Baha'i

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Vajradhara, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    Thank you for your answers.

    If I where to use logic to say "It is the logic that God instilled in us to make us His chosen animals/people that allows us to know and accept Him.” We must assume god was also given logic. To put it briefly, using your logic God must have a God.

    Logic is reason. Reason states that what you can sense is reality. Because we cannot truly sense God on a physical level then that means God defies human logic. Therefore God’s gift of logic to man made to understand god is useless.

    If you where to say that God is an explanation of the universe then you would also have to explain the explanation. It is illogical to explain something that is beyond understanding.

    Why not? If god is what you say, “Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent” Then he can change us to conceive his presence. On the other hand, if he chooses he can make himself in a form in which we can conceive his presence. If god is omnipresent (Present everywhere simultaneously) then that means that we are always conceiving his presence. Therefore, there would be no need for prophets because God could do everything himself. If you where to say that we do experience god at all times, we just don’t notice it then that means we can conceive his presence. “I think therefore I am.” Thus, because we simply are, we are conceiving God’s presents. If you where to say that god himself came down in human form posing as prophets “it was as if God Himself spoke” then that would mean that he cannot be omniscient because he knew what the Story of Jesses and the Islamic religion would counter each other therefore making his efforts pointless. This means that the small percentage of the world that does believe in the Baha’I Faith is the only truly correct religion there is and God was unable to teach us all correctly. If god is flawed (because he is unable to do something) then he is no longer Omniscient or Omnipresent or Omnipotent.

    However, this brings us back to God giving people predestination. If god gave the answers of life freely to one man that means that God is in favor of one person over another. Therefore, God cannot be equally benevolent. In addition, if God knows what is going to happen in the future then that means we have a set fate. This refers back to my topic in the “Can the bible be taken literally?” thread.

    If there is no free will then what is the point of the ability to be cruel?

    “In your original post you mentioned you were lazy. I doubt that. Searching for the truths of God or spiritual truths is a chore the lazy couldn't acheive what more even begin. I applaud you in your energy and questions.”

    I applaud you as well. I guess I was just tired the day I wrote that. What I mean is, I don’t have the time to read six pages of other peoples discussions in search of my own answers. Thanks though.
     
  2. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I'm a little reluctant to say this but considering your answers Pagan-prophet, this is why i think it's really up to you to prove God to yourself...no one can "prove God" for you.

    It just doesn't work that way... You have to do the work or not to prove it for yourself and that's what Baha'is call "indendent investigation of truth." It requires some work i think for most of us to do this.

    I'll give you an example.... Because my wife loves me and trusts me I can say i went to a given movie and she'll accept that.

    However someone else may want to see my movie ticket

    and a third will ask me to describe the movie for them to discuss with me further to satisfy themselves that i really did see the film.... Perhaps a professor in a film history class.

    What this means is that everyone has different requirements for proofs so what is a proof for you may well not be of any concern whatsoever to another person and that's why no one proof of God can ever satisfy every one.

    But one of the things i've learned is that we can't test God in the way you suggest as we're rather limited in our sense perceptions and abilities to comprehend.... Many animals for instance have a much better sense of smell or hearing than we do...so by their standards we are truly limited means.

    A true scientist will acknowledge that the more they discover the less they really know. What do they mean by that? Well that actually as knowledge of a given field progresses, it also provides us with hints that there is a much wider field we know nothing about.... So, in approaching the subject of the Absolute, God or a Supreme Being is much the same thing... We simply "do not know" and that's why God is described in the Baha'i Writings as an "Unknowable Essence". We can however accept as "evidence" what each of us has as a standard of proof...

    Your statement made in your last post:

    "However, this brings us back to God giving people predestination. If god gave the answers of life freely to one man that means that God is in favor of one person over another. Therefore, God cannot be equally benevolent. In addition, if God knows what is going to happen in the future then that means we have a set fate. This refers back to my topic in the “Can the bible be taken literally?” thread."

    This statement above is predicated on your own "logic"... and base of knowledge. I've mentioned this before to you, but Baha'is are not proponents of "Predestination" as I suggested earlier on a another topic, you really should probably find a Calvinist to try your wares with them.

    Let's look at your statement though:

    "If god gave the answers of life freely to one man that means that God is in favor of one person over another. Therefore, God cannot be equally benevolent."

    God is benevolent in our view because He doesn't leave man alone but provides a Revelation for the guidance of the human race and this is not solely to "one person" as you suggest, but through the Founders of the major religions of the earth, i.e., through Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah and will continue well into the future ages as long as humanity is around....

    So it is God providing through Revelation over the ages, countless Manifestations of His Attributes to all the peoples of the earth.

    Another point that you raised:

    "If you where to say that god himself came down in human form posing as prophets “it was as if God Himself spoke” then that would mean that he cannot be omniscient because he knew what the Story of Jesses and the Islamic religion would counter each other therefore making his efforts pointless."

    Actually Baha'is do not believe that "god himself came down in human form posing as prophets". Baha'is deny that this is possible, rather to use an illustration could the Sun itself descend to the earth? No, as we know the earth would vaporize. So God Himself does not descend and "pose" as a prophet, but we Baha'is say that God can be reflected in the pure Mirror of a Manifestation of God... Baha'is also accept that there is Progressive Revelation and that man can learn more of God as each revelation reveals more and more in time... just as a elementary math student will accept "two plus two..." equals... and a more advanced student will be introduced to calculus and algebra so more and more responsibility and knowledge is given to man in each revelation.

    It is not we who test God but God who tests us, that is, we discover where we stand in the general scheme of things by how we measure up to the teachings and principles brought to us through Revealed religion."

    The Baha'i Faith is only the most recent Revelation from God and contains criteria for us today... I'll list just two of these criteria...

    Baha'u'llah called upon the rulers of His day to renounce armaments and the heavy taxation resulting from arms races... The rulers ignored Him and the world slid toward the First World War and the Second World War followed soon after that.

    Baha'u'llah said that a world federal system should be established well over a hundred years ago....

    In this department there has been some progress as we had a fledgling League of Nations and now a United Nations, but much more is needed to progress toward a truly federated world government...

    So the above will give you some idea where humanity has been tested and has much further to go...

    - Art
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste,

    all of them excpet for the Buddha, from a Buddhist perspective that is :cool:

    ah.. that old waffle once again ;)

    my Baha'i friends... i wish i could help you to understand why your attribution of Messenger of God to this particular Buddha is incorrect, but alas, i cannot :(

    in the end, if it causes you to engage in a valid moral and ethical path, then i cannot really protest too vigiorously.

    i suppose turn about is fair play... as we'd consider Jesus, Mohammad, Zoroaster, et all to be Bodhisattvas... perhaps even 8th or 9th level Bodhisattvas, depending on whom we are discussing.
     
  4. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Vajradhara wrote:

    all of them excpet for the Buddha, from a Buddhist perspective that is :cool:

    ah.. that old waffle once again ;)

    my Baha'i friends... i wish i could help you to understand why your attribution of Messenger of God to this particular Buddha is incorrect, but alas, i cannot :(

    in the end, if it causes you to engage in a valid moral and ethical path, then i cannot really protest too vigiorously.

    i suppose turn about is fair play... as we'd consider Jesus, Mohammad, Zoroaster, et all to be Bodhisattvas... perhaps even 8th or 9th level Bodhisattvas, depending on whom we are discussing.

    My reply:

    My dear friend:

    "Buddhisattvahood" is not in my mind much in conflict with the concept of Manifestations of God... I think the issue here may be the term "God" and what that name connotes for you. God as an "Unknowable Essence" is not much apart from the Absolute or the truth:

    "Now let us bear in mind that not this or that law which is evealed to us in the Dharma is the Buddha, but the entire truth which is eternal. omnipresent, immutable and most excellent...

    One could also i think see similarities between "Buddhas" and Manifestations of God in the following:

    "All the Buddhas are wonderful and glorius.
    There is not their equal upon earth.
    They reveal to us the path of life.
    And we hail their appearance with pious reverence...."

    "And the Blessed One replied:

    "I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor will I be the last. In due time anotehr Buddha will arise in the world.... He will preach his religion, glorius in its origin, glorius at the climax and glorius at the goal in the spirit and the letter..."

    From the "Handbook of Chinese Buddhism" by Ernest J. Eitel and quoted by Paul Carus in "The Gospel of Buddha" the concluding chapter.

    - Art
     
  5. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    Thank you for your reply art,

    “I'm a little reluctant to say this but considering your answers Pagan-prophet, this is why i think it's really up to you to prove God to yourself...no one can "prove God" for you.”

    But that is my point. If you cannot prove me that he exists then your not using logic to describe your god. For me, I don’t sense my Gods with my physical to understand the Gods. I use my psychic abilities to sense them. Because I use my psychic abilities I do not need logic because I feel him/her already (therefore using logic). But this brings me to a next question, if you are unable to provide a logical explanation for how your god exists to me then how did you provide logic for yourself?
    --------------------
    “What this means is that everyone has different requirements for proofs so what is a proof for you may well not be of any concern whatsoever to another person and that's why no one proof of God can ever satisfy every one.”

    But your “Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent” god can simply make that one piece of proof that will satisfy everyone to come into everyone. If what your saying is true and god wants us to know about him then all of his prophets where a strange idea considering that they seemed to confuse us very well as to what deity is correct.

    An Omnipotent god who wants us to know of him would program The Baha’I understanding of himself into us all (or send more accurate prophets). An Omniscient God would know that Jesus and Allah would counter each other and make people disagree and misinterpret.
    ---------------------
    “But one of the things i've learned is that we can't test God in the way you suggest as we're rather limited in our sense perceptions and abilities to comprehend....”

    What makes you so sure that there are more perceptions necessary to understand god? Am I wrong in saying a main reason of the prophets is to help us understand God. If God where Omnipotent then he would have simply given us the ability(s) to comprehend him ((If he wanted us to comprehend him)) if we as you say cannot comprehend. If God where Omniscient then he would know that we(most) would misunderstand him and therefore he would not bother sending his Prophets. This is how I understand the history of the Baha’I faith thus far:

    God makes humans
    God is Omnipotent but does not make us comprehend him
    Humans cannot comprehend god
    God wants us to comprehend him (Though God is Omnipotent and can program the knowledge unto us he chooses to send prophets instead)
    God Sends prophets to correct confusion (Knowing it will cause more confusion and have some religions counter others.)
    Humans get even more confused because many religions counter each other.
    -----------------
    I found a contradiction in your writings:

    Art: “We simply "do not know" and that's why God is described in the Baha'i Writings as an "Unknowable Essence".”

    Mick: “It is the logic that God instilled in us to make us His chosen animals/people that allows us to know and accept Him.”

    How can one be given logic to know the Unknowable Essence? That in itself is illogical.
    ----------------
    “I've mentioned this before to you, but Baha'is are not proponents of "Predestination" as I suggested earlier on a another topic, you really should probably find a Calvinist to try your wares with them.”

    You must believe in Predestination because you believe in an Omniscient god and god knows what the future is going to be therefore he predetermines all events before he makes them. If God cannot predetermine the future (like what you and I agree on) then he cannot be Omniscient or Omnipotent. No matter how you boil down to it the facts are, because god can do anything he must be able to know the future and then make the world the way he knows it will turn out to be. Thus everything is predetermined.

    Even If God where to Ignore his visions of the future then he is making a risky chance at making pain in the world.
    ---------------
    “God is benevolent in our view because He doesn't leave man alone but provides a Revelation for the guidance of the human race and this is not solely to "one person" as you suggest, but through the Founders of the major religions of the earth, i.e., through Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah and will continue well into the future ages as long as humanity is around....”

    That is similar to saying, “The Dog’s master loves him because he feeds him.” Just because this Master feeds the dog it does not provide much evidence for love.
    ------------------
    “Actually Baha'is do not believe that "god himself came down in human form posing as prophets". Baha'is deny that this is possible, rather to use an illustration could the Sun itself descend to the earth? No, as we know the earth would vaporize.”

    So… God can’t come to earth because it is impossible for him to do? Yet God is Omnipotent. A God that can do anything would be able to come down to earth as well as he can make the earth touch the sun unharmed.

    “It is not we who test God but God who tests us”

    Test: “A procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something.” Why would God need to find the quality of truth of something if he already knows all the answers of the universe? (because he is Omniscient)
    -------------------
    Thanks,
    Pagan-prophet
     
  6. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Thanks for your reply Pagan-prophet!

    I think it is really up to you to sort out your beliefs and investigate what for you makes sense...

    No one can really do this for you....

    Since this topic was really about "Baha'i - in the Comparative Studies forum of comparative-religion", I will still extend my offer to you to respond to any questions you may have about the Baha'i Faith!

    God bless you!

    - Art
     
  7. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    Why thank you!

    With love peace and happiness,
    -The masta’ of disasta’
     
  8. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Thanks Pagan-prophet:

    It's really not in our culture to argue a great deal about the nature of God as we feel He is not knowable and any "conclusions" we could make are not tenable and liable to error but any conclusions you have arrived at through

    as you wrote:

    "psychic abilities I do not need logic because I feel him/her already (therefore using logic)"

    are acceptable.

    Abdul-Baha outlined in "Some Answered Questions" the methods of acquiring knowledge and these i think are applicable to science, philosophy and religious truths. He outlines four methods 1) through the senses, 2) through reason; 3) by applying to Holy Scriptures or traditions; 4) Comprehension through the Holy Spirit: "This is through the help of the Holy Spirit which comes to man and this is the condition in which certainty can alone be attained." -pp. 341-343 "Some Answered Questions".

    People can spend a lot of time and get involved in various arguments about God "but if the inner perception be open, a hundred thousand clear proofs become visible. Thus when man feels the indwelling spirit he is in no need of arguments for its existence." -p. 7 Ibid.

    We also believe it is by God's mercy that we can know as much as we do about the nature of God through His Prophets and Messengers.

    - Art
     
  9. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    A confession

    I want to make a confession:

    Thanks to everyone here who have tried to explain their respective religion.

    I am for my own part a postgraduate Catholic, I believe in God and find Jesus Christ to be a good teacher. O.K., Son of God, if you should insist those who are Christians here. Nothing difficult in believing, I always say, which I am sure someone will point out that then it means nothing to me to believe in religious truths...

    Really not that it means nothing, but that I am not going to go about exhibiting my label of religious affiliation and ID; and certainly I am not going to hurt or get hurt for religious beliefs, much less kill or get killed; and of course I am not going to sacrifice my liberty and my intelligence for the sake of being true to religious tenets.

    What am I confessing here? That I still keep on reading and thinking about religion, fearing that I might miss something that is really useful or even critically crucial to my future weal, specially in regard to my post death existence if any.

    Now, those who are articulately against religion, they are doing a very good service to religious people, making them think of ways and means to make their religious beliefs more convincing to themselves, that is. And maybe I might find from the pleadings of the against religion factions and of the pro religion factions something that I might really discover to be a genuine boon.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  10. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Good post Susma!

    I particularly liked your point:

    "Really not that it means nothing, but that I am not going to go about exhibiting my label of religious affiliation and ID; and certainly I am not going to hurt or get hurt for religious beliefs, much less kill or get killed; and of course I am not going to sacrifice my liberty and my intelligence for the sake of being true to religious tenets.

    "That I still keep on reading and thinking about religion, fearing that I might miss something that is really useful or even critically crucial to my future weal, specially in regard to my post death existence if any."

    Since this is a comparative religion site I felt it would be best to identify myself as a Baha'i... Also there is no general informative introduction to my Faith as yet on this forum.... Baha'is generally welcome interaction with all kinds of people and I agree with you we should all be open and willing to consider the contributions others make.

    I think most people here are curious and willing to consider things and that most we can be considerate to each others views and agree where we can agree!

    - Art
     
  11. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Bravo, Susma Rio Sep.

    Baha'u'llah told us that through the independent investigation of the mysteries of God will we find truth. I really enjoyed your analysis in the above quote. Maybe this is why I enjoy religious discussion, even though many people claim you should never discuss religion or politics. I must chew on your observation some more. It may help me to become more tolerant of those that try to support a 'non-belief' ethos.
     
  12. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Greetings, all; it's good to be here! :)

    I've been reading through the postings to date, and will endeavor to provide some answers (and a few corrections) here to things that various folks have raised.

    (These are in no particular order.)

    First off, as has been mentioned, the correct spelling is "Baha'i." (And yes, the apostrophe is important because it's the transliteration of a <silent> letter in the original Persian that alters the pronunciation of the word.) It may help to remember that "baha" simply means "glory," and the suffix forms the adjective, so that Baha'i literally means "of Glory." :)

    The Baha'i Faith began in Persia (now Iran), and the Persian alphabet, like original Greek and Latin, uses the same symbols for letters and numbers (with every Persian word also being some number). There is therefore an informal Persian tradition of "playing" with this and using words and their corresponding numbers as equivalents. (For example, the Persian word for the city once called Adrianople has the same numeric value as the Persian word for "mystery," and therefore this city has sometimes been referred to as the "city of mystery." The Baha'i Faith itself is NOT based in any way on numerology, and with the exception noted just below essentially has nothing to do with numerology.

    As to the number nine, it is significant to Baha'is, but this has nothing whatever to do with the number of living great religions in the world (while there are indeed nine of these, that's purely coincidental!). Nine is significant for two reasons:

    1. The Persian word "baha" ("glory") contains the numerical values A (1), B (2), and H (5) as follows: B+A+H+A is 2+1+5+1, or 9; and hence the number 9 is used as the "number of Baha."

    2. Under the conventional decimal numbering system, nine is the highest value expressible by a single digit, and nine is therefore used as a symbol of unity (which is a central focus of Baha'i teachings).

    These two reasons are why the nine-pointed star is often used as a symbol of the Baha'i Faith, and why Baha'is often wear such jewelry, etc. . . .

    As to reincarnation, the Baha'i scriptures simply reject it (so I"m rather surprised that Mick implied we accept it in some form): Baha'i teaching is that each human soul begins at conception and lives eternally, passing from this life to the Next, which endures forever. So reincarnation is simply not part of our world-view: we "only go around once" in this life! :-S

    Next, as to the individual who stated it's his understanding that there are various Baha'i "schools of thought" is mistaken: the Baha'i Faith is one unified religion of (currently) around seven million believers in literally every country on earth, with no "subgroups" or "sects." And it's important to note that the definition of a Baha'i is "someone who adheres to and follows the Baha'i Covenant (which is laid out i8n the Baha'i scriptures). There are in fact a very few individuals (numbering in the dozens or at most a couple hundred world wide) who claim to be other "sects" of the Baha'i Faith, these individuals do not follow the Covenant in the Baha'i scriptures and are therefore not Baha'is no matter what they call themselves! The Baha'i Faith has always been and remains one, and while there have indeed been attempts to split the Faith throughout its history, these have always failed and died out within one lifetime.

    And the individual who claimed to have been "thrown out" of a Baha'i meeting because he asked a question baffles me, too! We WELCOME all questions, and if this individual was indeed asked not to return, then meaning no offense, he was apparently doing something more than he's admitted to here!

    And indeed, Individual Investigation of Truth is one of the central Baha'i tenets (along with the oneness of God, humanity, and religion)! This means that no one has the right to tell someone else what to believe. Instead, each person has the obligation to investigate the various religions, find where the truth lies, and follow it. Because of this, Baha'is have an administrative system elected by the members, and there is no hierarchy or clergy at all!

    Also, Baha'i parents are forbidden to force their children to become Baha'i. Rather, they have an obligation to see that each child receives instruction in _all_ the great religions (Baha'i schools assist in this). Then, at the age of maturity (15), the child can choose between joining the Baha'i Faith, some other religion, or nothing at all! And the parents must support this decision.

    Because of this belief that each person must determine for him- or herself what the truth is, Baha'is are forbidden to proselytize, i.e., to tell someone else what to believe or what religious path to choose! We gladly answer questions and provide information, but what each person does or doesn't do with it is strictly up to him or her.

    And as far as our stressing unity, peace, love, harmony, and concord, yes, we certainly do! But this is not because we're some unthinking bunch of starry-eyed dreamers, but because we Baha'is honestly beleive that all this is not only possible, but ultimately inevitable! It's the very Kingdom of God on earth that Christians, among others, have been praying for for millenia!: "Thy Kingdom Come; Thy Will be done!" Our scriptures are very clear about this.

    I have more to add, but will begin another post so as not to make this one any longer.

    Cheers! :)

    Bruce
     
  13. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Greetings, all! :)

    OK, herewith some more of my various comments and replies to various folks' postings:

    First off, in addition to the bahai.org Web site, interested persons may also want to check out:

    bahai-library.org (at this site, click "Baha'i Writings" to see our scriptures)
    and
    bahaistudy.org (this site also has videos and talking books).

    (Again, answers are in no particular order.)

    Baha'is definitely accept the existence of miracles, but the Baha'i scriptures also warn that miracles CANNOT be relied upon as "proofs" for any given religion! For this reason, we intentionally avoid presenting them, especially as any sort of "proof."

    Heaven and hell exist, but are conditions (spiritual nearness to/separation from God) rather than places. As such, they exist here and now as well as after death; and we are each in one or the other right now as a function of where our heads are at!

    No, Baha'is do NOT believe that ANY Divine Messenger--including Baha'u'llah, our Founder--"physically ascended" to Heaven!

    It's inaccurate to say that the Baha'i Faith accepts "all" religions. We accept all the great ones as legitimate and of God. But our scriptures do state that there are some that are man-made and hence not legitimate. (Things like satanism are an obvious example.) Also addressing the differences that so trouble many people, the Baha'i scriptures say:

    "There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you."
    (Gleanings, page 217)

    Consultation, a Baha'i method of truth-finding, consists of each person stating his or her opinion, and then remaining detached from it instead of "worrying" about whether or not others will accept that view! Decisions are reached eventually by consensus where possible, and by majority vote otherwise. (And indeed, after full consultation an individual often winds up voting aginst the thing he or she first advocated!)

    As to Buddha and Buddhism, the Buddhist scriptures clearly imply the existence of a Supreme Being; thus Buddhism as originally revealed is definitely amont the monotheistic religions.

    Divine Messengers physical bodies die just like ours (because these bodies ARE like ours). But Messengers, while created, also have a special spiritual station that ordinary humans do not: they are directly invested by the Holy Spirit and are thus both eternal and spiritually One and the same! Thus each one is also the "return" of the previous ones.

    Statements in the Baha'i scriptures are indeed official and will stand unaltered for the duration of the Baha'i Era (after which another Divine Messenger will come, revealing yet more scriptures; this time is at least 850 years away). No one except God's Messenger has the right to alter scripture, so for Baha'is, there is really no debate possible about whether such things apply.
    And Baha'is have the original manuscripts of every one of our 200 volumes of Baha'i scripture (at the Archives of the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, Israel); indeed, anything for which we do NOT have the original manuscript is not considered Baha'i scripture no matter HOW "inspirational" it may be!

    Someone asked about Taoism. In the Baha'i view as I understand it, Taoism is not considered a religion, but a secular philosophy.

    As to science and religion, the Baha'i scriptures assert that both are legitimate, each having its own place and its own role. Science addresses the question "how?"; religion addresses "Who?" and "why?" They thus dovetail nicely though they cover largely separate domains.

    So for example, God did indeed create the universe, including humanity, but it's up to science to explain exactly HOW this happened and how we evolve, etc.. (BTW, religion, evolves over time, too!)

    And the quickest way to get into trouble is to use EITHER science or religion in the role intended for the other, or separated from the other! Science without religion is gross materialism; religion without science is superstition and witch-burning.

    And the Baha'i scriptures state that if a religious doctrine disagrees with established (proven) science, then that religion is simply wrong.
     
  14. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Bruce,

    thank you for the post.


    sorry, my friend, but this is simply untrue. in point of fact, the Buddha specifically refutes the idea of a Creator Deity in at least 5 seperate Sutras. the creator deity at this time and place in history was called Ishvara and is specifically refuted. what you Baha'i have in your section on Buddhism, which i've read twice now, is not a description of a Creator deity rather, this is the Dharmadhatu, the unconditioned nature of reality however, it in no way is a Creator Deity.

    this depends on the point of view that one has. currently extant are two forms of Taoism, the religious aspect (heavenly kings, Jade Emperor etc) and the philosophical Taoism. though we could rightly have a sub group of the philsophical school called Taoist Spiritual Alchemy as that is also currently extant.

    i was the one that posted about the various Baha'i groups. here's the information in a more detailed fashion:

    The founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Baha'u'llah, selected Abdu'l-Baha to interpret the Baha'i writings after his death. Some members refused to accept the authority of the new leader. After the death of Abdu'l-Baha, the authority passed to Shoghi Effendi, "the infallible Center of the Baha'i faith," the "Center of the Cause," the generally accepted sole interpreter of the Baha'i teachings. Again, some members refused to accept his authority. After his unexpected death in 1957, controversy developed over his successor. One webmaster 4 states that there are now 7 faith groups in the world who claim to be the "true" Bahá'í Faith. Of the six new groups, five were created shortly after the death of Shoghi Effendi, The sixth broke off later. All of the new groups have very small numbers of members compared to Bahá'í World Faith. All have been declared covenant breakers by the Universal House of Justice:

    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]The Bahá'í World Faith is followed by the vast majority of believers. In the United States, it is headed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. Authority once exercised by Shoghi Effendi is now transferred to the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel.[/font]
    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]Bahá'ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant who recognized Mason Remey as theguardian who succeeded Shoghi Effendi. They have organized a series of International Baha'i Councils (IBC).They claim a membership approaching 144,000. Their Baha'i Center is located in Missoula, MT. 5,6[/font]
    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]Faith of God, (a.k.a. the House of Mankind and the Universal Palace of Order), who followed Jamshid Ma'ani. They "are no longer active (listed as 'defunct' in Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of Religions)." 7[/font]
    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]The Orthodox Bahá'í Faith," (a.k.a. Mother Bahá'í Council), who follow Joel Marangella.[/font]
    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]The Orthodox Baha'i Faith Under the Regency, who follow Rex King.[/font]
    [​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]The Charles Mason Remey Society, who follow Donald Harvey and Francis Spataro.[/font][​IMG][font=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]A dissident group organized around The Friends Newsletter.[/font]


    http://www.religioustolerance.org/bahai.htm
     
  15. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Namaste Vajradhara,

    In response to the information you provided concerning the differing apparent sects of Baha'i.

    The offshoots are the result of individuals seeking personal power. Which is not allowed in the Baha'i Faith. There is no clergy in the Baha'i Faith and no one individual has the right to gain authority over another.

    Baha'u'llah in His Will and Testament designated Abdu'l-Baha as the Center of His Covenant, the perfect exemplar of His Faith, the sole interpreter of His Writings. As such Abdu'l-Baha, designated Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Faith and the sole interpreter after His death. Shoghi Effendi labored tirelessly to erect the provisions Baha'u'llah Himself designed to set up the Universal House of Justice. Neither Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi sought any personal gain from their positions, their only goal was to safeguard their Faith according to the provisions Baha'u'llah Himself laid out. Shoghi Effendi did not leave a Will and this is where the problems arose. Some individuals sought to gain authority and created schisms among the believers, but the majority following the guidance left behind went on to establish the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice now oversees the affairs of the Baha'i Faith, not as individuals but as a consultative body. Individual members have no authority by themselves.

    As mentioned in your post the sects follow individual (self appointed) leaders. Which in and of itself goes against the teachings of Baha'u'llah and as such nullifies any authority they themselves try to assume.

    The Universal House of Justice was foreordained by Baha'u'llah as the future Divine administrative order of His Faith. It is now in existence and is a fulfillment of Baha'u'llah's vision.

    I'm sure others can elaborate more eloquently than I. But I thought I should try to correct any misunderstandings as to why there appear to be sects. The Baha'i Faith has built in safeguards to prevent divisions, so there is only one Baha'i Faith. Any that follow individuals by that definition are not Baha'i even though they may attempt to go by that name.

    I hope that helps to dispel any misconceptions.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  16. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Harmony,

    thank you for the post and the clarification.

    Islam also has a stricture concerning sects.. yet... sects there are. naturally, a "true Muslim" isn't a part of the sects or the creation therein, or so i'm lead to believe... but this quickly leads us to the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    at any rate, there do seem to be divisions within the Baha'i faith, even though they are not considered as such by Baha'i themselves. i suppose that this is from an outside perspective, so it is natually skewed in one direction or another.
     
  17. Handmaiden07

    Handmaiden07 Member

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    From an "outsider's" point of view, there is really no way to describe the phenomenon called "Baha'i Faith" without alluding to schism. However, I believe that others have accurately stated why Baha'is do not accept the assertion that there is no schism. To be a Baha'i is to embrace fully the Covenant of Baha'u'llah. That is central to the faith, the way believing (in some way) in Jesus as the Son of God is central to Christianity. One cannot believe (merely) that Jesus was a good man, no better nor worse than Moses, and be a Christian. (Or at least, that was my understanding of things!) Similarly, simply believing that Baha'u'llah is a Prophet of God would not make one Baha'i. Being Baha'i means accepting to live within Baha'u'llah's Covenant.

    Oh, and by the way... Hi! I'm new! :)

    HM07
     
  18. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Allah'u'Abha!

    Welcome Handmaiden. Glad you could join us.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  19. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Vajradhara,

    Good to hear from you again my friend...

    I understand your feelings about the Baha'i view of the Buddha... We've been "there and back again" on this topic before.... I expect we'll just have to chalk it up as an area where for now there is a disagreement on this issue...

    My past position for brief review is that the Buddha taught "via negativa" about the Absolute and so on... The Baha'i position as to a "Creator God" is not perhaps what some have presented... While we mention God as creating we also believe the material of the universe has been there all along and that the "universe ...has no beginning" and is endless... So maybe we can explore this further as to how close or apart the Buddhist concepts are from the Baha'i.

    I'm a little unsure though why you would want to paste the material from Religious Tolerance. com but I have some issues with it even though I think in other respects they do a fair job of presenting most religions fairly well.

    To understand this segment best you would need a grasp of our history. I 'm going to add my comments in parentheses so maybe you'll gather how I respond to it:

    All have been declared covenant breakers by the Universal House of Justice:

    The Bahá'í World Faith

    (the official title of our Faith is not "Baha'i World Faith" but simply Baha'i Faith. There was a compilation of Baha'i writings which is no longer in print called "Baha'i World Faith" but even when this book was released the official name was "Baha'i Faith")


    is followed by the vast majority of believers. In the United States, it is headed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. Authority once exercised by Shoghi Effendi is now transferred to the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel.

    (The Universal House of Justice was established in 1963 by election of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is all over the world)


    Bahá'ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant who recognized Mason Remey as theguardian who succeeded Shoghi Effendi.

    (Mason Remey was one of twenty seven Hands of the Cause of God who were appointed by Shoghi Effendi. After the Guardian's death, Mason signed legal papers acknowledging that there would be no one to succeed Shoghi Effendi as there was no Will. He later reversed his position on this and claimed himself to be the Guardian's successor however he waited three years after the Guardian's death in 1960 to do this and by then the entire Baha'i world with few exceptions rejected him. The groups that follow stem from Mason's departure from the Faith)


    They have organized a series of International Baha'i Councils (IBC).They claim a membership approaching 144,000.

    (Believe it or not I have never personally met anyone from this group. I've known of a few on the internet and that's it)


    Their Baha'i Center is located in Missoula, MT. 5,6

    ( There is a group calling itself Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant which was began by a Leland Jensen and located in Missoula Montana... They also have a few websites. Mr. Jenson was a Baha'i pioneer to I think the Seychelles and later joined with King and Marangella and then formed his own group)



    Faith of God, (a.k.a. the House of Mankind and the Universal Palace of Order), who followed Jamshid Ma'ani. They "are no longer active (listed as 'defunct' in Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of Religions)." 7

    (This is true...a Baha'i pioneer i think to Indonesia claimed to have revelations that were supposed to be like those of Baha'u'llah, however, it didn't catch on and I know of no one who has continued this.)

    The Orthodox Bahá'í Faith," (a.k.a. Mother Bahá'í Council), who follow Joel Marangella.

    ( This group claims to be descended from Mason Remey.... and they have a Center in Roswell, New Mexico. You can see some of their material on the internet. The groups after this are also splits or splinters from Mason's followers. Joel Marangella broke with the Faith shortly after Mason did.)

    The Orthodox Baha'i Faith Under the Regency, who follow Rex King.

    (The King group I believe has a ranch in Nevada and has attempted to revitalize itself.... Rex King had some connection as i recall with Hollywood. But his family has continued to an extent his original ideas)

    The Charles Mason Remey Society, who follow Donald Harvey and Francis Spataro.A dissident group organized around The Friends Newsletter.

    (The Charles Mason Remey Soc. and the Friends Newsletter are no longer active.)

    _____________________________

    In summary Vaj, the groups you've pasted are mostly splinters from the earlier defection of Mason Remey... whether or not they will survive over time no one can say but none of them have succeeded in convincing a large group of Bahais to leave their Faith.

    To understand what a "Covenant Breaker" is from our view you'd need to learn a little more about our Faith.... but essentially it means someone who goes out of their way to attack the central authority of our Faith and seeks to cause divisions among the believers.

    Let me know if you'd like more information!

    - Art
     
  20. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Interesting all, especially the information provided and expounded on the splinter groups stemming from Mason Remey. Pretty obvious where the claimed "144,000" membership comes from, though, which is perhaps indicative of the outlook there (though this is a statement, not judgement :) ). It'll be interesting to see how long Baha'i in general can hold itself together as is current.

    And welcome to CR, Handmaiden007. :)
     

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