The Bab

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Postmaster, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    I'm curious as to what evidence of 'dualism' you see in Islam or Baha`i belief? Personally I don't see it, but you may be seeing something I am missing. You know . . . forest and trees . . . and that sort of thing.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  2. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Well I've made a post about Manichaeanism and the Baha'i faith and I think the argument as to if Manichaeanism influenced the Baha'i faith is obviously a yes. Why don't you make an effort to do a little research on Manichaeanism.

    Mani said all religions were different due to the needs of the people but fundamentally they were all the same in nature. And that he was next in a line of prophets to reveal the truth. etc etc.. This guy was of Persian Royalty descent so was Bahá'u'lláh? But not saying he was of the same blood line. Guess that part is a coincidence.
     
  3. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Well the first time I researched Mani was the mid-80's but that required interlibrary loan and several months of waiting, the net has helped that a lot.

    But what I was wondering is about dualism, as expressed in Mani's belief system and an utter lack of dualism in Islam and the Baha`i Faith. A central belief of Mani's writing is that God and Satan are duelists involved in what appears to be a contest of equals. The Baha`i Faith ignores Satan as an external entity entirely.

    This is well-supported in the Baha`i writings:
    1) "You have asked why it was necessary for the soul that was from God to make this journey back to God. Would you like to understand the reality of this question just as I teach it or do you wish to hear it as the world teaches it? -- for if I should answer you according to the latter way, this would be but imitation and would not make the subject clear.
    The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions, one is the expression of nature, the other the expression of the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly, casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of nature."
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 77)
    2)"Observe, how those in whose midst the Satan of self had for years sown the seeds of malice and hate became so fused and blended through their allegiance to this wondrous and transcendent Revelation that it seemed as if they had sprung from the same loins."
    (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 112)
    3) "God is clement and kind to all the branches, leaves and fruit of this tree and there is no existence or interference of a satanic tree whatever, -- Satan being a creation of human proclivities. God alone is the Creator and all are creatures of His might. Therefore we must love all mankind as His creatures and realize that all are growing upon the Tree of His mercy -- that all are servants of His almighty Will and manifestations of His good pleasure."
    (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 348)
    4) "There are two sides to man. One is divine, the other worldly; one is luminous, the other dark; one is angelic, the other diabolic. In all sensuous conditions man is equal to the animals, for all animal characteristics exist in him. Likewise, divine and satanic qualities are contained in man; knowledge and ignorance; guidance and error; truth and falsehood; generosity and avarice; valor and timidity; inclination towards God and tendency towards Satan. Chastity and purity, corruption and vileness, economy and avidity, good and evil -- all are contained in man."
    (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 406)

    Mani's concept of a seperate God-like entity "Satan" has no room in the Baha`i Faith at all.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  4. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    So because of the dualism in Manichaeanism you are saying that the other aspects of that religion didn't influence the Baha'i faith? They clearly clearly did. He was the world’s first global prophet Manichaeanism as established from Western Europe to Far East Asia. All religions were equal in Mani's eyes. There was one universal religion in which they all fit in. But he was a heretic to the Zoroastrians and early Christians. He too claimed visitation from an Angel, I'm not sure if he was claiming to be the return of Christ but he considered himself as another apostle of Christ.
     
  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Hello my good friend Postmaster!

    Above you wrote:

    "So because of the dualism in Manichaeanism you are saying that the other aspects of that religion didn't influence the Baha'i faith? They clearly clearly did."
    and earlier you wrote above:

    "I think the argument as to if Manichaeanism influenced the Baha'i faith is obviously a yes."

    Here Postmaster I do have a problem with your thinking on a causative connection between Manichaeism influencing Baha'i Faith...

    Manichaeism is a long "dead" religion. It's scriptures were pretty much destroyed... It lingered awhile in central asia and was lost in history after ghengis khan ...that's what I recall about it. It didn't survive into the modern era. Did it influence Christianity?... I think that's a "possible" if you consider that Saint Augustine was a Manicheaen and some of the ideas about evil and dualism in Christianity may be so... but clearly it was gone as a movement in modern times.

    Also what was Manichaeanism in Saint Augustine's time was probably different from what it became centuries later..

    Baha'i Faith or rather it's Babi antecedents arose from a movement known as Shaykhism in the nineteenth century and another factor was the expectation of the Mahdi and Return of the Twelfth Imam in Shiah Islam so these were the influences of the time and a lot of material has been written about it and discussed here on this forum. I believe Manichaeism was not a viable force after the the time of the Mongols.

    I would agree that Manichaeism made an early attempt to be a universal religion but apparently failed...just because Mani was Persian or because his ideas as believed by some may have some similarities with Baha'i principles doesn't show "influence".

    You have to have some sort of connection here and show us how Manichaeism influenced Baha'i Faith! I think there is a better arguement that Manichaeism influenced Christianity because historically it was around as Christainity developed, but that isn't a point I would push with Christians.

    Thanks for your post!

    - Art
     
  6. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    What appear to be genuine Manichaean documents were not discovered until 1969. The Baha`i Faith was 125 years old by then. The actual thoughts and writings of Mani couldn't have affected the Baha`i Faith, nor Islam since the only remnants of Manichaeanism were buried in China at the time of Muhammad.

    That the teachings of Mani affected the COuncil of Nicaea is obvious since it was declared a heresy at that time. But by the time of Muhammad, there apparently were not real Mani writings extant. The religion of Mani was essentially recreated in China after their loss of genuine texts.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  7. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    He absolutely did all those things, but a hundred years after his death his writings were largely lost, another century after that and they were entirely lost.

    Also see my above post.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  8. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    As long as Postmaster brought up Manichaeism I thought it would be good to share the wiki free encyclopaedia on the subject:

    Manichaeism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For sure it's an interesting subject for those of who are studying history of religion. I know I studied about it many years ago.. It's a pretty fair article and one of the statements made may be of interest:

    "How much long-term influence the Manichees actually had on Christianity is still being debated. It has been suggested that the Bogomils, Paulicians, and the Cathars were deeply influenced by Manichaeism. However, the Bogomils and Cathars, in particular, left few records of their rituals or doctrines, and the link between them and Manicheans is tenuous."

    I would suggest here that there is no evidence of any connection whatsoever or influence of Manichaeism on the Baha'i Faith.

    - Art
     
  9. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    I think it would be a favour to the Baha'i faith to accpet a connection in theology as this is intune with progressive revlation. But not quite the divinely inspired one you have been led to believe. Kind of got a cynical twist to it.
     
  10. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Well I think personally Postmaster that we can all appreciate universalism but I seriously doubt that the theology of what we know about Manichaeism is compatible with Baha'i Faith... as it was dualist.

    - Art
     
  11. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Islam, the Bab and Baha`u'llah were quite careful to enumerate the previous Apostles of God and They all said that there were other Apostles whose names and books had been lost in time and They could not be identified.
    The largest part of Mani's teachings are lost and gone, was Mani one of these lost Apostles of God, we can never say with any authority that Mani was or was not.

    As conjecture I would say that if dualism was the express teaching of Mani, that would make it very hard to place him in the line of Messengers of God.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  12. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Look at the Dualism in Buddhism which is even an ATHIEST religion and the Baha'i faith accepts Buddha as one of Gods manifestations. At least Mani still believed in God regardless if he was an equal to an opposing force. The same thing happened with Christianity and Mithraism very similar accept Mithraism was an all male religion. Something as simple as that could have led to its down fall and thus Christianity flourished. It is said history doesn't repeat but rhymes.

    If the ideas of the Baha'i faith developed independently from Manichaeism, then to me it leaves the conspiracy theories of how the faith developed open verdict to me. This at least is showing a possitive theological take on it.
     
  13. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Postmaster wrote:

    If the ideas of the Baha'i faith developed independently from Manichaeism, then to me it leaves the conspiracy theories of how the faith developed open verdict to me. This at least is showing a possitive theological take on it.

    My comment:

    For Baha'is the principles of our Faith are suited for the world as it exists today..that is the need for world peace and unity... the eradication of prejudices whether religious, cast, class or between male and female.

    Universalism I think is a very important concept and Mani probably received some foretaste or inkling of the need for unity and that's a very good thing..unfortuantely the idea didn't catch on very well in the fourth century but the idea was good.

    - Art
     
  14. bupanishad2007

    bupanishad2007 Andrew

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    What is curious to me is that the Bab was first a Shi'ite, and claimed to be the Twelfth Imam. Baha'ullah continued this idea, I believe, and that's why the Persians (Iranians) persecuted Him and His followers so terribly.
     
  15. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    The Bab was indeed a Shi'ih Muslim, as was Baha`u'llah. Yes, the first claim the Bab made was to be the Bab, or Gate, as the 12th Imam. But it was not His only claim, He claimed not to be the physical return of the 12th Imam as most Shi'ih Muslims were waiting for, but the Mahd'i. later the Dikhr'u'llah (Remembrance of God) and finaly the Primal Point (Nuqta).

    In the role of Mahd'i He claimed that soon would follow He Whom God Shall Make Manifest, Who would be the object of the Bab's entire revelation, with the power to nullify everything the Bab had revealed. Baha`u'llah claims to be He Whom God Shall Make Manifest. That has nothing to do with the 12th Imam.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  16. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Actually, I don't concede that Buddhism is atheist at all. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying in the last paragraph, could you expand it a little?

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  17. imranshaykh

    imranshaykh New Member

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    Dear Scott:

    Are you trying to tell us that the Mahdi was different than the 12th Imam? Are these two different persons?

    Regards
    Imran
     
  18. imranshaykh

    imranshaykh New Member

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    There is quite an interesting piece I read once, and I liked it for its logic more than anything else.

    It basically listed out the major religions of the world or influences and pointed out the key elements related to the unity of God - in the sense that all of them were so diverse, but yet, the Bahai Faith in its quest for "unity" put all of them in the same fishbowl.

    Take Hinduism for example, it is a religion of extreme dualism (forget dualism, then have over a 36 million "gods" or avatars!

    None of the teachings of Hinduism and Islam match. Yet, Bahais are the only one who will believe that they came from the same God! How does one reconcile this?

    Regards
    Imran
     
  19. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    "Avatars" are not Gods. Ask ninety percent of Hindus in the world: "How many Gods are there?" And they will answer: "One".

    Hindu Monotheism is explained well in Wikpedia:
    "
    Truth is One, but sages call it by many names. Monotheistic theology was/is an inherent part of Hinduism which teach that the many forms of God, i.e., Vishnu, Shiva, or Devi merely represent aspects of a single or underlying divine power or Brahman (see articles on Nirguna Brahman and Saguna Brahman). Claims that Hinduism never taught polytheism [1], are correct if we read the major texts of Hinduism such as the Vedas,Upanishads and Gita.
    Certain sects of Hinduism, the Smarta view, is an inclusive monotheistic view of monotheism, as discussed later. This Smarta view dominates the view of Hinduism in the West and has confused all Hindus to be seemingly polytheistic. The Smarta division is the only branch of Hinduism that strictly follows this view. After all, Swami Vivekananda, a follower of Ramakrishna, along with many others, who brought Hindu beliefs to the West, were all Smarta in belief. Only a Smartist would have no problem worshiping Shiva or Vishnu together as he views the different aspects of God as leading to the same One God. God, thus, according to Smarta theology, can have a multitude of aspects and thus, according to this belief, they hold that Vishnu and Shiva are one and the same God. The Smarta theologians have cited many references to support this view. For example, they interpret verses in both the Shri Rudram, the most sacred mantra in Shaivism, and the Vishnu sahasranama, one of the most sacred prayers in Vaishnavism, to show this belief. By contrast, a Vaishnavite considers Vishnu as the only one true God, worthy of worship and other worship of other forms as subordinate or simply incorrect.
    Monotheism can be divided into different types on the basis of its attitude towards polytheism: inclusive monotheism claims that all polytheistic deities are just different names for the single monotheistic God; Smartism, a denomination of Hinduism, follows this belief and holds that God is one but has different aspects and can be called by different names (this belief dominate the view of Hinduism in the West); exclusive monotheism, on the other hand, claims that these deities are false and distinct from the one God, either invented, demonic, or simply incorrect, as Vaishnavism, a denomination of Hinduism, regards the worship of anyone other than Vishnu. Exclusive monotheism is a well-known tenet in the beliefs of the Abrahamic religions. In Hinduism, views are broad and range from monism, dualism, pantheism, panentheism, alternatively called monistic theism by some scholars, and strict monotheism, but are not polytheistic as outsiders perceive the religion to be. Hinduism has often been confused to be polytheistic as many of Hinduism's adherents, i.e., Smartas, who follow Advaita philsophy, are monists, and view multiple manifestations of the one God or source of being. Hindu monists see one unity, with the personal Gods, different aspects of only One Supreme Being, like a single beam of light separated into colours by a prism, and are valid to worship. Some of the Hindu aspects of God include Devi, Vishnu, Ganesh, and Siva. It is the Smarta view that dominates the view of Hinduism in the West. After all, Swami Vivekananda, a follower of Ramakrishna, along with many others, who brought Hindu beliefs to the West, were all Smarta in belief. Other denominations of Hinduism, as described later, don't hold this belief strictly and more closely adhere to a Western perception of what a monotheistic faith is. Additionally, like Judeo-Christian traditions which believe in angels, Hindus also believe in less powerful entities, such as devas.
    Contemporary Hinduism is now divided into four major divisions, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. Just as Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe in one God but differ in their conceptions of him, Hindus all believe in one God but differ in their conceptions. The two primary form of differences are between the two monotheistic religions of Vaishnavism which conceives God as Vishnu and Shaivism, which conceives God as Shiva. Other aspects of God are in fact aspects of Vishnu or Shiva; see Smartism for more information. Only a Smartist would have no problem worshiping Shiva or Vishnu together as he views the different aspects of God as leading to the same One God. It is the Smarta view that dominates the view of Hinduism in the West. By contrast, a Vaishnavite considers Vishnu as the one true God, worthy of worship and other forms as subordinate. See for example, an illustration of the Vaishnavite view of Vishnu as the one true God, at this link. Accordingly, many Vaishnavites, for example, believe that only Vishnu can grant the ultimate aim for mankind, moksha. See for example, this link. Similarly, many Shaivites also hold similar beliefs, as illustrated at at this link and at this link."
     
  20. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    The Mahd'i is NOT the physical return of the 12th Imam. That's what I was saying.

    Regards,
    Scott
     

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