The Only Way

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by 9Harmony, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Friends,

    IMHO Christians come to a what I'll call a hurdle when it comes to Jesus' statement "I am the Way...", it is interesting to note that many other religions also have this hurdle to overcome due to a similar statement said by their prophet. Yes, Jesus was the Way to God during His dispensation, but we are also told to "watch" & "seek him", Jesus was the way until He returns in the Glory of the Father.


    ZOROASTRIANISM, The Teachings of the Magi, P.22
    There is only one religious way. This one way is that of good
    thoughts, good words, and good deeds, the way of heaven, of
    light and of purity, of the infinite Creator.


    HINDUISM, Bhagavad Gita 18:66
    Abandoning all duties, come to Me alone for shelter.


    BUDDHISM, Dhammapada 20:274
    This is the path. There is no other that leads to vision.

    CHRISTIANITY, John 14:6
    I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the
    Father except through Me.

    ISLAM, Imam'Ali, Hadith
    Whoso seeks guidance elsewhere, God will lead him astray.

    BAHA'I, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, P.169
    He that hath Me not is bereft of all things. Turn ye away from
    all that is on earth and seek none else but Me.



    Loving Greetings, Harmony




     
  2. Ocean_Drop

    Ocean_Drop World Citizen

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    Right! When Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, the life", we have to remember... who is "I" when Jesus is speaking? Is it a carpenter from Nazareth? Nay! It's the tongue of God.
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    That is one of the big problems with Monotheistic traditions - the seeming tendency to be rooted in relevatory tradition, often associated with individual prophetic figures. If I may so, the Baha'i seem to be as much a part of it as any other.

    You may lament that Christians do not let go of their cherished ideals surrounding Jesus - but indeed perhaps Christians also lament that Baha'is do not let go of their cherished ideas surrounding Baha'u'llah.
     
  4. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Brian,

    I did not intend to just pick on Christians, I was just trying to point out that all scriptures contain similar statements, which lend to the followers of each religion refusing to look outside the box. It is interesting to me that it is not a new phenomena. It appears to be the way God works. He continually tests mankind, why? Because he must know we are capable of eventually understanding this concept. Just like as individuals I believe we are tested repeatedly until we learn our lesson, I also believe mankind as a whole goes through these tests as well.

    (I can't seem to locate the quote I was looking for, about tests turning a former weakness into a strength, if I find it I'll post it later.)

    And yes, I know many Christians who lament over the fact that I am now a Baha'i. I have many who pray for my salvation. I have one dear Catholic friend who used to pray for me, but then one night she had a dream about me, in the dream I was bathed in a white light and holding a large wooden rosary. She interpreted it to mean that God would forgive me for going astray. My interpretation is a little different.:)

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  5. berinwitness

    berinwitness New Member

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    A portion of the cherished ideas surrounding Jesus is the result of two thousand years of theological thought, an attempt to fill in the gaps in Jesus' teachings.

    In the Baha'i Faith, however, Baha'u'llah did not give a verse or two on a given subject, He wrote extensively. One man, for example, had four somewhat complex questions. The English translation of the Kitab-i-Iqan, Baha'u'llah's answers to those questions, is over 200 pages long.
    Secondly, from Baha'u'llah's death in 1892 until late in 1957 there were only two people authorized to give official interpretations of what Baha'u'llah meant. We have not yet had time to develop schools of theology.

    Some of the cherished ideas about Jesus are not direct quotes from the New Testament. Are they, then, open for discussion?
     
  6. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Track records

    Baha'i gives me a good impression in that it does not appear in my reading materials on religion as having done this or that disruptive action in society in the course of its a little over a hundred years history.

    The representations of Baha'i people here make it some kind of a pacifist religion. I like that right away.

    Now, let's hear from posters here about any disruptive actions it has done in society where it is operating. Let's stick to socially disruptive actions, meaning ones that cause physical injuries and deaths to people, destruction to human installations and natural environment, and also opposition to learning and sciences.

    Let's not talk about their doctrines and observances, unless they are also socially disruptive in the above senses.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  7. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dearest Susma,

    Why don't you start a new thread on this topic?

    You probably won't get many responses along those lines though, as Baha'i's are involved in numerous socio-economic development projects throughout the world, also very instrumental in encouraging educational and scientific endeavors.

    'Socially disruptive' is not something generally associated with the name Baha'i.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Some would say you have not yet had the time to develop serious schism. :)

    After all, when you look at major schisms in other religions, such as Rome vs Constantinople, Rome vs Luther, and Sunni vs Shi'ite, the issues at heart are not so much about "truth" as much as "authority over truth".

    I would expect that as Baha'i grows, that personal politics becomes a far more of an issue within the wider Baha'i community. And with that comes the issue of who indeed has "authority over truth".
     
  9. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Brian,

    One of the unique features of the Baha'i Faith is that for the first time a religions' founder actually built in safeguards to prevent schisms from developing within it's ranks.

    No one individual will ever have authority within the Baha'i Faith, only consultative bodies as a whole have any authority. And within these consultative bodies, there are guidelines which must be followed. The first of which is we must leave our ego's at the door. Baha'i consultation is a divine institution, before consultation begins, we pray together for divine guidance. Baha'i consultation is also unique in that each member must give input, but as soon as they say what they want to say, they detach from it, once they say it, it is no longer theirs, it belongs to the group to use as they see fit. Another aspect is that majority rules, and even if we personally disagree with the decision reached, we whole heartedly support it, time will tell if it was the wrong decision and it will correct itself. Unity of purpose is the main objective. It is a very creative process and works remarkably well.

    Also another unique feature of the Baha'i Faith is the electoral process. These Baha'i consultative bodies are elected by members of the community. Any community that has 9 adult members must form a Local Spiritual Assembly. There is no campaigning. Each member votes for the individuals that they feel uphold the highest standards of the Faith. At this point in time, where alot of communities are small and all adult members of the community serve on the assembly it is more likely that ego's may play a part in the consultative process, but in the future when communities are larger, only those individuals who most closely align their lives with the teachings, who have the purest motives, the most selfless nature, those individuals in the community will be elected to serve and at that point in time these assemblies will be a beacon of light in a disillusioned world.

    So actually, I think as the Baha'i community grows the personal politics issue will become less of a factor as Baha'i's mature and deepen on the divine aspects of consultation.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  10. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Too young to fall into schisms

    Sorry for going off tangent.


    About the founder of a religion being the only way, I like to ask Baha'i folks here if it is their belief that Baha'u'llah is the only way today, and Baha'u'llah is definitely the one foretold by previous religions to be the final prophet to come from God, who is to give the ultimate whole, complete, unabridged, and nothing but the true unchangeable plans of God for mankind?


    Harmony says:

    Let's imagine this scenario which is very possible with Baha'i, where one day sooner or later some persons or groups will arise claiming to teach exactly everything that the present Baha'i religion is teaching, and telling people that you can choose the original Baha'i or the latter Baha'i; it does not make any difference, either will do, as the only way to get to God.

    I am not being funny but such a development is happening all the time. Consider in my own community, someone put up a fried chicken take-out counter and got very popular, successful. Pretty soon another enterprising guy started something exactly similar with slight differences to forestall legal troubles, in another part of town. This latter fried chicken operator tells everyone he does everything precisely like the first one. "You can go there or come here for exactly the same chicken, fried the same way, and served perfectly the same way", he assures everyone.

    You know what? Now he's doing the same volume of business as the earlier guy. People who happen to live nearer his outlet or pass by there on their way home buys from him, whereas before they took the trouble to go farther for the original fried chicken, from which the latter chicken differs in nothing.

    I know a church here in my community, an evangelical one. Owing to certain conflicts among the leading characters, nothing to do with religion, but what we call temporalities, a splinter group left and set up another congregation, telling everyone that they are doing exactly the same things the same way as in the congregation they came from. These latters built a bigger and better church in the opposite part of town, calling itself something like First Evangelical Church of Twinpeaks (South).

    What happened? This latter church is getting a good attendance and a growing membership. People reason: Why take the extra distance to go north, when you live south; and the splinter church is an identical twin of the first one.

    Now, I look up the Encylopedia.com for Baha'i. And you know what I read? It says there that Baha'i is a departure from Babism.

    I think I agree with Brian that Baha'i is still too young yet, it's history is still too short, to witness schisms; but they will come in time.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  11. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Greetings, Susma! :)

    S>About the founder of a religion being the only way, I like to ask Baha'i folks here if it is their belief that Baha'u'llah is the only way today, and Baha'u'llah is definitely the one foretold by previous religions to be the final prophet to come from God, who is to give the ultimate whole, complete, unabridged, and nothing but the true unchangeable plans of God for mankind?

    The major error in the above is that Baha'u'llah, our Founder, is NOT the "last" of God's Divine Messengers as there will ALWAYS be more of Them to come! God's Revelation is never-ending!

    Nor is the Baha'i Faith the only path to God; indeed, the Baha'i scriptures explicitly accept and endorse ALL the great religoins as legitimate and God-sent!:

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

    (Gleanings, page 217)

    That said, it is true that at present, only the Baha'i Faith has God's teachings for THIS Day as opposed to some other, millenia ago!

    As to your other comment about others' setting up other religions today, similar or not, the Baha'i scriptures are explicit that there will be NO new Divine Messenger for centuries to come, and that anyone who claims otherwise is an imposter!

    In addition, the Baha'i Covenant and its teachings are quite clear, and there is no serious dissention about what they say, the more so given that the official sources of guidance are expressly stated in our scriptures, and no individual's opinion can change what they say!

    Best,

    Bruce
     
  12. berinwitness

    berinwitness New Member

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    Baha'u'llah is the only way today and for the next 900+ years, but "final", "whole", "complete", and "unchangeable"? Absolutely not. Baha'u'llah promises we will get more Manifestations of God, with Their invaluable guidance, as long as mankind exists.

    "These people have imagined that the flow of God's all-encompassing grace and plenteous mercies, the cessation of which no mind can contemplate, has been halted."

    (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 24)

    "Can one...ever seriously imagine that...the portal of God's infinite guidance can ever be closed in the face of men? Can he ever conceive for these Divine Luminaries, these resplendent Lights either a beginning or an end? What outpouring flood can compare with the stream of His all-embracing grace, and what blessing can excel the evidences of so great and pervasive a mercy? There can be no doubt whatever that if for one moment the tide of His mercy and grace were to be withheld from the world, it would completely perish. For this reason, from the beginning that hath no beginning the portals of Divine mercy have been flung open to the face of all created things, and the clouds of Truth will continue to the end that hath no end to rain on the soil of human capacity, reality and personality their favors and bounties. Such hath been God's method continued from everlasting to everlasting."

    (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 68)

    And being the only way today does NOT mean that the religions of the past are now false. They remain God's Word, His outpouring of love to humanity.

    Schisms? Yes, there have been attempts. In 1892 'Abdu'l-Baha assumed leadership. His half-brother, Muhammad-Ali, refused to accept that. Where are Muhammad-Ali's followers today?
    And the people who tried to claim they had succeeded Shoghi Effendi as Guardian after 1957. What have they accomplished? What books of wisdom have they written? How many Houses of Worship have the schismatics built?
    None. They are invisible. If anyone goes looking for the Baha'i Faith, there is only one group for them to find. Everybody else has proven to be total losers.
     
  13. berinwitness

    berinwitness New Member

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    Just discovered that while I was getting my post ready someone beat me to it.

    Hi, Bruce. I've met you in AOL's Baha'i chat and you always could type a lot faster than me. :)
     
  14. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Dear Susma,

    Baha'i's believe there are many paths leading to God, but in this day Baha'u'llah is the most direct way. Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah has unsealed the books which had been sealed until the time of the end. We do not believe Baha'u'llah is the last prophet which will be sent by God, He is the latest one sent to usher in a new age. But we are told God will not send another one for at least a full thousand years.



    A brief history lesson here...
    The Bab (the gate) announced in 1844 that he had come to foretell the coming of "Him Whom God will make Manifest". The Bab's mission was similar to that of John the Baptist, to prepare mankind for the coming of one greater than Himself. The Bab was a prophet in His own right and established the Babi religion. Baha'u'llah was "Him Whom God will make Manifest" and was the One the Bab foretold. Both were consecutive stages in God's unfolding plan. Baha'i was not a departure from Babism, it was the fulfillment. But unfortunately not all Babi's recognized Baha'u'llah. Unfortunately many times the people who write about the Faith are not well educated enough to give an accurate account of actual events. Hence incorrect information is given to the public as fact, which in reality is mere speculation on the writers part.




    As far as what the future holds, only God knows. Baha'u'llah explains that religion goes through successive stages. Springtime, Summer, Fall and Winter. And the Baha'i Faith is probably no exception. We are currently in the Springtime of this newest revelation, seeds are taking root and soon the blossoms and fruit will be apparent as we enter the Summer stage. When the Baha'i Faith approaches winter, it is possible it will suffer the same fate as other religions, teachings may become obscured, but I personally believe it will be to a lesser degree since this time there is no question about Baha'u'llah's teachings, they are preserved.
    Baha'i's now concern themselves with the tasks at hand, we are striving to build God's Kingdom on Earth. Baha'i's many centuries in the future will be faced with dealing with whatever the Winter stage of this revelation will reveal.


    Just a brief explanation which constitutes my own understanding not in anyway an official explanation of these topics.

    I'm sure others will be able to expand on what I've shared here.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  15. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Greetings, greetings; great to see you again, Berin! :)

    (And as to typing, that's simply a matter of experience: the more you do it, the faster you'll get.)

    Best,

    Bruce
     
  16. InChristAlways

    InChristAlways New Member

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    Hi Harmony. Some religions are expecting the Lord to return in Glory and one of them is Israel/Judah itself. The OT prophecied One King and Savior to come but out of Him would proceed many in Him that would profess His Divine message of Peace and Love to the world. All religions have their prophets or holy ones to announce the Way of God, but only Jesus the Christ was the one prophecied to bring a light to the Gentiles and world and it would be through Him that He would also glorify Himself to the world.

    Our Apostle Paul also prophecied that Day when Jesus would be glorified in His saints. Israel was expecting a messiah that would bring both of their Nations together again and establish an "earthly" kingdom and we all know how they were wrong in that. Thoughts?
    Steve

    (Young) 2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He may come to be glorified in his saints/elect holy ones, and to be wondered at in all those believing--because our testimony was believed among you--in that day;

    God also speaks of a Day in the OT when He will Glorify Himself to Israel and the world.

    Ezekiel 39:13 "Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the Day that I am glorified," says the Lord GOD.
     
  17. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Steve,

    Almost every religion in the world speaks of a time when righteousness will reign. Each of them speaks of One to come who will bring this time of peace and tranquility. Yet, each of them, think that the one they expect is the correct one and the others are false prophets.

    Baha'is have a different view of this. We believe that the One that all of these religions speak of are one and the same. We also believe He has already appeared. ;)

    As for everyone being wrong about this "earthly kingdom" the only thing they are wrong about is their expectations of how it will play out. Baha'i's believe that the process has been underway and this earthly kingdom is being built as we speak. Though it's difficult to see with all of the chaos that ensues around us. We believe that there are 2 processes going on simultaneously. The crumbling of the old man-made world order, and the building of the new divine world order.

    If you believe that God does what he says he will do, then we must have faith that all is going according to plan.

    All is well. We are living in a glorious time. :D

    Have a great day!

    Loving Greetings, Amy
     

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