Reading Scripture

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Cino, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I don't think quoting bits of scripture is a straightforward thing at all. An isolated Jesus quote like Matthew 5:17-18 might convey the impression that Christians implement all of the same commandments as Jews do. Context matters, even very wide context, as @Thomas keeps pointing out, rightly in my opinion.

    Your quote from Baha'u'llah is a very noble statement, and I like the general tenor. But it is very, very general. Is is it descriptive, as in "we're all in this together" - or prescriptive? Should we strive to unite all countries in the world politically? Is that what you mean by unity? Or are structures such as the UN more in the spirit of the unity of mankind? Also, should politics be informed by religious views, would this be conducive to unity or rather to violent division, as countless such experiments in the past have shown?

    So to answer your question, I suspect I read this passage very differently from you.
     
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  2. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    So now we have the quandary, as how do we approach the quandary of allowing a person to offer a new frame of reference on reading of scriptures, without that person being accused of trying to convert others? I can say hand on heart that it is not I that can convert any person and I as such I have no intent to convert any person, but I do see there is another valid frame of reference to offer on all conversations about Faith and Life.

    The issue I see we are all faced with, is that Baha'u'llah has offered that He speaks for all Mesengers and that what He has offered in Scripture, is from the One God of All the Mesengers. This is not just for me, Baha’u’llah said is is given for all humanity.

    I offer this comparison. If I quote from one of those scriptures from what Jesus offered, this will demonstrate how it is not my view that answers the passage, but it is Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation that answers the scripture. It would be my view that it is the answer, others may not agree.

    It has been written in the Bible in John 16:12-14. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

    Baha'u'llah has said;

    "... Announce thou unto the priests: Lo! He Who is the Ruler is come. Step out from behind the veil in the name of thy Lord, He Who layeth low the necks of all men. Proclaim then unto all mankind the glad-tidings of this mighty, this glorious Revelation. Verily, He Who is the Spirit of Truth is come to guide you unto all truth. He speaketh not as prompted by His own self, but as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Say, this is the One Who hath glorified the Son and hath exalted His Cause. – Baha’u’llah, “The Most Holy Tablet” (also known as the “Tablet to the Christians”), Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 12.

    So the promise is in the first scripture and the answer is in the second, they balance each other.

    My view would be I see they do, mostly because I have read a great deal more about what Baha'u'llah offered.

    Other views would say they do not, as a Christain may immediately view it as a False Prophet scenario.

    So after offering that and getting a reply about false prophet. How can one respond without offer more from Baha'u'llah as to why He is not a False Prophet, but is indeed the One promised by Jesus the Christ?

    Where is the Balance?

    I see it is in not offering a new frame of reference to those that do not want to hear it. So how on an open forum do we approach that quandary, without accusation?

    Regards Tony
     
  3. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Maybe the quandary is, what are you expecting to hear in response?

    We here on interfaith.org love to hear about different faiths and ways of life, hot off the griddle as it were. We all love to share insights into our faiths and ways of life with the others.

    How do you live as a Baha'i? And I don't believe for one moment that Baha'is interact with each other solely by quoting Baha'u'llah's writings at each other, all the time, or Abdul Baha's, or Shoghi Effendi's. I'm sure you find your own words which bring the teachings alive.

    Are you willing to listen to a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Thelemite, Satanist, Atheist, Buddhist, to name a few, and learn how they see the world, without having to point out the superiority of your own faith?

    That would bring the world a little step towards understanding and tolerance, which is what unity is all about, in my opinion. In any case, it is what interfaith dialogue is all about.

    Big Love,
    Cino
     
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  4. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    To me that is very easy, I am happy with any response to the thoughts put forward and any discussion on what is offered, without the resort to accusations proselytising. On forums over the years I have only offered praise to all Faiths based in virtue and Messengers I see come from the same God, no matter how hard the responder is trying to sell their message and sell it they do when they rubbish the source of the point of view you have offered. People choose to do that often on forums.

    You asked the question, "Are you willing to listen to a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Thelemite, Satanist, Atheist, Buddhist, to name a few, and learn how they see the world, without having to point out the superiority of your own faith?"

    Is it really a question of my willingness, as they also offer as I do, from their chosen frame of reference. The key here is that to answer one must read what was offered. The answer will reflect how much we listened to what was posted.

    I offer from what Baha'u'llah has given the world, a lot of the time that answer is challenging, as that is what Baha'u'llah has done, challenged our Faith in God and asked us to reexamine what we think we know about our Faith and God.

    When a poster sees that many quandaries they face have been answered, logically and openly, that is when the tide turns and the proselytising badge is brought out.

    So your OP is reading Scripture. How many are prepared to read those scriptures outside of their current frame of reference? When they are shown there is other ways of looking at it, why is it then, that the new frame of reference is tagged as proselytising? I would be more happy at that time to say, OK we agree to disagree.

    There is so much we could learn from each other, only when we realise we are one people and this quote gives the required foundation of that unity;

    "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded." Baha'u'llah

    I see in that passage a simple realisation, that no changes in the future of Humanity can be made, if we compromise on a given principal, to find a balance that can not be sustained

    Regards Tony
     
  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    The Baha'i faith seems to be mainly concerned with the material future of a one world humanity, while other 'conventional' faiths concern themselves more with the spiritual future of the individual soul? To Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is God's.

    So immediately the question: who is going to adjudicate the new one world system -- because the buck has to stop somewhere. There must be someone at the top able to cast the deciding vote, presumably elected. And so this become religious politics, with representatives from varying faiths and religions -- and non-faiths and anti-faiths -- all lobbying for position.

    No? Uh uh. It's the Baha'i faith gonna be running all this, with absolute fairness and justice and brother love all round. The ultimate in theocracy.

    Other faiths: are all happily going to agree to becoming merged into the new one world Baha'i order. Even from the discussions on these reasonably polite forums, it's evident that this is not going to happen willingly anytime soon? And all before real-world nationalisms and conflicts and alliances, and all the rest of the real world stuff comes into it?

    So really a faith-centred peaceful one world system anytime in the reasonable future is actually just a pipe dream, is it not? It's science fiction really? And the Baha'i faith seems mostly to centre around it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  6. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Well, then tell us how you personally met that challenge posed by Baha'u'llah's offerings. Don't go around challenging other people with it - that never goes down well, it looks like you are experimenting what the message does to others before trying it on yourself. Eat your own spiritual food, don't feed it to those who have other tastes. But rather, tell us about your experience with said spiritual food.

    Hints to avoid coming across as a missionary: Use "I" messages rather than "you" messages, especially when referring to the scriptures of other faiths. Use the phrase, "in my opinion", don't explain how adherents of other faiths should understand their scriptures. Even Socrates was, by his own admission, seldom successful with his questioning method, and you're not Socrates, so don't pose Socratic questions about other religions' scriptures. Use your own words, don't be a scripture-bot.

    Edited to add:

    What does "to proselytize" mean to you, if not, "to recruit or convert, especially to a new faith, institution, or cause" (Merriam Webster)?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  7. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    People who are willing to participate in polite conversation shouldn't be accused of "proselytizing" in my opinion.
    Some people just advertise their faith and have no interest in debate .. they are the culprits.
     
  8. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    A big consideration here is, is the material one chooses to use in the debate. It is chosen to make specific points.

    Regards Tony
     
  9. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Good point. In this spirit, and since you were making a point about it repeatedly, want to give the question below a shot, @Tone Bristow-Stagg?

    Big Love,
    Cino
     
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Someone once gave me this exact advice, not to use the word 'you' in forum discussions. I sometimes forget. Thanks for the reminder @Cino
    Especially when I haven't even a decent working knowledge of their scriptures -- but which to be fair does not seem to apply to @Tone Bristow-Stagg
     
  11. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    If we use the current understanding of the word proselytize, then in the reality of today's thoughts, no debate forum could operate that used it as a rule. Yet they do operate under a guise, wheras I like to be more honest.

    I come to show that the Message of Baha'u'llah has answers that can be considered and have great merit. I am not here to convert, but to give those answers and let people choose to see if they have merit, or do not. I see the vast majority of people come to debate forums as they see they have answers to offer, some come so they can find answers they are yet to consider.

    In that process, we also learn a great deal from each other.

    This can be done in all honesty, no pressure and not attempt to convert. It is done just for the sake of elevated discussion. The problem is, if the answer does have great merit, it does challenge what a person may hold as the Truth and this is when instead of agreeing to disagree, many revert to accusations.

    From a Baha'i perspective we have much to consider as to what it is to proselytize as it is unlawful for a Baha'i to do so. The Universal House of Justice offers this

    "... It is true that Bahá'u'lláh lays on every Bahá'í the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization... "

    Baha'u'llah has given much guidance and I am sure many times Baha'i are guilty of not implementing that advice. Personally I do not find it easy, this is an example as Bahá'u'lláh, in The Hidden Words, says,

    "O Son of Dust! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved .... ",

    How is that implemented on the world wide Web? You have a conversation with one person, and many listen and join in.

    Regards Tony
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  12. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    That really is the only Love we should have, an all embracing Love.

    Regards Tony
     
  13. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    In all honesty:

    I think the Universal House of Justice are simply wrong if they claim that "to proselytize" means "to convert by force". Whatever their motivation may be to redefine words, the usual meaning would be something like the Merriam-Webster one I mentioned earlier.

    To me, it feels a bit disingenuous to claim one is not proselytizing, because one has decided for oneself that the word means something other than what everybody else thinks it means.

    Some of my friends claim that it is the Law.
     
  14. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    It is OK for you to see it that way. I always consider that the greatest change happens when individuals unite and stand for what they see is just and fair. History has shown it takes courage to change people's frames of references, but eventually the truth is triumphant.

    I see the guidance has been given and then it is our choice to follow that guidance, we may not always get it right and wisdom does take time to foster.

    Regards Tony
     
  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    So, to loop back to your quandary: Do you now understand that it is entirely of your own making, and it disappears once you don't redefine words to mean something other than commonly understood? Will you refrain from seeking to recruit or convert people to your cause or religion here?
     
  16. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I think in a way that proselytizing on internet forums is the difference between telling people what I believe, and telling them what to believe. It can be a fine line. But the fact is when complaints are lodged, it means other members are perceiving it as proselytizing.

    We need you here, and totally respect your opinions.

    But then just keep an eye on how others are reacting to you: if people feel they are being preached to, they complain. Obviously a lot of people join IO purely to proselytize; it can be religious, it can be political or conspiracy theorist -- but it comes down to loading the boards with one-minded posts. They don't last long, and you are not one of them. Proselytizers feel their own message to the world is so important that it over-rides all other concerns.

    I know what tips me over: with an evangelist or a guru sect insistently barraging me to come over into their own fold -- and I appreciate it when someone tells me my own posts on a thread are getting close to the line, as others are perceiving it. Because we all think our own belief is important. It is a fine line, IMO

    It's great to have you here @Tone Bristow-Stagg
     
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  17. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    What RJM said.

    Big Love,
    Cino
     
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  18. 2ndpillar

    2ndpillar Member

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    Yeshua's message was to Judah and Israel, which according to Ezekiel 36, is still scattered among the nations, and apparently don't know who they are. Yeshua sent his disciples to the "lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:6), which do come under the totality of the Law and the commandments. As for "foreigners" who want to worship on the mountain of God, they must keep the commandments and the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:6) With regard to the "Christians", followers of the false prophet Paul, and the worthless shepherd Peter (Zechariah 11:17), they keep the commandments of the beast, which is to say, they are marked with the sign of the beast, and will drink from the cup of the wrath of God unless they repent. (Revelation 14:10)
     
  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Proselytizing doesn't work anyway. It has the opposite effect, It just turns people off
     
  20. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Active Member

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    The question would be, if there is a way to unite the world, a way to unite all humanity to live in peace and harmony in a common good, how else would it be heard of, if it is not passed on by spreading the way by verbal exchange?

    We have been given the ability of speach so we can communicate. Speach needs to be moderated and that is the line we are looking at, when is speach needing moderation?

    Personally, I see it is when speach no longer is obtaining a positive outcome.

    Regards Tony
     

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