Reflections on
The Dangers of Presumption

Ann Bendall, Australia

     If I decided to trade on "presumption" and throw myself over a cliff just to see whether my protective angels would "bear me up lest I dash my foot against a stone" then, in due time, I would have an awful lot of explaining to do before some court on the first Mansion World. Now Jesus, he was different! He knew who he was when he surveyed the scene from the precipice, he knew he could play around with gravity, he could jump, float, or fly--whatever fancy took him--and he deemed such thoughts "presumption." (1519)
     And presumption, our inspiration never was. Throughout
The Urantia Book, when describing Jesus, it is emphasized that he never took for granted the will of God as being anything in particular for, "his courage was magnificent but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, 'fear not.' His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. he was truly brave but never audacious." (1103)

     Page 1095 lists a number of "religious habits of thinking and acting" which enhance spiritual growth, and sure enough "
refusal to presume on divine mercy" is included. When we presume, perhaps more often than not we are like spiritual children presuming "to change God." (1001)

     Jesus never really knew what God's will for him was, he simply did what he believed to be the best in any particular circumstance. Even during his last few painful hours, when "he endured great anguish and suffered untold sorrow, for the perspiration rolled off his face in great drops. He was at last convinced that the Father intended to allow natural events to take their course." (1969) He was finally convinced purely by the way things were developing, he did not know for fact, but by supposition. And yet we mortals believe we can be told what God's will is for us on a day by day,  goal by goal basis!!

Like a number of other personality characteristics that The Urantia Book advises may be worthwhile trying to eradicate at the soonest possible opportunity--such as pride, impatience, and intolerance to name a few--presumption looms large in a number of Jesus' discourses on the dangers of courage and faith, how they sometimes lead unthinking souls on to recklessness and presumption. He also showed how prudence and discretion, when carried too far, lead to cowardice and failure.

     Jesus exhorted his hearers to strive for originality while they shunned all tendency toward eccentricity. He pleaded for sympathy without sentimentality, piety without sanctimoniousness. He taught reverence free from fear and superstition." (1673)

     I included the whole paragraph in case any dedicated students have already sorted out the intolerance, pride, and impatience trio, and would like to work on a few more, like eccentricity, recklessness, etc.

     So what is the faith we should strive to acquire? "The faith of Jesus was trusting, like that of a child, but it was wholly free from presumption. He made robust and manly decisions, courageously faced manifold disappointments, resolutely surmounted extraordinary difficulties, and unflinchingly confronted the stern requirements of duty. It required a strong will and an unfailing confidence to believe what Jesus believed and as he believed." (2090) Please note the adversity focus in the description of Jesus' faith!
     It frustrates me that the revelators include such statements as the one on p. 1683 where we are told of all the topics that Jesus discussed, without giving us the contents, but here we have pride linked to presumption. I suspect the Perfector of Wisdom  summed up the dangers of the pride/presumption problem on p. 142 when it is stated, "Real trouble, lasting disappointment, serious defeat, or inescapable death can only come after self-concepts presume fully to displace the governing power of the central spirit nucleus, thereby disrupting the cosmic scheme of personality identity."

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