Nine Religions of Divine Origin

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by 16Masail, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. 16Masail

    16Masail Bahá'i

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    It's my observation that some Bahá'is suck up to Native Americans. For example, they'll claim that the White Buffalo Calf Woman was a prophetess (see article in BahaiTeachings) when this notion conflicts with our teachings.

    So aside from the Qur'án, Bible, and the Bahá'i Writings, we cannot add names of people we THINK might be Lesser Prophets, let alone Greater Prophets.

    Furthermore, we have this passage from our Writings:

     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Sufis and Sikhs don't consider themselves sects of Islam or Hinduism I don't believe, nor does the religion they left consider those groups part of the clan any longer...

    Just as Islam doesn't recognize bahai and another prophet part of them.

    Whether it is 72% of religions encompassed Baha'i still make up what .01%?

    I am not understanding how religions are selected as divine, and which are discounted and not included.
     
  3. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Like I said, I'll get back to you. :cool:
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Thx
     
  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Here's some context:

    "Regarding your questions: we cannot possibly add names of people we (or anyone else) think might be Lesser Prophets to those found in the Quran, the Bible and our own Scriptures. For only these can we consider authentic Books. Therefore, Joseph Smith is not in our eyes a Prophet." (Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to individual, 13 March 1950)

    The questioner was asking about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. The quote above doesn't show we can't speculate about previous Messengers of God:

    ". . . the Manifestations of His Divine glory and the Day Springs of eternal holiness have been sent down from time immemorial, and been commissioned to summon mankind to the one true God. That the names of some of them are forgotten and the records of their lives lost is to be attributed to the disturbances and changes that have overtaken the world."
    -Baha'u'llah

    It's an individual's choice whether or not they want to consider White Buffalo Calf Woman a Manifestation of God. She's very ancient. There's no contradiction.

    In the Tablet to Amir Khan, Abdu'l-Baha answered the following question about Native Americans: "Did the ancestors of Native North Americans cross over the Bering Strait?" He replied:

    "In ancient times the people of America were, through their northern regions, close to Asia, that is, separated from Asia by a strait. For this reason, it hath been said that crossing had occurred. There are other signs which indicate communication."

    Also, he answered another related question: "Were Messengers of God sent to North America?" He replied:

    "Undoubtedly, in those regions, the Call of God must have been raised in ancient times, but it hath been forgotten now."
    So the Native Americans received divine revelation.

    Here's an interesting possible comment about Native American Messengers by Abdu'l-Baha when he visited a museum in New York City (which is recorded in Mahmud's Diary):

    Today, at the invitation of Juliet Thompson, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to amuseum near His house. On the first floor there were statues, figures of animals and a collection of relics of early American civilization. On observing these objects, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “From these things it appears that America had a great civilization in ancient times.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Here's an interesting commentary from a Native American Baha'i:

     
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Christopher Buck, the author of the article from the Baha'i website you shared, also quoted Shoghi Effendi in his extensive work on Native Americans:

    "This statement [about the 9 religions] must not be read dogmatically and exclusively, for Shoghi Effendi hastens to add: 'The Guardian feels that with intellectuals and students of religion the question of exactly which are the nine existing religions is controversial, and it would be better to avoid it. He does not want the friends to be rigid in these matters, but use their judgment and tact, sometimes one statement is exactly the right thing for one type of mind and the wrong thing for another.' Therefore, in my opinion, Bahá‘í doctrine can recognize — at least in principle — the existence of other Prophets, such Native American Messengers of God. In response to a believer who raised this issue, Shoghi Effendi explained: '―Regarding your question: the only reason there is not more mention of the Asiatic Prophets is because their names seem to be lost in the mists of ancient history. Buddha is mentioned and Zoroaster in our scriptures — both non-Jewish or non-Semitic Prophets. We are taught that there have always been Manifestations of God, but we do not have any record of their names.' This same reasoning can certainly be applied to the question of whether Bahá‘í doctrine can accept the existence of ―Messengers of God to First Nations, as you say."
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  8. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, as a Christian, what do you think Christianity says about this topic? Consider Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's "two criteria," which are "creativity" and "establishment," to show the divine origin of a religion--which are arguments based on scripture. Here I'll just focus on creativity since I chose to talk about Sikhism.

    "By their fruits you shall know them"
    (Matthew 7.16).​

    Matthew 7.16 refers to what Mirza Abu'l-Fadl calls the creativity of the verses of God: "The first criterion is the creativity of the verses of God. By this is meant the foundation of laws and the establishment of traditions and rites that exert influence in the world. These ordinances then become the cause of the elevation of civilization and eradication of the spiritual ailments of the people..." So we can ask, "What effects did the religious founder produce in the world?" Take Sikhism as an example. Guru Nanak (1469-1539) was a contemporary of Martin Luther. Some have even compared the two. Both criticized superstition, rituals, and priests of their religious contemporaries. Both chose not to speak to their communities in ancient sacred languages. They used the vernacular instead. Baha'is consider Guru Nanak a "saint of the highest order". We do not condemn Guru Nanak or Sikhism; we just don't consider Sikhism a divine religion because Guru Nanak isn't a Manifestation of God. Guru Nanak hasn't elevated humanity's consciousness as high or produced the degree of change as, say, Muhammad or Buddha. We can investigate the cultures those religions contacted and analyze how they changed those cultures to spark civilization. Scholars have five or six different views about how to label Sikhism. The author of a book I've been reading--who isn't a Baha'i, by the way--accepts the last of these six views:

    (1) Sikhism is a Hindu movement led by a succession of gurus (sampradaya)
    (2) Sikhism is a derived religion, drawn from the Hindu tradition
    (3) Sikhism is a religious milkshake, blending together Islam and Hinduism
    (4) Sikhism is divine revelation
    (5) Sikhism is a separate nation
    (6) Sikhism has evolved into a separate religion

    So Sikhism later evolved into a distinct religion. While reading about the life of Guru Nanak, I was under the impression he possessed a similar station to Rumi, not that he possessed a revelation. "But using the primarily Christian language of 'revelation' may well imply a separateness from the Sants, Kabir and Ravidas, that the Gurus did not feel or intend," says my author. As a Baha'i, I have no problem with the sixth view. Even Guru Nanak, after his life changing river experience, first uttered: "There is no Hindu, no Muslim". He recognized the problem of labels, of human language. Hence I wonder how he would view this label Sikhism today. As I noted earlier, Baha'is redefine terms. I'm too tired from reading about Sikhism to get into that right now. That's an issue for another post . . .
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    A tad confused...

    How does divine revelation differ from prophet?
     
  10. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    First, which part of post #28 confused you?
     
  11. 16Masail

    16Masail Bahá'i

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    Where did you find the bolded words? It's not in Ocean lol. Anyways, even if this quote is about Joseph Smith, the rationale behind him not being in our eyes a Prophet - Lesser or Greater - is that he is not mentioned in the Qu'rán, Bible, or the Bahá'i Writings. And guess what? Neither is the White Buffalo Calf Woman so the rationale applies to her too.

    Shoghi Effendi: "We cannot possibly add names of people we (or anyone else) think might be Lesser Prophets to those found in the Quran, the Bible and our own Scriptures."
    Ahanu: "It's an individual's choice whether or not they want to consider White Buffalo Calf Woman a Manifestation of God."

    I better side with the Guardian on this one.

    Where did you get this question from? BahaiTeachings?

    The Archives Office at the Bahá’í World Centre so far has no evidence regarding the questions that Amír Khán submitted to the Master. (Research Department)

    Your conclusion is unwarranted.

    With regard to whether the excerpt from the Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cited above enunciates a general principle that permits the conclusion that God sent His Messengers to indigenous peoples, specifically to the Americas, we wish to note, that, to date, the Research Department has not been able to locate any authoritative interpretation of the Master’s Tablet in the Bahá’í Teachings, nor have we found a text which clearly indicates that Manifestations of God have appeared in the Americas.

    It is not clear from the context of the Tablet that the reference to raising the “Call of God” presupposes the presence of a Manifestation of God in the Americas.

    The Master’s Tablet appears to be a response to a question about the fate of people who live in “places” which have not been penetrated by the call of the Prophets. If this be so, then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement about the raising of the “Call of God” could simply imply that “the people of America” were “informed about the appearance of Prophets” as a result of the contact and “other signs which indicate communication” that occurred “in ancient times” between the peoples of America and Asia. In this regard, the following extract from a letter dated 25 November 1950, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer is of interest:

    It is possible the Indians of the Americas were influenced in the remote past by Prophets in Asia. But again, as there is nothing in our teachings about it we cannot do more than speculate.

    (Research Department)

    After some further thought, I realized that this quote doesn't support my argument. I respectfully withdraw it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  12. 16Masail

    16Masail Bahá'i

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    Ahanu,

    Thank you for pointing this out. I, regrettably, admit that I chose not to quote this excerpt nor follow the Guardian's directive about avoiding this controversial question. It is my lack of judgement and tact is leads me to quote Lights of Guidance, #1373, which infuriates some Bahá'is who are adamant that Guru Nanak must be a Manifestation of God because of their love for him. Brutal honesty - it has always been a problem of mine. I find it hard to hide certain aspects of the Faith because of it's controversiality and potentiality to lead seekers away.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  13. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I think the Guardian's point is this: how you say things is as important as what you say.

    Which Baha'is hold Guru Nanak to be a Manifestation of God? I have yet to meet any.
     
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  14. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Again, we must be sensitive to how our terminology ("religion") differs. In one sense, yes, we can hold Sikhism is a religion from the secular perspective of scholars of Sikhism. Some seem to imply Shoghi Effendi's statement about "existing religions" is like saying, "Hey, Baha'is don't consider Sikhism a divine religion, so why should we feel indignation when the Iranian government does not recognize the Baha'i Faith? The Baha'is would clearly do the same to the Sikhs if they were in the same shoes as Iranian officials." I assumed this after reading your three statements above and your second thread titled Question of Iran. Note there is a key difference between their approaches: Baha'is don't view Sikhs as enemies of God. Instead, they view Guru Nanak in a positive light.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    It seems to list all the reasons it should be included in the nine.
     
  16. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Hence we consider Guru Nanak a saint. But what contributions to civilization has Sikhism made, and will it impact the world with the force of the nine? If Sikhism does so in the future, then the Baha'i Faith is in error.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    My question for 16Masaili is how we should define religion from a Baha'i perspective. And does this definition differs from the scholars of religion?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    it seems those statements applied to Sikhism ...you could just replace the word Baha'i and use the same statement, and then ask your same questions...
     
  19. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    True. It does seem that way. But it would be interesting to critically compare the two. That is, Baha'u'llah and Guru Nanak.
     
  20. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    See William P. Collins' "Mormonism and the Baha'i Faith".

    Shoghi Effendi said other prophets have been lost in the mist of time. This clearly indicates Native American oral traditions could refer to distant prophets.

    I've asked Baha'i scholar Christopher Buck to take a look at this discussion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016

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