February 11, 2024

Common doctrine and a Baha’i-Christian dialogue

by Interfaith

This follows from a discussion elsewhere, but as it is off-topic on that thread, I thought I might start a new one, and hope to keep the discussion on track.

The salient point was this:

As an example, to offer in all sincerity the Oneness of God and the Oneness of humanity both Islam and Christianity will have to let go of some doctrines.

Does that not rather imply the Baha’i view both Islam and Christianity as lacking sincerity? Again, which doctrines do you see as evidence of that?

Anything that prevents us embracing the One God in the Messengers of Muhammad and Jesus, to name but a couple.

That’s a rather nebulous answer – I doubt any religious authority will agree to ‘anything’ when asked precisely what dogmas and doctrines they will be obliged to ‘let go’.

The issue here is how Catholicism and Baha’i perceive ‘oneness.’

Nostra Aetate is The Declaration on the relation of the (Catholic) Church to non-Christian Religions (Vatican II, 1965)

1.1 – In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.

In the Christian view, the whole creation is a theophany, and speaks of the One True God in all its multiplicity and diversity – as Nature teaches – as a good. It seems to me you want to do away with this diversity of religious expression, in favour of a particular ‘oneness’.

One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all … until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.
Here the Church speaks of oneness and community – a unity in diversity.

… Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths … through searching philosophical inquiry … through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way … to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions … each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all… in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.
My emphasis – the Catholic Church rejects nothing in those religions, whereas the Baha’i will require a ‘letting go’ of dogmas and doctrines, rites and liturgies.

Thus where thew Church recognises many “Ways”, the Baha’i acknowledges only one.


Looking more closely, it seems clear that Christianity will have to ‘let go’ its very foundational doctrines – of Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God; of the Holy Spirit and the Life in the Blessed Trinity … furthermore it would seem to imply that Scripture and Tradition would have to be edited, redacted and reworked to fit the Baha’i model.

And the same applies to Islam and Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Anything that prevents us from embracing the Councels sent by God.

By which you mean the ‘cousels of God’ as delivered by your messengers take priority and stand as the authoritative measure of the counsels of every other religion?

Otherwise, the Unity, peace and security of all of humanity is not possible.

But I don’t think this will be true ‘unity’, as unity implies diversity, and you seek to abolish diversity in thought and practice.

As the Baha’i have no clergy nor a liturgy, are we all obliged to ‘let go’ our clergies ands our liturgies? Our sacraments?

It seems to me your peace and security will be achieved only with the evisceration of religions, rendering them glove puppets promoting Baha’i doctrine?


Our Scripture says:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28, cf Colossians 3:11 and Romans 10:12)

Clearly, there are Jews and Greeks, men and women, but there is a Unity and a Oneness that transcends the World of Forms – it does not do away with them, as you seek to do – its love is greater.

In short, I think your ‘oneness’ is, metaphysically and philosophically, a categorical error (in the sense it confuses distinct categories of being and nature)


Thomas  8/02/2024

Visit Thread: https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/21013/

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