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Interfaith Interface

  • 2020-06-16 9:36 PM | Stephanie

    THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS   By Alan Rezaei  

    Major Tenets of

    The Church of Jesus Christ

    of Latter-Day Saints

    Comparative Passages from The Urantia Book

    1. The Godhead - Heavenly Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit as 3 separate spiritual beings who are unified in purpose.

    10:3.1 "Notwithstanding there is only one Deity, there are three positive and divine personalizations of Deity."

    (aka Heavenly Father/Eternal Son/Infinite Sprit)

    2. The Plan of Salvation/Progression - Heavenly Father's universal plan for us to become perfect even as He is through giving our pre-mortal spirits (aka Thought Adjuster) earthly bodies, opportunity to gain experience in this life, and be resurrected and glorified in the next (aka Mansion Worlds).

    32:5.7 “There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life.”

    108:6.6  “And as you are the human parent, so is the Adjuster the divine parent of the real you, your higher and advancing self, your better morontial and future spiritual self."

    3. The At-one-ment of Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ living his complete life on earth provided a way for us to become perfected  like Heavenly Father through Christ's power, earthly example, and guidance from his Light of Christ (aka Spirit of Truth)

    120:2.3 “When you have succeeded in terminating the Urantia secession, as you undoubtedly will, I counsel you to ... do any and all things, consistent with the purport of your bestowal, to atone for the sorrow and confusion brought upon Urantia by the Caligastia betrayal and the subsequent Adamic default."

    194:2.6 "Thus it appears that the Spirit of Truth comes really to lead all believers into all truth, into the expanding knowledge of the experience of the living and growing spiritual consciousness of the reality of eternal and ascending sonship with God." 

    4. The Restoration of the original Gospel of Jesus Christ - A return to the original teachings, religious organization, and priesthood offices setup in Jesus' time. 

    - Greater focus on the life of Jesus Christ and not just his death. 

    Greater focus on living the two great commandments:  Emphasis on gaining a personal testimony and being spirit lead. 

    -Non-paid general lay ministry.

    -Modern day Women's Evangelistic Corp re-established called Relief Society.

    - Ministry callings and responsibilities for all members over 12 yrs old.

    195:10.5 " In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers—so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve."

    195:10.6  "The call to the adventure of building a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh."

    5. Modern Day Prophets/Apostles and Continued Revelation - God has again called prophets and Apostles to speak for Him and lead His Church. Individuals can receive personal revelation for areas in their spiritual stewardship. Inspired scriptures continue to be given to us such as the Book of Mormon - a revelation of Christ's dealings with the American continent during biblical times. Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and given The Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ to jump start the Church  and re-focus on his core gospel - Fatherhood of God and loving service to the Brotherhood of Man.

    196:2.6 “Jesus founded the religion of personal experience in doing the will of God and serving the human brotherhood.”

    195:10.16 "The great hope of Urantia lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged presentation of his saving message which would spiritually unite in loving service the numerous families of his present-day professed followers."

    6Restored Priesthood and Priesthood Keys - The eternal power and authority of God has been given back to us for organizing and  improving the temporal and spiritual welfare of our fellow brothers and sisters. This includes the Aaronic priesthood to administer in the temporal affairs & the Melchizedek priesthood to administer the spiritual affairs.

    From 1820-1836, Joseph Smith was visited by various members of the
    (Council of 24) who gave him these same keys to administer in Christ's restored religious organization once again on the earth. These included John the Baptist, Moses, Elijah, & Enoch.

    157:0.1 “To you and your successors I now deliver the keys of the outward kingdom—the authority over things temporal—the social and economic features of this association of men and women as fellows of the kingdom." 

    39:4.14 – “The keys of the kingdom are sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity. All men have these keys. Men use them – advance in their spirit status – by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions. The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value – in any sphere, in all of them – this is to choose to do the will of God.”

    7. Making personal Covenants with God through outward Ordinances - Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, Temple Endowment, and Temple Marriage are various ordinances and covenants that we can make in this life that represent our future universe journey.

    Commonalities in the Teachings of The Urantia Book: 1. Baptism - receiving a Thought Adjuster around 8yrs. 2. Gift of the Holy Ghost - all of your spiritual ministering forces. 3. Temple Endowment - Adjuster fusion into a new Spirit being. 4. Temple Marriage - having an Eternal companion and administering creations like Christ Michael & the Universe Mother Spirit.


  • 2020-06-16 9:30 PM | Stephanie

    CHRISTIANITY- THE RELIGION OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD AND BROTHERHOOD OF MAN MEDIATED BY JESUS

    Orthodox ChristianityGreek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Orthodox

     Major Tenets of Orthodox Christianity

    Comparative Passages from The Urantia Book

    Orthodox “The Fatherhood” of Jesus. Jesus created our Universe. Jesus is the second person of the trinity and together with the Father and the Holy Spirit created our universe.

    “Such an experiential discovery-career of the realization of God begins with the recognition of the divinity of the Creator Son of the local universe…(The Forward, Section iii).

    Greek and Roman Catholic - Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity and, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, has created the vast universe

    The three blue concentric circles is a universal symbol of the Trinity – The Universal Father, the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit. “Melchizedek wore an emblem of three concentric circles, the symbol of the Paradise Trinity

    (Paper 93.2)

    Greek and Roman Catholic - The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. She is a virgin and did not make any other children, nor was she in relation with any man or with Joseph. The Virgin Mary is worshiped by all, and it is believed that she intercedes for all people to Her Son, and to our God, for the well-being of all mankind.

    The Local Universe Mother Spirit – (Paper 34). This personalized presence of the Infinite Spirit, the Creative Mother Spirit of the local universe, is known in …as the Divine Minister. (Paper 34.1). The Universe Mother Spirit acts as the universe focus and center of the Spirit of Truth as well as of her own personal influence, the Holy Spirit (Paper 34.4).


  • 2020-04-20 1:33 PM | Stephanie

                  ISLAM – in Arabic means “surrender”

                   The Religion of Choosing God’s Will

    Major Tenets of Islam

    Comparative Passages from The Urantia Book

    There is One God (Allah in Arabic)

    Sole sovereign & ruler of the universe.

    “The Universal Father is the God of all creation, the First Source and Center of all things and beings. ‘You God alone: there is none beside you. You have created the heavens…with all their hosts….” Paper 1.01.

    99 names of God, the most merciful and compassionate, who is Infinite in nature.

    Paper 1 -The Universal Father

           Section 1 - The Father’s name

    Paper 2 - The Nature of God

           Section 4 - The Divine Mercy

           Section 5 - The Love of God “God is Love” therefore his only personal attitude towards the affairs of his universe is always a reaction of divine affection.     

    Paper 3 - The Attributes of God

            Section 1 - God’s Everywhereness

    Muslim means “one who submits to the will of God

    “The Doing the Will of God is …. An exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God.… “Paper 111.5.1 The Consecration of choice))“The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value, and always –in any sphere, in all of them – this is to choose to do the will of God…(Pater 39:4.14) Jesus brought to God, as a man of the realm, the greatest of all offerings: the consecration and dedication of his own will to the majestic service of doing the divine will.” (Paper 196.0.10)

    First of 5 Pillars of Islam – Shadala – (Confirmation of Faith) – There is one God

    “Of God, the most inescapable of all presences, the most real of all facts, the most living of all truths, the most loving of all friends, and the most divine of all values, we have the right to be most certain of all universe experiences.

    Paper 102:7.10) 

    Salat (prayer) – Devoting oneself to God does not require one to enter a place of worship – one can engage in prayer and worship throughout the day

    Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals.

    (Paper 144.2.2)

    Zakat (Alms Giving) – gives a sense of true peace.

    Sawa (fasting) especially the month of Ramadan. Fasting increases self-restraint, spiritual cleansing and strengthens the will.

    Worship for the purpose of service. “To ‘follow Jesus’ means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man.” (Paper 96.1).)                                                                                                    ___________________________________________________________

    “It is too the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, balanced chemical function, that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted.” (Paper 110.6).

    Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca

    Abraham built Mecca

    Although it may be an error to speak of “chosen people,” it is not a mistake to refer to Abraham as a chosen individual. Melchizedek did lay upon Abraham the responsibility of keeping alive the truth of one God as distinguished from the prevailing belief in plural deities” (Paper 93, Section 5. The Selection of Abraham).

    The God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all the prophets, is the same God who sent Mohammad.

     “A few weeks after the death of Abraham’s father, Terah, Melchizedek sent one of his students… to extend this invitation to both Abraham and Nahor: “Come to Salem, where you shall hear our teachings of the truth of the eternal Creator, and in the enlightened offspring of you two brothers shall all the world be blessed.” (93:5.5).

    Melchizedek’s mission based in Salem (Palestine) was a mission of World Ministry to teach the concept of One God.

    Paper 93, Section 3 – Melchizedek’s Teachings

    Paper 93, Section 4 – The Salem Religion

    Paper 93, Section 5 – The Selection of Abraham

    First of six Articles of Faith (“Iman”) includes belief in Allah, the only God, and belief in Angels.

    Archangels (Paper 37.3). Seraphic Hosts (Paper 39).Seraphic Guardians of Destiny (Paper 113).  The Most Highs rule in the kingdoms of men.

    The concept of worship in Islam encourages connecting with God in every action you take – In the name of God, the most gracious and the most merciful.

    Spiritual Communion which leads to worship. Worship for the purpose of service. You can do God’s will in any earthly occupation.

     “[Jesus] lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father’s will….The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God: and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship – unbroken communion with God.”

    (Paper 96. Intro).

    Islam teaches the merit of a person’s action depends on the intention.

    “…But I look beyond the act to uncover the motive….You must judge your fellows by their deeds: but the Father in heaven judges by the intent….[he] looks into the hearts of his children and in mercy adjudges them in accordance with their intents and real desires.”

    (quote from Jesus in Paper 140.6.4-5 – The Ordination of the Twelve). Genuine religion is not merely thinking, but is also feeling, acting, and living. The of true religion are faith in a supreme Deity, hope of eternal survival, and love-especially love of one's fellows. (Paper103 – The Reality of Religious Experience)


  • 2020-04-20 10:20 AM | Stephanie

    SUFISM – A Bridge Between Religions

      A Mystical Path branching from Islam

    MAJOR TENENTS OF SUFISM

    COMPARATIVE PASSAGES FROM                                                             THE URANTIA BOOK

    Sufism (in Arabic Tasawwuf) often defined as “Islamic mysticism” or the Inward dimension of Islam” – identifies the practice of Sufism.

    ______________________________________________

    The important contribution of the Sufi movement to religious thought is that God is an inner experience.

    “Doing the will of God… willingness to share your inner life with God.” (Paper 111.5.1). “Although the approach to the Paradise presence of the Father must await your attainment of the highest finite levels of spirit progression, you should rejoice in the recognition of the ever-present possibility of immediate communion with the bestowal spirit of the Father so intimately associated with your inner soul and your spiritualizing self.” (Paper 5.13 - God’s Relation to the Individual).

    ___________________________________________________________

    “The creature not only exists in God, but God also lives in the creature. “We know we dwell in him because he lives in us; he has given us his spirit. This gift from the Paradise Father is man’s inseparable companion.” “He is the ever-present and all-pervading God.” “The spirit of the everlasting Father is concealed in the mind of every mortal child.” “Man goes forth searching for a friend while that very friend lives within his own heart.” “The true God is not afar off; he is a part of us; his spirit speaks from within us.” “The Father lives in the child. God is always with us. He is the guiding spirit of eternal destiny. 

    (Paper 3.1.4 – The Attributes of God).

    Sufis characterized by their practice of “dhikr”, the practice of the remembrance of God, often performed after prayers.

    Remembering to listen to God’s response after praying. “Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak.” 

    (Paper 146:2.17- First Preaching Tour of Galilee).

    Sufis strive for “ihsan” (or perfection of Worship), as detailed in a “hadith”. “Ihsan is to worship Allah as you see Him: if you can’t see him, surely He sees you.”

    Worship and prayer: “Although the approach to the Paradise presence of the Father must await your attainment of the highest finite levels of spirit progression, you should rejoice in the recognition of the ever-present possibility of immediate communion with the bestowal spirit of the Father so intimately associated with your inner soul and your spiritualizing self. (Paper 5:1.3). ... the greatest evidence of the goodness of God and the supreme reason for loving him is the indwelling gift of the Father—the Adjuster who so patiently awaits the hour when you both shall be eternally made one. Though you cannot find God by searching, if you will submit to the leading of the indwelling spirit, you will be unerringly guided, step by step, life by life, through universe upon universe, and age by age, until you finally stand in the presence of the Paradise personality of the Universal Father.”(Paper 2:5.5 -The Nature and Love of God).

    Sufism has been described as the “interiorization and intensification of Islamic faith and practice.”

    “Those who have received and recognized the indwelling of God have been born of the Spirit. ‘You are the temple of God,

    and the spirit of God dwells in you.’ It is not enough that this spirit be poured out upon you; the divine Spirit must dominate

    and control every phase of human experience. It is the presence of the divine Spirit…” (Paper 34.6 – The Spirit in Man).

    Sufi monastic practice emphasizes discipline, poverty, abstinence, and sometimes celibacy. The practices of the “whirling dervish” is worship to “The One.”

    “Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals.” (Paper 144.2.2 – The Discourse on Prayer).

  • 2020-03-15 8:25 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    Interfaith Committee’s 

    “Commonality Among Faiths” Project

    by Stevie Shaefer

    “Someday religionists will get together and actually affect cooperation on the basis of ideals and purposes rather than attempting to do so on the basis of psychological opinions and theological beliefs.” (The Urantia Book, Paper 99.5.7) 

    The Urantia Book Fellowship Interfaith Committee is participating in an ongoing project entitled “Commonality Among Faiths.” In order to encourage interfaith empathy, understanding and dialogue, we plan to share one to two major faith groups each month, focusing on ideals and purposes as much as possible, while correlating quotes from The Urantia Book for each faith group. We will start with faith groups that harmonize religions in this issue, The Bahai Faith (Progressive Revelation and the Oneness of Religion), and Sufism (A Bridge Between Religions – A Mystical Path Branching from Islam).

    Notebook of Major Tenets of Some World Religions

    With Comparative Passages from The Urantia Book

    BAHA’I – Progressive Revelation and the Oneness of Religion

    MAJOR TENETS OF BAHA’I

    COMPARATIVE PASSAGES FROM

    THE URANTIA BOOK

    The Oneness of God/Progressive Revelation:

    “The spiritual part [of religion] never changes. All the Manifestations of God and His Prophets have taught the same truths…They all teach the one code of morality. There is no division in truth.”

    “…. Revelation …affirms that this First Cause of science and religion’s God of salvation are one and the same Deity.”

    (Paper 101.2.5 - The Real Nature of Religion).

     

    The Essential Unity of Religion:

    “All religions teach that we must do good, that we must be generous, sincere, truthful, law-abiding, and faithful; all this is reasonable and logically the only way in which humanity will progress.” 

    “The many religions of Urantia are all good to the extent that they bring man to God and the realization of the Father to man.”

    (Paper 92.7.3 – The Later Evolution of Religion).

     

     

    The Unity of Mankind

     

    “All these religions …can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals – these are intellectual; but they can, and someday will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in spirit all men are equal” (Paper 92.7.4 – The Later Evolution of Religion).

    Elimination of all Forms of Prejudice

    “There is not a Urantia religion that could not profitably study and assimilate the best of truths contained in every other faith, for all contain truth. Religions would do better to borrow the best of the truths contained in their neighbors’ living spiritual faith rather than to denounce the worst in their lingering superstitions and outworn Rituals” (Paper 92.7.3- The Further Evolution of Religion).

    The Light of God – 

    “The Sun has sent forth many rays to illumine human intelligence, the light is always the same.” 

    “There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that “true light which lights every man who comes into the world” (Paper 101:0.3 -The Real Nature of Religion).

    Harmony of Religion and Science – “If religion were in harmony with science and they walked together, much of the hatred and bitterness now bringing misery to the human race would be at an end….Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone!”

    “True science can have no lasting quarrel with true religion”

    (Paper 195.7.2).

    “The highest attainable philosophy of mortal man must be logically based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the truth insight afforded by revelation” (Paper 103.6.15 – The Reality of Religious Experience).

     

       

         The three central figures of the Baha’i religion:

    1. The Bab (the “gate” or equivalent to John the Baptist).

    2. The Founder of the Baha’i Faith Baha’u’llah,  a “manifestation of God” (considered to be equivalent to Jesus and other prophets, and

    3.Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, thought to be the embodiment of “living the teachings”(his writings and talks are regarded as a source of Baha’i sacred literature).

    His Paris talks are considered amongst his best lectures and quotes from that are compared to quotes from The Urantia Book above.

          Other important Baha'i concepts include:

    World peace

    Equality of men and women

    Independent investigation of truth

    The need for universal compulsory education

    The need for a universal auxiliary language

    Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics

    Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty


     



  • 2020-02-19 4:15 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    Experiencing Interfaith Dialogue and Building Empathy Among Religionists: What Works?

    By Stephanie (Stevie) Shaefer

    Interfaith Empathy and Communication - What is Interfaith?

          Jesus in the Urantia Book models personal religion – personal relationship with our “Heavenly Father Within” which is unique for each person. Thus, in this series interfaith is defined as each person with a personal relationship with God, regardless of their religion, in communication with all others. Building interfaith empathy is focusing on commonalities, rather than differences, talking less and listening more, and demonstrating sincere understanding. The “Tao of Communication” is caring more about the what the other person has to say, than what you have to say. Active Listening, summarizing both verbally and non-verbally what the other person is saying and what they think about what they are saying (not what you think they are saying), lets the other know you are truly listening, and can clarify and create more understanding, and  encourages more communication.

    •  

    What works?

         Sharing your intention in a prayer, self-disclosure, focusing on commonalities,

    using concepts and quotes from the teachings of The Urantia Book as examples, developing empathy by actively listening to others and ourselves both verbally and nonverbally, using effective communication skills such as   I-messages, rather than You-messages, avoiding roadblocks to effective communication, and practicing rules of dialogue developed by consensus.

    •  

    Interfaith Committee’s  “Commonality Among Faiths” Project

         The Urantia Book Fellowship Interfaith Committee is participating in an ongoing project entitled “Commonality Among Faiths” which began in preparation for the World Parliament of Religions, and culminated in a book that we plan to publish as an e-book that that we can add to and edit. Each page is dedicated to a faith group, and includes major concepts of that faith group and correlates each concept to quotes from The Urantia Book. In sharing the book with other religionists at the World Parliament of Religions, etc. we received positive feedback and it encouraged interfaith dialogue.

         In order to encourage interfaith empathy, understanding and dialogue, we plan to share one to two major faith groups each month, focusing on ideals and purposes as much as possible, while correlating quotes from The Urantia Book for each faith group. We will start with faith groups that harmonize religions such as Bahai and Sufism, followed by the fastest growing religion in the world, accordimg to PEW research, Islam. We then plan to include Buddhism, Hinduism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and many others.

    “Someday religionists will get together and actually affect cooperation on the basis of ideals and purposes rather than attempting to do so on the basis of psychological opinions and theological beliefs.” (The Urantia Book, Paper 99.5.7)

  • 2019-12-30 12:55 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

    The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is also often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form.

    The adjective ecumenical can also be applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation among Christians and their churches, whether or not the specific aim of that effort is full, visible unity. It can also be applied in the same way to other religions or to refer to unity between religions or between people in general - in this sense it means non-sectarian, non-denominational.

    The terms ecumenism and ecumenical come from the Greek οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which means "the whole inhabited world," and was historically used with specific reference to the Roman Empire.[2] The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4:3) and the "whole inhabited earth" (Matthew 24:14) as the concern of all Christians.

    In Christianity, even though there is an ecumenical church, the qualification ecumenical originally strove for cooperation between all churches and dioceses. Used in this sense, the term carries no connotation of re-uniting the historically separated Christian denominations but presumes a unity of local congregations in a worldwide communion.

    In the context of the Fellowship’s Interfaith Committee, I like this term. I feel it applies to not only the independent churches but also to all the Urantia Book readers support organizations.

    The third Sunday in Jan was established in 1950 by the Baha’i’s of Chicago as a day to focus on the “unity of religion.” Unity of religion is a core teaching of the Baháʼí Faith, which states that there is a fundamental unity in most of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God. It is one of the core teachings of the Baháʼí Faith, alongside the unity of God, and the unity of humanity. Sounds like the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of mankind to me.

    What does it take to be an ecumenist? Understand the common Christ centric goals and work to support those goals in all organizations.



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