Baha`i:Islam::Christianity:Judaism

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Popeyesays, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    The Revelation of Baha`u'llah bears the same relationship to Islam as Christianity does to Judaism is the proposition.

    Some combative posts have been made on the Baha`i board in attempts to prove the falsity of the Baha`i Faith by reasoning that it's relationship to Islam is false, so I thought the discussion would go better in a forum where that particular poster might feel freer to speak as he might like-within the bounds of the forum, of course.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  2. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    in other words:

    baha'i supersedes islam, like islam supersedes christianity, like christianity supersedes judaism. which basically translates as:

    MY RELIGION'S BETTER THAN YOURS.

    you idiots. you absolute nincompoops. until you can get past this nonsense - and it is nonsense - you can't actually have *dialogue*. what part of this don't you understand? nobody, and i mean nobody, is going to enjoy somebody else coming along and saying "oh, by the way, my prophet fulfilled your religion and although all religions are of course brothers and we are all on the road to G!D, basically since our prophet/holy texts is better/more recent/fulfils your prophecies you might as well accept that your religion is past its sell-by-date and you ought really to join ours if you want the most recent revelation from G!D." and that's basically what i hear from baha'is all the time and muslims and christians as well more often than not. it's an intellectually dishonest argument and is nothing more than triumphalism wearing a moustache.

    jews have been on the receiving end of all this stupidity for more than 2000 years and we're not about to accept it now any more than muslims are about to take it from baha'is or christians are about to take it from muslims. what are you going to do when the spaghetti monsterists or whoever come to the baha'is and make the same argument? are you going to accept it? i think not.

    we don't say our religion is better than other people's. if we did, we'd be obliged to evangelise it. and we're not. we don't turn away converts, but we don't actively seek them out and the reason for that is that we really, truly believe you can be a good person and fulfil all your obligations to G!D WITHOUT BEING JEWISH, unless of course you or a maternal-line ancestor already signed up.

    please feel free to discuss this if you like, although i really don't see a lot to discuss.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  3. Promethium

    Promethium New Member

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    The Bahais don't necessarily believe that there religion is better in fact they believe that all religions have a similar foundation.

    "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."
    -Baha'u'llah (Gleanings, p. 217)

    "The religions of God have the same foundation, but the dogmas appearing later have differed. Each of the divine religions has two aspects. The first is essential. It concerns morality and development of the virtues of the human world. This aspect is common to all."
    -Abdul-Baha (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.168)

    " ...the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God."
    -Shoghi Effendi (Directives of the Guardian, Page: 86)

    Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, one should take note that the attitudes of Bahais towards those of other religions should be one of utmost respect.

    "..consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.."
    -Tablets of Baha'u'llah p. 87

    "The Faith standing identified with the name of Bahá'u'lláh disclaims any intention to belittle any of the Prophets gone before Him, to whittle down any of their teachings, to obscure, however slightly, the radiance of their Revelations, to oust them from the hearts of their followers, to abrogate the fundamentals of their doctrines, to discard any of their revealed Books, or to suppress the legitimate aspirations of their adherents.
    -Shoghi Effendi (Promised Day is com, p.108)

    For the most part Bahais do not claim any superiority over anyone, but they do acknowledge that Holy Beings spoke to mankind at different times expounding different laws. The differences acknowledged in the Faiths are not due to inherent status or ability of a particular Prophet but due to the differences in capacity of humanity to recieve at that point in time.
    A letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi even states
    "In the Bayan the Bab says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. "
    This did not happen largely in part by the schisms of the followers.

    I contend that the Bahai Faith is a complex religion best viewed in its entirety, and not necessarily a militant outburst of emotional triumphalism. One author, not an authoritative source, even says

    "The Bahá'í Faith is, however, I would argue, in reality, a metareligion. It is not another religion that has come to take the place of the existing religions but rather a way of looking at the religious experience of the whole of humanity."
    -Moojan Momen


    Bahais do have big claims and put forth claims of prophetic fufillment. But the Bahais dont wish to wipe out millenia of religious experience or relegate Religious tradition to the dustheap. There goals are to help create a spiritual civilization and to help bring about that Promised Day of peace often prophecied in the Scriptures of God.
     
  4. Promethium

    Promethium New Member

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    I think Scott posted this here not as a challenge to duke it out, but to direct hostile or aggresively inquisitive posts away from the other forum. Debates over certain issues were spilling into other unrelated threads.
     
  5. Promethium

    Promethium New Member

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    The Bahais don't necessarily believe that there religion is better in fact they believe that all religions have a similar foundation.

    "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."
    -Baha'u'llah (Gleanings, p. 217)

    "The religions of God have the same foundation, but the dogmas appearing later have differed. Each of the divine religions has two aspects. The first is essential. It concerns morality and development of the virtues of the human world. This aspect is common to all."
    -Abdul-Baha (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.168)

    " ...the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God."
    -Shoghi Effendi (Directives of the Guardian, Page: 86)

    Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, one should take note that the attitudes of Bahais towards those of other religions should be one of utmost respect.

    "..consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.."
    -Tablets of Baha'u'llah p. 87

    "The Faith standing identified with the name of Bahá'u'lláh disclaims any intention to belittle any of the Prophets gone before Him, to whittle down any of their teachings, to obscure, however slightly, the radiance of their Revelations, to oust them from the hearts of their followers, to abrogate the fundamentals of their doctrines, to discard any of their revealed Books, or to suppress the legitimate aspirations of their adherents.
    -Shoghi Effendi (Promised Day is com, p.108)

    For the most part Bahais do not claim any superiority over anyone, but they do acknowledge that Holy Beings spoke to mankind at different times expounding different laws. The differences acknowledged in the Faiths are not due to inherent status or ability of a particular Prophet but due to the differences in capacity of humanity to recieve at that point in time.
    A letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi even states
    "In the Bayan the Bab says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. "
    This did not happen largely in part by the schisms of the followers.

    I contend that the Bahai Faith is a complex religion best viewed in its entirety, and not necessarily a militant outburst of emotional triumphalism. One author, not an authoritative source, even says

    "The Bahá'í Faith is, however, I would argue, in reality, a metareligion. It is not another religion that has come to take the place of the existing religions but rather a way of looking at the religious experience of the whole of humanity."
    -Moojan Momen


    Bahais do have big claims and put forth claims of prophetic fufillment. But the Bahais dont wish to wipe out millenia of religious experience or relegate Religious tradition to the dustheap. There goals are to help create a spiritual civilization and to help bring about that Promised Day of peace often prophecied in the Scriptures of God.
     
  6. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    promethium,

    dress it up in any amount of verbiage you like, but i am still getting told by baha'is, the same way i get told by muslims, christians and just about everyone else, that their scripture and prophets fulfil our revelations and prophecies, the logical outcome of that being that if the bab, or islam, or jesus, or uncle tom cobleigh or whoever is what is referred to in the Torah and Tanakh, then we must regard their religions as superseding our own. what part of that is hard to understand? all it is is just refusing to say outright that you think your religion is a more updated version of mine and therefore better. that's what i object to. why can't you just leave other people alone instead of twisting our texts to apply to whoever it suits you to apply them to? if you claim to prophetically fulfil judaism and everything else, then you are insisting that we include the bab and his sacred texts and all the other stuff in our canon and our practice - and we're not about to do that or agree that it has anything to do with us. you may not wish to "wipe out" our tradition. you may not even wish to relegate us to dhimmitude as islamic law would or theological damnation as supercessionist christianity would. but when you ask us to change to take account of another religion's teachings you are asking us to change our religion and, effectively, not be jews any more. if you can't see that then you're either being wilfully obtuse or you just haven't realised how offensive and unpleasant it actually comes across as. in fact, i prefer "you're going to hell if you don't believe in jesus" to a bunch of weasel words any day. at least we know what we're dealing with then.

    to sum up:

    no G!D but G!D
    no Law but Torah
    no prophecy but Tanakh
    no King but the King Meshiah

    we willnae be fooled again!

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  7. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    No, Banana, Baha'is make no such claim. We are simply the next step in a single process, not somehow "better" than everybody else!

    Indeed, the Baha'i scriptures themselves make this very point!:

    "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."

    -- (The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, page 114)

    And dialog is eminently possible: we engage in it all the time! I'm very sorry for you if you're unable to participate likewise. . . .

    As to the fact that prophecies are fulfilled, so what? This in no way changes the fact that you--like everybody else--is free to investigate and come to your own informed decisions PROVIDED you do so without prejudice ("pre-judging"). This is as true of religion as it is in any other field of endeavor. And if you do otherwise (IOW, let prejudice sway you so that you go off half-cocked), then the loss is entirely yours and is not blameable on whatever you might be investigating at the time.

    So kindly permit me to encourage you to investigate all this a bit further: religion in general, and the Baha'i Faith in particular, need not be so narrow and confining as you describe it!

    Peace,

    Bruce
     
  8. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    look, you smug, unctuous, patronising git, we've been on the receiving end of false messiahs for thousands of years. every tom, dick and habib tries to claim that what G!D really wanted to happen was their own religion and they always try and get the jews to sign up to it (as if we were some kind of religious ISO9000 certification) before turning round and telling us our tradition's no good any more.

    furthermore, it is not for you to expect me to simply accept what you have to say on face value. it is for you to provide some evidence other than some easily misinterpreted quotes that your glib promises and fine sentiments add up to anything more than a bunch of windy, platitudinous rhetoric. it is not prejudice for me to demand something more than your assurances, especially given that you are attempting to graft your tradition onto mine, that you mean what you say and you will actually leave us alone. that means don't try and marry us and don't try to convert us. leave us alone. leave our children alone. we can be perfectly good friends without having to believe exactly the same thing.

    let's examine the following quote, for example:

    what, in your opinion, are the "gods" of my "vain imaginings"? who are our "sowers of dissension"? go on, tell us, why don't you? are they, as i strongly suspect, the custodians of our tradition, our Oral Law and secondary texts? because that's what people always say, either the muslims who say we've corrupted the Torah, G!D forbid, or the bible scholars that say we've edited it to suit ourselves, or the christians that ignore the plain meaning of the Text to make prophecies apply to their messiah. why don't you tell me what you actually mean, rather than expecting me to just nod my head in awe?

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  9. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    I'm sorry to say it, but you're never going to win Miss Congeniality talking like that.

    I'm AMAZED that you would say what you did above and then immediately ask a question like this! Perhaps you should reflect on your own words more given that they appear answer your question all too clearly.

    Glad we agree!

    Fine!

    You can find ample evidence generally at these web sites:
    And you can read and examine our scriptures in all the detail you like at:

    But it is not my job to spoon-feed you answers or to make your decisions for you. It's YOUR job to investigate and then come to an informed conclusion!

    We Baha'is will be more than happy to answer any sincere questions you may have! But we're not here to do your work for you, so we wish you all the best and good hunting as you endeavor to find answers.

    First off, we Baha'is don't try to convert people: we take our central teaching about Individual Investigation of Truth far too seriously for that! (Precisely why I just said the investigation and decision-making is YOUR job.)

    And we needn't be grafted: the Baha'i Faith is an independant religion and stands on its own Covenant quite well, thank you! :)

    As to "leave us alone," that is IMHO the exact OPPOSITE of being (in your words) "perfectly good friends!"

    And as to "don't marry us," another central Baha'i principle is Elimination of Prejudice, which means we take no stance pro or con for marrying Jews or anyone else! That's strictly each individual's decision, not yours, mine, or the Baha'i Faith's to make! Those couples who decide to marry, fine! Those who decide not to, fine also! And more power to them all!

    So if I may make a humble suggestion, let's all relax here and CONVERSE rather than going around with a huge chip on the shoulder! I'm sure we can both converse well and constructively, and have a great time doing so if we just allow ourselves to be friendly rather than hostile or mutually aggressive.

    Many regards, and I wish you, too, peace! :)

    Bruce
     
  10. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    "in other words:

    baha'i supersedes islam, like islam supersedes christianity, like christianity supersedes judaism. which basically translates as:

    MY RELIGION'S BETTER THAN YOURS."

    If the symbolism confuses you it is expressed as a ratio: Baha`i is to Islam as Christianity is to Judaism. You might recognize the verbal form as a standard SAT question.

    The Baha`i Faith bears the same relationship to Islam as Christianity bears to Judaism.

    Baha`i grew out of Islam. Christianity grew out of Judaism

    To me the connection is obvious and makes no such slur as you suggest.

    Discussions are like life. You get out of them what you bring into them. If all you can bring is anger, dissension, insult and a bad attitude; that's all you will get out of it.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  11. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    what, in your opinion, are the "gods" of my "vain imaginings"? who are our "sowers of dissension"? go on, tell us, why don't you? are they, as i strongly suspect, the custodians of our tradition, our Oral Law and secondary texts? because that's what people always say, either the muslims who say we've corrupted the Torah, G!D forbid, or the bible scholars that say we've edited it to suit ourselves, or the christians that ignore the plain meaning of the Text to make prophecies apply to their messiah. why don't you tell me what you actually mean, rather than expecting me to just nod my head in awe?

    Please don't take it as an insult, but I am not required to avoid spelling the word "God" so I won't. You are perfectly welcome to follow your own conscience in the matter. I will not consider it an insult, and you should not consider my spelling an insult.

    The God of the Hebrews is (according to Baha`i teachings) the ONLY God Who Exists. The God of the Christians is the same God, the God of Islam is the same One and Only God. The God to Whom Baha`is pray is the same One and Only God.

    The Torah was the word of God. The Gospel was the word of God. The Qur'an is the word of God and the Baha`i Texts are the word of God.

    Each is a chapter in the same book and without the previous chapters the chapter you are reading makes no sense.

    "Idle Fancies and "Vain Imaginings" are when people invent their own gods and religions without concerning themselves with the God of Revealed by Adam to Baha`u'llah.

    In my city the Baha`i's and the Synagogue and Churches and Temples and Mosques are perfectly willing to work together and discuss. Wish it was the same where you are.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  12. Promethium

    Promethium New Member

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    Let me point out that Bahais in Israel are not permitted to teach the Bahai Faith(Bahais agreed to this) so there is some sign of respect. Second of all you seem to draw comparisons to past persecutions of Israelites, Bahais are not allowed to go to war for religion even in self-defense and are told not to forcibly convert people.
    Understandbly there is a time for interreligious dialogue, which shouldnt include harping on someone about fufillment of relgious prophecies. And there is a time where Bahais can present their arguments and proofs.
    As for the outdated argument. I think that many Jews do not follow to the letter the punishments set down in the old testament, largely because it is not necessary in this day and age. We as human beings change and grow. This hasnt destroyed Judaism. Neither does the Bahai Faith. You are free to practice the elements you consider essential in your relgion, no forced conversion. Bahais believe there is a legitimate claim to scriptual fufillment of prophecies, and that Bahai teachings are especially directed towards this day and age. The followers of the relgion dont believe they are superior as you would make it seem.
     
  13. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Actually the agreement goes back further than the present-day government of Israel. It was a bargain struck between the Sultan and Abdu'l Baha around 1905 as best my sources can determine.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  14. Promethium

    Promethium New Member

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    thanks Scott for the information, that is certianly something to investigate.

    "Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you.."

    There is no specific call to reprimand religious custodians here. It seems to be telling Bahais to search for truth and strive to mantain unity. Baha'u'llah does criticize religious custodians for twisting the scriptures to cause violence while some are praised for being a beacon of light.

    "provide some evidence other than some easily misinterpreted quotes that your glib promises and fine sentiments add up to anything more than a bunch of windy, platitudinous rhetoric."

    Baha'i World News Service - Baha'i mothers take hold of their destiny

    I cant vouch for every Bahai that they will "leave you alone."But I hope they wouldnt pressure you or patronize.. I also think that the reason religious dialogue is emmphasized these days, is precisely the fact that were all living next to each other, being alone isnt an option.
    Anyway Ive responded too many times here, my original intent was to provide some scriptual evidence that the mission of Bahais is not to secretly infect you with a religious virus.
     
  15. DynoMight

    DynoMight New Member

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    Bruce you are just proving BananaBrain's point that Abrahamic religions all refer their previous conterparts as "past their sell-by-date".

    That being said I don't think old BananaBrain should be as offended as he sounds. What do Jews expect when they dangle prophecy out there like that for so many millenia. I liken Judaism unto a metaphysical tease dressed-up in spiritual hotpants. Kickdown and gives us your Divine Messianic body or hit the pavement you little lingam tease.

    It's not the Pastafarians that need worry the Baha'i but rather the Matrixists. No kidding Matrixism is the world's newest Abrahamic religion. Get it while its HOT!!! One thing that you (BananaBrain) might appreciate about Matrixism is that you don't have to give up being a Jew to join along.

    "Do you really think I care what you read or what you wear? I want you to join together with the band."

    ~The (Bloody) Who

    Hey Banana, Do you do mana? Or is that too old school Orthodox Jew for you?
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i'm not here to 'win miss congeniality'. i don't enjoy getting annoyed and, of course, i really shouldn't get personal about it, but you guys need to understand precisely what it is about your attitude that gets up people's noses, particularly mine.

    actually, that's exactly the sort of mealy-mouthed avoidance of the question i'm complaining about.

    no, i'm not going to do that. i want to hear what *you* think, as a real person - how you deal with these questions personally. reading some policy blurb off a website is precisely what i would describe as "spoon-feeding" and, believe me, asking you questions so i can make up my own mind is precisely what i intend to do.

    it's not my job to do anything. you've made a bunch of claims and done nothing to back them up. a case in point: all this business about the bab being a descendant of abraham and keturah - really? isn't that a *tiny* bit like the gospel saying jesus was descended from king david? do you not think i'm entitled to be even the teensiest bit sceptical about this? by contrast, i make no such claims about judaism - like the muslims, we let our Text speak for us. i don't have to do the work, because i start from a position of not having to prove anything. if you don't prove anything, then there's no reason for me to change my default position of "sez you".

    not if you're saying "all religions are one and the same but ours is the final and most complete one".

    popeyesays - thank you for your posts. i appreciate your candour. i'm not trying to have a fight here, i'm just taking issue with some of the airy-fairy language and superior tone that baha'is tend to adopt.

    promethium -

    what's the point of interreligious dialogue if it is compartmentalised away from another set of beliefs which i would object to? isn't that intellectually dishonest?

    this argument is a real old chestnut. if you are referring to the copious amount of capital offences, then you fail to understand the function of the Oral Law. i've talked about this many times on this very site. the Torah has not changed, even if our precise application of it has. the Text remains the same.

    right, that's what i'm talking about. jews cannot concede that another religion can fulfil our prophecies. our prophecies refer to us, not to anyone else. for you to try to prove otherwise is an absolutely futile (not to mention irritating) exercise.

    well, in that case, it's such a truism that it scarcely qualifies as revelation, does it? it's a "press release from the department of the bleeding obvious":

    "religious leaders misuse their power"

    cor, stone the crows!! i'd never noticed! what an insightful thing to point out.

    thanks for posting the news article though, a fine example of social action - but no more than i'd expect from anyone helping out their co-religionists.

    thank you, dynomight - the same claim is made by buddhism and scientology among a huge number of others. we're used to that. it's a very culty technique - "ooh, you're not giving anything up, you're getting something for free". because that really happens in the real world. harrumph.

    what do you mean, do i do mana? do you mean manna?

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  17. DynoMight

    DynoMight New Member

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    Yeah manna. "Mana" is the archaic spelling. It kind of went with the "old school" joke and echoed the "ana" of banana. Sucks when you have to explain it though.

    Who you calling "culty". Judaism is a culty cult if there ever was one. Heck they may have even invented cultyism for all we know.

    Looking a gift horse in the mouth? Why that's quite Jewy of you.
     
  18. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    dynomight -

    you've just crossed a *big* red line with that "gift horse" comment. consider yourself warned.

    as for the culty thing, there's nothing culty about judaism. we don't recruit-and-brainwash. at least, not people who aren't jewish already. plus, i think when you're a 3000-year-old civilisation, you kind of cross the line into "established religion".

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  19. DynoMight

    DynoMight New Member

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    You'll have to forgive me I thought all your ranting wasn't as mindless as it seemed. I in fact mistook it for a sense of humor. I can see now that you lack that particular trait. That trait of course being myrrhth.

    Anyhow, if you have no sense of humor then I think you crossed a BIG RED LINE with your "culty" accusation. Go look in the mirror and get over your dumb self.

    It seems your over exuberent persecution complex is causing you to railroad a reasonable discussion. I think that it is safe to say that everyone here accepts the fact that you are Jewish. I think that it is also safe to say that we all respect your religion (I would have said that we respect your person also but for me personally that feeling is starting to wane). So why not go in peace and let the others here have their conversation in peace?
     
  20. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Okay - PopeyeSays was good enough to start this thread in order to allow people to raise critical evaluations of the big Abrahamic Faiths, and especially the place of the Baha'i Faith to them, without fear of members being excluded over the "Walled Garden" approach.

    However, I think it's fair to say this thread is turning from being a great opportunity to something derogatory, and I'd won't allow it to continue in this manner.

    If we could pick up the discussion on any constructive points of appraisal, that would be great. Any further personal comments get removed from the thread.

    Hope that helps. :)
     

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