What is the Baha'i message in simple words?

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Thomas

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God is unknowable ...
And yet we know there is God ... so not an absolute statement. God said 'let there be light' and some interpret that to mean intelligibility.

... all doors are shut to that Most Great Spirit.
It's a pity your dogma declares that. Other religions say otherwise, mine, for example:
"If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him." (John 14:23)

+++

In the Orthodox Patriarchies, there is a distinction between the Divine essence (ousia) and the Divine act (energeia) – between who God is and what God does. The theology arose in a specific climate, and was not entirely endorsed in the West, although latterly the dialogue has been a lot more fruitful.

In lay terms, God's essence is incomprehensible, but He can be experienced through his energia, His effect on and in the soul – spiritual growth. (The Christian idea of spiritual growth is vastly different from the common concept of the term.)

The East holds that God is unknowable in His essence, but can be known – experienced – by His works in the soul (and some might say known on an even broader scale in the world), but such experience changes neither who/what God is, nor who/what the one experiencing God is.

Just as a plant grows by the experience of sunlight, soaking up the light and warmth, but does not become the sun, so a person who 'soaks up' the warmth and light of God and grows spiritually does not thereby become God.

(The doctrine of theosis, or deification, is a nuanced doctrine – essentially of adoption – that takes some explaining.)

In the Latin west, the ousia–energia distinction as a real distinction in God was rejected, opening up a can of worms with regard to compartmentalism, polytheism, subordinationism, and all manner of other isms. In very simple terms, God is what God does, God does what God is, but again care need be taken else we drift into pantheism. As the saying goes, 'It is the Nature of the Good to communicate Itself'.

The whole thing kicked off in a dispute over hesychasm, the Greek practice of 'stillness', founded on Bible and particularly the Psalmist's: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 45:11 according to the Cat. numbering) Whatever, the point here being, the Psalm does not say "Be still and know the works of God".
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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So what should be done in your ideal world, @Amir Alzzalam? Not translate again? Not attempt to authenticate a text? Translation is always an ongoing process. Even works as old as the Odyssey, for example, continue to have new translations.
In the first place, I wouldn't have started yet another Abrahamic faith based on Islam, which was based on Christianity, which was based on Judaism, which was based on the Canaanites' religion. But, let me ask you this. Does the Baha'i faith state that their scripture is the Word of God, as do the other three Abrahamic faiths? Because, IMO, that is where the problem lies. If the Abrahamic god truly exists and dictated Its Word to man, then why would there need to be any revision or apologies?
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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Any good articles you can share about this? Thanks.
Articles, no . . . books, yes.

⦁ Al‑Jilwah
⦁ Arabia and the Arabs (from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam) by Robert G. Hoyland
⦁ Arabic Hermes by Kevin Vann Bladel
⦁ Arabs in Antiquity: Their History from the Assyrians to the Umayyads by Jan Retsö
⦁ Iblis, the Black Light: Satanism in Islam by Peter Lamborn Wilson
⦁ Jinn and psychiatry: comparison of beliefs among Muslims in Dhaka and Leicester by Professor Mohammad S I Mullick
⦁ Legends of the Fire Spirits by Robert Lebling
⦁ Licit Magic: The Touch And Sight Of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls by Yasmine F. Al‑Saleh
⦁ Original Magic of the Persian Magi by Stephen Flowers
⦁ Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Greco‑Roman Near East by Javier Teixidor
⦁ Roman Arabia by G.W. Bowersock
⦁ Sacred Drift by Peter Lamborn Wilson
⦁ Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff and Stephen E. Flowers Ph.D
⦁ Translation of a Zosimos' Text in an Arabic Alchemy Book by H. S. El Khadem
 

Thomas

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How else can the Oneness of God become a reality?
It seems to me the One-ness of God is a reality, at the level of God. To require the same one-ness here, in the finite world, is a metaphysical error of judgement, in my opinion. This world is a world of multiplicity, of difference and distinction, of 'I' and 'Thou', but that is no reason to assume that we must be at loggerheads.

If one accepts the world's sacra doctrina as flowing from a single Divine source – and thus the world's religions as the fruit of authentic revelation – then one is obliged to accept difference and distinction – that is what, ultimately, 'unity' means. Unity is not everybody thinking the same thing, marching in step, etc. Unity is being and letting-be, love is opening the heart to the other as they are, not to change them.

I had a most profound moment with a Sikh. Our beliefs are radically different. Our goals are the same. Our paths are our paths, but we looked at each other across the chasm, and we each saw, just for a moment, the other reflected in ourselves ...

How can we become one human race, if we do not embrace the diversity of races as part of the whole human race. How can we become united if one human wants to control the mind of many humans?
Precisely! Embrace the diversity!

We have to be free to make our own choices, as to be enabled to embrace our oneness, which in turn brings about a unity in our diversity.
Yes!

If the religious priests in each age had not rejected the Messenger, the the masses would have followed the One sent by God...
I think, contemplating the nature of humanity and it's history, that is a naive statement. It's a sad fact, but there it is. My messenger's been rejected, so has hers, so has his, so has yours ... so it goes ...

If everybody had lived the message the first time round, the one we all know and want, without being told, we'd be home and dry. The message?
Do unto others.
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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Most scholars consider Jesus as a historical person, and there is no doubt about historicity of Mohammad.
Jesus is still debatable IMO. There is widespread disagreement among scholars on the historicity of specific episodes described in the biblical accounts of Jesus, the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings. Many scholars have questioned the authenticity and reliability of these sources, and few events mentioned in the gospels are universally accepted.

Modern scholars differ in their assessment of the Quran as a historical source about Muhammad's life. while the Koran tells many stories after its fashion, that of Muhammad is not among them. There are references to events in his life, but they are only references, not narratives.

However, there is absolutely no evidence that any of these 'prophets' were messengers from any god.
 

Aupmanyav

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Historicity of Jesus and that of episodes are different questions. Of course, there are scholars who differ, but it is accepted by the majority of scholars that Jesus was historical.
 
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Tone Bristow-Stagg

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And yet we know there is God ... so not an absolute statement. God said 'let there be light' and some interpret that to mean intelligibility.

We know of God only because of the Prophets and Messengers. They are the sole revealers of the light of God, the Word, to all humanity. That is why we are warned of false prophets, who come in sheep's clothing. Most of the misinterpretation is done by those that are of the same faith.

Knowledge of God in Essence is not even known by the Manifestations. They are the embodiment of the Attributes given of God. The attributes do not even define God, but I see they are the Essence of the Messenger.

The only way I can answer these questions is with what Baha'u'llah offered, he has given extensive knowledge on this topic now Thomas. Abdul'baha was given authority to explain what Baha'u'llah offered to us, so for a Baha'i that is all part of the Word of God.

Regards Tony
 

Cino

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We know of God only because of the Prophets and Messengers. They are the sole revealers of the light of God, the Word, to all humanity.

Interesting.

How do you hold overt mystical manuals like the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys? Reading them as a non-Baha'i and non-believer, they seem to be fairly straightforward "How-To" texts for those who yearn for the Light.

Trying to imagine how else to read them, I come up with "as a one-time reminiscence of Baha'u'llah regarding his own travels"? As a kind of devotional reading?

I'm intrigued, but please don't feel pressured to go into detail. This can be very personal stuff
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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It seems to me the One-ness of God is a reality, at the level of God. To require the same one-ness here, in the finite world, is a metaphysical error of judgement, in my opinion. This world is a world of multiplicity, of difference and distinction, of 'I' and 'Thou', but that is no reason to assume that we must be at loggerheads.

Oneness does not mean sameness. Unity in diversity is the path forward. This topic has also been described in detail.

I hesitate to offer evidence as to the source of those thoughts.

Regards Tony
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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Historicity of Jesus and that of episodes are different questions. Of course, there are scholars who differ, but it is accepted by the majority of scholars that Jesus was historical.
You know when 'scholars', or more precisely those who use scholarly evidence to make their point, use the word 'historically' they are saying: "of or concerning history; concerning past events". Nowhere in that definition of 'historical' does it say 'physically existed'.
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Interesting.

How do you hold overt mystical manuals like the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys? Reading them as a non-Baha'i and non-believer, they seem to be fairly straightforward "How-To" texts for those who yearn for the Light.

Trying to imagine how else to read them, I come up with "as a one-time reminiscence of Baha'u'llah regarding his own travels"? As a kind of devotional reading?

I'm intrigued, but please don't feel pressured to go into detail. This can be very personal stuff

I think peace of mind comes about when we accept God is an Unknowable Essence, beyond our capacity. We are content that our knowledge is relevant to our state of being. That all knowledge of life and the light of God is brought by the Prophets and Messengers. Islam taught us submission in our adolescence humanity, so that in our mature humanity, we know the value of submission.

We can then submit to the purpose of life. Which is based in Love. We are here to know and Love God and in that ever advancing knowledge, create an ever advancing civilization. In doing so, we can reap the material rewards of our labours in this matrix, but for the good of all, and not just a few.

Materialism has clouded many of our capacities. Materialism clouds the purpose.

There are many answers I could give to such a question Cino.

Regards Tony
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Isn't Baha'i scripture the Word of God? Why would you need to change 'one letter' of the Word of God?

The original language is not changed. That is mostly available as original documents.

The tricky part of translation is that it needs a level of interpretation as words have more than one meaning.

I am not knowledgeable on this topic, but to know some Arabic and Persian words have no English equivalent.

So translation can be flawed, if one does not know the intent of what was being offered, the translation can take on the meaning the translate sees and not what the Message intended.

So to get this correct. The Centre of the Study of the Texts was instigated and has its own building on Mount Carmel. Employed there are great scholars who have been tasked to convey the correct meaning in translation.

So this is a big task, many old translations wetr done just to get the Message out, some of it has been found to need revision.

It is a big topic, but I hope you can appreciate that the only intent is to impart the intended meaning and not introduce errors of mens interpretation into scripture.

Regards Tony
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Well, unfortunately for you, there has never been any objective evidence that any god whatsoever exists or existed. So, 'allegedly' seems more than appropriate.

Yes the only evidence is the Messengers. Are they not Objective evidence, they have claimed God sent them?

So our quandary is to decide if they are to be trusted and if were they truthful!

Baha'u'llah asked us to do just that.

Regards Tony
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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I can relate to that.



I can see you're busy answering some questions ;) I'll give it a break.

That is indeed the safe way. ;):D I contemplate that with every post, in such a challenging atmosphere.:oops:

In the end, we are to live as Love requires us to.

Regards Tony
 
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