Meaning of trinity

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by marb, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. Seeker_of_truth

    Seeker_of_truth Well-Known Member

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    I was merely giving a Baha'i answer to the meaning of the trinity. Is it wrong for me to defend the Baha'i Faith if someone says something false about it?
     
  2. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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    Your meaning of the Baha'i trinity provoked a false Baha'i response maybe because it's in a Christian forum.
     
  3. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Please tell me what is false about it.


    Salvation chapter 8

    You ask if, through the appearance of the kingdom of God, every soul hath been saved. The Sun of Reality hath appeared to all the world. This luminous appearance is salvation and life; but only he who hath opened the eye of reality (read: obedience) and who hath seen these lights will be saved.


    Mercy and Justice chapter 9

    It is not advisable to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief because kindness encourages him to become worse and does not awaken him. The more kindness you show to a liar the more he is apt to lie, for he thinks that you know not, while you do know, but extreme kindness keeps you from revealing your knowledge.
    (While it may make sense in the world’s eyes, this is NOT the teachings of Jesus)

    - From Bahai World of Faith
     
  4. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Since we're here to discuss the meaning of the Trinity, I'm thinking we should focus on how the meaning of the Trinity might be seen and not on the morality of an adherent of Baha'i presenting his/her perspective.

    I think Seeker presented a positive and insightful description/depiction of how the Trinity may be conceptualised, even though it is not a "purely Christian" point of view. This to me simply broadens our experience. I see it as an exercise. I didn't detect any intent at proselytising.

    It may help us decide and discern what is and what is not what the Trinity means, or what we mean by "the Christian Trinity." Sometimes it is good to have a point of reference that we can use as a comparison against what is a reasonable and unreasonable concept.

    But as Pattimax explained before, the Trinity is beyond words.

    Or....at least it is not possible to completely define the Trinity -- ie. to set limits and boundaries on what the Trinity could mean.

    Meaning is often expressed in the affirmative -- ie. we explain what something does mean, but not what it cannot mean. When we claim that a concept completely defines something, that we have an exact, and precise definition of something like the Trinity, it's like we disqualifying other people from having a valid concept. The idea, I believe, is not to claim that we have an exact and precise definition, but that we have a concept of one, possible notion of the Trinity, out of many that could be out there.

    Different people will have a different way of upholding the same concept through different meanings. That said, the Trinity isn't really one concept, but many. Each person has their own concept or variation, one that reflects their relationship with God.

    Once again, since meaning is usually best expressed in the affirmative, those possessing a concept of the Trinity can usually be said to have a relationship with God in the classical Christian sense, and those not having one may or may not have a relationship with God in the classical Christian sense. They'd have to be questioned further to find out if they've got a substitute. But then again, it's not our business to decide if others have a relationship with God, as it's more important to figure out our own. Take the wood out of our eyes.

    I'm not particularly that concerned that Baha'i notions and concepts are being expressed here. Although it's regarded as alien and foreign, we have a choice of either bashing Baha'i concepts or seeing it as an opportunity to better understand our own concepts so that the distinctions between Christianity and Baha'i can be better understood.

    We may well know what Baha'i beliefs are, but I see this as an opportunity to rationalise our own beliefs. This could be part of a perpetual cycle. Every time someone expresses beliefs alien to our own, to rationalise, or re-rationalise our own beliefs so that whatever experience comes out of it is meaningful. It would be boring if we just said, in response to Baha'i beliefs, that your beliefs are different to our's and therefore there's no point discussing them further.:eek:

    I think this bored attitude is reinforcing our boredom. Let's start taking an interest so we won't be bored.:)

    ie. We already know Christian concepts are different to Baha'i concepts, but why are they different? There must be an explanation, reason, justification. Why, for example, do we see the Christian Trinity the way we do? What can we tell Seeker beyond just stating the obvious?

    Baha'i may be an attempt to please everyone by lumping Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism together, so is there something that Baha'i is missing, despite it "containing" Christianity? It's impossible to faithfully include all the conventional concepts in a respective combination of religions.
     
  5. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    First, Patti has not given false information about the Baha'i Faith, as she was able to show with the references she posted. I might extend a bit on the salvation discussion to say that Baha'is do not believe in hell, that all souls progress eternally toward God, but in that you can see both good and bad news. Good news...all progress eternally, bad news...you do not have the immediate and full reunion with God that Christianity promises. And yes, it is based upon works in this life. How well off we are in the next life depends upon how well we develop our virtues in this this. Baha'is will compare it to being born crippled in the next life if we, say, fail to be as chaste in this life as God wishes us to be. I found this to be cold comfort as a Baha'i when I was really struggling with some issues in my life.

    As for the Baha'i concept of the Trinity, it falls short of the Christian doctrine because it makes Jesus neither human nor God, but in between. As a Baha'i I liked the mirror analogy for the Trinity and found it useful for understanding how Jesus could be both man and God, the 'dual stations' as they call it. But the Baha'i Faith flatly denies that Jesus was God incarnate, and so in comparison to Christian doctrine, His death has no meaning: it could do nothing to redeem us. The important part of Jesus' mission was His teachings (according to baha'i doctrine), not His resurrection (which as Patti pointed out, is also denied).

    The Baha'i approach to the Bible is strangely Sola Scriptura, or in other words, to be read totally apart from any Christian tradition, including any ideas about the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the Incarnation. It is actually a lot more like the JW faith, both in the way the Bible is interpretted and in Jesus having a 'station' in between humans and God. Yes, Abdul Baha upheld the Bible, but anything that does not agree with the Baha'i Faith is considered to be read 'spiritually,' or metaphorically.

    Patti is quite right...the Baha'i Faith equates development of our virtues and obedience to the laws of God (as brought by Baha'u'llah) with salvation, some of which, to my best discernment, are not in the Spirit of Love. Justice overshadows Mercy.

    Christianity is almost the opposite of this. We see the outflow of the virtues as a result of loving God and each other, and we see the law as that which condemns us, while the love of Christ sets us free.
     
  6. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Yes, but what does this mean when you have a different interpretation of Christ, His deity, His mission?



    But you also believe the 'Messiah' must come over and over again. In fact, you believe that Christ has returned not just once, but three times, in Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha'u'llah. Muhammad and the Bab we separated by over a thousand years, but the Bab and Baha'u'llah were both Christ Manifest concurrently. How, exactly does that fit with prophecies of the Bible, Old or New Testament?


    But as you wrote, you believe it is only by following His teachings that we are saved, not anything He otherwise did for us. He did not conquer death and sin, according to Baha'i teachings. Frankly I also agree that we are saved (in this life) by following His example of Love, but really the Baha'i view is sort of a glorified humanist position. We save ourselves (and obviously not very well, since the Savior needs to keep coming over and over).


    Which you believe is just a title, not an indication that He is God incarnate.

    Along with Adam, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, the Bab, Baha'u'llah...and others.

    I actually agree (more or less) with the Baha'i understanding of the Only Way, but it is not traditional Christian meaning. The Christian view is that without Christ (one way or another) there is no salvation. The Baha'i view thinks that this is being attached to the Messenger, instead of the message. According to Baha'i teaching we are to give up our attachment to Christ, and embrace His teachings (light), or more accurately we must embrace the teachings for this day, brought by Baha'u'llah. So, this is a very very different meaning than Christians have...don't you think it's a bit deceitful to present it as if you believe everything Christians do?


    Yet, as has been pointed out, failure to embrace the teachings of Baha'u'llah and to develop our virtues here will result in us being handicapped in the next life.
     
  7. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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    Ok sorry for over reacting, I was being over sensitive to the Christians here.

    John the Baptist is considered the second to last prophet of Christianity the same way. Also the Bab meaning the gate is what he called himself right from the start, Bahaullah meaning the glory of God which makes reference to the return of Christ. John the Baptist still has followers in southern Iraq that reject Jesus. Some Christian scholars have a different historical version to John the Baptist and Christ compared to the biblical one, one that would fit more with the Bab and Bahaullah. Also in the bible there is a prophecy mentioned of a comforter coming which could be associated with Mohamed. I could be wrong on some of this. Otherwise we still haven't seen a comforter or Christ return.
     
  8. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    The teachings of Bahai' far out weigh prophecy.
     
  9. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    lol.... I love you guys :D
     
  10. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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  11. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Really? I have never heard this before. Who are they?

    I have always thought that the "comforter" was the Holy Spirit, which was alive in the form of Jesus, and when Jesus ascended, He promised His followers that God would send that same Spirit to comfort them in His absence. What are your thoughts here? Or anyone else's?

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  12. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    My impression was that Baha'i's in trying to get the best of all worlds, would have lived life loosely, but from what you're saying, it seems to be driven by "moral achievements." I'd be interested to know if this is just one group of Baha'i's or all of them, as in Christianity there are too some "moral-achievement-bound" (works) groups that have very rigid lifestyles.

    I had thought Baha'i's were quite loose on these concepts but it seems you're giving me the impression it's more authoritarian than that. ie. Can you be a false Baha'i? Do they battle heresies and false teachings? Conspiracy theories concerning infidels, non-conformists and heretics? Satan on the loose?

    In my view, mercy is not contrary to, but conducive to the goals and purposes of Justice. It's just that there is the Legalist notion (Systematic Law: the impersonal policy of rules and protocols) of Justice and the personal notion (Natural Law: justified by our relationship with God/our Creator) of Justice. Systematic Law dictates that those who cannot conform are useless, damaged goods to be thrown into the rubbish dump. Natural Law dictates that because God created us, we are all of value as human beings. Everybody is to be accepted, nobody is to be rejected.

    Systematic Law condemns us for failure to conform, but God created us. The Justice of Natural Law would say that God is ultimately responsible for His creation, and if it is damaged and faulty, it's His responsibility to fix it, especially if He's dealing with an intelligence species.

    Even in today's society, manufacturers of modern technology have a responsibility to produce goods that meets standards of safety and to perform at a level that is expected by consumers. The Natural Law for human beings is a bit like that, God can't just dump us. He made us.

    There is a child in all of us, and you never reject children. Think of all those innocent, miserable kids being left in the alley. We all carry that innocent, childish yearning.....the feeling of abandonment.....being left alone.....nobody there to love you.....left to fend for yourself.

    Justice isn't all about punishment. That's what Legalistic Justice proclaims. Break the rules, violate moral principles and you pay. It is utilitarian and impersonal. Human beings are just tools, instruments to be used. Human beings are not valued. Legalistic Justice is the belief that you have to be impartial to be just. That is the prevailing notion about justice. Impartiality!!!

    I thought "real Justice" was about healing the pain that comes from wrongdoing -- ie. personal justice. Examples in modern society include stuff like psychological counselling. It's where justice isn't dominated by notions of punishment, but where we offer sympathy for criminals, drug addicts and thugs -- that they suffer a disease. They've got personal problems, sick minds. They need healing. Law breakers are given time in jail to reflect and reform. We appreciate the personal/emotional needs of lawbreakers and wrongdoers.

    Actually, with Christianity, we haven't quite moved on from the idea of justice requiring punishment. We say someone needed pay for our sins.

    But modern society already offers psychological counselling and time to reflect and reform for lawbreakers and wrongdoers. There is nothing to forgive!!! We understand the personal struggles of these lawbreakers and wrongdoers!!! In the 21st century we're supposed to be proclaiming that Christ is the Wonderful Counsellor, not the sin-payer. The song of sin-payer is a bit outdated I reckon.:eek:

    While there are Christian organisations offering counselling, the theology, the story that we tell, hasn't caught up with the times. I think that's why so many people are disgusted with Christianity. No need for a sin-payer when you can have a psychologist, but I thought that was Jesus' role. You're not really a law-breaker, just a broken person needing help. When the times change we need to change the story.....:)

    For too long we've told people that Jesus was the sin-payer (16th-century) but not the counsellor (1st and 21st-century: what happened in between?), the story where there was never really anything to forgive, we just needed help......:D

    To achieve Justice, there is no need for punishment when people are going to reform. This has been recognised by modern society, and in a secular, non-spiritual sense by churches that hire psychologists. But the theology, in an effort to retain tradition has unfortunately lagged behind!!! We need to update our theology!!!
     
  13. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Well-Known Member

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    he is.
     
  14. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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    The Mandeans and this is not an assumption, they actually do follow John the Baptist and they not Muslims either.
    Mandaeism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  15. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Thanks, Postmaster. Sabeans, basically? Light bulb moment, I think. This actually helps me with some other studies in which I am presently involved. ;)
     
  16. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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    The Sabeans and Mandeans are different groups I think.

    I quick look on some online information
    Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary, Sa-Sal, Theosophical U Press
     
  17. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Thanks again, Postmaster. :) I'm thinking that even though the term in not exactly the same, there are places where it is interchangeable. Kind of like "Christian" and "Baptist". Anyway, it is helpful in my aforementioned studies.

    That said, I hope we have not completely derailed this thread. Sorry about that...it was just very interesting to me, and I wanted to find out a couple of things. Back to the scheduled program, perhaps? :D

    Marb, I can see the Trinity in the Genesis passage. That is why I don't agree with the idea that the Trinity concept was concocted by later Christians to fit into a political agenda. Don't know if that helps. I can try and expound a bit, if you like, but it might take me a few days to articulate my thoughts.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  18. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    The trinity is God the Word and The Spirit of God
     
  19. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    [​IMG]

    (I sometimes make things more difficult than they really are. ;))
     
  20. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Well-Known Member

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    that which one does they all do, all three being the one true living god.
    as you see above the creation of all things is thru the father, word and spirit.
    so it is with the resurrection of jesus christ.

    The Father raised Christ: The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus...It shall be imputed to us who believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead...we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

    The Holy Spirit raised Christ: But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    Jesus raised Himself: Destroy this temple and I will raise it up...Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again...No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.

    Therefore with this knowledge of God, know this: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God."
     

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