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.