The Urmia Lectures
On the way to the Caspian Sea, Jesus had stopped several days for rest and recuperation at the old Persian city of Urmia on the western shores of Lake Urmia. On the largest of a group of islands situated a short distance offshore near Urmia was located a large building–a lecture amphitheater–dedicated to the “spirit of religion.” This structure was really a temple of the philosophy of religions.
This temple of religion had been built by a wealthy merchant citizen of Urmia and his three sons. This man was Cymboyton, and he numbered among his ancestors many diverse peoples.
The lectures and discussions in this school of religion began at ten o’clock, and the evening debates opened at eight o’clock. Cymboyton or one of his three sons always presided at these sessions of teaching, discussion, and debate. The founder of this unique school of religions lived and died without ever revealing his personal religious beliefs.
On several occasions Jesus participated in these discussions, and before he left Urmia, Cymboyton arranged with Jesus to sojourn with them two weeks on his return trip and give twenty-four lectures on “The Brotherhood of Men,” and to conduct twelve evening sessions of questions, discussions, and debates on his lectures in particular and on the brotherhood of men in general.
In accordance with this arrangement, Jesus stopped off on the return trip and delivered these lectures. This was the most systematic and formal of all the Master’s teaching on Urantia. Never before or after did he say so much on one subject as was contained in these lectures and discussions on the brotherhood of men. In reality these lectures were on the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdoms of Men.”
More than thirty religions and religious cults were represented on the faculty of this temple of religious philosophy. These teachers were chosen, supported, and fully accredited by their respective religious groups. At this time there were about seventy-five teachers on the faculty, and they lived in cottages each accommodating about a dozen persons. Every new moon these groups were changed by the casting of lots. Intolerance, a contentious spirit, or any other disposition to interfere with the smooth running of the community would bring about the prompt and summary dismissal of the offending teacher. He would be unceremoniously dismissed, and his alternate in waiting would be immediately installed in his place.
These teachers of the various religions made a great effort to show how similar their religions were in regard to the fundamental things of this life and the next. There was but one doctrine which had to be accepted in order to gain a seat on this faculty–every teacher must represent a religion which recognized God– some sort of supreme Deity. There were five independent teachers on the faculty who did not represent any organized religion, and it was as such an independent teacher that Jesus appeared before them.
[When the revelators, the midwayers of the revelatory commission, first prepared the summary of Jesus’ teachings at Urmia, there arose a disagreement between the seraphim of the churches and the seraphim of progress as to the wisdom of including these teachings in this Urantia Revelation. Conditions of the twentieth century, prevailing in both religion and human governments, being so different from those prevailing in Jesus’ day that it was indeed difficult to adapt the Master’s teachings at Urmia to the problems of the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men as these world functions were existent in the twentieth century. They were never able to formulate a statement of the Master’s teachings which was acceptable to both groups of these seraphim of planetary government. Finally, the Melchizedek chairman of the revelatory commission appointed a commission of three of their number to prepare the revelators’ view of the Master’s Urmia teachings as adapted to (then) twentieth-century religious and political conditions on Urantia. Accordingly, those three secondary midwayers completed such an adaptation of Jesus’ teachings, restating his pronouncements as they would apply them to (at that time) present-day world conditions, and thus they presented the following statements as they stood after having been edited by the Melchizedek chairman of the revelatory commission.]
SOVEREIGNTY — DIVINE AND HUMAN
The brotherhood of men is founded on the fatherhood of God. The family of God is derived from the love of God — God is love. God the Father divinely loves his children, all of them, and certainly that includes you and me!
The kingdom of heaven, the divine government, is founded on the fact of divine sovereignty–God is spirit. Since God is spirit, this kingdom is spiritual. The kingdom of heaven is neither material nor merely intellectual; it is a spiritual relationship between God and man.
If different religions recognize the spirit sovereignty of God the Father, then will all such religions remain at peace. Only when one assumes that it is in some way superior to all others, and that it possesses exclusive authority over other religions, will such a religion presume to be intolerant of other religions or dare to persecute other religious believers.
Religious peace — brotherhood — can never exist unless all religions are willing to completely divest themselves of all ecclesiastical authority and fully surrender all concept of spiritual sovereignty. God alone is spirit sovereign.
You cannot have equality among religions (religious liberty) without having religious wars unless all religions consent to the transfer of all religious sovereignty to some superhuman level, to God himself.
The kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men will create religious unity (not necessarily uniformity) because any and all religious groups composed of such religious believers will be free from all notions of ecclesiastical authority — religious sovereignty.
God is spirit, and God gives a fragment of his spirit self to dwell in the heart of man. Spiritually, all wo/men are equal. The kingdom of heaven is free from castes, classes, social levels, and economic groups. You are all brethren.
But the moment you lose sight of the spirit sovereignty of God the Father, some one religion will begin to assert its superiority over other religions; and then, instead of peace on earth and good will among men, there will start dissensions, recriminations, even religious wars, at least wars among religionists.
Freewill beings who regard themselves as equals, unless they mutually acknowledge themselves as subject to some supersovereignty, some authority over and above themselves, sooner or later are tempted to try out their ability to gain power and authority over other persons and groups. The concept of equality never brings peace except in the mutual recognition of some overcontrolling influence of supersovereignty.
The Urmia religionists lived together in comparative peace and tranquility because they had fully surrendered all their notions of religious sovereignty. Spiritually, they all believed in a sovereign God; socially, full and unchallengeable authority rested in their presiding head – Cymboyton. They well knew what would happen to any teacher who assumed to lord it over his fellow teachers. There can be no lasting religious peace on our planet Urantia until all religious groups freely surrender all their notions of divine favor, chosen people, and religious sovereignty. Only when God the Father becomes supreme will wo/men become religious sisters and brothers and live together in religious peace on earth
[While the Master’s teaching concerning the sovereignty of God is a truth — only complicated by the subsequent appearance of the religion about him among the world’s religions — his presentations concerning political sovereignty are vastly complicated by the political evolution of nation life during the last two thousand years and more. In the times of Jesus there were only two great world powers — the Roman Empire in the West and the Han Empire in the East — and these were widely separated by the Parthian kingdom and other intervening lands of the Caspian and Turkestan regions. The revelators have, therefore, in the following presentation departed more widely from the substance of the Master’s teaching at Urmia concerning political sovereignty, at the same time attempting to depict the import of such teachings as they are applicable to the peculiarly critical stage of the evolution of political sovereignty in the (then) twentieth century after Christ.]
War on Urantia will never end so long as nations cling to the illusive notions of unlimited national sovereignty. There are only two levels of relative sovereignty on an inhabited world: the spiritual free will of the individual mortal and the collective sovereignty of mankind as a whole. Between the level of the individual human being and the level of the total of mankind, all groupings and associations are relative, transitory, and of value only in so far as they enhance the welfare, well-being, and progress of the individual and the planetary grand total — man and mankind.
Religious teachers must always remember that the spiritual sovereignty of God overrides all intervening and intermediate spiritual loyalties. Some day civil rulers will learn that the Most Highs rule in the kingdoms of men.
This rule of the Most Highs in the kingdoms of men is not for the especial benefit of any especially favored group of mortals. There is no such thing as a “chosen people.” The rule of the Most Highs, the (spiritual) over-controllers of political evolution, is a rule designed to foster the greatest good to the greatest number of all wo/men and for the greatest length of time.
Sovereignty is power and it grows by organization. This growth of the organization of political power is good and proper, for it tends to encompass ever widening segments of the total of mankind. But this same growth of political organizations creates a problem at every intervening stage between the initial and natural organization of political power — the family — and the final consummation of political growth — the government of all mankind, by all mankind, and for all mankind.
Starting out with parental power in the family group, political sovereignty evolves by organization as families overlap into consanguineous clans which become united, for various reasons, into tribal units — superconsanguineous political groupings. And then, by trade, commerce, and conquest, tribes become unified as a nation, while nations themselves sometimes become unified by empire.
As sovereignty passes from smaller groups to larger groups, wars are lessened. That is, minor wars between smaller nations are lessened, but the potential for greater wars is increased as the nations wielding sovereignty become larger and larger. Presently, when all the world has been explored and occupied, when nations are few, strong, and powerful, when these great and supposedly sovereign nations come to touch borders, when only oceans separate them, then will the stage be set for major wars, world-wide conflicts. So-called sovereign nations cannot rub elbows without generating conflicts and eventuating wars.
The difficulty in the evolution of political sovereignty from the family to all mankind, lies in the inertia-resistance exhibited on all intervening levels. Families have, on occasion, defied their clan, while clans and tribes have often been subversive of the sovereignty of the territorial state. Each new and forward evolution of political sovereignty is (and has always been) embarrassed and hampered by the “scaffolding stages” of the previous developments in political organization. And this is true because human loyalties, once mobilized, are hard to change. The same loyalty which makes possible the evolution of the tribe, makes difficult the evolution of the supertribe–the territorial state. And the same loyalty (patriotism) which makes possible the evolution of the territorial state, vastly complicates the evolutionary development of the government of all mankind.
Political sovereignty is created out the surrender of self- determinism, first by the individual within the family and then by the families and clans in relation to the tribe and larger groupings. This progressive transfer of self-determination from the smaller to ever larger political organizations has generally proceeded unabated in the East since the establishment of the Ming and the Mogul dynasties. In the West it obtained for more than a thousand years right on down to the end of the World War, when an unfortunate retrograde movement temporarily reversed this normal trend by re-establishing the submerged political sovereignty of numerous small groups in Europe.
Urantia will not enjoy lasting peace until the so-called sovereign nations intelligently and fully surrender their sovereign powers into the hands of the brotherhood of men–mankind government. Internationalism — Leagues of Nations — can never bring permanent peace to mankind. World-wide confederations of nations will effectively prevent minor wars and acceptably control the smaller nations, but they will not prevent world wars nor control the three, four, or five most powerful governments. In the face of real conflicts, one of these world powers will withdraw from the League and declare war. You cannot prevent nations going to war as long as they remain infected with the delusional virus of national sovereignty. Internationalism is a step in the right direction. An international police force will prevent many minor wars, but it will not be effective in preventing major wars, conflicts between the great military governments of earth.
As the number of truly sovereign nations (great powers) decreases, so do both opportunity and need for mankind government increase. When there are only a few really sovereign (great) powers, either they must embark on the life and death struggle for national (imperial) supremacy, or else, by voluntary surrender of certain prerogatives of sovereignty, they must create the essential nucleus of supernational power which will serve as the beginning of the real sovereignty of all mankind.
Peace will not come to Urantia until every so-called sovereign nation surrenders its power to make war into the hands of a representative government of all mankind. Political sovereignty is innate with the peoples of the world. When all the peoples of Urantia create a world government, they have the right and power to make such a government SOVEREIGN; and when such a representation or democratic world power controls the world’s land, air, and naval forces, peace on earth and good will among men can prevail—but not until then.
To use an important nineteenth- and twentieth-century illustration: The forty-eight (now fifty) states of the (United States of America) American Federal Union have long enjoyed peace. They have no more wars among themselves. They have surrendered their sovereignty to the federal government, and through the arbitrament of war, they have abandoned all claims to the delusions of selfdetermination. While each state regulates its internal affairs, it is not concerned with foreign relations, tariffs, immigration, military affairs, or interstate commerce. Neither do the individual states concern themselves with matters of citizenship. The forty-eight (now fifty) states suffer the ravages of war only when the federal government’s sovereignty is in some way jeopardized.
These forty-eight (now fifty) states, having abandoned the twin sophistries of sovereignty and self-determination, enjoy interstate peace and tranquility. So will the nations of Urantia begin to enjoy peace when they freely surrender their respective sovereignties into the hands of a global government–the sovereignty of the brotherhood of men. In this world state the small nations will be as powerful as the great, even as the small state of Rhode Island has its two senators in the American Congress just the same as the populous state of New York or the large state of Texas.
The limited (state) sovereignty of these forty-eight (now fifty) states was created by men and for men. The superstate (national) sovereignty of the (United States of America) American Federal Union was created by the original thirteen of these states for their own benefit and for the benefit of men. Sometime the supernational sovereignty of the planetary government of mankind will be similarly created by nations for their own benefit and for the benefit of all men.
Citizens are not born for the benefit of governments; governments are organizations created and devised for the benefit of men. There can be no end to the evolution of political sovereignty short of the appearance of the government of the sovereignty of all men. All other sovereignties are relative in value, intermediate in meaning, and subordinate in status.
With scientific progress, wars are going to become more and more devastating until they become almost racially suicidal. How many world wars must be fought and how many leagues of nations must fail before men will be willing to establish the government of mankind and begin to enjoy the blessings of permanent peace and thrive on the tranquility of good will–world-wide good will–among wo/men.
LAW, LIBERTY, AND SOVEREIGNTY
If one man craves freedom — liberty — he must remember that all other men long for the same freedom. Groups of such liberty-loving mortals cannot live together in peace without becoming subservient to such laws, rules, and regulations as will grant each person the same degree of freedom while at the same time safeguarding an equal degree of freedom for all of his fellow mortals. If one man is to be absolutely free, then another must become an absolute slave. And the relative nature of freedom is true socially, economically, and politically. Freedom is the gift of civilization made possible by the enforcement of LAW.
Religion makes it spiritually possible to realize the brotherhood of men, but it will require mankind government to regulate the social, economic, and political problems associated with such a goal of human happiness and efficiency.
There shall be wars and rumors of wars — nation will rise against nation — just as long as the world’s political sovereignty is divided up and unjustly held by a group of nationstates. England, Scotland, and Wales were always fighting each other until they gave up their respective sovereignties, reposing them in the United Kingdom.
Another world war will teach the so-called sovereign nations to form some sort of federation, thus creating the machinery for preventing small wars, wars between the lesser nations. But global wars will go until the government of mankind is created. Global sovereignty will prevent global wars–nothing else can.
The forty-eight (now fifty) American free states live together in peace. There are among the citizens of these forty-eight (now fifty) states all of the various nationalities and races that live in the ever-warring nations of Europe. These Americans represent almost all the religions and religious sects and cults of the whole wide world, and yet here in North America they live together in peace. And all this is made possible because these forty-eight (now fifty) states have surrendered their sovereignty and have abandoned all notions of the supposed rights of self- determination.
It is not a question of armaments or disarmament. Neither does the question of conscription or voluntary military service enter into these problems of maintaining world-wide peace. If you take every form of modern mechanical armaments and all types of explosives away from strong nations, they will fight with fists, stones, and clubs as long as they cling to their delusions of the divine right of national sovereignty.
War is not man’s great and terrible disease; war is a symptom, a result. The real disease is the virus of national sovereignty.
Urantia nations have not possessed real sovereignty; they never have had a sovereignty which could protect them from the ravages and devastations of world wars. In the creation of the global government of mankind, the nations are not giving up sovereignty so much as they are actually creating a real, bona fide, and lasting world sovereignty which will henceforth be fully able to protect them from all war. Local affairs will be handled by local governments; national affairs, by national governments; international affairs will be administered by global government.
World peace cannot be maintained by treaties, diplomacy, foreign policies, alliances, balances of power, or any other type of makeshift juggling with the sovereignties of nationalism. World law must come into being and must be enforced by world government–the sovereignty of all mankind.
The individual will enjoy far more liberty under world government. Today, the citizens of the great powers are taxed, regulated, and controlled almost oppressively, and much of this present interference with individual liberties will vanish when the national governments are willing to trustee their sovereignty as regards international affairs into the hands of global government.
Under global government the national groups will be afforded a real opportunity to realize and enjoy the personal liberties of genuine democracy. The fallacy of selfdetermination will be ended. With global regulation of money and trade will come the new era of world-wide peace. Soon may a global language evolve, and there will be at least some hope of sometime having a global religion–or religions with a global viewpoint.
Collective security will never afford peace until the collectivity includes all mankind.
The political sovereignty of representative mankind government will bring lasting peace on earth, and the spiritual brotherhood of man will forever insure good will among all men. And there is no other way whereby peace on earth and good will among wo/men can be realized.
After the death of Cymboyton, his sons encountered great difficulties in maintaining a peaceful faculty. The repercussions of Jesus’ teachings would have been much greater if the later Christian teachers who joined the Urmia faculty had exhibited more wisdom and exercised more tolerance.
Cymboyton’s eldest son had appealed to Abner at Philadelphia for help, but Abner’s choice of teachers was most unfortunate in that they turned out to be unyielding and uncompromising. These teachers sought to make their religion dominant over the other beliefs. They never suspected that the oft-referred-to lectures of the caravan conductor had been delivered by Jesus himself.
As confusion increased in the faculty, the three brothers withdrew their financial support, and after five years the school closed. Later it was reopened as a Mithraic temple and eventually burned down in connection with one of their orgiastic celebrations.
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