New Zealand Corner – Autumn 2017
The summer months have been business as usual for the NZ readers. Our online and face-to-face meetings have been well attended. Neville and I are members of the UAI Study Group Committee, which has recently organised a survey of UB readers to discover their membership of study groups and, if they are not members, what the barriers are to becoming one. The results of the survey should be available soon.
The Publication Mandate (1955) exhorts us to form thousands of study groups:
“…Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence and the book must be translated into many tongues. Thus will the book be in readiness when the battle for man’s liberty is finally won and the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind…”
“…The book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle. That will be the day when men will be willing to seek truth and righteousness. When the chaos of the present confusion has passed, it will be more readily possible to formulate the cosmos of a new and improved era of human relationships. And it is for this better order of affairs on earth that the book has been made ready…”
It’s interesting to speculate about what was meant by the term “present ideological struggle” and how and when this might reach a conclusion. The term has been used to describe several conflicts of ideologies over the 30 years that the Urantia papers were being received until the mandate appeared in 1955. The two most notable are the struggle between capitalism versus communism and materialism versus religion. I think that the rest of the mandate paragraph points more to the latter.
At present most scientists believe only in a material physical reality where consciousness is created and supported by a physical brain that relies on physics, chemistry, biology and electricity. Some even question the existence of free will because they cannot see how consciousness (being a product of the brain) can in turn influence brain function to make the body move.
There are several paradoxes that scientists cannot resolve with their current view of reality: the double slit experiment, “spooky” action at a distance, Zeno’s paradox, why the speed of light is constant, and others.
To resolve these paradoxes a growing number of scientists are turning to a new theory of reality. They are proposing that our physical matter reality is a virtual reality that was created and is supported by forces outside of our physical reality. The theory of how such a virtual reality might work is less important than the growing belief among scientists that their physical matter reality may, in fact, be virtual.
The general population, especially the young, are quite familiar with virtual reality computer games like Second Life, World of Warcraft, and The Sims. They will readily absorb the concept that their physical universe could be running on a very sophisticated simulator that resides outside of that physical universe.
The similarities are fairly straight forward:
|Players in a virtual reality computer game||Humans in a simulated physical reality|
|Players observe their view of the game as a moving image on their own computer screen together with sound effects.||Humans observe their physical material world through the stimulation of the senses at the mental level.|
|Players make choices based on their observations, experience, knowledge of the game rules and their own game objectives.||Humans make choices based on their observations, experience, knowledge of the laws of nature and their own life objectives.|
|Players communicate their choices to the computer using manual game controllers, mice or keyboards.
(eg choosing to move their character’s body)
|Humans communicate their choices to the simulator as acts of free will intent at the mental level.
(eg choosing to move their physical body)
|The computer rejects any player choices that violate the game’s rule set.
(eg trolls can jump but they can’t fly).
|The simulator rejects any human free will intent that violates the laws of nature.
(eg humans can jump but they can’t fly).
|The computer updates the personalized world view of each player on their individual screens and headphones.||The simulator updates the personalized world view of each human by stimulating the senses of their individual minds.|
If the high priests of science do profess their belief in a physical reality that is a simulation, the general population will easily deduce that the simulator must, itself, be outside of the physical reality that it is simulating; just as the computer that runs a virtual reality game cannot be part of the game that it is running. The obvious next question is, “If our physical reality is a simulation then where is the (nonphysical) simulator and, more importantly, who is the (nonphysical) programmer?”
Once the genie is out of the bottle there will be no putting it back! The Internet, which allows previously isolated groups to find and communicate with each other, won’t let the question go away. The current materialistic view of science could simply become the study of the rule set of our physical reality simulation (as it should always have been) making the contemplation of the spiritual reality that created and supports our physical universe a valid pursuit once more.
Whether or not the physical universe is a simulation, the fact that a growing number of scientists are turning to this belief to solve current scientific paradoxes will eventually destroy the purely materialistic view of reality, and bring to a conclusion the present ideological struggle mentioned in the Publication Mandate in 1955.
Will we be ready? Will we have thousands of study groups? How much time do we have?
New Zealand Corner – Winter 2017
The winter weather has been quite a trial for many parts of New Zealand. We’ve had snow down to sea level in Southland, and in the high country of the central North Island. Heavy rain with flooding and landslides almost everywhere else has caused pasture damage and road closures. I think NZ would have perfect weather if it didn’t get stuffed up by a large continent to the west of us!
Fortunately, despite the bad weather, study group meetings have been well attended. Online meetings remain popular and, as fiber broadband continues to be rolled out across the country, the technology gets more stable and reliable. This really is helping the more isolated Urantia Book readers to connect.
We are all looking forward to spring and some of us may be planning trips to Melbourne soon.
New Zealand Corner – Summer 2017/18
Hi everyone, my name is Damian Matthew Hall (but people call me Matt), and it is my pleasure to come onboard as the New Zealand Rep for ANZURA. I live in Masterton, New Zealand, with my wife Erin, and have been reading the Urantia Book since the early 2000s. I originally discovered the Revelation online and was immediately struck by its authoritative tone and ring of truth – it simply made one heck of a lot of sense. I currently work as an art tutor at a local community-based studio, and a huge passion of mine is interpreting some of the key concepts and themes of the UB through my art, which is primarily portrait-based work. Thanks to the team at ANZURA for the warm welcome onboard.
Recently, some New Zealand readers gathered for a weekend of study in a lovely Air BnB in Lower Hutt. It had been about a year since we had gathered similarly, and in the same place, and it is always fantastic to see friends who have such a unique and fascinating common interest, like the Urantia Book. While the gathering was quite informal, with plenty of socialising, food, and banter, we did start studying Paper 195, discussing the integration of the beginnings of the Christian church in Rome and Greece. Neville also shared a passage from a book he had been reading about the first Christian missionaries in India, and their absolute persistence, bravery and single mindedness to their cause of planting the seeds of the Christian Church in this country. There were other discussions, on politics, race relations, and seeding the revelation, but what I found really enjoyable was the ability of everyone to remain respectful and friendly even when the conversation got challenging. I think this is a great sign of the dynamic self-control this group of readers have. Although we only got together for the weekend, it was fantastic to keep strengthening the bonds we have, and we certainly hope to do this again.
Cheers from across the ditch!