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.
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.
Answers to Questions by Readers of The Urantia Book
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 UrantiaBook we are taught:
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.
“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.
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).
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.”
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.
Also, with the beneficial changes that technology brings, more and more organizations are switching to a subscription model as a way of making donations. Urantia Association has launched the Global Urantia Perspective for those who share a dynamic world vision for The Urantia Book. We are looking for supporters to subscribe for a minimum donation of $10 per month to support programs that work to spread the teachings.
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 an 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, and the Representative Council. 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.
This event will take place starting Saturday August 22, 2020. (If you live in the United States it actually starts on Friday 21 August at 8:00pm EDT.) Here are the time frames in 3 major cities of the main regions of the world to help you adjust to your own time zone:
New York: Friday 8:00pm to Saturday 8:00pm London: Saturday 1:00am to Sunday 1:00am Sydney: Saturday 10.00am to Sunday 10:00am
Two themes of The Urantia Book that stand out to me are the journey to perfection of an individual and the journey to perfection of a global society. As individuals, we are born into a world and get to grow and transform as we learn about the experiential relationships between morality and ethics and duty and service. Our ascension career will be a tapestry of good works as we become more and more perfect in our worlds, just as God is in his.
As a society, we began as families and slowly grew into tribes, clans, cities, and nations. As we travel and exchange languages, thoughts, literature, and culture, we come to realize the folly of sectarian divides. We are a global family of brothers and sisters united by our material origin and our spiritual destiny.
From Tidings - June 2020,
Presented by Nestor Seda Jr. and Eugene Asidao, Manilla, Philippines on
The first Urantia Book National Educational Conference for the Philippines was held in November 2019 at the Gems Hotel and Conference Center in Antipolo City. The theme was “Introducing the Fifth Epochal Revelation.” The goal was to inform interested individuals on the basic teachings of The Urantia Book and to link up with the different regional groups of Urantia Book readers in the Philippines.
The selected topics presented were:
History of The Urantia Book and the Five Epochal Revelations
The Plan of God
Life After Death (the Mansion Worlds & our Journey to Paradise)
At the age of 49, I started to increase my efforts as a spiritual truth-seeker. Before that, in my early adult years, I was involved in social service work fields centered on peace and justice issues, but I was always attracted to spirituality. I acquired many books on religion and spirituality and one of those was The Urantia Book. I read a few papers that interested me but put it aside to become part of my classic book collection.
During my time of searching spirituality, I went to different study groups, teachers, gurus, and I checked them all. I did different types of spiritual and esoteric practices of meditation, affirmation, and prayers.
I also organized a spiritual forum in my home that attracted between 10 to 25 people. We explored all types of spiritual disciplines, from near-death experiences, Ascended Masters, spiritual healing, meditations, prayers, etc. One of the speakers we invited was James Woodward, who had worked in Reader Services at Urantia Foundation. He came to our meetings and gave us an introductory presentation on The Urantia Book.
The era of virtual study groups and conferences is upon us! With the entire world in lockdown due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus, unexpected opportunities have been arising in Urantia Book reader communities. Students are discovering how easy it is to meet with other readers from all over the world from the comfort of their own homes! Thanks to conference calling programs such as Zoom, study groups and conferences are happening with very little organization at virtually no cost.
Urantiathons – 24-Hour Online Conference Events
“Urantiathon” is a new phrase that’s been coined to describe events like the two recent online 24-hour conferences that were held via Zoom and sponsored by Urantia Association International—one on 21st March (A Reward of Isolation) and the other on 2nd May (We’re in this Together).
The following list of meditation mantras is taken from the practical suggestions and spiritual attitudes required for Adjuster contact as presented by a Solitary Messenger in The Urantia Book, Papers 107-111. I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing these directives in a positive and active voice and, therefore, all interpretations and possible errors are my own. I encourage all readers to verify the content for themselves. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the many spiritual suggestions and techniques for Adjuster communion given to us throughout the book.
The Adjusters are the will of God… [Paper 108:4.2, page 1190.3]
In the middle of this pandemic, have you perhaps stopped to wonder: “What will the future look like after all this has passed?”
We have as well, and would like to invite you to join us in crafting together some practical solutions to help us face the upcoming post-Covid-19 challenges with a steadier mind and a blossoming heart. Of course, with the guidance and inspiration in the beauty, goodness, and truth of The Urantia Book.
We all know Urantia is in an acute crisis due to the current coronavirus pandemic. As in every crisis, this one will offer opportunities for personal progress and spiritual growth. We believe that one such unique opportunity will be to seed the teachings and insights from the revelation in the minds and hearts of members of our global communities in practical, utilitarian ways. We will focus on spirit-led active service.
The future of The Urantia Book in Africa very much depends on having a group of core readers who are committed to the ideals of the book—readers who are willing to work towards providing dependable support and direction to the growing readership on the continent. As such, we are pleased to announce that Collins Lomo from Accra, Ghana has been elected as Urantia Association’s new Continental Coordinator for Africa.
Collins has been fostering the development of Urantia Book reader activity in Ghana and various other African countries since 2014. He represented Africa at the Urantia Association’s 2018 International conference in the Netherlands and facilitated the joint conference held in Lagos, Nigeria in December of 2019.
John Nugent from Missoula, Montana was recently elected to be the new Secretary for Urantia Association International. (John replaced Joycee Patterson who needed to step down as Secretary for personal reasons.) John has been a student of The Urantia Book for close to 50 years, having been introduced to it while in the Jesuit Seminary.
John holds a BA in Philosophy from Gonzaga University and a Masters degree from San Francisco Theology Seminary. He has a special interest in the instruction from the Publication Mandate, “You must again study the times of Jesus on Earth.” He says that he considers the three greatest influences on the “times of Jesus” to be the Jewish culture, the Pagan practices and religious rituals, and the Greco Roman philosophy and political governing philosophy.
Over the years John attended national and local conferences, participated in study groups, and was a member of both the Urantia association in Southern California (SURF) and the Urantia Book Los Angeles association (UBLA). Since moving to Montana he has been hosting his own small study group.
John is retired after a career in health care administration and was married to his late wife for 45 years. He has two adopted sons. Welcome to the Board John and thank you for stepping up to be of service. We look forward to working with you.