THE MATTHEW BLOCK DISCOVERIES
-- PART III
Limitations on Sources
|As we progress down through some supposed parallels we see them deteriorating into doubtful comparisons. The Growth of the Trinity Concept from The Urantia Papers and Hopkins' presentations on The Triad and The Hindu Trinity illustrated this lack of direct parallel.||This lack of direct parallel is found in other "sources." Consider, for example, Auguste Sabatier and his Religions of Authority. This is what Martin Gardner had to say:|
Two discourses by Jesus, outlining "true religion," are in the UB on pages 1728-1733. As Block was the first to discover, it seems as if Jesus had somehow peered into the future to read a 1904 book by Auguste Sabatier, a Protestant theologian at the University of Paris. The heart of what Jesus taught, says the UB, is that true religion is of the Spirit, based on human experience, not on the authority of past dogmas such as the religion of the Pharisees. The phrase "religion(s) of authority" is used by Jesus more than ten times in his two brief talks. From religions of authority, he said, one must progress to the freedoms of a "religion of the Spirit . . . wholly based on human experience. "
Now this is precisely the central theme, including the same phrases,
of Sabatier's work. Indeed, the title of his book is Religions of Authority
and the Religion of the Spirit. His book attacks both Roman Catholic
and Protestant religions of authority. Jesus could not, of course, have
lambasted those faiths, but his attack on the authoritarianism of the scribes
is essentially the same.
"Two systems of theology still confront one another" Sabatier writes in his preface, "the theology of authority and the theology of experience." He calls the latter "the religion of the Spirit." The
gospel taught by Jesus, he writes (283), "implied the abrogation of religions of authority, and inaugurated as a fact the
religion of the Spirit." The authority of the letter gave way to "holiness and love."
Sabatier (369ff.) distinguishes three stages of religious evolution.
As Block recognized, they correspond to the "three manifestations of the
religious urge" taught by Jesus on page 1728 of the UB. Sabatier's
first stage is the uncivilized worship of nature in which persons fear
mysterious powers." The UB calls it a "fear" of "mysterious energies."
The second stage is a civilized one governed by mind. Superstitions give
way to moral laws and religious dogmas--the age of rational theology and
church authority. The third stage, initiated by Jesus, is uncompelled faith
in God the Father, coupled with the love of others. Sabatier calls this
religion's "beautiful mission." Jesus in the UB calls it a "glimpse
of the beauty of the infinite character of the Father in heaven--the religion
of the spirit as demonstrated in human experience."
Need I point out that this debt to Sabatier's book casts grave doubts on the accuracy of the UB's life of Jesus? This is not just copying by UB authors of prose material, but copying put into the mouth of Jesus!
Well, first of all, Gardner could not read! The first sentence of 155:5
Obviously, no one is copying to put words in the mouth of Jesus!
Second, while Gardner drew out the parallel sentiments between the discourse by Jesus, and the writings of Sabatier, no direct word parallels exist except for title headings, and concepts. I attempted to find direct parallels but was unable to do so. Consider these statements from both:
155:5:3 1. Primitive religion. The seminatural and instinctive urge to fear mysterious energies and worship superior forces, chiefly a religion of the physical nature, the religion of fear.
155:5:6 The religion of the physical senses and the superstitious fears of natural man, the Master refused to belittle, though he deplored the fact that so much of this primitive form of worship should persist in the religious forms of the more intelligent races of mankind. Jesus made it clear that the great difference between the religion of the mind and the religion of the spirit is that, while the former is upheld by ecclesiastical authority, the latter is wholly based on human experience.
In the beginning, what does the uncivilized man do who believes himself to be surrounded and dominated by mysterious powers, spirits, or demons, from which he believes that he has equally everything to fear and everything to hope? He seeks either to win them as auxiliaries, or to protect himself against their ill-will. Formulas of magic, incantation, and gifts offered under the forms of sacrifice, serve him to command the will of the god or to secure its good graces. What then is the religious relation in this first degree, if not the relation of interest or selfishness between two unequal powers? The man of sensation is above all things impressed by strength, and among his gods, it is their force we is the object of his adoration. The Homeric Zeus is the first among gods only because by himself alone he is physically stronger that the others together. (page 370)
Clearly, although The Urantia
Papers and Sabatier express similarity in concept, we cannot say that
Sabatier was a direct "source" for words used in the Papers.
(Matthew has advised me that he considers Sabatier as a "reference" and
not as a "source.")
(A far more crucial purpose exists
for the presentation of discussions on True Religion in the Papers.
Very shortly mankind will be desperately seeking clarification about their
religions. The Papers were designed to serve that purpose. See further
What makes a good "human source?"
A phrase of three words would not be considered a "source." Neither would
mere similarity in sentiment.
When I began to examine Matthew's work I asked him about those which did not appear as direct "sources." As I show here, somewhat in the work by Hopkins, and now by Sabatier, I could find no direct parallel in words or phrases. His reply to one inquiry was, "Oh! That's a weak source." What he meant was that it was not a source at all, but merely expressed similarity in sentiment.
(In a later objection to my statement about not being a source at all, Matthew said: "No. What I meant was that it was a parallelism of concept rather than of expression." )
While the book by Sabatier may have
helped to structure discussion for easier human conceptual recognition,
we must question if it can be considered a "source." Surely, the midwayers
had the power to recognize human conceptual needs without recourse to human
As Matthew said:
I had always supposed that they had accessed some sort of celestial concept registry to locate appropriate human concepts and expressions . . .
I fully agree.
But then, under the impressive weight
of his discoveries, Matthew succumbed to the idea that the midwayers needed
the human expression to find their "revelation." He not only reduced immortal
beings to purely human needs; he reduced them to the level of immature
human mortals who had no compunction about borrowing other peoples literal
That is what the evidence told him,
and that is the conclusion he reached.
Literally millions of books have been written over the past two thousand years, some religious, some secular, which express similarities in sentiments. As a Protestant child I was personally indoctrinated with the concept that there are no human authorities, neither individuals nor institutions. We go directly to God. Or, as Jesus said, "Call no man Father." This was an intimate part of the Protestant tradition of breaking the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, we cannot say that religious authors borrowed from one another; we can only say that the same thoughts ran through many minds.
This line of thought brings us to
another indication of Matthew being "hopelessly naive." Gardner had good
reason for bringing that charge against Matthew; Matthew succumbed to the
view that immortal beings did not have the resources or the power to possess
a "celestial concept registry to locate appropriate human concepts and
expressions." But in so doing he did not exercise the intellectual discipline
to establish rigorous standards for his sources. To this date he has not
distinguished those sources with direct word parallels from those with
mere conceptual inspiration.
Another example of Matthew's naivety was his assignment of passages to William Sadler as a human source. (These assignments were contained in his 1997 document.) But that is a double-edged sword. We do not know how Sadler may have borrowed words and concepts from the Papers for his own work. Unless Matthew can rigorously define dates, and establish influence of the Papers upon Sadler, he cannot, with intellectual integrity, assign Sadler as a "source."
(In later objection to my remarks he stated that he was merely showing
the parallels between the Papers and Sadler. He had no intent
to show Sadler as a source. Yet in earlier correspondence with me
he boldly stated that he felt Sadler was the source of the material in
the Papers. Clearly, I have had difficulty following Matthew's
chain of reasoning, and his final position on these important matters.)
I asked another question: "Why did
the Revelators feel it necessary or useful to borrow long sections of exact
words from human sources?" If they were building upon human concepts they
certainly had the power to rephrase those concepts. Why did they not limit
themselves to concepts, as they stated in their acknowledgement; why direct
words? There seems to be no need to use exact words.
Suppose I were writing a book, had
considered other authors who wrote similar books along the same subject
lines, and wanted to expand upon the conceptual themes. Would I borrow
their words and place them into my text as my original work? Hardly. We
just don't work that way. We have enough integrity and ingenuity to write
our own words. We have a natural respect for the work of other people;
this respect prevents us from borrowing lengthy direct passages.
(Or, as Gardner pointed out, we may take lengthy notes, and then, in later
transcription, forget that we borrowed direct words to illustrate the concepts
we were marking.)
This difficulty was the foundation
for Gardner's complaint about the use of human sources. We humans don't
engage in such practices; why did immortal beings? Any person capable of
the uplifting and ennobling thoughts and concepts found in the Papers,
of the highest intellectual order, with the most profound theological implications,
and with inspiring religious and spiritual meaning, exceeding our best
modern minds, (Hartshorne was an example), certainly would have no need
to use exact borrowing of words, phrases, and whole sections from other
people's work. Why leave oneself exposed to the exact accusations brought
One could easily conclude that the
authors, human or divine, did not have enough ingenuity to create their
own essays. Then Gardner could easily bring charges of plagiarism. No wonder
he had no respect for Sadler or for the Revelation.
In that dilemma lies a great answer.
One that completely escaped Gardner.
Furthermore, if Matthew is correct,
The research so far has been so fruitful mainly because none of the books were obscure; they were all written by authorities in their respective fields (often by professors from prominent American universities) and many were reviewed in the popular and academic press.
we would expect that, sooner or later,
someone would stumble across the fact of "borrowing" from human sources.
The parallels could not go unnoticed for very long.
In fact, when I asked Matthew about
the first discoveries he replied:
The Breasted book was discovered by Scott Forsythe in the 1980s. Scott's an Egyptology enthusiast, so it's no wonder he bumped into Breasted in the course of his studies.
The Bundy book ("The Religion of Jesus," not the sequel, "Our Recovery of Jesus") was discovered by Edith Cook and Carolyn Kendall in the early 60s. Carolyn found the book in a used bookstore, was intrigued by its title, and put it in her bookshelf unread. Edith noticed the parallels during an overnight stay at the Kendalls'. According to Carolyn, Doctor Sadler was surprised by the parallels she and Edith showed him. (I suspect that Sadler had known about this book for years and just pretended to be surprised.)
Ruth Burton first told me about the Hartshorne parallel in the late 1970s, but I'm not sure if she discovered it.
Edith Cook told me about the Jones book in the late 70s, but I don't know who discovered it, or when.
(Note: Here again we see a surmise by Matthew which does not square with the nature of Sadler's character. Sadler undoubtedly was genuinely surprised.)
We are faced with the great question,
Why? Why did the Revelators not have their own ability to phrase revelation
most suitable to us, even if using the foundation of existing human concepts,
exactly as they said in the Acknowledgements? Why build on direct human
expression? Why borrow words directly?
A larger answer must exist.
The process just does not make sense,
unless there was another motive.
Through considerable struggle I began to perceive that motive.
When I did my analysis of the "Christ"
names in the Papers I caught a glimpse of the methods used by the
Revelators. (Refer to my paper on that subject.) No human mortal, steeped
in the traditions of Christianity, would have used the "Christ" name except
for Jesus. But the name was not applied directly to Jesus in the Papers.
Urantia Papers do not identify Jesus as the Messiah, the promised deliverer.
They demonstrate him as the Creator. They show Melchizedek as the future
ruler of this world, exactly as the prophecies in the Bible show. See Psalm
and so on. We all were blinded by apostolic interpretations. See especially
the erroneous logic in the Book of Hebrews. Jesus never informed
the Apostles otherwise; they were left to their own devices. Hence, two
thousand years of Christianity has lived under this false interpretation.
As I showed, Sadler was completely
unaware of this application of the "Christ" names, as were all members
of the Contact Commission, the Forum, and all readers since. The Revelators
had placed into the Papers a key to perception which only deeper
thinking minds would recognize. They buried a method by which we might
come to recognize that the Revelation had to come from divine sources;
it could not have been written by men.
When I wrote my letter to Gardner,
while in the throws of composition of his book, he did not bother to read
it. He had already made up his mind. He sloughed it off as worthless. He
threw me into the same pot as all those other mindless followers of a cult.
Another item along this line of thought
is the use of the name "Satania" in the Papers. This name would
repel any good Christian, (or anyone else.) How in heaven's name did someone
elect to use the word Satania for our local star system? That is surely
demonic. No intelligent beings in their right minds would use that name.
Human mortals would not assign such a name; that would be plain stupid.
Neither would immortal beings use such a name. It carries an immediate
cause for rejection of the Revelation. Yet if a deep thinking mind explores
that choice he gradually comes to realize also that the Devil would not
have chosen such a name. The choice focuses upon him. But he avoids all
direct references to himself as a living, active, deceptive being. He cannot
afford such focus.
Therefore, why did the Papers
use this name?
Because it illustrates that some
other logic applies to the validity of the Revelation which is not immediately
evident. It applies to the use of the "Christ" names. It applies to the
use of the word Satania. And It applies to the direct quote of lengthy
passages in human books.
Rather than confirming that William
Sadler borrowed from other people, the evidence shows that he did not borrow.
If he had been capable of the lofty intellectual construction displayed
the Revelation he would have been far too smart to betray his hand by using
extensive quotes of exact human words.
Even more, one cannot get to know
Sadler - his religious background with all of its ideals, his intellectual
and moral integrity, his service to his fellow men and women over all those
years - and continue to believe that he would have been stupid enough to
lift lengthy passages directly from human sources, and then pretend that
they were from heaven!
Now I began to recognize the importance
of Matthew Block's discoveries.
And I began to recognize how Martin
Gardner undermined his own work. He just was incapable of such deep reflection.
Why was Matthew Block led down this
path with so many stupendous pioneer breakthroughs? Many of us have expressed
our amazement at his finds, and his ability to recognize the texts buried
in the middle of so many books. We believe that he was led along by this
Thought Adjuster, the angels, and the midwayers. He could not have made
such remarkable discoveries merely by his unaided human intellect.
His discoveries have the earmark
of heavenly assistance to bring the Revelatory methods to our attention.
The method in all these cases is
one I call reverse logic. Normal logic would reject certain methods. We
would not use other person's writings in such direct verbal copy, we would
not use the name "Satania" if we were sensible, and we would not carefully
alter the meaning of the word "Christ" if we came out of a Christian background.
Human mortals, capable of such a
profound work, would not have betrayed their hand so carelessly. No single
person, or group of human mortals, would have set themselves up for condemnation
by using the word "Satania." No single person, or group of human mortals,
would have altered the meaning of the word Christ do change its significance
while hiding such redefinition in the Revelation. And no person, or group
of human mortals, would have set themselves up by quoting whole passages
so obviously borrowed from human authors.
This means that Matthew and myself,
and perhaps others, have been used by our Planetary Supervisors to "prove"
the validity of the Revelation. We have become instruments in the hand
But what meaning has this for the
future? Who will care about human sources in the future? A thousand years
from now the men who wrote all those books will be forgotten. Furthermore,
if our society is doomed, if a new social order is at our doorstep, with
a world-wide disaster hanging over our heads, how many people will really
be interested in an academic display of scholarly research? When one is
scratching for survival, academics are thrown out the window.
Consider this thought. Unfolding
earth events will bring a dramatic recognition of the validity of the Revelation.
But many people will be questioning. They will need some means to reassure
themselves of the validity of the Revelation.
The details of Matthew's discoveries
will not hold people in the future. Future generations will be thoroughly
convinced of the value of the Revelation, regardless of the techniques
employed in its creation. But Matthew's work is important to coming decisions.
The single fact that the Revelators use these methods to provide validity
for their work will help with these decision processes now coming down
upon us. Matthew may write the most erudite scholarly treatises expounding
on his discoveries, and on the techniques use by the Revelators, but all
that work will be summed up in the single conclusion of why the Revelators
did it. Of course, until this remarkable design is recognized by large
numbers of people, in order for it to be carried as a social tradition
into the future, the mechanics of the steps must be made known.
Thus it is my concern that a synopsis
of Matthew's work be published before events come crashing down upon our
As Gardner pointed out, so importantly,
why did the Revelators resort to taking a human author and putting his
ideas into the head of Jesus? Surely, that is the greatest insult.
We should put the shoe on the other
foot. Why did Sabatier arrive at the same ideas as those Jesus taught?
Because they represent truth. Because they represent religious growth.
Because they represent the further spiritual evolution of mankind. Then
Sadler did not take the words of Sabatier and put them in the mouth of
Jesus; Sabatier gave expression to the teachings of Jesus which did not
make it into our historical record.
Coming decisions need clarification
on loyalties to human institutions and authorities, and direct loyalty
to God. Paper 155, and Sections 5 and 6, are a crucially important part
of The Urantia Papers. Many persons will be consulting them in the
imminent crisis. Does it really matter that Sabatier expressed those sentiments,
sentiments that are so instrumental in turning our loyalties away from
human institutions, and back to God?
Matthew's work certainly points a bold arrow at the importance of those instructions by Jesus.