What is the Baha'i 'Gospel'?

lunamoth

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Allah'u'Abha Baha'i Friends,

Just interested in how you would state it. I'd especially like to hear it in your own words. :)

peace,
lunamoth
 
lunamoth said:
Allah'u'Abha Baha'i Friends,

Just interested in how you would state it. I'd especially like to hear it in your own words. :)

peace,
lunamoth

Luna,

The Baha'i Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, which translates to The Most Holy Book. The Kitab-i-Aqdas gives all of the Laws and Guidelines for Baha'is to follow.

There are obviously many books or tablets that have been written by Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. (If my memory serves me right, there are over 100 tablets written by Baha'u'llah alone, although not all of them have been translated at this correct time.) I would like to note, these books are not secondary to the Kitab-i-Aqdas. It is just that the Aqdas is the complete book of Baha'i Laws and Guidelines and these Laws and Guidelines govern the Baha'i Community, hence it is the Most Holy Book.

I hope I have anwered your question.

warmly,
Sassafras
 
Hi Sassafras,

Thank you for replying to my question. :) Actually, in addition to naming the most important piece of scripture, I was hoping our Baha'i members would share what they think is the central 'good news' of the Baha'i Faith. I was thinking about this when replying to Bruce DL in the other thread recently and thought it would be interesting to hear what you all think.

Anyway, the Kitab-i-Aqdas is the Most Holy Book, the book of Baha'i Laws. I heard that it was revealed only very late in the life of Baha'u'llah, and only after the friends had requested it. Is that correct?

Do you have other books that you feel are the most important to the Baha'i Faith? Do you think they will all ever be bound into some kind of canon?

Also, would enjoy hearing you describe what you think the most important 'good news' is about the Baha'i Faith.

peace,
lunamoth
 
Luna,

I didn't know exactly when Baha'u'llah revealed the Aqdas so I did some research:

"Baha’u’llah revealed the Kitab-i-Aqdas around 1873, some twenty years after He had received, in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, the intimation of His Revelation." Baha'u'llah passed away in 1892. He was writings other Tablets until the last days of his life.

I do have to correct something... Baha'u'llah wrote "unnumbered" Tablets, so he definitely wrote over 100, 200, many even 300. Until all the Tablets are revealed, that number will remain an estimate.

All the writings of Baha'u'llah will not and could not ever be put into a canon because the size would be too large, the thickness of the book would be greater than my arm span, and the weight would be immense. Some of the Tablets of Baha'u'llah are terse so you will find a few Tablets compiled into one book, but certainly not all of them in one.

Now, for the "good news" of the Baha'i Faith. The central or core message of the Faith is "Unity". The more all-embracing view of the Faith would be "Hope" and that God has a Plan.

Does that answer your question?

warmly,
Sassafras
 
Greetings, greetings! :)

lunamoth said:
Actually, in addition to naming the most important piece of scripture, I was hoping our Baha'i members would share what they think is the central 'good news' of the Baha'i Faith. I was thinking about this when replying to Bruce in the other thread recently and thought it would be interesting to hear what you all think.

Do you have other books that you feel are the most important to the Baha'i Faith? Do you think they will all ever be bound into some kind of canon?

Also, would enjoy hearing you describe what you think the most important 'good news' is about the Baha'i Faith.

As Sassafras noted, there is clearly too much Baha'i scripture to be bound into a single volume! Longer books tend to stand alone (such as the Aqdas and Iqan <Book of Certitude>), and other, shorter ones are often combined into compilations.

Two volumes possibly of special note are The Book of Certitude (Kitab-i-Iqan) and 'Abdu'l-Baha's Some Answered Questions.

The former is our primary theological work. The latter deals with many different topics in clear, easily understandable language. (Of course, many other volumes are also equally important, sufficiently so that we don't really draw any distinction between the various volumes of scripture aside from the Aqdas.)

While the Baha'i teachings do indeed focus on unity, I would say the two most important pieces of "good news" the Baha'i Faith delivers are:
  1. God is All-loving and continually reveals His love for us through new Divine Revelations, and
  2. The Baha'i Revelation will bring the long-promised and long-awaited Kingdom of God on Earth!

Best, :)

Bruce
 
lunamoth said:
Anyway, the Kitab-i-Aqdas is the Most Holy Book, the book of Baha'i Laws. I heard that it was revealed only very late in the life of Baha'u'llah, and only after the friends had requested it. Is that correct?

Sassafras answered this question well about the Kitab-I-Aqdas, but I thought I would interject one little point. There is no indication that any of the works of Baha'u'llah were written because of a request of a follower. His writings flowed from His pen or, in the situation of when He dictated, from His mouth. At times, there were up to three scribes trying to keep up with his proclamations because the words flowed so fluently and eloquently from His mouth. On the other hand, there are works that were written because of requests from detractors or non-believers, such as the Katab-I-Iqan.

lunamoth said:
Do you have other books that you feel are the most important to the Baha'i Faith? Do you think they will all ever be bound into some kind of canon?

Also, would enjoy hearing you describe what you think the most important 'good news' is about the Baha'i Faith.

peace,
lunamoth

I think if you asked 10 Baha'is a question about which books are most important, you may get 10 different answers. Aside from the Kitáb-I-Aqdas, I, personally, love to immerse myself into "Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah" or more familiarly called "Gleanings". I also am fond of "The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" which is a series of proofs of Bahá’u’lláh’s claims as the most recent Manifestation, His claims of Progressive Revelations and much, much more. I would also feel it was safe to say that most Baha'is spend time daily in some sort of collection of Baha'i Prayers, written by The Bab, Baha'u'llah or 'Abdu'l-Baha.

Concerning the "Good News" of the Baha'i Faith, "hope" is truly the core essence of His message. Let me add, though, "unity" is the core message of Baha'u'llah, as "forgiveness" was the core message of Jesus of Nazareth and "law" was the core message of Moses. This is useful if you are trying to find one word to describe a religion, and is a starting point in explaining the teachings of a particular Manifestation.

This thread really got me pondering something. Please follow me on this. This is the first time I have put these thoughts down in some sort of order.
Also, keep in mind, this is a sketch, not a finished essay, carefully thought out and organized. Please bear with me.

In the first 1850 years of civilization after Christ (and I want to kind of refer to "European" or "Mediterranean" civilization) most controversy was between politics/rulers and religionists. Historically, we have been taught, that rulers made many major decision that affected their wards based on religion and changing belief systems and many religionists made many decisions based on the politics of the time. Science was not part of it, as science was masked in superstition and mysticism and integrated into both religion and politics. Much of Europe was cloaked in what we call "The Dark Ages", a time of superstition and power struggles between church and state, while Mid-eastern countries were enjoying a rebirth of civilization from the fragrant directions of Muhammad. From the 600 AD and lasting over a 100 years, the Islamic population built a society that still awes us today and influences our every civic structure that we depend on. And then this civilization, historically, darkened.

Then around the middle of the 19th century, a new fragrant wave was unleashed to Mankind and society again began to advance. In fact, the advancements we have seen in the past 150 years are beyond description. When we look at the history of mankind, we can date specific world changing inventions, such as the telescope or man controlled flight, but today, we don't even know what is being invented, it is being done so quickly. When we buy some technology today, we are not surprised to find that it is "obsolete" before we unpack it from the box.

When Darwin shared his views on the "The Origin of the Species", a line in the sand seemed to have been drawn. Controversy switched from political/religion to science/religion. Arguments from both sides have become so convoluted that neither, at some point, make any sense.

Scientists insist that it all came from a "Big Bang" which is happenstance. So their logic seems to go like this. This ordered world, which supports science and the scientific method for discovering and proving things, happened accidentally, not logically.


Religionists insist a Supreme Being created it all in 6 days; everything, including fossils, and historical evidence that would prove otherwise. So their belief system seems to say that there is no logic for the creation but only God's will, which would seem to suggest that logic and God do not go hand in hand Huh? and that God, therefore, is .....illogical...? Huh again.

Very different views and it would seem that there is nothing that can get these two together. By the way, I realize I simplified the views of both camps, so please, don't explain to me how there is more to it than I wrote. I am aware of that, but I think maybe I captured the essence.

Ok, here come my observations. Scientists state, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because God doesn't exist. Everything is happenstance, so there is no Divine Ruler and Baha'u'llah is therefore not a Messenger of God.

Religionists, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, also state these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because the Founder of their Religion is the only Messenger of God. He is exclusive to truth. Everything that comes from Baha'u'llah must be happenstance, as He is not who He claims to be. They may state, "I would know, because God would have told me or my minister, at least."

So it seems that the religionists and the scientists have finally united in one campaign; they both believe that Baha'u'llah and His message is no more than a bunch of curious espousals that may have validity, but if these espousals do have validity, then it would be no more than happenstance and not God's will.

There, finally LunaMoth, I have shared with you my feeling of what the Good News is. It is HOPE. It is knowledge that God has a plan and that He hasn't forgotten us and I also shared with you how the world has accepted this Messenger of Hope.

Mick
 
Last edited:
Mick said:
From the 600 AD and lasting over a 100 years, the Islamic population built a society that still awes us today and influences our every civic structure that we depend on. And then this civilization, historically, darkened.

Mick

This should have read 1000years. not 100 years.

Mick
 
Hi All,

I just wanted to respond quickly to all of you who have responded so far. I've enjoyed reading your replies! I hope to get back to this thread soon to further explore the Baha'i good news.

cheers,
lunamoth
 
Mick said:
Ok, here come my observations. Scientists state, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because God doesn't exist. Everything is happenstance, so there is no Divine Ruler and Baha'u'llah is therefore not a Messenger of God.

Religionists, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, also state these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because the Founder of their Religion is the only Messenger of God. He is exclusive to truth. Everything that comes from Baha'u'llah must be happenstance, as He is not who He claims to be. They may state, "I would know, because God would have told me or my minister, at least."

So it seems that the religionists and the scientists have finally united in one campaign; they both believe that Baha'u'llah and His message is no more than a bunch of curious espousals that may have validity, but if these espousals do have validity, then it would be no more than happenstance and not God's will.

There, finally LunaMoth, I have shared with you my feeling of what the Good News is. It is HOPE. It is knowledge that God has a plan and that He hasn't forgotten us and I also shared with you how the world has accepted this Messenger of Hope.

Mick

Hi Mick, Thank you for taking time to share this and I'm happy if it has given you a chance to put into writing some of the things you've been thinking about.

I can't help but observe that you are painting science and religion with some pretty broad brush strokes. I am a scientist and I must say I never thought those things about the Baha'i Faith when I encountered it, and the person who first introduced me to the Baha'i Faith is a scientist as well. I am curious about one thing you said above: "Scientists state, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because God doesn't exist. " What scientific principles do you see in the Baha'i writings?

I would aslo say, as a fellow 'religionist,' that I would not reject many if not most of the principles of the Baha'i Faith as they clearly are divine and quite in line with my beliefs and those of Christianity. Truth certainly is found in Christianity, but I don't think there is any claim to exclusive truth. That wouldn't even make sense when many of the teachings are exactly the same! I wouldn't say that 'everything that comes from Baha'u'llah must be happenstance,' although I would say I just do not know exactly who or what He was. Anyway, while I know with great sadness about the persecutions of Baha'is in Iran, I would say it is an overstatement to say that scientists and religionists are united in a campaign against Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith. :(

Thank you again for taking time to reply to this thread.

peace,
lunamoth
 
Greetings!

lunamoth said:
Truth certainly is found in Christianity, but I don't think there is any claim to exclusive truth.

We Baha'is fully agree there isn't, but unfortunately many Christians think otherwise.

lunamoth said:
I can't help but observe that you are painting science and religion with some pretty broad brush strokes....

In any case, you may find this statement about science from the Baha'i scriptures of interest:

"[E]ven in Europe it is admitted that religion is the opponent of science, and that science is the destroyer of the foundations of religion. While the religion of God is the promoter of truth, the founder of science and knowledge, it is full of goodwill for learned men; it is the civilizer of mankind, the discoverer of the secrets of nature, and the enlightener of the horizons of the world. Consequently, how can it be said to oppose knowledge? God forbid! Nay, for God, knowledge is the most glorious gift of man and the most noble of human perfections. To oppose knowledge is ignorant, and he who detests knowledge and science is not a man, but rather an animal without intelligence. For knowledge is light, life, felicity, perfection, beauty and the means of approaching the Threshold of Unity. It is the honor and glory of the world of humanity, and the greatest bounty of God. Knowledge is identical with guidance, and ignorance is real error.

"Happy are those who spend their days in gaining knowledge, in discovering the secrets of nature, and in penetrating the subtleties of pure truth! Woe to those who are contented with ignorance, whose hearts are gladdened by thoughtless imitation, who have fallen into the lowest depths of ignorance and foolishness, and who have wasted their lives!"

'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, Chapter 34, p. 137

Best,

Bruce
 
lunamoth said:
I can't help but observe that you are painting science and religion with some pretty broad brush strokes. I am a scientist and I must say I never thought those things about the Baha'i Faith when I encountered it, and the person who first introduced me to the Baha'i Faith is a scientist as well. I am curious about one thing you said above: "Scientists state, when confronted with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, these principles are worthy of study and in some cases implementation, but Baha'u'llah could not be delivering a message from God, because God doesn't exist. " What scientific principles do you see in the Baha'i writings?

If I am painting science and religion with a broad brush stroke, LunaMoth, then you are painting science and religion with a very narrow brush stroke meaning a sample of one or you. Yes, I would agree, and warned readers that I was doing this. I was generalizing that science (not a particular scientist) has accepted the Big Bang Theory and religionists (not a particular religionist) have accepted Creationism, which would seem to put them at odds with each other.

You've asked me to define what scientific principles I see in the Baha'i writings. Well, let me see, how about all of them. Baha'u'llah said that religion and science must go hand in hand. He added that science without religion is materialism and harmful to the advancement of society and religion without science is mere superstitution. Baha'u'llah told us that science is the study of what God created. So if there is a major difference, it simply comes from ignorance. For instance, the Big Bang theory is a "theory", not an axiom, so new information is being added on to it as we speak. I have watched it develop in my lifetime to something of beauty and seems to be approaching more and more an explanation of how creation actually worked. It is like watching the birth of our child and being overwhelmed with the incredible miracle of reproduction.

Creation, as many literalist see it, is truly mysterious and is also being added on to daily. There is a thread that tries to clarify the role of Adam and Eve on this forum, and passes the blame of original sin around like a bobbing ball. If you read Genesis, there simply isn't that type of information shared. I don't understand how thousands of years after the oral story was put down in writing, after written language was invented, there are those that can see all sorts of hidden meanings and explanations in the tale. I understand that this is an attempt by religionists to understand creation, but the real mistake is in how it is being read. Baha'u'llah warns us that we must be able to read the holy writings with an objective eye and a symbolic eye and we must be able to recognize the difference. So, if science has stated that the Universe has been created by powerful forces and can show proofs of their theory, I can accept that and still read Genesis lovingly, but with a symbolic eye, and try to understand what God was sharing with us with this story of the Gardern of Eden.



lunamoth said:
I would aslo say, as a fellow 'religionist,' that I would not reject many if not most of the principles of the Baha'i Faith as they clearly are divine and quite in line with my beliefs and those of Christianity.
I wouldn't say that 'everything that comes from Baha'u'llah must be happenstance,' although I would say I just do not know exactly who or what He was. Anyway, while I know with great sadness about the persecutions of Baha'is in Iran, I would say it is an overstatement to say that scientists and religionists are united in a campaign against Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith. :(

I agree it would be an overstatement if I said that. I am sorry I wasn't clearer with my thoughts. I wasn't suggesting that anybody has united in a campaign against the Baha'i Faith. I meant to say, while pondering the responses I have received by religionists and scientists over the years on the internet, I found they are quite similar. I was laconically pointing out the similarities and found it ironic that the two parties, normally at each others throats, in general, are on the same page when it comes to the acceptance of the station of Baha'u'llah.

lunamoth said:
Truth certainly is found in Christianity, but I don't think there is any claim to exclusive truth. That wouldn't even make sense when many of the teachings are exactly the same! .

I would have to agree with you completely, LunaMoth, but, unfortunately, you are only a sample of one. The reality is that most Christians do believe in the exclusivity of the truth of their religion, as most of the other religions believe in the same. Since you don't recognize Progressive Revelation, it would be ludicrous to state that you accept the divine inspiration of other Manifestations or even that they were Manifestations.

You wrote, "...many if not most of the principles of the Baha'i Faith as they clearly are divine and quite in line with my beliefs and those of Christianity. I wouldn't say that 'everything that comes from Baha'u'llah must be happenstance,' although I would say I just do not know exactly who or what He was."

Do you see the confusion that reigns when you get involved in partial beliefs? You stated that many of the principles are clearly divine, but then questioned the divinity of Baha'u'llah, the deliverer of these divine principles. You stated that "happenstance" wouldn't be applied to everything that comes form Baha'u'llah, but you did recognize the divine principles and then you said, "you...just do not know exactly who or what He was." and capitalized the He, which if it is out of respect for me or other Baha'is, thankyou, or if it is out of recognition by you of His station, then WOW. Do you see my point? If you can recognize the divinity of a message, why is it so difficult to recognize the divinity of the Messenger.

Let me make it easier for you. The principles that we are talking about and you suggested are divinely inspired are The Oneness of Mankind, The foundation of all religion is one, The Equality of Men and Women, Compulsory Education for Children, Religion must be in accord with science and reason, Independent Investigation of Truth, Universal Peace, Spiritual soulutions for economic problems, and many more. Are we in agreement on this?

Well, these principles were introduced by Baha'u'llah. They are the principles that God deemed will bring us into the next station of mankind. They truly were divinely inspired. They are not found in any other religion, though they are now being instituted by religions around the world, surely, because, we as individuals, recognize the importance of them. But they have no base or history in the rest of the religions of the world. Mankind wasn't ready for them as Jesus warned us when He said, "I have much to share with you that you could not bear..." and promised the Opener of the Seal would come and unlock these mysteries. Baha'u'llah claims to be that Opener and the principles I listed above are some of the truths that are being shared.

lunamoth said:
Thank you again for taking time to reply to this thread

peace,
lunamoth

And I truly thank you , Lunamoth, for the kind words you have written,

warmly,

Mick Zellar
 
Hi Mick, thank you for your reply. :)

I am in appreciation of all that you wrote, and agree with quite a lot of it. Just a couple of points, if you will allow me.

Mick said:
Do you see the confusion that reigns when you get involved in partial beliefs? You stated that many of the principles are clearly divine, but then questioned the divinity of Baha'u'llah, the deliverer of these divine principles. You stated that "happenstance" wouldn't be applied to everything that comes form Baha'u'llah, but you did recognize the divine principles and then you said, "you...just do not know exactly who or what He was." and capitalized the He, which if it is out of respect for me or other Baha'is, thankyou, or if it is out of recognition by you of His station, then WOW. Do you see my point? If you can recognize the divinity of a message, why is it so difficult to recognize the divinity of the Messenger.

I am not confused. :) I can recognize good fruit when I see it; I can recognize divine truth in the Baha'i Faith without also concluding that Baha'u'llah was the Return of Christ. I do use the capital form out of genuine respect for Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith.

peace,
lunamoth
 
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