The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 103: The Reality of Religious Experience
Although religious awakening is a gradual process, some spiritual births are accompanied by crisis and anguish while others are a natural growth of the recognition of spiritual values. Because personalities are unique, no two individuals interpret divine leadings the same way. People tend to agree more easily on religious goals than on beliefs or creeds.
Every human being experiences conflict between self-seeking and altruistic impulses. An unselfish choice in the face of a desire to be selfish constitutes a primitive religious experience. God-consciousness is sometimes attained as the result of seeking for help in the resolution of such moral conflicts.
In the absence of wrong teaching, the minds of normal children move toward moral righteousness and social ministry. The first emergence of a child's moral nature is a response to justice, fairness, or kindness. Unselfish interest in the welfare of others springs from the divine within; animals cannot make such a choice.
Only a fairly well unified personality can arbitrate the conflicts between ego and social consciousness. When there is failure of personality unification, altruistic tendencies may become overdeveloped and injurious to the welfare of the self. The rights of the self and the rights of one's neighbors must be balanced, although this dilemma cannot always be resolved in time and space.
Man's ideals tend to grow by geometric progression, while his ability to live up to his ideals grows only arithmetically. Rather than hoping to live up to his highest ideals, he can try to seek God and become more like him. The pursuit of the ideal-striving to be Godlike-is a continuous effort before and after death. The good accomplished in mortal life carries over to the enhancement of life after death and directly contributes to the first stages of immortal survival experience. Man is truly the architect of his own eternal destiny.
Neither science nor religion can hope to provide a complete understanding of universal truths. An analytical study of the cosmos will reveal to the mind and the physical senses that the universe is mechanical and material. A view of the universe from the perspective of the inner life makes all of creation appear to be spiritual. Failure to coordinate these two viewpoints is due to ignorance of the domain between the spiritual and material worlds-the morontia phase of reality.
Man's highest philosophy should be based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the insight of revelation. Science and religion are each incomplete and are predicated on assumptions. In the mortal state, nothing can be proven absolutely; revelation must compensate for the frailties of evolving philosophy. Genuine religion is not merely thinking, but is also feeling, acting, and living. The earmarks of true religion are faith in a supreme Deity, hope of eternal survival, and love-especially love of one's fellows.