costs.  

Restricted Giving: Choose one of the Program Funds on the online donation form for restricted donations. Your contribution will be used only for the purpose of that fund. (More details on the Program funds can be found at: https://urantia-association.org/program-funds.) 

Check or Money Order 

Send your contribution through the mail service to: 
Urantia Association International 
4000 W. Montrose Ave. #606 
Chicago, IL 60641    USA 

By Telephone or Email: 

Phone: +1-773-572-1180  
Email: centraloffice@urantia-association.org 


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Planned Giving 

Many different forms of donations and gifts are possible. Urantia Association’s IRS 501(c) (3) tax exempt status allows us to accept gifts that can also serve the financial interests of generous supporters.  All direct contributions in all forms may be claimed as tax-deductible charitable contributions on United States Tax Returns. Certain gift forms, such as highly appreciated properties, stocks, or taxable IRAs can also help the donor reduce tax liability while also providing an income tax deduction. 

Click here to read more about Planned Giving and to view our Gift Maker’s Guide. The gift forms and strategies described in this guide are well documented and have been used for many years by millions of donors to support thousands of charities, institutions, and non-profit organizations.   

In November of 2019 Bradly Tharp, Urantia Association’s Chief Financial Officer (who is also a Certified Financial Planning Practitioner and Chartered Financial Accountant) presented an online seminar on Planned Giving Strategies. Click this link to view the seminar: Planned Giving Strategies Seminar 

About Tidings Newsletter

Admin Team

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 and Local 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 Local Urantia Associations, or the editorial team of the Association’s Tidings.

Grass Roots Level

The number of National and Local Associations scattered throughout the world is steadily growing and collectively they undertake service activities that have the ability to inspire and motivate others; activities such as study conferences, regional gatherings, study groups, dissemination programs, educational programs, outreach projects, and the development of study aids and newsletters. These associations are the lifeblood of Urantia Association International—they function at the grass roots level where effective service and dissemination of the revelation takes place.

Share Your Stories

There are thousands of readers with unique personal stories about how they found The Urantia Book and how it has changed their lives. There are hundreds of study groups all over the world that can share stories and encourage readers to either create a study group of their own or participate in one. These stories need to be told and Tidings provides an effective platform for the sharing of such activities.

If you would like to share your stories please submit your material to the Chief Editor. Topics may include:

  • How you found The Urantia Book
  • Special projects such as Book Fairs, Library Placement, Outreach
  • New or established study groups—how you got started—what keeps you going?
  • Your annual meetings, picnics, or other social gatherings
  • Send pictures

Tidings Team

  • Chief Editor: Kathleen Swadling
  • Co-editors: Mark Blackham, James Woodward
  • Online and hard-copy English newsletters: Mark Blackham
  • Spanish translator an online Spanish newsletter: Olga Lopez 
  • French translator: Alain Cyr and collaborators 
  • French online newsletter: Alain Cyr


Submit articles to the Chief Editor and please understand that they may be subject to revision. Please limit them to approximately 1 to 1½ pages (700 to 1400 words) plus one or two photos.