The Urantia Book

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The Urantia Book is a collection of allegedly channelled writings mostly compiled from the 1930s, published by the Urantia Foundation in 1955. The texts combine Christianity and an alleged history of the work and teachings of Jesus with a cosmology of extraterrestrial spirit beings. The book presents an elaborate pseudohistory of the universe (the book actually claims there are many universes, superuniverses, and so on), and that the name of planet Earth in this cosmology is "Urantia". The portion on the life of Jesus remains fairly close to the Bible stories of his life and teachings, except that in the Urantia Book Jesus was the most important spirit being in this universe who came to "Urantia" (Earth) to solidify his superior status, and the ideas of original sin or any need for Jesus to atone for human sins are rejected. In this, it departs from most Christian theology. The life of Jesus, as told in Part IV of The Urantia Book, is presented in great detail with paintings and illustrations at the Truthbook website.[1]

For whatever reason, Urantia had some popularity among some rock musicians in the 1970s, and influenced some of the albums by bands like Kansas and Spirit. Kerry Livgren of Kansas, who later became a born-again evangelical, cites the Urantia Book as a way station between his previous agnosticism and his later evangelical Christianity and states that he eventually came to reject the Urantia Book as a false portrayal of Christ.[Note 1] In fact, if you've ever taken a sip of what's called "Sleepytime Tea", you've had a taste of the Urantia life; Mo Siegel, a founder of Celestial Seasonings, is the current president of the Urantia Foundation and cites the book as a key part of the tea business.[2]

The Urantia Book includes quite a bit of science woo from the 1930's presented as authoritative fact. Many of these suppositions, which were largely accepted in the 1930s, have since been disproven, which casts doubt on the purported supernatural origin of the Urantia Book and points to a purely human origin. Among other things the book endorses eugenics at one point. Each writing in the book credits one or more supernatural authors, who have names like "Divine Counseler", "Perfector of Wisdom", "Brilliant Evening Star", and "Universal Censor". The actual authorship has been traced to a Seventh Day Adventist splinter-group in Chicago, and allegations have also been made that some of the book is plagiarized from earlier writings. Martin Gardner wrote an extensive study of the book, and of its quite human, and plagiarized, origin.[3]

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  1. He wrote a whole book on the subject, Seeds of Change, by Kerry Livgren and Kenneth Boa, Crossway Books, 1983, ISBN 0891072659


  1. "Discover Jesus in the Urantia Book."
  2. Cults, Conspiracies, and the Twisted History of Sleepytime Tea. Inverse. Giller, Megan
  3. Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery. Prometheus Books, 1995, ISBN 1591026229