An introduction.

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by od19g6, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    523
    Avignon and Rome... Rome and Constantinople... Jerusalem and Gerizim...

    So Unity is a central tenet in the Baha'i Faith, I understand. Can you explain more? Maybe this will make it easier to see how your beliefs fit together?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  2. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    25
    They can say anything they want to say but the Covenant is based upon the wills and testaments of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha which were penned in their own hands, so it is incontrovertible to whom the authority was to pass after they died. It passed to the Guardian Shoghi Effendi and after that it passed to the Universal House of Justice. Anyone can call themselves Baha'is if they want to and they will fool some people, but what they are is Covenant-breakers. There are no Baha'i sects, there is just one Baha'i Faith.
    It is about faith in Baha'u'llah which is the same as faith in God, since He was God's Representative on earth.
     
  3. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    523
    As I understand the history (scraped from online sources), upon Shoghi Effendi's death there was no testament, and the Universal House of Justice had not yet been established. At that point, there was no hereditary leader (all remaining family members had been excommunicated by that time by Shoghi Effendi), no house of justice, and into this vacuum there stepped both Remey and the group that was to become the house of justice. The House of Justice won over the majority of Bahai's, and proceeded to excommunicate the other contenders to leadership after Shoghi Effendi's death?

    I'm still not sure what you mean by "faith" - on one hand, it seems to mean a personal faith in Baha'u'llah as divine manifestation, on the other hand, it seems to mean the organization headed by the Universal House of Justice.

    Is that what you mean by Unity, the overlap of the two, i.e. personal faith sanctioned by the institutional hierarchy? Or is it more like Islam, that regardless of affiliation in the struggles for leadership, there is one Religion (Faith)?
     
  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    523
    Baha'is are rightfully proud of their principle of "independent investigation of truth"! Why would someone choose not independently investigate these - important and far-reaching - laws prior to accepting their validity? Why follow a law if one has doubts about its validity, especially in the light of being encouraged to investigate it independently?

    I obviously disagree about these laws as they might apply to non-Bahai's (for example, in the family), but I'm also interested how Baha'is live them. It's good that a Baha'i can choose how to set up their will - the inheritance laws are not binding commandments then. There are laws regarding prayer and fasting, which I understand are important practices, and binding commandments? How do Baha'is distinguish between the optional and mandatory commandments/laws?
     
  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    25
    There were no contenders for leadership since the Guardian did not appoint anyone. Baha'u'llah made the provisions for the UHJ in His Writings so that is where the authority passed in lieu of a Guardian. I do not know the history as well as @ Truthseeker9 but I am sure he knows all the details.
    No, it is faith in Baha'u'llah, but by virtue of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, Baha'is have to have complete faith in all the central figures of the Faith, including Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, as well as the UHJ which was clearly delineated by Baha'u'llah to be a divinely assisted body when in session.
    I do not know that much about Islam; @ Truthseeker9 is very familiar with the Qur'an and Islam.
    Our personal faith does not need to be sanctioned by anyone except ourselves, so it is not necessary for it to be sanctioned by the UHJ.

    The wikipedia site explains the history, function and responsibilities of the UHJ:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_House_of_Justice
     
  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    25
    I would say that all Baha'is come into the Faith differently. Truthseeker9 and I both became Baha'is in 1970 and I think the way the Baha'i administration operated back them was different than now. All I had to do was declare my belief that Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God and sign a card. I did not know about all the laws back then, just the ones that were basic - prayer and fasting, marriage and divorce laws, etc. The Kitab-i-Aqdas (Book of Laws) was not translated into English until 1992.

    Since a Baha'i believes that Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God, whose Will is identical to the Will of God, we do not question anything He wrote, and that includes the laws. This of course is the ideal, but that does not mean some Baha'is do not question. However, from my point of view, that would be akin to questioning an infallible God, which is not only illogical but also arrogant. So even if I do not 'like' some laws, I do not question them.

    There are no optional laws, all laws are binding upon Baha'is but they do not apply to non-Baha'is.

    How well Baha'is adhere to the laws is between them and God and nobody is keeping track. The exception would be if a Baha'i flagrantly breaks a law and brings disrepute upon the Faith; e.g., going to a bar and getting drunk in public and identifying oneself as a Baha'i. In such a case the LSA would talk to that person and their voting rights could be taken away, which is only a worst case scenario. But they would still be Baha'is. As far as I know, only the UHJ can remove Baha'is from the rolls and usually that would be a Covenant-breaker, although it could be for another serious offense.

    How well other Baha'is adhere to the laws is not known by other Baha'is since it is a private matter and we do not make it our business what others do or judge each other.
     
  7. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    523
    Interesting! So if you have questions regarding a commandment or teaching, do you discuss it with other Baha'is? There are no teachers or clergy to get weighty, official opinions from, besides the house of justice?

    If you do discuss matters with other Bahais, do you get a sense that different people have different understandings, opinions, practices? Or do you form some kind of consensus which all participants in a discussion then follow (in terms of Unity)?
     
    Trailblazer likes this.
  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    25
    Yes, we would definitely discuss any questions we had with other Baha'is or we can consult with the Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA) who will give us advice. We normally would not contact the UHJ unless we had a pressing concern, as they are not there for the purpose of consulting with individual Baha'is. The LSA has that as one of their functions.
    Yes, Baha'is definitely have different understandings, opinions, practices, but that does not detract from Unity, because we agree on the essential theology and what Baha'u'llah and the central figures of the Faith wrote. If we interpret something differently, we can discuss it and learn from each other. We can have discussions in person and there are study groups to discuss the Writings. There are also some Baha'i forums where we can have discussions.
     
  9. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    41
    It was obvious to the Hands of the Cause appointed by Shoghi Effendi that Mason Remey could not be the guardian since he was not a family member. The Universal House of Justice was instituted by Baha'u'llah, but Shoghi Effendi had decided that more National Spiritual Assemblies had to be created first. In the meantime during the World Crusade starting in 1953 many more national bodies were formed, so it was obvious that the support provided by that meant that it was time to elect the Universal House of Justice at the end of the World Crusade in 1963. In the meantime the Hands of the Cause carried out the World Crusade from what Shoghi Effendi had set up. They selflessly requested that the Baha'is not vote for any of the Hands. There was no power struggle between Remey and the UHJ. There was no legitimate question about who was to be the head of the Baha'i Faith. It was the Hands that declared Remey and his followers to be covenant-breakers.
     
    Trailblazer likes this.
  10. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    41
    First we investigate through the Writings of the Baha'i Faith and the historical lives of the central figures, among other things, to decide if we believe in Baha'u'llah. Baha'u'llah claimed to be infallible and so anything He teaches, including His laws, we should accept.

    It's not that some laws are optional, its just that in this case it's understood that the laws of inheritance apply only if one does not leave a will.
     
    Trailblazer likes this.

Share This Page