Baha'i Fatih and Manichaeism

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Postmaster, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    The Baha'i faith claims 6 million members around the world and is a growing religion, the faith claims to be the latest message of God and captures mans mind by its philosophical assertions. I researched the Baha'i faith as I have my own religion and became very familiar with its theology and teachings.

    Recently I was researching a religion called Manichaeism, I can find know other material, sites or articles on the net that talks about a connection between the 2 religions, so I could well be the first person to ever spot this connection! And this raises many questions towards the Baha'i faith!

    Manichaeism is a religion that came out of Zoroastrianism from the Persian ruled city of Bagdad by a Man called Mani about 200AD to 300AD, the prophet founder of Manichaeism is coincidently direct ancestry to the prophet founder of the Baha'i faith known as Baha'u'llah about 1850AD, this is because when reading about the Baha'i faith they make effort to point out Baha'u'llah was Persian royal descent and also Mani's mother was Persian royalty too. Many people will be familiar with the fact that most royal families across the world have a very good sense of genealogy and history going back hundreds and hundreds of years.

    Manichaeism is a religion that died down even though it had influence from western Europe to the Far East, Christian saints who were orignally part of the relgion converted to christianity and discredited the religion and other Christian followers wrote books to discredit the faith from both theology and reason. It was also cosidered heretical by Zoroastrianism. If there is a connection it raises many questions towards the Baha'i faith and the idea of progresive relavation.

    As you see I started a thread in the Baha'i forum
    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4850


    Thoughs of you aware of the Baha'i theology will see the conenction more clearly.

     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    What would be interesting would be to compare the actual geneaologies involved - the problem I see here is that you seem to be presuming that there's a general unborken line of nobility over the 1600 years or so between Mani and Baha'u'llah - but Persia underwent major political changes over this period, under the Sassanids, Romans, Byzantine, Mongols, and of course, Islam. Claiming that royal families could have continued unbroken during this time would be interesting - but it's worth underlining even the Romans under Augustus had serious problems keeping distinguished houses of Roman nobility alive.

    2c.
     
  3. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    You have a point Brian! But often reading Baha'i websites they claim that the line of royalty Baha'u'llah followed is ancient. I don't really have time to do the research, but even if there is no blood line, I'm sure the theology is connected regardless.
     
  4. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Searching the net, I found sites that cover the issue! So it's not new! This is from a Baha'i site!

     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Glad to see you've found references - hopefully the studies make for interesting reading. :)
     
  6. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    I have studied the Baha'i Faith my whole life (I am 59 years old). You have studied the Baha'i Faith what an hour or two, a day or two, how long, I ask?




    Well, I ask you to don't state it unless you can prove it. We have discussed this on the other thread, Postmaster, and their have been no conclusions any of us could come up with. So at this point, I would have to say that Baha'u'llah is NOT a direct descendent of Mani. But if it was true, I don't get the significance. By simply stating that the relationship exists does not make it true and, in spite of the 1600 years seperating them, to think that this relationship would hold some sort of meaning to the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is ludicrous.


    I am curious, Postmaster. Do you believe a religion of God could "die down"? Or could this be an indication of a religion of man and, if that is the case, why are you so ardently trying to connect this vague entity in the far past with Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith?

    What questions does it raise? Who would raise them? You or your church? Baha'is sit on Cooperating Church Councils across America. They are leaders of Unity of Religion forums. So who is doing the questioning? Not the Christian churches in America, it would seem. It would seem to come only from individual zealots, not yet ready to embrace "Unity" and dogmatically entrenched in their "own" belief system.

    I am very familiar with Baha'i theology and I don't see a connection at all.

    I would have to say, Postmaster, that I see your posts on the Baha'i thread and here as attempts to hi-jack serious discussion. To label a thread "Baha'i" and then pronounce in the first message that you view the Baha'i Faith as a "cult", would be an attack considered vicious and provacative in my world, to say the least. Since it was allowed by the admins/moderators, it would also seem to reflect on the board as well. I do not spend a lot of time in the other religion threads. I, like most of us, have a limited time I can spend on message boards. Is this sort of attack common on the other religion threads, such as a Christian attacking a Moslim, or vice-versa, or any of the numerous combinations that one could come up with?

    Postmaster, why are you spending so much time on the Baha'i Faith? I used to think you were curious, but now it seems you were simply looking for ways to attack. If you find this Great Religion to be cultish, I would suggest you hightail it out of here. By the way, many of the Cult warning websights underline the fact that the only cults they are worried about profess to be of a Christian nature.

    Mick



    [/quote]
     
  7. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Postmaster,

    As i posted to another thread, if you have an interest in the genealogy of Baha'u'llah, go to

    http://www.misfitscentral.net/Files%20for%20friends/files_for_friends.htm

    This is a page we set-up on our commercial site to share larger files with friends. This isn't a particularly large file but it is a convenient place to land it. It is a PDF file and you can open it on the site or download to your computer.

    Mick
     
  8. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    I hae seen geneology on the net of Baha'u'llah going back to about 500AD from the same blood line from a Baha'i site.

    God is unexplainable and there are different paths, it's up to us to pick the right one. I don’t believe in salvation from knowledge and reason. I believe in salvation from kindness and sacrifice, just like mother Teresa, she came out of the Christian faith. Life is mystical, u can't explain it in any amount of literature. She was a great lady, many say she produced miracles..... Yet no mention of the Baha'i faith in her life.
     
  9. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Good gracious, Postmaster - you're hanging on to this theory like the guy was Greek or something...

    ... Bruce (who was expecting that claim any day, knowing Postmaster)
     
  10. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Well Brucegdc I'm convinced there is a better way to God. And it's through Jesus Christ, only Jesus Christ. Humans have been the same for the past 100'000 years! God seen we were worthy of Christ and so he sent him to save us. The rest of us choose something different and the bible warned us of the fakes.
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    It's not really a very comparative argument, though, is it? :)
     
  12. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Postmaster,

    I am pleased you know who you are and I would hope you would feel the same about me. I know who I am and I know the truths that I have recognized, as it seems you "kind of" do. Isn't there a large group of Christians that claim, based on the Bible, that the Earth and humans only have an 18,000 year history? Well, that's beside the point.

    I am curious why you were so insistent concerning this Mani guy, first in the Baha'i thread and then here in comparative studies. It seems you were attempting to denigrate the Baha'i Faith. Now I think that maybe you have felt threatened by the Baha'i Faith and that maybe that was your motivation. I hope not, though. Religion should not be the cause of disharmony. We should look for those things that are similiar and rejoice in them and each other.

    If the journey you have chosen to take is the correct one and is the exclusive path to God, then I congratulate you on your choice and wish you well on your journey. I would hope you could do the same for me and not hope that I will end in some sort of chastising eternal void.

    If you ever want to have a comparative religious discussion concerning Christianity and the Baha'i Faith, I would welcome it. If you ever see a need to ask a question about the Baha'i Faith or any of its history, I would enjoy trying to answer it.

    warmly,

    Mick Zellar
     
  13. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Brian it is comparative, because I respect Micks choice and I believe he respects mine, we are expressing the reason for our faith in discussion which is great form of comparative dialogue.

    And in my response to that is I believe it doesn't really matter in which way you believe the world was made because even when scientists answers 1 question they reveal a million questions! Christianity is not a philosophical system it is a faith and does not require reason to the extent of your faith! However I do recognise science as God given gift but should be separate from theology as they absolutely contradict each other. The Baha'i faith says God is unknowable but science will always need proof to clarify his existence.
     
  14. phoenixfoyle

    phoenixfoyle New Member

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    Hi Postmaster!

    I know its been a long time since you posted... and maybe the breath of the holy spirit has already filled you with divine wisdom... but if not! I am here to help :)

    Mani was a very nice man. He believed in Jesus and accepted him as the Lord. Great! All three of us have so much in common... But unlike Bahaullah who brought us countless prayers, laws, teachings and new never before seen spiritual insights - Mani just repeated what the Great Manifestations said before and brought nothing new to the table. He basically was just a beautiful Lao Tzu or Rumi but he was not Christ. Why? Because Christ had just left the world some 200 years ago - why would the son of God be immediately followed by a more great Manifestation without any time for his message to run its course? And why Lao Tzu or Rumi? Because he just said what Buddha, Zoroaster, and Christ said - over again. He brought nothing new (he literally just re-said everything)

    Was he royal? Great! But that doesn't mean he was a blood relative of Bahá'u'lláh - why? Because the Royal Court of Persia was HUGE! Not everyone was related to everyone else (haha). Bahá'u'lláh, on the other hand, can be actually proven to be a descendant of Buddah and Zoroaster. You keep researching and reading and before you know it you'll be holding the proof in your hands... and we are talking about your eternal soul and damnation so you better take this seriously.

    Do you think Mother Teresa is Jesus? Christ? No... she is just a saint (in my opinion - or maybe you think she is just a great lady) and I believe YES she did perform miracles... but then again I've made miracles happen myself. Yes!!! I have healed myself and others using the power of God the Lord Christ - I have - or the Lord has - but then again I am not Christ. I am not the Manifestation of God. I am not the Son of God - I am the son of Adam his creation. That is the difference between Bahá'u'lláh and Mani. Mani could have been a saint, he could have been a seer, only God knows... BUT everyone knows he is not Christ. Why? Because Gods religion never fails! And that's, why you don't have to be so paranoid worrying about false prophets. Just taste the fruit of the creation. Is it sweet? Is it beautiful? Is it kind? Then it's probably good! Has the Bahai Faith been tested time and time again? Has it been squashed? And yet it returns!? See? The hand of God controls all.

    Do you know how many times the people in this world tried to stamp out the faith of the Lord? Ohhhh it's so countless. It makes me beam to think about how powerless this world is in stopping the faith of God from spreading. Did you know that Manis faith disappeared on its own? Just like that. Vanished. They put him in prison and his religion vanished. Like... last years spring fashion. Boom. Gone.

    The Bahai Faith, however, is all over the earth now! Everyone talks about it all the time! It's everywhere! It is the Kingdom of God! It is the Ark that we shall all ride to heaven! It is the new name of Christ our Lord!!!!

    I love Mother Teresa, God bless her soul. But Mother Teressa was not the most educated woman in the world. She just studied the bible and probably never went on the internet. She did her best. She didn't know everything. Let us pick up where she left off and do better!

    I hope the Love and Light of the Lord reach you with this message and with glad tidings and happiness!

    Praise the Lord the Kingdom of God has Arrived!

    I am always interested in new friends to pray with :) I hope we can be friends PostMaster :)
     
  15. phoenixfoyle

    phoenixfoyle New Member

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    Hey Again Postmaster!

    Do you think that the truth matters? That lies are wrong? That society should continue to strive, grow, and change in order to bring the kingdom of God on earth? Of course, you do Christian :)

    Well, this is what Science is about. It is about the pursuit of truth. This is also what Gods religion is all about - it's about the pursuit of truth. Truthfulness is the foundation of all virtues - so it's very important! Because all Christians are concerned with Truth this is why all Christians turn to modern science for information, medicines, etc. No one goes to their priest to ask what types of food we should be eating when we are sick - of course, we go to a doctor. So, of course, Christians believe that Science and Religion have to make sense and be one.

    Just because we can not explain the Virgin birth does not mean it didn't happen. It means that our brains are still too small to comprehend the greatness of God and his creation. It's not that there is a world of Magic (Religion, Spirituality) and another world of Science - there is only one world - the real one where God is supreme - and God makes perfect sense. God always makes things according to his own rules - and it all follows a reason. There is a reason for bees and butterflies in our ecosystem. Reasoning is essential to see that Christ did fulfill the prophecies to which he claimed. Christ is the King and his sword is his tongue.

    Science and Religion should never be separate because they always compliment each other. For instance, when the great Christian Galileo discovered that the world is round and in fact not flat as the Church had been telling people - and even though the Pope who claims to have the healing powers of the Saints - told everyone not to listen to him - Science through Gods Will merged with Religion and through this acceptance of logic and fact Spain was able to bring Christendom to the Native people of America. Only through the combined power of Religion and Science was this possible! Isn't it wonderful?

    Bahá'u'lláh teaches that you must know God through Christ (Gods Manifestation) - and that the only way to heaven is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ our Lord as your personal savior. Bahá'u'lláh also teaches that God the Father will forever be a mystery to us and that we must come to God through him or not at all. Bahá'u'lláh teaches that we all have our own special and personal relationship with God and that we don't need anyone other than the Lord to connect us. Bahá'u'lláh also teaches that God is a mystery to mankind just as the Carpenter is a mystery to the table he creates. Though we are made in the Lords image it is impossible for a creation to ever surpass its creator - so therefore God will always be a mystery - we will always have to come to him through Christ - and we will always have a place in his kingdom if we are like small children.

    Science does not rely on "proof" because in Science - everything is always theoretical - everything is always a theory - so even if you offer up what you believe to be irrefutable proof that Christ is our lord - a none religious scientist would never accept him - he will always say definitely maybe. You can only come to the lord through Faith. Faith requires that you open up your mind to the possibility FIRST and than God will prove it to you Second.

    May the Love and Light of the Lord bless you.
     
  16. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Please provide a source for your information. How do you know he was “a very nice man”? Examples?

    I’m aware he called Jesus “Lord” and he believed in Jesus. But what exactly were his beliefs about this controversial figure named Jesus? Examples?

    We also have ideas we don’t share. Mani had an extremely pessimistic view of sexuality. For him and his followers, sexual concupiscence was the “primordial sin and the punishment for sin, which procreates itself through copulation” [2]. St. Augustine, who left Manichaeism after being a follower for nearly a decade, was evidently influenced by its lingering traces in some bits of his theology (at least according to some of his contemporaries and some modern scholars): one Mani scholar notes “both [Mani and Augustine] refer to sexual concupiscence in a highly negative way, it is sinful, a punishment for sin, and sin is propagated through it”. There's a lot more to say on this topic that I find interesting. But I'll leave it for now.

    The Cologne Mani Codex discovered just before 1970 settled the debate about the origins of Manichaeism. Was it rooted in Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism or Christianity? Mani grew up in an Elchasaite community, a Jewish-Christian sect founded by Alchasai [3]. Some notable characteristics I discovered about this sect is they reject parts of the Old and New Testaments (including Paul’s writings) and abstained from meat, wine, and women. Even though Mani separated himself from this community and started a new one, some of these former beliefs remain intact in one form or another.

    Please provide quotations and citations for your assertion Mani “just repeated what the Great Manifestations said before”. We already see from above Mani didn’t “just repeat” what the “Great Manifestations” said before. From my understanding of Baha'i thought, Manichaean theodicy is different from anything Baha’u’llah taught. "The Manichaean solution to the problem of evil is that God is neither all-powerful nor the sole creator of the world” [4]. Mani also adopted a belief in transmigration from Asia. According to the research of Baha’i scholar Christopher Buck, I noted Manichaeans believed “the profligate return to earth as beasts” [5]. So, if you’re keeping count, three differences between Manichaeism and the Baha’i Faith have been jotted down so far.

    Of course, there are some similarities. In the Shaburagan, a work by Mani, we read: “Apostles of God have constantly brought wisdom and deeds in successive times. In one era they were brought by the apostle al-Bud to the land of India, in another (era) by Zardasht to Persia, and in another (era) by Jesus to the West. Now this revelation has descended and this prophecy is promulgated during this final era by me, Mani, the apostle of the God of truth to Babylonia”. I'm unsure whether or not Mani considered himself to be the last prophet, but some scholars note he did. If so, this also contradicts Baha'i Writings.

    No, he didn’t literally resay everything. See the above for three examples.

    Hmm . . . I’m more interested in what the religious community of Mani as a whole contributed to the world in comparison with the religious community of Christianity as a whole. For example, David Bentley Hart notes in Christianity there’s a long tradition of monastic hospitals that helped those in desperate need [6]. This tradition “had no real precedent in pagan society (unless one counts, say, the valetudinaria used by the military to restore soldiers to fighting form)”. This quote from his work is worth a read:


    From the above quote, we see consistency in this practice over time. Charity was a religious obligation that even the emperor Julian couldn’t help but notice as Christianity increased in popularity. As noted above, when plagues hit, many Christian leaders opened hospitals; wealthy Christians opened hospitals and eagerly sought those in need; others made caring for the sick highest priority for monks. Most importantly, Christianity redefined what it meant to be a person in the ancient world they inhabited. One was recognized as fully human regardless of class, race, or sex.

    I'm still searching for what Mani's religious community contributed to the world. A negative example about a possible influence on Augustine was noted, but I'm looking for positive examples. Do you know of any? I'm interested in the observable effects a religion produces. Hmm . . .


    Works Cited

    [1] Werner Sundermann, “CHRISTIANITY v. Christ in Manicheism,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, vol. V, fasc. 5, Costa Mesa, 1991, pp. 335-39; available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/christianity-v.

    [2] Johannes van Oort, “Was Julian Right? A Re-evaluation of Augustine’s and Mani’s Doctrines of Sexual Concupiscence and the Transmission of Sin”, https://www.academia.edu/30173327/W...ual_Concupiscence_and_the_Transmission_of_Sin

    [3] Cologne Mani Codex

    [4] Calder, Todd, "The Concept of Evil", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/concept-evil/.

    [5] Buck, Christopher, Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha’i Faith

    [6] Hart, David Bentley, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, Yale University Press, Kindle Edition.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
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  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    The "elect communities" in Manichaeanism pretty much translate into monasticism [1]. Here's some background to the elect through a brief explanation of this "two-tiered religion":

    "Manichaeism had an 'elect' who lived ascetic lives by denying physical pleasures. On another level were auditors, or 'hearers,' who were allowed to indulge the physical without restraint as they were thought not to be in control of the physical aspects of their life. They would be purged through a series of incarnations after death and reach the light of the elect in due course. The Manichees considered Augustine to be in this category. Those who didn’t accept Mani’s teachings at all were merely seen as sinners destined for destruction" [2].​

    According to Mani and his followers, Baha'u'llah needs to undergo more incarnations after death to reach the paradise of the elect, because he was married. This all ties in with Mani's thoughts about sexuality. Anyway, many of Mani's followers went to Egypt, and "some scholars believe they were the 'pioneers of communal asceticism'" there, meaning it probably influenced Christianity's monastic tradition in that region [3]. Note, as Baha'i scholar Abu'l-Fadl mentioned over a century ago, "monkhood" is not accepted in the Baha'i Faith:

    "In connection with occupations and professions, He [Baha'u'llah] has said that God the Almighty, during this great Manifestation, has made it obligatory for all to occupy themselves in professions which are praiseworthy, such as agriculture, trade, handicraft, etc. He has also stated that gaining one's living through means which benefit society is considered as worshipping God the Exalted. He has re-enforced this command by enjoining upon the people of Baha, abstinence from monkhood, Sufi'ism, and retirement, as well as from ascetic discipline. He has commanded them to marry and to be engaged in the spread of knowledge which leads to the prosperity and welfare of peoples, and the restoration of the world."
    Works Cited

    [1] Stroumsa, Guy, "The Manichaean Challenge to Egyptian Christianity", http://www.academia.edu/9858649/The_Manichaean_Challenge_to_Egyptian_Christianity

    [2] Nathan, Peter, "Manichaeism", http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=1105

    [3] "Cenobitic Monasticism", Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cenobitic_monasticism
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017

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