What is the Baha'i message in simple words?

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Cino

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We are in the age of transition, building foundations for the future. Many who have not looked at the plans, only see the confusion of a construction site.

But the plans are publicly available, aren't they? Or are there secret teachings only available to initiates?

Also, I was commenting on the possibility of interpreting scripture. I think it is the case that only certain people, the Guardians, may interpret Baha'i scripture? But that office ended with the death of Shoghi Effendi, when he did not appoint a successor, did I understand that correctly? So nowadays, any interpretation must be drawn from the writings of Shoghi Effendi, Abdul Baha, or Baha'u'llah. There is no more "continuous interpretation", so to speak, that stopped cold in 1957.

I am not writing this to spite you or other Baha'is on this forum. This is what I found in publicly available sources which I researched, as I got no answers to my questions here. I am happy to be corrected where I got something wrong.
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Personally, I feel the times when you speak from your own experience of living your faith give me a much better understanding what it means to be a Baha'i than any amount of quotes of scripture.

What you wrote about being invited to a Christian service was something I could relate to. What you wrote about moving to a remote part of the country and trying to find spiritual friends there was, again, something I could recognize. Those discussions did a lot to give me an impression of your life as a Baha'i. If you had adhered strictly to your guidance, I would have felt as if kept at a distance, allowed to see only the glossy advertisements, as it were. I think that your guidance prevents you from showing a realistic picture of Baha'i life.

Just my two cents.

I understand what you are saying, I would offer that we need to consider we are not a Baha'i unless we are not the embodiment of what has been offered in the Writings.

Every person with a faith has a story of that journey to where they now stand. We can be passionate about a faith, but at the same time be very wrong.

This is where faith inevitably can go wrong, as attitudes change, we start deciding what we want to practice from those writings and what we do not want to.

I also consider I may not even be posting on forums, if I was the embodiment of those writings. They are what we can be, not necessarily what we currently are.

A good example in found in the Christian Scriptures is that of the teaching of turn the other cheek, history has shown how easy it is to explain that away.

Baha'u'llah explains this concept in the Kitab-i-iqan, where God's Laws are put aside when humans come to an impasse.

Regards Tony
 

Aupmanyav

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Personally I want all people of the world to have the same opportunities I have had in life. I want available for them the basic necessities of life, education, housing, jobs, hope, justice peace and love.
I have no problem with that. It is the claim; that there is soul and a God who selected an uneducated Iranian to be his sole spokesman for the next 1000 years, and that the Iranian has brought a new message from God of peace and brotherhood; with which I have problems. There have been many copycats in religions.
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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Communism seeks to impose sameness. There are no distinctions amongst individuals in a communistic religion. Everybody must adopt the same belief. Cannot see Baha'u'llah as God in the Baha'i Faith? No problem. You can believe he is a prophet. The Baha'i Faith allows for individual differences in belief under the umbrella of oneness/unity.

It's inevitable that everybody will not agree with Baha'i thought.

In the broader scope of society outside of the Baha'i Faith, atheists, for example, can be seen to be correct in their own degree/station. There is no God in the universe after all, so their affirmation that there is no God can be seen as correct in this sense in my opinion. I cannot force you to accept the Baha'i Faith. We must respect your degree/station. You may continue believing there is no God without any fear of forced conversions.
Well, gee . . . thanks ;)
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Also, I was commenting on the possibility of interpreting scripture. I think it is the case that only certain people, the Guardians, may interpret Baha'i scripture? But that office ended with the death of Shoghi Effendi, when he did not appoint a successor, did I understand that correctly? So nowadays, any interpretation must be drawn from the writings of Shoghi Effendi, Abdul Baha, or Baha'u'llah. There is no more "continuous interpretation", so to speak, that stopped cold in 1957.

Correct, no more official Interpretation is possible.

Shoghi Effendi was unable to appoint a successor, as there was no one available that could be appointed under the Covenant.

Luckily both Abdul'baha and Shoghi Effendi worked tirelessly to interpret and translate the core understanding of the Baha'i Faith.

The Universal House of Justice now has the job to translate the remaining writings in the light of what was done before by Abdul'baha and Shoghi Effendi. There is an ongoing big effort to get that done as good as possible.

Regards Tony
 

RJM

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Is it applicable now? Easy question.
The great conference of the free must needs fain casteth nukes upon the kingdom of V Putin? That'll fix it

I quite understand that the new Baha'i world state is probably only going to happen by picking up the pieces after a WW3 (or other cataclysm or combination) but the principle is still the same?

It's the practical details that fail -- fatally
 
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Tone Bristow-Stagg

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The great conference of the free must needs fain casteth nukes upon the kingdom of V Putin? That'll fix it

Is that your recommendation?

Do you see that is the way the governments are handling that situation?

What is your solution?

Regards Tony
 

RJM

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What is your solution?
I don't have one. The world is what it is. Each conflict situation is fraught, unique, and complicated with old rivalries and borders. It's never simple. The world's not like that, and it never will be, imo

However I'm not really happy with my last post -- I'm not denying the value of working and hoping for a better world. I'm concerned about the principle of a religious ambition to take over the reins of practical government based on the belief in a messenger speaking the infallible word of God.

Sorry, but stripping away the nice words, there it is.

And so whatever else I say can't add to the discussion
 

Ahanu

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But it might make you feel better if you did ;)

Of course not, @Cino .

I mentioned that for a certain someone that used a long list of negative adjectives for Abdu'l-Baha in another thread because he believes Moses' laws are no longer applicable for our world today.

I think the separation of Church and State is a really important, hard-won civilatory gain. Humanity is better off for having made steps to make that cut, and I think any attempts to undo this are a dangerous backsliding into worse conditions. Just open a history book, or newspaper, to see examples of what happens when politics and faith get enmeshed - it is to the detriment of both domains, and to the detriment of humanity as a whole.

But the laws outlined in the Aqdas are designed to set up a Theocracy.

It is my personal opinion that Theocracies suck. I can go into the gory details, but I feel it is not necessary.

Does the Baha'i Faith want to establish a theocracy? Not necessarily. The Faith does not envision one relationship between Church and State. Rather, there are multiple forms that can potentially emerge. It is quite dynamic, for some regions may integrate Church and State, and others may separate them. This theme is fully explained in Roshan Danesh's Dimensions of Baha'i Law. It is worth reading for Baha'is and non-Baha'is interested in Baha'i law. The author went to Harvard Law School, works as a lawyer, and is a Baha'i with some Iranian roots.

I would also add this view is consistent with the logic of relationalism that can be abundantly found throughout the Writings.
 
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RabbiO

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Of course not, @Cino .

I mentioned that for a certain someone that used a long list of negative adjectives for Abdu'l-Baha in another thread because he believes Moses' laws are no longer applicable for our world today.
A “certain someone”?

For the record, that certain someone actually said nothing about the individual who made the statement, only about the statement itself.
 
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Ahanu

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Yes, a certain someone, @RabbiO.

only about the statement itself.

Which issued from the speaker himself. Can one separate the statement from the speaker? It is a small nuance in which we bracket off a moment in time - during a talk with a westerner - and an area of knowledge in which you consider the speaker was "ignorant, arrogant, condescending, rude, and disrespectful," right?

Are you able to share why you disagree without the use of negative adjectives for another's viewpoint? Or do you feel like this sort of discourse is acceptable in civil discussions?
 

RJM

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Are you able to share why you disagree without the use of negative adjectives for another's viewpoint? Or do you feel like this sort of discourse is acceptable in civil discussions?
I'm not sure you can win this one @Ahanu? Perhaps everyone should just let it go?
 

Thomas

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Correct, no more official Interpretation is possible.
Shoghi Effendi was unable to appoint a successor, as there was no one available that could be appointed under the Covenant.
This would suppose the spiritual transmission has ceased?
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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This would suppose the spiritual transmission has ceased?

The Covenant allowed for such a possibility, that the line of guardians would cease. That it was after the first Guardian, well God tests His servants as God so chooses.

The Universal House of Justice is part of the Covenant. It was given to guide the Faith and has been enabled to enact and repeal laws not specifically mentioned in the Book of Laws. It also has the right to apply penalties to laws that have not yet been given that detail.

The issue of no more interpretation, to me is but a challenge for our own selves. Both Abdul'baha and Shoghi Effendi worked tirelessly to ensure the key points needed for humanity were interpreted. Thus the Universal House of Justice has available ample interpreted guidance for this dispensation. We know we will not necessarily get it right, as we are still evolving as a human species, attached to this world, but with an unlimited spiritual capacity.

We are allowed to consider interpretation of scripture, as long as we offer it is our opinion. It should never become the cause of division as it has in the past. The Covenant was given as to moderate the extreme elements that cause division.

Regards Tony
 

Tone Bristow-Stagg

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Yes, a certain someone, @RabbiO.

Which issued from the speaker himself. Can one separate the statement from the speaker? It is a small nuance in which we bracket off a moment in time - during a talk with a westerner - and an area of knowledge in which you consider the speaker was "ignorant, arrogant, condescending, rude, and disrespectful," right?

Are you able to share why you disagree without the use of negative adjectives for another's viewpoint? Or do you feel like this sort of discourse is acceptable in civil discussions?

Abdul'baha was most likely was called that by many people, but we know Abdul'baha would only forgive and forget. As we know Jesus offerred, "They don't not know what they do" and Jeremiah 31:31-34 sets the scene for this age.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

It is but a badge of honour to be slanded and persecuted for doing naught but what is asked of you of God. Ya Baha'ul Abha to the power of forgiveness in this age.

Regards Tony
 

Ahanu

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It is but a badge of honour to be slanded and persecuted for doing naught but what is asked of you of God. Ya Baha'ul Abha to the power of forgiveness in this age.

Regards Tony

I certainly don't think it is slander or persecution. Just wondering why we cannot share and exchange views without the use of negative language like that.
 
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