Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Kerala Marthoma Christians-Time that they Learn What Real Social Service Is!

Marthoma Christians of Kerala are a break away group linked to the Eastern Orthodox Churches of India. (For more read: Christianity in India )

This separation and establishment of an independent church denomination named Mar Thoma Syrian Christian Church of Malabar (Malankara Marthoma Nasrani Sabha in Malayalam) happened nearly 200 years ago. How and why of that are not important to be discussed here. (More official information can be had from the official website of the Marthoma Church)

Before and during the period of independence of India way back in 1947, the Marthoma families used to be small time farmers, traders or farm workers or those from the lower income groups who toiled hard for a living. As in any community, it also had some rich families as well.

Christians in the erstwhile local kingdoms of south-west India now forming the Kerala state of India were a humble prayerful lot in general during those times. Besides being ambitious and adventurous they gave much importance in gaining literacy and education. Perhaps they got that inclination due to the efforts of the foreign Christian missionaries of pre-independence era.

India after independence was not a country with beds of roses.

Opportunities for a decent work or profession used to be rare especially in Kerala. However, several reasonably educated youngsters from Kerala Christian families were adventurous enough to try their fortunes in foreign countries. 

Thanks to the underdeveloped democracy and its incompetent governance, the Indian economy and its currency have been consistently weak as compared to many of the foreign nations where the Keralites sought employment. This helped such Keralites to bring foreign currency savings to India and gain several times more cash in India as compared to their country cousins doing similar or even superior jobs and professions back in India.

Unlike in other states of India, it had been the Kerala Christians who tried their lucks to gain valuable dollars in the beginning. This helped several Kerala Christian families to gain affluence within a comparatively short time span of three four decades.

Soon Kerala landscape saw dramatic changes in its landscape. The state witnessed continuous growth of mansion like houses in all forms of architecture throughout its length and breadth. Prices of land useful for construction of houses or commercial buildings shot up exorbitantly. As most of the working class sought jobs and vocations abroad, farm workers declined and agriculture became a non-lucrative profession in the state. As a result, farm land costs fell drastically.

India government with little knowledge for efficient management of economy added further help for migration of working class in large numbers from India to other countries. Only unfortunate people remained in India to work locally. As their Indian rupee incomes stood much lower than their foreign employed cousins, they envied the latter. Passion for quick money and material glories began to spread and corruption in all forms became all pervading in India.

The passion for quick wealth engulfed the Kerala Christians as a whole and Marthoma Christians are no exception. The Christian clergy too became irrevocably affected by the evils of richness!

As it stands today, several Christian churches-its people, its clergy and bishops are shamefully involved in various kinds of scandals and crimes. There are nuns, priests and bishops involved in sexual immorality, sex related crimes including murder, money laundering, group fights and litigation for control of church properties and acts of shameless manipulations for gaining lucrative positions in the church organizations. Church authorities demanding bribes for employment in church controlled institutions and for admissions in their educational institutions is nothing new now.

Hospitals bearing Christian names no more feel any remorse while they charge heavily and unjustifiably from hapless patients who go there for treatment.

The hand work of evil is no more any secret in the Christian churches and their institutions. If social media responses are any indication there exists a good majority of common people who are too arrogant and ruthlessly unchristian in their acts and attitudes. They are simply egoistic, vengeful and willing to take up violence or other evil ways to get their side or opinion win.

Christian clergy in Kerala are no more those simple, prayerful, pious and humble leaders. Priesthood has become a means of social status, gaining quick money and importance.

Clergy from the Marthoma church are no more reluctant to show off  their affluence. Many of them build palatial houses and buy exotic cars and send their children to foreign destinations for higher education. Often the common people wonder about their sources of income as their officially known incomes cannot sustain such life style that they now have.

A good majority of Marthoma churches in Kerala now do not require much infrastructure as most of them have enough of that in place. Yet several churches are in the process of re-building old church buildings by spending millions. They keep asking the members for more and more donations even while their normal incomes are more than enough to sustain their normal activities.

If history is any indication, wealth and political power had done much tribulations to Christian church members at times they consistently deviated from the principles of love, goodness and God centered human fellowship. While they enjoy the fruits of affluence and good life, they forget Christ and his teachings. Evil anti-Christ becomes their god during those times who leads them cleverly to doom.

Cash rich Marthoma parishes sometimes do some charity work. But they do it with much fanfare. They seldom remember what Jesus taught! Much of their monies are wasted for non charity often.

They do not try to do any good to their own needy fellow members. Church authorities never feel any remorse or shame in demanding unjustified fees and charges for conducting marriages, funeral services for the dead etc. They do not feel it wise and good to reduce the fees of their educational institutions or hospitals even to their own deserving members even when such a gesture is financially viable.

Christians should have been a broadminded community. If so, they can do much, at least for themselves because collective true fellowship is much more powerful and effective than individual efforts. They could have been light bearers to the rest of the peoples and communities. Unfortunately they are now deviating from their true missions and responsibilities. Are they becoming a community for getting ridiculed by others? It is time to think!

Cash rich local church managements can think of planning and implementing health insurance and accident insurance coverage for its members and deserving non members from other communities as well instead of wasting money in demolishing and re-building buildings and structures.

They can think of paying out the educational loans or other loans of members or non-members who really suffer on account of non availability of resources for repayments. 

They can think of reducing their fees and charges for those who deserve it. 

Will they do it?

Will their clergy and bishops repent and be examples of simple and humble living? Will they live to gain true respect and love from their own people and others?

Will they follow Jesus?

Will they move away from acts that are evil and un-Christian?

How long will they continue with their evil ways? Will the silent prayers of the few good people cause any divine intervention for good?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Bible and the Urantia Book- A Comparison

The Bible and the Urantia Book


In this blog article, I would like to provide some interesting similarities and differences between the Bible and the Urantia Book. The Urantia Book does not essentially contradict the Bible; in fact it actually shares several passages, stories and events from the Bible. And I do believe that the authors of the Urantia Book have done that purposefully. For curious and doubtful readers like me who happen to be born and live in the modern world of science, the Urantia Book's revelations of truths serve as a boon to understand the purpose of life as planned by the Universal Creator God in a much better and authentic manner than presented in the Bible. No doubt, the Bible has some of the most inspiring truths mankind has been having for centuries. But at the same time it also has events and passages that might be confusing to the probing mind. It is too interesting and refreshing to understand the Bible with the help of the revealed knowledge given in the Urantia Book.

For those who are open minded and are not scared to come out of their religion infused biases and are keen to read and widen their knowledge horizon, I would recommend they make use of the detailed comparative study tool for finding out what the Bible has and what the Urantia Book tells that  my friends in the Urantia Book Fellowship has worked out and provided in their website. 

You may also read the following: 

Authorship


Bible is believed to be written by Leaders, Kings, prophets, saints and apostles who wrote the various books of the bible at various times spanning several centuries inspired by wisdom given to them by God's spirit in ancient Hebrew, Latin and Greek languages. The latest book in the Bible was written some 1900 years ago.

The Urantia Book is a collection of a Foreword followed by 192 topical papers authored by various orders of invisible celestial beings during AD 1910-1935 period who gave the original documents in pencil written form in modern English language to a group of high caliber gentlemen and ladies in a manner never before adopted in the history of mankind, to be published as a book. The book contains the common names of the celestial authors. The book got typed, printed and published with the help of this group of eminent people chosen for the purpose by the celestial beings first time in the USA in 1955. The original pencil written manuscripts got mysteriously disappeared and the mysterious contact the celestial beings had established with the humans ended after the book got published.

Information about God

The concept of God in the Bible is relatively simple. In the Old testament bible, God is an invisible personality constantly in communication with some chosen people or prophets either directly or through angels. The concept later on progresses to God, the Father of all and the creator of earth and the heavens and to the concept of Trinity, comprising of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is depicted as the Son who was incarnated as a human being to be sacrificed for the salvation of human race from their sins. The biblical accounts do not fall in line with modern scientific findings, directly.

The Urantia Book is almost double the size of the Bible and it gives elaborate details about the Universal Father God who is depicted as the First Source and Center of everything and the process in which the First Source distributed and delegated to form the original trinity and the pantheon of divine and celestial beings who keep creating and maintaining the  universes comprising of the invisible spiritual energy realms and the visible realms of time and space in accordance with the non changing laws of the Father God. The Urantia Book depicts Jesus Christ as a Creator Son of God who is the Sovereign ruler of a universe space comprising of 10 million worlds similar to earth where human like beings live. The Urantia Book gives elaborate details of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ in its fourth part when this universe sovereign lived on earth bestowed as a human being. The book provides too many information hitherto unknown to human beings and the information so provided is in conformity with modern science or even more advanced. There are very little or no contradictions anywhere in the content of the book.

The Urantia Book tells that God is love and that God is not a vengeful or angry being. In eternity there was God and nothing else. All living and non living things and beings got into being by from and by the act of God who is eternal and infinite. Humans cannot conceive the Infinite God because of our finite limitations and no human ever can define God and hence it is a useless exercise. However, humans are also sons of God in the sense that they are created as intelligent living beings who have some capability to get attracted to God which other living beings like plants and animals do not have. God is the source of energy, life intelligence, mind and personality and hence it is the duty of all intelligent human beings to love and worship God for their life and existence.

Information about Satan

In the Bible, Satan and Lucifer are depicted as one and the same spiritual being who is constantly opposing God's plans and purposes. Lucifer and Satan are depicted as the rulers of Hell.

The Urantia Book tells us who in reality are the personalities now known to human beings in the names of Lucifer and Satan and explains that they are actually different personalities. They were lower level spiritual rulers ruling those parts of the visible universe comprising of our earth and a few other similar material worlds, subordinate to the universe Sovereign who bestowed on earth some 2000 years ago as Jesus Christ. The Urantia Book identifies another of their subordinate ruler named Caligastia who has been the celestial ruler of earth for thousands of years who joined Lucifer and Satan in deviating or rebelling against the Universal divine administration thereby causing much distress of earth and its people. Ever since the bestowal of Jesus Christ on earth some 2000 years ago, Caligastia's power to rule earth as its celestial ruler has been curtailed but he is not yet fully isolated from doing his nefarious activities on earth in an invisible manner. The problems what people of earth face are all due to the rebellion of its rulers against the divine universe administration. The book informs us that these erring celestial rulers would be quarantined for ever in the near future completely. 

First Human Beings on earth

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve are the first humans who were created directly by God in the Garden of Aden. If one goes literally, Adam and Eve were created some 6000 years ago.

According to the Urantia Book, humans got created on earth by the process of controlled evolution. The first humans were a pair of male and female twins who were born from parents of a kind of tree dwelling ape family some 9.8 million years ago in the north west region of India. Controlled evolution is an evolutionary process that is under periodic manipulation by intelligent celestial supervision and control according to the laws of universe administration of God. The book gives elaborate details from the time of creation of visible universe to the solar system to earth by the process of controlled evolution. The book tells us that Adam and Eve too existed and lived on earth some 38000 years ago and the details of their life and purpose.

The progress of religion

The bible gives the progress of religious practices that form the basis of the Abramic religions now known as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A superior priestly king named Melchizedek is briefly told as the person who taught Abraham. Not much information about Melchizedek is available in the Bible.

The Urantia Book tells in detail about who actually was Melchizedek and his life and purpose on earth. It also tells us that all major religions including Hinduism, Confusionism, Buddhism and the Abramic religions all had received information about God and the universe from the teachings of Melchizedek some 5000 years ago. These teachings got corrupted due to human interpretations and fantasies over the years. Melchizedek is told as a special kind of celestial being who is capable of assuming material body similar to humans for the purpose of teaching evolving human beings. Melchizedeks are told as emergency sons of God who are sent to materials worlds like earth in case of emergency situations. The Urantia Book tells the essence of all major religions of earth up to Sikhism. It also tells what is good and what kind of errors in all these religions.

Purpose of Creation and Life

The purpose of life and creation is not very clear in the Bible.

But it is very clear in the Urantia Book. It tells that every thing God has done from eternity to the future is with some divine purpose. There exists divine beings, celestial beings and material beings all created for various purposes in various types and times and capacities. All intelligent beings are provided with free will. However, those intelligent beings that are not divine and perfect are prone to make errors and face problems due to their errors. However, errors give opportunities for experiences and chances for corrections making those beings to improve to perfection by continuous experience. Errors are not sins, but continuous and willful denial or resistance to God's will and purpose is sin that make such a being going out of God's providence and permanent deprivation of sustenance of life. The Urantia Book says that human death on earth is not an end of that person and his life by itself as human life on earth is a temporary phase for human beings who are determined for continued service in the universe. But humans who have willfully rejected God's will might be determined from continuing their life further just as animals and plants.

The purpose of all living beings is to be of service and good to other living beings. The purpose of all intelligent living beings is to do good service and help to others in accordance with the laws of God and strive to make the entire universe a better place to live and progress and achieve perfection just as the Father God.

Lower level intelligent beings rise to higher levels with time while higher level intelligent beings provide them the help to improve and progress. All intelligent beings who acquire the requisite capability to be in the presence of the Infinite Father God would achieve that goal even though it might take a very long time. The endless time of life that a human being might get is a time of everlasting adventure and experience in the vast universe.

Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ

The four gospels, Matthew, Luke, Mark and John, in the New Testament Bible depicts the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in the manner as perceived by these four men. The development of Christianity and a religion and its guiding doctrines are given in the other books of New Testament Bible. Bible depicts Jesus as the only begotten son of God who was born as a human being to die as a sinless sacrifice for redeeming all humans from the original sin of Adam and Eve.

The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ forms the last (fourth) part of the Urantia Book comprising of 62 papers depicting the birth, life, teaching mission, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in such an elaborate sequence hitherto never seen in the human history. It contains most of the incidences covered in the Bible but in much detail. Jesus' teachings and preaching are given in much elaboration told as modified for the comprehension of modern man. The dates of occurrence have been modified to modern calendar a task which is humanly impossible.

The Jesus of Urantia Book is a divine personality told a Creator son of God. Creator sons of God are responsible for the creation of material universe comprising of stars, galaxies and planets and life in inhabitable planets. The whole of the present day material universe is derived from pre-existing energy and is developed in sequence by universe parts known as local universes. The Creator sons are the divine group heads who create the local universes. There are millions of planets where intelligent material life forms get created. Earth is part of one such local universe whose creator son is the one who was born on earth as a human being in the name Jesus Christ and his bestowal on earth was not for getting crucifixed for the sins of human beings. Because God the Father is not a vengeful personality at all. Jesus' birth on earth was part of a universe law which makes it mandatory for all rulers to have some experience of the life of their subjects before they assume the rulership. Jesus became just as a human being, a being whom he himself created, to experience the lowly life of a human and to know whether his creature is capable of living in accordance with the laws of the universe. Jesus was killed by the ignorant fellow beings as he was not willing to make compromises in accordance with their ignorant ways. Jesus completed his earth mission and returned to assume his responsibilities as the local universe ruler gaining much experience in living as a human being in an under developed material world. While he lived he tried to teach his fellow beings much truths about God the Universe Father as it is digestible to his lowly mortal associates.

The Creator Son who is the ruler of our universe is a patient and loving father like personality just like his father, the Universal Father. He is too patient to tolerate the inequities of his celestial and material children. Hence, Caligastia and his associates are getting perceivably more time to continue with their rebellious activities causing confusions in the minds of many human beings. Human beings who are also evil are apparently tolerated due to the same reason.

Life after Death

The Bible teaches that human beings are inherently sinful and those who believe in Jesus Christ and who repents and seek salvation through Jesus Christ are saved for everlasting life. Their souls are saved to live for ever in heaven in the presence of God, Jesus, angels and the saints. Souls of those who are sinful and reject the salvation program of God go to hell after their death, to be tormented in everlasting fire together with the evil angels like Satan. 

The Urantia Book tells that all human beings irrespective of their religious affiliations are sons and daughters of the Universal Father God who has given them material life, personality, free will intelligence and a spiritual God's fragment that resides within them that gives them the feeble guidance to know what is good and what is bad. Apart from this there are invisible personalities of the God's universal administration that keep evaluating an individual during the course of his or her material life on earth. Those who desire to do God's will as their free will choice irrespective of occasional errors get opportunities to live even after death in progressively improving non-material forms while their personalities are retained intact. They eventually transform themselves as powerful and experienced ascending sons of God who are given various kinds of responsibilities in the universe administration. While they transform they undergo several phases of life in body forms suitable for life in those living spheres. During this everlasting life progress, such personalities will get opportunities to witness life in the innumerable worlds in the universe. Once they commence the life after material death on earth their willful rejection to do God's will might cause them to be detained at a phase without further progress and in such an unfortunate event their future life may be classified as a prison life for ever. Those on earth or similar material worlds who consistently do evil and reject all opportunities for living a life in accordance with the desire of God will cease to exist as personalities after material death. Their purpose of life on earth is regarded as limited just like living beings like plants and animals. 

The Urantia Book informs us that trials and tribulations of life are essentially opportunities for gaining valuable experiences and loving our invisible father God for what he is and seeking to be at his service to do good for others who too are children of God like us.

Process of Creation

The process of creation as depicted in the Bible appears as magical as the information is limited.

According to the Urantia Book, the process of creation is much more complex and elaborate and the Book reveals that nothing is ever magical in the universe and everything happens on account of collective or individual efforts in accordance with universal laws. There exists a vast host of personalities who are delegated with various kinds of powers and skills to executed various kinds of works and take various kinds of decisions. All powers and energies get derived from one source that is the Universal Father God. However, the Universal Father God does not interfere in the areas where he has delegated powers.


Consistency with Modern Science

The Bible has several inconsistencies with modern science.

However, the information given in the Urantia Book is consistent with modern science where ever science has proven it beyond doubt and perhaps superior to present day scientific thoughts where ever science has yet to make the final postulates established beyond doubts.

Sacred Book Status

Bible is a sacred book for its adherents.

The Urantia Book though has originated mysteriously from celestial authors, does not advocate itself as some thing sacred or holy but only as a book containing revealed information for humans to take wise decisions after knowing facts they might like to know and to live a well informed life that may help those who are inclined to know truths to live a life without much anxieties and worries. The authors of the Urantia Book do not advocate the creation of any additional religion or religious practices on account of this book but advise the humans to have an introspection of their respective religious beliefs and God worship so as they live according to the will of God as true children of God. Desire to do loving service to others, desire to be intelligent, creative and wise, desire to honestly seek truth, desire to discard anxiety, anger and vengeance and desire to be sympathetic to ignorant fellow beings in error and acknowledging the providence of God always are told as some of the characteristics of those who wish to live in accordance with the will of God. The Urantia Book does not support outward exhibitionism of spirituality or religious practices.


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