101:3 The Characteristics of Religion
101:3.1 Religion is so vital that it persists in the absence of learning. It lives in spite of its contamination with erroneous cosmologies and false philosophies; it survives even the confusion of metaphysics. In and through all the historic vicissitudes of religion there ever persists that which is indispensable to human progress and survival: the ethical conscience and the moral consciousness.
101:3.2 Faith-insight, or spiritual intuition, is the endowment of the cosmic mind in association with the Thought Adjuster, which is the Father's gift to man. Spiritual reason, soul intelligence, is the endowment of the Holy Spirit, the Creative Spirit's gift to man. Spiritual philosophy, the wisdom of spirit realities, is the endowment of the Spirit of Truth, the combined gift of the bestowal Sons to the children of men. And the co-ordination and interassociation of these spirit endowments constitute man a spirit personality in potential destiny.
101:3.3 It is this same spirit personality, in primitive and embryonic form, the Adjuster possession of which survives the natural death in the flesh. This composite entity of spirit origin in association with human experience is enabled, by means of the living way provided by the divine Sons, to survive (in Adjuster custody) the dissolution of the material self of mind and matter when such a transient partnership of the material and the spiritual is divorced by the cessation of vital motion.
101:3.4 Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces the mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it:
- 1. Causes ethics and morals to progress despite inherent and adverse animalistic tendencies.
- 2. Produces a sublime trust in the goodness of God even in the face of bitter disappointment and crushing defeat.
- 3. Generates profound courage and confidence despite natural adversity and physical calamity.
- 4. Exhibits inexplicable poise and sustaining tranquillity notwithstanding baffling diseases and even acute physical suffering.
- 5. Maintains a mysterious poise and composure of personality in the face of maltreatment and the rankest injustice.
- 6. Maintains a divine trust in ultimate victory in spite of the cruelties of seemingly blind fate and the apparent utter indifference of natural forces to human welfare.
- 7. Persists in the unswerving belief in God despite all contrary demonstrations of logic and successfully withstands all other intellectual sophistries.
- 8. Continues to exhibit undaunted faith in the soul's survival regardless of the deceptive teachings of false science and the persuasive delusions of unsound philosophy.
- 9. Lives and triumphs irrespective of the crushing overload of the complex and partial civilizations of modern times.
- 10. Contributes to the continued survival of altruism in spite of human selfishness, social antagonisms, industrial greeds, and political maladjustments.
- 11. Steadfastly adheres to a sublime belief in universe unity and divine guidance regardless of the perplexing presence of evil and sin.
- 12. Goes right on worshiping God in spite of anything and everything. Dares to declare," Even though he slay me, yet will I serve him."
101:3.5 We know, then, by three phenomena, that man has a divine spirit or spirits dwelling within him: first, by personal experience—religious faith; second, by revelation—personal and racial; and third, by the amazing exhibition of such extraordinary and unnatural reactions to his material environment as are illustrated by the foregoing recital of twelve spiritlike performances in the presence of the actual and trying situations of real human existence. And there are still others.
101:3.6 And it is just such a vital and vigorous performance of faith in the domain of religion that entitles mortal man to affirm the personal possession and spiritual reality of that crowning endowment of human nature, religious experience.