National Study Day Reflections 2024

Every year students of The Urantia Book in Australia and New Zealand meet in their local regions to study the same paper on the on the same day. This year we read Paper 92, The Later Evolution of Religion. Here are some reflections form the some of the groups that met.

Canberra Study Group

Reported by William Wentworth

Four of us met by Zoom on Saturday, 1st June to read Paper 92. We took it in turn to read a section at a time.

There was some discussion of the final paragraph of the first section about the “agencies that have long functioned on Urantia, and they will continue here as long as this planet remains an inhabited sphere”.  We were uncertain under what circumstances Urantia would cease to be inhabited. We could only speculate about the possible extermination of our population.

We took note of how primitive religion grew from the fear stimulus. The love stimulus came with revealed religion. We were also interested to be reminded of the large number of strange rites and rituals which primitive religion has adopted over the years. And also to be reminded again that although religion has often retarded progress, progress itself would be inconceivable without religion.

We noted the various revelations from which our planet has benefited over the millenniums, and also remarked on the expressed hope that future revelations will concentrate less on strengthening conflicts between religious outlooks than on finding the common ground they share. We felt it important to note the fifth epochal revelation is accompanied with the proviso that, as with all revelations, it is partial and incomplete, and that no revelation short of the Father himself can ever be considered complete. It was interesting to us that both Islam and Sikhism are more recent than Christianity. And we found it interesting—and a little deflating—to realise that we know very little about most of the composite religions listed.

We were not surprised to read that ancestor worship is so prominent a barrier to progress in parts of Asia, and that in the Occident it has resulted in nationalistic religions which are a throwback to earlier notions. And we took to heart in the warning about the fallacy of regarding our own religious attitude as The Truth—when we could profit from the study of all others.

We were enthusiastic about emphasizing the father/child relationship and how important it has been for most of us personally.  It seems fundamental that we find the Father by accepting sonship with Him.

It was a most enjoyable study. We had some good discussions and benefited from them all.

William Wentworth 

Sydney Study Group

Reported by Rita Schaad

It was a very wet and wintery Saturday to meet in the cozy home of Kathleen and Trevor Swadling. There were ten of us enjoying a good catch up over some nibbles before we settled down to study.

Considering that this chosen paper – The Later Evolution of Religion – was intended to lead us into the theme topic of the conference in Melbourne – Past, Present and Future – it certainly made us appreciate the many steps humankind has taken in its evolution and formation of a religion on Urantia.

Of course, the image of the big ship on the stormy seas fitted well with the explanation given of how the current generations have more change and adaptation to cope with than people had in the last two thousand years. Talking about the reason and purpose for this fifth revelation, someone mentioned that when the “book has done its job” we will be ready for more information. And this “job of the book”is done when its content has been seeded. I found that a grand idea. All gardeners know that when seeding and planting, certain conditions need to be right – soil, position, time of year etc. So when sharing the truths we glean from these pages it behooves us well to watch where and when we spread them abroad.

There were so many passages that we dwelled upon – like the need for re-evaluation of and by the main religions. Something which science has inbuilt in its methods, whereas the consciousness of man needs to be pressured into making religion relevant to the current society and its needs. Other evolutionary stepping-stones outlined were fascinating.

Religion enmothered much nonreligious culture: Sculpture originated in idol making, architecture in temple building, poetry in incantations, music in worship chants, drama in the acting for spirit guidance, and dancing in the seasonal worship festivals. 92:3.6 (1006.3)

We are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors yet again, acknowledging how difficult it was for them to overcome the fear of the unknown by holding onto olden rituals and symbols that are way past their ‘use-by’ dates.

Still – there is plenty to do in assessing our current belief systems and translating their meanings in our lives.

It looks like we will have many more discussions along these lines in Melbourne this October.

This paper stimulated a lot of deep thinking and conversation and, as always, it was great to meet and study face to face and have time for socialising throughout the day. 

Melbourne Study Group

Reported by The Melbournites – Bevan, Dennis, Prue and Regina)

Every year readers of The Urantia Book meet face to face if possible, for the National Study Day. Therefore, a very small but very appreciative group, met on this first weekend of June over two days to enable all interested people to attend either Saturday or Sunday. The study of this paper gave us many insights and much to think about.

Some of our discussion revolved around:

  • Religion is grudgingly slow to change, clinging to old forms that can, to modern day standards, seem barbaric and unacceptable. Even by law!
  • There are no built-in systems for change. No study of current conditions, like science or social analysis to update their practices, and no room to consider any new revelation.
  • We felt encouraged to look to the foundational truths in all current religions and be more tolerant, based on our priveledged revelation through The Urantia Book.
  • One of our group was lovingly reminded that their reading of this very paper, casued her to accept that The Urantia Book was true. It was many years ago and was at a time of great personal challenge. The memory made her want to ‘dance around the table’. She didn’t, but we all joined in her gratitude.

Man possessed a religion of natural origin as a part of his evolutionary experience long before any systematic revelations were made on Urantia. But this religion of natural origin was, in itself, the product of man’s superanimal endowments. Evolutionary religion arose slowly throughout the millenniums of mankind’s experiential career through the ministry by the following influences operating within, and impinging upon, savage, barbarian, and civilised man:

The Adjutant of worship…

The Adjutant of wisdom…

The Holy Spirit…

The co-ordinate functioning of these three divine ministrations is quite sufficient to initiate and prosecute the growth of evolutionary religion.  92:0.1 (1003.1-5) (emphasise added)

Such a great explanation of an evolutionary religion in only a few paragraphs of the introduction of this paper gave us a lot to talk about. The following seven sections offered more information of the steps the evolutionary mortals took in forming their cultural mores, the emergence of leaders and the acceptance of the gift of revelation in place of superstition and fear.

Paper 92 is like a treasure-chest, and we had a lot of discussion throughout this very interesting study; it was a great weekend for all of us – and, as is usual for us, we ended up in a cafeteria for socialisation.

This book changes lives. 

Bevan, Dennis, Prue and Regina