Points of Intersection?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Pilgram, Dec 19, 2003.

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  1. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Greetings All,

    I am new to the study of comparative religion and am wondering about something perhaps someone might be able to help me with.

    I would like to know if anyone has conducted a systematic scholarly study of all the AGREED upon beliefs (dogma) of the "major" world religions. I suspect that if such a study has been conducted, the researchers would have found only basic beliefs such as tell the truth, be compassionate, forgive your enemies, etc. But that's all right? I simply want to know IF such a study has been done and who did it.

    Any one?

    Peace and love,
    Pilgram
     
  2. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Pilgram,

    I just joined, and I see you asked this a couple months ago and have not gotten any responses.

    You might enjoy checking out this link

    http://www.bahaistudy.org/library.html#books

    This book addresses the question you asked very well and then some IMHO. You can read it online or if you go back to the home page there is a link for the audio book.


    "
    The Book of Certitude (The Kitáb-i-Íqán) Author: Bahá'u'lláh (1863)In this book Bahá'u'lláh speaks about other Prophets, portrays Their lives and Their sufferings, demonstrates the truth of Their Missions and describes the common feature of Their Faiths. In this way He brings to the understanding of the reader the truth of His own religion. Shoghi Effendi translated the book into English in 1929-1930. In its original language it is a model of Persian literature for its style and prose. "


    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  3. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Greetings Harmony,

    Thank you for your reply and thanks for the links.

    So, what do YOU think? Has the Bahai religion incorporated all the agreed upon dogma of all religions AND (very important "and") neglected to create new and different dogma that is in contrast to other religions?

    You see, the problem as I see it is that unless we create a religion that incorporates all of the agreed upon dogma (my guess is that this will come down to the Golden Rule with a bit of commentary) AND OMITS all of the particular myths (TRUTHS to the true believer but myths when they apply to the religion of another) of her particular religion, we simply end up with another new religion that substitutes one myth for another. And we get nowhere.

    My hope is that we are now a bit more tolerant and sophisticated (not the same as jaded) so that we are spiritually mature enough to let go of myth/dogma that differs from the myth/dogma of other religions. Thus, we are left with basic beliefs that are all we really need to lead lives of goodness, truth and beauty.

    Your thoughts?

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  4. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Pilgram,

    The Baha'i Faith teaches the concept of progressive revelation. Baha'i's believe that there really is only one religion, the religion of God. God has sent his messengers/teachers to mankind throughout history, to renew his teachings, and give additional guidance for mankind to progress. I like the analogy of a school. i.e. Abraham taught kindergarten, Moses taught grade school, Jesus taught junior high and Mohammed taught high school and now we are approaching the age of spiritual maturity (graduation). The spiritual teachings remain consistent (i.e. The Golden Rule), they appear to differ in the social aspects of their teachings (i.e. laws regarding food etc.) which change according to the age in which they appeared. (therein lies the myth/dogma you speak of). What was appropriate 2000 years ago is no longer necessary.
    God knows that mankind has the capacity to understand this concept that is why he has sent another messenger to educate us. All of his teachers have had the same knowledge, but what they were allowed to teach was in accordance with the grade level they were teaching and mankinds capacity in the age they appeared.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  5. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi again,

    you might also be interested in this link.

    http://www.bahai-education.org/ocean/

    Here is a description.
    "Ocean is a free collection of the World's Religious literature managed by a unique book-centered research engine. It contains over 1000 books of 10 world religions in English as well as collections in six other languages (French, Spanish, German, Russian, Dutch, and Portuguese). If you have a slow internet connection don't despair. We will happily mail you a CD at cost anywhere on the planet! Our purpose in giving away Ocean is to promote amity among religions through greater understanding. It is our belief that the actual teachings of the various religions are not so different as some people would have us believe. True, religions have been used by power-hungry leaders as a tool to divide people. But eventually people will get tired of formulaes of hate and begin to ask "what do the scriptures really say?"
    What they will find is shocking: the core message of all the world's religious writings are the same: ethical integrity, honesty, sincerity, compassion, tolerance and non-violence. No kidding! It's hard to accept this in a world filled with "religious" bigotry and hatred -- but just look for yourself! Enjoy Ocean, share it freely. If you appreciate our project, help out by spreading the word. If you have a web-page, feel free to add the Ocean button which will direct people straight to this page. "

    Enjoy!
     
  6. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Deja vu?

    Dear Pilgram:

    I seem to remember that I have written at least one reply to your original inquiry. Maybe it was in another universe.

    Anyway, I have corresponded with you in other threads, and if I may, I seem to find in you not really so much interested in religion for a personal need as for some kind of answer to society's religious dissensions and mutual hostilities, which is also my own observation and quest.

    I seem to read in another post from you that you were also brought up Catholic; and I told you that I was also like you but now already a postgraduate Catholic. And that if there is only one room in a boarding house we can share it together and get along pretty well.

    Didn't I say also that maybe the difference between you and me in regard to our Catholic upbringing is that I am no longer -- I like to believe that -- in the anger phase of my dis-engagement from Catholicism.

    Anyway, I will tell you again, if I never told you already in an earlier post in answer to your original post:

    The quest for all the elements that unite all religions to establish one that is for everybody is a very noble endeavor, and I highly commend you for this concern; even though I seem to have the impression that you are not yourself interested in assuming any religious life in the way, say, Orthodox Jews do. Such an enterprise is good for society, so that people can live harmoniously together even in matters of religion.

    Yet, I think I must share with you my own personal misgiving, namely, that people being by nature attached to their peculiar sense of identity that is distinctive of themselves as to differentiate conspicuously and even oppositely to others, your labor in this field is going to encounter countless objections and resistance.

    For my own appreciation, I do think Baha'i is the most accommodating of religions, accommodating to other religions and to non-religious thinking. And as I observe elsewhere religions coming out today tend to be more genial with the best of earlier ones, foregoing the latter's less peaceable elements, and even coming in line with the scientific and technological discoveries of the modern world. And Baha'i is in fact a new religion.

    Best regards,

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  7. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Pilgram wrote:

    "You see, the problem as I see it is that unless we create a religion that incorporates all of the agreed upon dogma (my guess is that this will come down to the Golden Rule with a bit of commentary) AND OMITS all of the particular myths (TRUTHS to the true believer but myths when they apply to the religion of another) of her particular religion, we simply end up with another new religion that substitutes one myth for another. And we get nowhere."

    My comment:

    You know I don't think we'll "get" anywhere either if we "create" a new religion.

    To me a religion is not something we can just develope ourselves and add what we want here and there and discard or dismiss want we don't like...A kind of invent it as we go along in life.

    Even though I agree this probably happens a lot... that is, people will say they're syncretists perhaps and add things they want to their religion.

    The problem as i see it is that when you invent your own religion you would have difficulty in my view of making much progress...by that I mean...it's too tempting if you come up against a major issue that you can't reconcile to simpy back off and change the rules or forget about them and rewrite new ones.

    To me a religion should be Divine in origin as it's usually based on a Revelation or epiphany and probably the most powerful and essential aspect of that religion is what occurs in the first century or so of it's existence...

    What often happens later is that men and usually quite powerful and well placed men, begin to decide what they think should be included as "dogma" or what rules and regulations and interpretations it should have...so this begins the proccess where men begin to invent their own religion and often forget the core of truth that was the original "elan" or inspiration and moving force of that religion.

    Central to the developement though is that most religions will hearken back to an earlier dispensation as well as promise a future epiphany or a "Return".

    So then, it's not so much that you have to construct something yourself from all these "dogmas" and accomodate everyone like maybe what the Emperor Constantine did with the Solar centered state religion of the Roman Empire and with Christainity, but rather you should return to the original pure source of the Revelation and from that peak of inspiration and truth appreciate the similarities with the former revelations at their source.

    In friendship,

    - Art
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Apologies, Pilgram - I really didn't see this thread before.

    As to your original question - the real disagreement of religion really occurs in the semantics - 100 people will look at the same flower and use 100 different sets of words to describe it. Now when 100 different cultures look at the flower, not only do they use different sets of words, but they also use different sets of meanings and inferences explicit to their particular culture.

    This is where the real disagreement really occurs.

    So although many different cultures will commonly agree that there is God, and usually that we should respect the Golden Rule of Ethics (do unto others...), there is little agreement of the details of such, and all things after. And also remember that a very important point about religion is that it often demands a certain "exclusivity of revelation" and acceptance of that revelation. Thus Christians will proclaim the acceptance of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Mulsims will proclaim the acceptance of the Revelation of the Pophet Muhammed (PBUH) as written in Al Qur'an...

    Btw - Arthra - you seem to have failed to realise that Bahai is indeed a religion, and is applicable to this process as any other. Although I agree with certain sentiments, it still represents a branch of human thought that has its own invented idioms and axioms. :)
     
  9. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Brian wrote:

    Arthra - you seem to have failed to realise that Bahai is indeed a religion, and is applicable to this process as any other. Although I agree with certain sentiments, it still represents a branch of human thought that has its own invented idioms and axioms.

    My reply:

    Thanks Brian for your comment.... I'm a little curious Brian how you feel that I've "...failed to realise that Bahai is indeed a religion, and is applicable to this process as any other" as Baha'is themselves accept that in time all religions (including the Baha'i Faith) go through a process of developement where eventually their original truths can be forgotten or lost:

    "Bahá'u'lláh teaches that one of the reasons for these differences is that human beings over time have altered and added to the teachings that the Manifestations of God originally brought to the world. In this way, human beings have obscured the essential unity of these Messengers and their teachings. `Abdu'l-Bahá describes the result of this process in the following way: "The divine Prophets ... have taught and promulgated the knowledge of God, established praiseworthy ethical ideals and inculcated the highest standards of virtues in the human world. Gradually these heavenly teachings and foundations of reality have been beclouded by human interpretations and dogmatic imitations of ancestral beliefs.... Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely, religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind...."

    Source:

    http://danenet.danenet.org/bahai/religion.html


    Also since I've been here in the Comparative Religion Forum, I've been curious about something, and wonder my friend, if you Brian as an "administrator" could comment on why the Baha'i Faith isn't allocated an informative section along with the other religions here?

    When you look to left of the Comparative Religion main page you have Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism listed with historical backgrounds and references about their Scriptures with links to the main sites of their various religions, but no reference is made to the Baha'i faith as a religion. Why is that?

    If you don't feel it's appropriate to respond openly here as you may feel this could be off-topic I'd welcome your personal thoughts in an e-mail.


    In friendship,

    - Art
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi Arthra:

    It's the following comment that seemed to suggest Bahai was somehow exlcuded from something of the process:

    As for this:

    It's actually just a case of my own time bing exceeding limited, and becoming exceedingly more limited over the past few months. If you check out some of the major sections - Judaism, for one - then there's is actually very little content in them. I believe this absolutely needs adderssing.

    Bahai would almost certainly have a section at some point - under "Alternative Spirituality", as it's not one of the traditional "doctrine-driven" schools of thought that have tended to dominate specific geographic areas over some significant period of time. Bahai is still very much in its infancy in this regard, even though I quite agree it is a very widespread and rapidly expanding group.

    No offence, of course, is intended to Bahai's by the current omission of that section - and it is on my "to-do" list. I'll probably invite comment on whatever I write, to ensure that there are no silly errors or misunderstandings in it. :)
     
  11. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Thanbks Brian for your note and I appreciate where your coming from...


    Brian wrote:

    It's actually just a case of my own time bing exceeding limited, and becoming exceedingly more limited over the past few months. If you check out some of the major sections - Judaism, for one - then there's is actually very little content in them. I believe this absolutely needs adderssing.

    Bahai would almost certainly have a section at some point - under "Alternative Spirituality", as it's not one of the traditional "doctrine-driven" schools of thought that have tended to dominate specific geographic areas over some significant period of time. Bahai is still very much in its infancy in this regard, even though I quite agree it is a very widespread and rapidly expanding group.

    No offence, of course, is intended to Bahai's by the current omission of that section - and it is on my "to-do" list. I'll probably invite comment on whatever I write, to ensure that there are no silly errors or misunderstandings in it.

    My response:

    Myself and I know other Baha'is among them Dale Lehman who hosts Planet Baha'i at Delphi forums would be most happy to assist you in any way... Lehman has a built a very fine Forum page there and you can access it at

    http://www.planetbahai.org/

    So if you need anything to set this up just let me know!

    In friendship,

    - Art
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Thanks for the offer - it's more just posting a little info in a certain format.

    Btw - tell all those Delphi forums people to get away from there and onto proper forum software...as like used here. :D
     
  13. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    No apologies necessary but thank you for your kindness.

    I couldn't agree with you more. That is why I am considering undertaking the research mentioned elsewhere. I believe that most people totally agree on the dogma that has to do with the basic glue of society, i.e. goodness, truth, kindness, etc. And because of the "different" sets of words, meanings, inferences, they do not realize that they are in more agreement with each other than disagreement.

    Again, I agree. It is extremely sad and costly in terms of lost love and lost life, that the "details" differ. It is the details (my God forbids eating pig, your God cow, etc) that are usually non-sense and totally arbitrary unlike the basic dogma (Golden Rule, etc) which is based in good sense.

    Yes, and it is this "exclusivity" that is killing us. Exclusivity creates "otherness" and it is otherness that creates fear, prejudice, war, etc.

    I enjoy most cultural differences, i.e. food, dance, art, etc. but it is the cultural difference of religious dogma that creates more harm than good. Of course there are those who are tolerant of the religions of others, they are not the problem. The fundamentalists of all religions are not tolerant by definition. There is the problem.

    If each religion were to police itself and rid itself of those who are intolerant (they would have to rid themselves of their own fundamentalists) I would think even that would work. But it is not the case.

    I have never come across a religion that discourages its fundamentalists, indeed they are secretely proud of them. I know Catholics for instance that while not themselves willing to kill doctors who perform abortions, they have commented that it was no great loss when their radicals bombed clinics or shot doctors, nurses and patients!

    Without ridding ourselves of the arbitrary (and therefore irrational) dogma in our religions I fail to see how we will ever arrive at the chimera of peace.

    Who will be the first on their block to start throwing things out of their arbitrary dogma attic?

    I am not holding my breath.

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  14. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Pilgram wrote:

    If each religion were to police itself and rid itself of those who are intolerant (they would have to rid themselves of their own fundamentalists) I would think even that would work. But it is not the case.

    I have never come across a religion that discourages its fundamentalists, indeed they are secretely proud of them. I know Catholics for instance that while not themselves willing to kill doctors who perform abortions, they have commented that it was no great loss when their radicals bombed clinics or shot doctors, nurses and patients!

    Without ridding ourselves of the arbitrary (and therefore irrational) dogma in our religions I fail to see how we will ever arrive at the chimera of peace.

    My reply:

    There was a Statement Addressed to the World's Religious Leaders of the World in 2002 by the Universal House of Justice the Supreme governing body of the Baha'i Faith which was distributed to all major religious leaders in communities all over the earth..... I also personally helped deliver this same Statement to the local religious leaders in my own community a few years ago... and it was well received, especially by representatives of the Inter Faith Council who of course already share the same goals.

    The full text of the Statement is available at

    http://bahai-library.com/published.uhj/religious.leaders.html

    and reads in part:

    "Tragically, organized religion, whose very reason for being entails service to the cause of brotherhood and peace, behaves all too frequently as one of the most formidable obstacles in the path; to cite a particular painful fact, it has long lent its credibility to fanaticism...

    If religious leadership is to rise to the challenge that this latter perception represents, such response must begin by acknowledging that religion and science are the two indispensable knowledge systems through which the potentialities of consciousness develop. ....

    With every day that passes, danger grows that the rising fires of religious prejudice will ignite a worldwide conflagration the consequences of which are unthinkable. Such a danger civil government, unaided, cannot overcome. Nor should we delude ourselves that appeals for mutual tolerance can alone hope to extinguish animosities that claim to possess Divine sanction. The crisis calls on religious leadership for a break with the past as decisive as those that opened the way for society to address equally corrosive prejudices of race, gender and nation. Whatever justification exists for exercising influence in matters of conscience lies in serving the well-being of humankind. At this greatest turning point in the history of civilization, the demands of such service could not be more clear. "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable", Bahá'u'lláh urges, "unless and until its unity is firmly established."

    A Statement though can only have limited force if it is not truly implemented on the local level where mosty people live every day and that's why it's so important to have such organizations as an Inter faith Council to pursue these goals day to day in the communities.

    - Art
     
  15. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Greetings Arthra,

    Thank you for your response. I will certainly look into this religion but perhaps you can help me. Would you say that Bahai would be among the first religion to let go of its myths or would you guess that it might balk at paring down its dogma? And I admit that I do not know its myths but I'm guessing it has them. I speak of a human who claims to have received special revelation from God? Is there such a one in Bahai? And if so, would Bahai be willing to delete such dogma?

    Of course I know you do not speak for Bahai. But I ask these questions to demonstrate the difficulty of asking any religion to pare down its dogma to the essentials needed for all people to live in peace and love. You see, if Bahai, which has agreed with my assessment above, is unwilling to let go of the myths that differentiate it from other religions, it is really not much different in that it too claims that it has revelations from God.

    We all have revelations from God. Every individual receives revelations from God everyday. I thank God that each of us has not insisted on starting a new religion or we would be facing six billion different religions!

    I do not believe that I have succeeded in making my central point clear. I do not blame you or anyone else at this website. It appears that embracing a religion that ONLY includes admonitions about living well with each other is not a very welcome religion. Okay, I accept this. If people need/want their individual myths of their individual prophets, saviors, gurus, etc., I can see that we will never arrive at world peace and world unity. We will continue to say words to each other while not achieving understanding. We will continue to try to convert others to our particular myths while they attempt to convert us to theirs.

    Meanwhile the world will stare in wonder and ignorance as to how it is possible for a world composed of so many religions and so many people who embrace them to constantly be at war, to constantly experience greed, land grabbing, hatred, prejudice, condemnation, terrorism and death.

    I have fought the inclination toward despair but I am losing the battle. I had hoped to find kindred spirits at websites devoted to addressing issues about God and religion. But one by one I have found at different websites a stubborness of mind that indicates successful programming that cannot be re-written. I am afraid that the Jesuits were correct afterall. They knew the power of early indoctrination.

    Give me a child from the time its born until it is six and you can have it for the rest of your life. Its body may be yours but we control its mind and soul.

    I am certain that many people who visit this website are merely curious or bored. I was hoping to find souls who realize the desparate situation we are in and realize that radical problems call for radical solutions. (By radical I do NOT mean insane or irrational). However, I have come to a place where I am closer to accepting that hope for peace and unity is a hope that will go unfulfilled.

    I look at the special interest groups in politics and see the same phenomenon as that of religion. At the core of each group the thing that is most desired is justice. But no group is prepared to join with a larger group that says: "Let's go for justice first, and maybe then your individual complaint may vanish." Instead, each special interst group is too selfish to see that it can never obtain its "special interest" until everyone has justice. No "special interest" will be permenently obtained until everyone's "special interest" has been obtained. But until we strive with all our might for the basic qualities that make human beings humane, we will see one group who obtains their "special interest" at the expense of another. And then with enough fighting perhaps that second group will finally defeat (temporarily) the first group and obtain their special interest at the cost of another's. And so it goes.

    Vanity, all is vanity.

    Peace and Love?
    Pilgram
     
  16. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Pilgram wrote:

    Thank you for your response. I will certainly look into this religion but perhaps you can help me. Would you say that Bahai would be among the first religion to let go of its myths or would you guess that it might balk at paring down its dogma? And I admit that I do not know its myths but I'm guessing it has them. I speak of a human who claims to have received special revelation from God? Is there such a one in Bahai? And if so, would Bahai be willing to delete such dogma?

    My reply:

    I would invite you to explore the Baha'i Faith for yourself and allow you to form of course your own judgements on the issue as to whether it is based on "myths" or facts... Most Baha'is would probably see their religion as something founded on facts as most of the events occurred well within historical times and were not passed down over say centuries of time as some traditions are.

    Pilgram wrote:

    Of course I know you do not speak for Bahai.

    My reply:

    Actually I do seek to represent the Baha'i views on various subjects here. But I am only one Baha'i and not a formal representative as we have no priests or ministers.

    Pilgram:

    But I ask these questions to demonstrate the difficulty of asking any religion to pare down its dogma to the essentials needed for all people to live in peace and love. You see, if Bahai, which has agreed with my assessment above, is unwilling to let go of the myths that differentiate it from other religions, it is really not much different in that it too claims that it has revelations from God.

    My reply:

    You're welcome to use any frame of reference you choose to... It would probably best for you though to have as few preconceptions as possible and then investigate the Faith for itself without prejudice. In any event after you've investigated it for yourself, I'd be most pleased to answer any questions!

    Pilgram:

    We all have revelations from God. Every individual receives revelations from God everyday. I thank God that each of us has not insisted on starting a new religion or we would be facing six billion different religions!

    My reply:

    From the Baha'i view we would probably say we do not all have Revelations from God everyday... Our view is that these are actually rather rare events in human history that are not commonplace and also that they are pivotal and crucial to human progress.

    The rest of your post was largely in my opinion a summary of how you feel despair and I would only hope for your sake that you are open enough to see possibilities from outside that despair, because you could become quite depressed and immobilized by it, i.e., by your despair.

    One way to break through the despair I think would be to actually involve yourself in activities that direct your energy outwards toward wholesome goals that serve others in some way...otherwise, your energies will return back to you and build up a greater depression, a negative spiral as it were.

    In friendship,

    - Art
     
  17. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Pilgram,

    I agree with Arthra, what you are calling revelation in this context I would term inspiration. We all receive inspiration daily if we are open to it, but revelation is a rare occurrance. Revelation is something only a handful of unique individuals in the history of mankind have ever attained. These being the Prophets or Manifestations of God. Baha'u'llah, Baha'is believe is the Manifestation of God for this age related His revelation in the following words...

    "O King! I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely. This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They move it as they list. The evanescent is as nothing before Him Who is the Ever-Abiding. His all-compelling summons hath reached Me, and caused Me to speak His praise amidst all people. I was indeed as one dead when His behest was uttered. The hand of the will of thy Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, transformed Me." ... "During the days I lay in the prison of Tihrán, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear. "
    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf - Baha'u'llah p. 22

    "God is My witness, O people! I was asleep on My couch, when lo, the Breeze of God wafting over Me roused Me from My slumber. His quickening Spirit revived Me, and My tongue was unloosed to voice His Call. Accuse Me not of having transgressed against God. Behold Me, not with your eyes but with Mine. Thus admonisheth you He Who is the Gracious, the All-Knowing. Think ye, O people, that I hold within My grasp the control of God's ultimate Will and Purpose? Far be it from Me to advance such claim. To this I testify before God, the Almighty, the Exalted, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Had the ultimate destiny of God's Faith been in Mine hands, I would have never consented, even though for one moment, to manifest Myself unto you, nor would I have allowed one word to fall from My lips. Of this God Himself is, verily, a witness. "
    Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p 91
     
  18. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    arthra wrote:
    Thank you for your kind note and your suggestions about how to deal with my despair. But I thought it was clear that I was speaking only of man's ability to find peace and unity. In my personal life I feel nothing resembling despair as I have been blessed with a rare love. My love would never allow me to become depressed even if I were prone toward that mental illness.

    And again thanks for the suggestions about serving others although I have no idea why you assume I don't.

    Getting back to the central subject I will definately investigate Bahai religion to see if perhaps it has already invented the wheel for me, thus saving me much time. I must respectfully disagree with your statement that revelations are actually rare. One much differentiate between a burning bush revelations heard and seen by one (hearsay for the billions of followers that believe it) and the revelations that God sends us daily when she tells us what is the right thing to do when we had only been considering the expedient.

    In any case I'll check back after my research and thanks.

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  19. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    9Harmony says:
    If all one has to do to establish that he or she has received a "revelation" as opposed to an inspiration is to say so and get others to second the motion, what distinguishes that from Hitler's revelations from God? He certainly believed that God had spoken to him and told him what needed doing. Likewise he also had a following he thought he was indeed God's prophet.

    If it is not a popularity contest what then is revelation? When I say God revealed something to me, it appears that I will be faced with many who say, "no, revelation is rare. What you perceive is merely inspiration. Go back and meditate some more."

    Revelation is only revelation to those who believe it so. There are many devout Jews who do not believe that the new testament were revelations. So what then is a revelation other than what someone says it is? Numbers? If only I believe God has revealed something to me, does it become a revelation after a certain number of followers also believe it? How many must believe? 100? 1 million?

    That is why I asked earlier does Bahai include any myth. Myth, as I use it is not a bad word. Myth is a learning tool. But myth is not fact. If Bahai claims God said this and God said that, why should anyone believe that without proof? Do you see my question? I am not attacking Bahai, in fact it sounds, so far, like one of the least toxic of all religions. And if I find it has no arbitrary dogma that someone claims God told him to say, I will make it my very own.

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  20. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Pilgram wrote:

    Thank you for your kind note and your suggestions about how to deal with my despair. But I thought it was clear that I was speaking only of man's ability to find peace and unity. In my personal life I feel nothing resembling despair as I have been blessed with a rare love. My love would never allow me to become depressed even if I were prone toward that mental illness.

    My reply:

    Sorry to have misread you... I was wrong.

    Pilgram:

    And again thanks for the suggestions about serving others although I have no idea why you assume I don't.

    Reply:

    I've learned in my life Pilgram not to "assume" anythng... but I sincerely meant what I said and was only offering a suggestion.... Please excuse me.

    Pilgram:

    Getting back to the central subject I will definately investigate Bahai religion to see if perhaps it has already invented the wheel for me, thus saving me much time.

    My reply:

    I'll be happy to assist you in any way I can.

    Pilgram:

    I must respectfully disagree with your statement that revelations are actually rare. One much differentiate between a burning bush revelations heard and seen by one (hearsay for the billions of followers that believe it) and the revelations that God sends us daily when she tells us what is the right thing to do when we had only been considering the expedient.

    My reply:

    I was only trying to convey what was the Baha'i view on the subject.... Inspiration that we daily experience is to us not the same as a Revelation from God that would be source of a new dispensation, in our view.

    In friendship,

    - Art
     
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