The problem with religions is that they make God too small. They see God as a narrow-minded school teacher who has to whip his students on the back of the hand or on the behind whenever they do something wrong. And unless students follow the narrow rules of the schoolmaster, they flunk the course. Most religions put God in boxes—boxes of manmade doctrines created by new souls with inexperienced minds. All too often religious doctrines are not the ideals of God. God is synonymous with love, and love does not easily condemn any of His created beings to an eternal hell because they do not come in the name of the particular religion or doctrine.
Unfortunately on this world—due to the Lucifer Rebellion that happened 200,000 years ago—humankind is divided by many evolutionary religions that have developed with wrong doctrines and ideas about God. This is a fallen world—fallen because simplicity of love and all that God is has been changed into the rigidity of religious viewpoints, opinions, and doctrines of salvation.
Of course it is true that Jesus Christ came to this planet. But He came to teach the Fatherhood of God and the brother-/sisterhood of humankind. He did not come to die on the cross for the sins of humankind. Humans definitely do sin, and Jesus did say on the cross, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” But the sacrifice of life was not God’s requirement for forgiveness. The only formula to continue in the ascension process to Paradise and go to the first mansion world is the formula and desire to be a good and decent person, a kind person, and a loving person. Salvation is love, and all that man has to do to receive salvation is to be loving.
Although there should be no divisions of religions—like Christians, Buddhists, Moslems, Jews, Hindus—people from all of these religions will ascend to the first mansion worlds, if they are seeking God and trying to overcome their lower natures. They may not read the Old Testament or the New Testament. They may read another religious text. But if they know the God of all humanity and are trying to walk in the virtues of this one God, that is the beginning of salvation.
Most of Christianity (Catholic and Protestant) teaches that you have to know Jesus and come in the name of Christianity—in other words you have to be a Christian—to be saved (with the exception of the more liberal and progressive Christian denominations). Thus we have the crusades, which are still taking place today in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now Christian fundamentalists in our government and in the churches want to start a war with Iran.
Christian fundamentalists do not think that Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, or Urantia Book readers are “saved,” even though these groups (and others) do believe in being “born again,” follow Jesus, and try to grow in the virtues of God. The Christian fundamentalists believe in the doctrine taught in the Old Testament, where a blood sacrifice has to be made to appease God. So they say Jesus Christ was the blood sacrifice.
Even some of the apostles, who were basically Jews and readers of the Old Testament, misinterpreted what the Master had told them and said that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The Catholic Church made the first-century apostles saints, but they were mere men who misunderstood a lot of what their Master taught them and definitively what salvation was. This is why the Bible, Old and New Testaments, cannot be taken literally in many verses.
Jesus Himself said, “If you are not against me, you are for me.” There was an incident in the New Testament where the apostles came upon some believers who did not necessarily follow all the doctrines that the apostles thought that Jesus taught. And they came to Jesus and said, “We need to stop these people from baptizing in your name.” And Jesus said, “Let them be. If they are for me, how can they be against me?”
Today Christianity is divided by more than 2,000 different denominations and Christian sects, all who have differing views of not only salvation but of other doctrines of man, which separate one denomination from the other. So too do the Moslems have their fundamentalists who divide the Moslems into their sects—the Shiites as opposed to Kurds, and so on. The Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í faith in the nineteenth century, tried to bring all the Moslems together under one God, as well as all the religions under one God, but he was greatly persecuted by his own people and imprisoned.
Throughout the last 2,000 years, Christian mystics and other holy men of Christianity who had the belief that Jesus was the Son of God, but who did not believe in the false teachings of the salvation doctrines of Christianity, tried to bring not only the Christians together under one God but all religions under one God. They were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, beheaded by Protestant fundamentalists in England and other countries, and today they are misrepresented and marginalized and called cult leaders.
Because there was no epochal revelation—like The URANTIA Book (the Fifth Epochal Revelation) until 1955 and The Cosmic Family volumes (the Continuing Fifth Epochal Revelation) until the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries—a higher understanding by even Christian mystics of salvation, the Trinity, and the creation of the master universe by the Creator Sons (Paradise origin beings created by the Trinity in which Jesus was a Creator Son) was not available in the printed word. This was because the consciousness of humanity was not ready for these cosmic truths until the mid-twentieth century. And now, approximately 62 years later, only a small number of humanity reads and understands The URANTIA Book or The Cosmic Family volumes, because these books are relatively new to the planet.
There have been five epochal revelations to this planet, and they usually are thousands of years apart. An epochal revelation is not just a revelation. An epochal revelation is when the Universal Father and Creator Son of a prospective universe give more information about the created grand universe and the ascension process of some of those universes, including the universe in which the earth orbits, which is called Nebadon.
The universe of Nebadon was created by the Creator Son Jesus Christ Michael, “Michael” because all Creator Sons are called Michael Sons. Christianity teaches that Michael is an archangel, but there are hundreds of thousands of angels called Michael, all wanting to be named after the Creator Son of Nebadon, Jesus Christ Michael.
Rodan, a Greek philosopher and disciple of Jesus, said these words in The URANTIA Book, which are very clear about salvation:
“The religion of Jesus transcends all our former concepts of the idea of worship in that he not only portrays his Father as the ideal of infinite reality but positively declares that this divine source of values and the eternal center of the universe is truly and personally attainable by every mortal creature who chooses to enter the kingdom of heaven on earth, thereby acknowledging the acceptance of sonship with God and brotherhood with man.” (p.1781)
So it is clear here that all humankind can receive salvation and enter the kingdom of God (not just Christians) and that the born-again experience can be had by all humankind (not just Christians who come in the name of Jesus, but humanity who comes in the name of the Universal Father of All).
Rodan goes on to say, concerning the born-again experience:
“This gospel enables us to seek for the true God and to find him. But are we willing to pay the price of this entrance into the kingdom of heaven? Are we willing to be born again? To be remade? Are we willing to be subject to this terrible and testing process of self-destruction and soul reconstruction? Has not the Master said: ‘Whoso would save his life must lose it. Think not that I have come to bring peace but rather a soul struggle’? True, after we pay the price of dedication to the Father's will, we do experience great peace provided we continue to walk in these spiritual paths of consecrated living.” (p. 1782)
So you do not have to join a Christian church to be saved or to receive salvation, rather you have to join the Universal Father and seek to be like the personality of God, because God is personality and we are personality. And God bestows part of His personality on us humans, as we are to grow into the fullness of the virtues of God’s personality in our uniqueness.
On higher worlds in time and space (where there has been no rebellion and no separation into religions) and in the future first stage of light and life on Urantia (Earth), religions will no longer exist, and there will be only be one God, one planetary family.
It is true (in the ideal sense) that all religions lead to the same God, but if people get stuck in the doctrines of those religions, they will get further and further away in the virtues of God as well as the true doctrines of truth in eternity. So on this fallen world, also known as the third dimension, eventually people actually need to step out of those evolutionary religions and into the fourth dimension, which has no denominations or sects but just a relationship by individuals with the Universal Father of All.
Too many buildings have become known as a church. But a building is just a gathering place for people to worship and learn about God. It should not be known as a place where God exists in any fullness because God exists in all His creation. And a gathering outdoors or in the wilderness can, of course, be more powerful with the experience of the Spirit of God than in a building, if the people in that building begin to believe their particular group has a higher understanding of the knowledge and truth of God.
Where people with the highest virtues gather together, there God may be more present. But God exists everywhere in all His creation. And people can experience God anywhere, at any time—in the oceans, in the mountains, in the fields, in the deserts. And a person can be born again in any of these places, including a jail, as long as the person comes to the Father and makes a commitment to turn over his or her life to God.
The URANTIA Book teaches an ascension process after death on this earth—through the seven mansion worlds, traversing through the constellation, the local universe, the minor and major sectors, the superuniverse, the central universe, and finally attaining Paradise. There is no hell. Hell is living on a fallen world and being separated from God. The closer one gets to God, one can traverse through those levels of ascension faster. It is up to the individual, and God gives each person free will to set his or her own pace.
All along this great and eternal path to Paradise there exists a hierarchy of celestial beings to help us in this ascension process. They are called by many names such as Divine Counselors, Melchizedek Sons, and, on Earth, human elders. The human elders on Earth are the beginning teachers and helpers to aid humankind in the ascension process, and they are chosen by God for this purpose.
There are true elders and false elders. And you can know who the true ones are by their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and all the fruits of the spirit of God. If they do not have these virtues, they are not true elders. But if they do, you should treasure them and sit at their feet for learning. Elders are all over the world and at this time in many of the evolutionary religions. But someday there will be no separation by religions, hopefully upon the return of Jesus Christ Michael to this earth (as He said He would return) or the coming of a Trinity Teacher Son to set up the first stage of light and life and the Divine Administration on this planet. There will be only one religion, the religion of one God, and one planetary family.
Until then, there needs to continue to be a Spiritualution movement on this planet, a spiritual revolution. Spirituality takes the form of activism against injustice and evil in all its forms, where human beings realize that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper. This is true spirituality, where we care for one another. Spiritualution is not joining a church or religion. It is becoming proactive and going to the streets with civil disobedience against all forms of injustices and speaking out.
This too is true salvation. It is not carrying a holy book around with you and banging people on the head with it. You are the holy book that people must see.
Gabriel of Urantia