Bahaism -- now discussing this religion

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by WormieSaber, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. WormieSaber Force Ghost

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    I didn't see a thread for the discussion of Bahaism, so I think it is a subject that can stand on it's own (with it's own thread). I am no expert on the subject, but I wrote a paper on it a few months back. I will use that to start the thread then anyone else can join in with discussion and comments.

    NOTE: this has been edited to take out the Christian commentary.

    The Baha?i faith is a monotheistic religion that was founded in Persia by Baha?u?llah (Arabic for ?the glory of God?). It traces back to the 19th Century and has over 5 million believers in the world today (Wikipedia: Baha?i). It has a precursor faith called Babism. Babism was founded by a man called The Bab (pronounced ?bahb?, Arabic for ?the gate?) who was an Elijah or John the Baptist figure. The Bab claimed he was making way for Baha?u?llah (referred to by the Bab as ?He whom God shall make manifest?). The Bab believed Baha?u?llah to be Christ returned, as in the second coming. He believed Baha?u?llah to be the fulfillment of all major religions like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. To people in Persia, who were mostly Islamic, this was blasphemous. It is alleged that Baha?u?llah?s ancestry can be traced back to Abraham and Zoroaster.

    According to Baha?i, unifying all humanity into one faith will bring world peace and justice on a Global scale. They claim that all religions were brought by manifestations of God. They also claim they have their own traditions and scriptures (like the Seven Valleys). They have their own laws and history. Under their laws, male and female are equals and all religions and beliefs are evolving into one final consummation of perfection. The world will develop into a one-world government and language, according to the Baha?u?llah. The Baha?i praise medicine and science, and denounce homosexuality (Wikipedia: Baha?i).

    To the Baha?i, the only way to know God is by embracing all prominent figures of world religions: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, The Bab and the Baha?u?llah (Wikipedia: Baha?i). Baha?u?llah was Christ returned in Glory, according to The Bab. They also believe that Christianity was the fulfillment of Judaism. They believe in the immaculate conception of Christ but that all of his miracles were allegories and symbols. So to them, Jesus was not God in the flesh but a manifestation of God.

    Baha?i continue to be a minority and many are persecuted in the world today. The Bab was shot by a firing squad in 1850 Tabriz for his claims (Wikipedia: Bab). Baha?u?llah claimed to be the promised Mahdi (the Messiah) of Islam in 1844 and so he was imprisoned for 24 years in present day Israel. He died under house arrest in a mansion in Bahji in 1892 (Wikipedia: Baha?i history). Thousands of followers kept his faith alive, but it was the son of Baha?u?llah who took the Baha?i faith to the United States. To this day, Baha?i discourage anyone from showing photographs of Baha?u?llah (Wikipedia: Baha?u?llah).

    Baha?i is a young, independent world religion. Baha?i tenets of faith teach that God is too great for humans to comprehend but at the same time persons like Jesus and Muhammad are manifestations of God. Therefore, the prominent figures of world religions are manifestations and transmitters of divine knowledge and grace.

    Many Baha?i houses of worship are great architectural designs, and they depict symbols from many world religions on their outer walls, displaying their belief in unification (Wikipedia: Baha?i).


    Now discussing Bahaism, this intriguing new religion....


  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    The opening post needs some work or readjustment, as the opening post seems to be spending a very large amount of time talking about Christianity and is starting off with a presumption that Christianity is correct and therefore the Baha'i faith is clearly wrong, which would be sort of akin to if we had the Christianity thread started with a post that said that obviously Jesus wasn't real but lets discuss Christianity. We may be in need of a new opening post that is focused on the topic itself, not Christianity vs the Baha'i faith and isn't inherently biased and focused just on setting up the thread.
  3. WormieSaber Force Ghost

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    I made it clear that the thread was about Bahaism, not Christianity or a comparison. It's just that I already had a paper written about Bahaism (it was actually a paper about world religions in general, and Bahaism was one subject in the paper) and it had some comparison of Christianity in it... but the thread is about Bahaism. That's why I wrote this:

    Nevermind the comparison between Bahaism and Christianity IN THE TEXT BELOW (or my own opinions if you don't accept it) - it will not be the focus of this thread unless someone wants to argue as such. It was merely the essence of my paper because I am a student of Biblical Studies. But I thought it would be a good introduction for the thread so we can discuss anything about Bahaism in general....

    It is rather detailed about Bahaism and what the religion is all about despite that last paragraph comparing Christian doctrine to Bahai doctrine. It's not my attention to talk about Christianity in this thread, not unless it relates to Bahaism.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    If you're able to put together something focused on the Baha'i faith itself, in a write-up that is less biased against it from the start, either Jabbadabbado or myself can swap it out. The solution to the matter should have been to rewrite that stuff out, not to simply put it and then say "but that doesn't count".
  5. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    BTW, it's just Baha'u'llah, not "the" Baha'u'llah. And pretty much everything Lowie said [face_peace]
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Wormie, if Jedi M. is interested, maybe he'd be willing to PM me an edit of your opening document for a less biased presentation. Then with your permission I can do a substitution.
  7. WormieSaber Force Ghost

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    I didn't think it was really that biased; but I mentioned just incase. Did you guys actually read the entire thing, I know it's long. But it is really only the last paragraph that actually has a comparison of Christianity and Bahaism...so maybe if Lowbacca re-reads it and notices that, maybe he only needs to delete the last paragraph? I don't really mind actually. And if Jedi Merukian wants to do a draft, then I am ok with that. It seemed like he had knowledge on the subject. I got your PM by the way.
  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Per WormieSaber's authorization, Jedi Merkurian edited the opening post to provide a more accurate opening account of the Bahai faith.
  9. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Thanks Jabba [face_peace] Soooo...what questions or topics of discussion do you have about the Baha'i Faith? [face_coffee]
  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    It sounds like a hippie version of communism, to be honest.

    Anyway, a one-world government and language, uniting all religions... that sure sounds great. But where are you going to put the atheists?
  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Either you'll be transformed by Merkurian's magical niceness, or you'll share Antarctica with the leopard seals. Your choice. :p
  12. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

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    I find this totally fascinating, as I have been seeing posters for the Ba'hai religion in several places in the area where I live. It's nice to finally have a general, if somewhat limited, understanding of what Ba'hai preaches and how it started.

    However, Ba'hai seems to be making a synthesis of the world's major religions, i.e., Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, etc., but seems to be ignoring the animistic religions of Africa and the aboriginal religions of other areas of the world, such as Australia and South America.

    One religion, one language (what happened to Esperanto, anyway?), sounds nice, but even within one religion, you will find those who disagree with this or that interpretation of scripture and the schisms will begin.

    And they're still against gays.


  13. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    "But where are you going to put the atheists?"

    Concentration camps, of course [face_mischief]
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Atheists and homosexuals, together again.
  15. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    OK in all seriousness, let me start off with a disclaimer: I am by no means an "authority figure" when it comes to the Baha'i Faith. I just happen to be the only JCC-er that I know of who is an active Baha'i :p

    I don't see atheists being exiled, or executed, or any sort of foolishness like that. From my understanding, anytime a Baha'i interacts with someone, it should always be in the utmost spirit of amity & fellowship. If we share the Faith with someone, and they reject what we have to offer, then we leave it up to God; it's out of our hands.

    In order to elaborate on the topic of homosexuality, there needs to a brief primer on the heirarchy of the Baha'i Faith:

  16. Baha'u'llah: Founder of the Faith.

  17. Abdu'l-Baha: Eldest son of Baha'u'llah. He is known as the Perfect Exemplar of the Faith.

  18. Shoghi Effendi: Eldest grandson of Abdu'l-Baha. Known as the Guardian of the Faith.

  19. The Universal House of Justice: An elected group that serves as the supreme administrative order for the Faith.


  20. A couple of core tenets of the Faith are the abolition of clergy and individual investigation of Truth. With the passing of the Guardian, there are none (not even the Unversal House of Justice, IIRC) who are authorized to interpret the Writings beyond the personal level.

    When I was first investigating the Faith, homosexuality was one of the topics I looked into. Here, in its entirety, is what I found that Baha'u'llah has written:
    A statement from Shoghi Effendi said, to paraphrase, to single out homosexual acts for some sort of special ire would be "ridiculous and absurd." A statement from the UHJ said essentially "yeah, according to the Writings and the Guardian, we're against gay marriage. But there are much more prssing problems in the world. Seriously."

    I'll go on about this more later, but it's dinnertime, and also my computer is wiggin' out :p
  21. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
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    That OP is utterly unreadable. I tried to read it a couple of times already, and I keep getting stuck or confused. So I'm going to do everybody a favor here by posting some proper links to some proper texts:

    Bahá'í Faith on Wiki
    The Bahá'i website
    Báb on Wiki

    They shoulda come up with names that are easier to write if they want to unite the world with it, Merk.
  22. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
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    The names are hard on the spelling. :p But I do appreciate the fact that it is essentially a peaceful religion and incites peace. As far as world peace goes, uniting all the faiths could be one answer. But I still don't see how that would be possible (but not entirely improbable) as they all have differing doctrines; except that the Bahai appear to be "ok" with that. And in fact, embrace all knowledge whether contradictory, accepted by a few or many.


    Jedi Merk, can you tell us a little about how you became Bahai and why? And how do you accept all faiths in your own life? Also, how do see Jesus in the over scheme of things? If it is too personal, that I would understand. I was just curious. You are the only Bahai I know...well anywhere. :p


    By the way, I had to be somewhat biased in the original text that I included, the part that was edited out, because that was a for an actual grade in one of my Biblical Studies classes.



    Jedi Sami writes:

    I find this totally fascinating, as I have been seeing posters for the Ba'hai religion in several places in the area where I live. It's nice to finally have a general, if somewhat limited, understanding of what Ba'hai preaches and how it started.


    It is a fascinating religion; encompassing all faiths. When I do my research on it, I didn't really see anything negative in it at all. It seemed like a very positive religion that took a perspective on things that were positive in nature. Though I am not a Bahai I could still see that aspect of it.



    However, Ba'hai seems to be making a synthesis of the world's major religions, i.e., Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, etc., but seems to be ignoring the animistic religions of Africa and the aboriginal religions of other areas of the world, such as Australia and South America.


    Perhaps The Bab and Baha'u'llah just didn't have access to knowledge in that particular region of the world. What are your thoughts on this, Jedi Merk?

  23. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    A question that was asked of me in the "Inter-Faith Chapel" touched on this also. I recall something in Baha'i commentary that touched on the idea of "greater" and "lesser" Manifestations, for lack of better terms. That's something I need to look into.

    It's my understanding that aboriginal religions touch on the subject of a "Dreamtime," or a spiritual realm that is accessed while the body is asleep. I recently read something from Baha'u'llah on this very subject:
  24. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    I was raised in a Christian household; as a youth I went to a Lutheran church, and as a teen, I was part of an local evangelical movement called "Youth for Christ." In my late teens my mother married an utterly brilliant man who became a Methodist minister who went on to become a regional superintendent overseeing most of eastern Kansas. You can imagine the grief I got when I made the mistake of wearing a Mizzou t-shirt when I visited their house in Lawrence, KS :p

    In my late teens/early twenties, I became...unsatisfied by Christianity. I'll touch on this more later. During my twenties I started studying Eastern mysticism, which had the ironic effect of softening my stance towards Christianity, or more correctly, towards Christendom.

    In my early thirties, I met a lovely young woman who told me about the Baha'i Faith. I was like "ehhh...that's nice..." She eventually worked her mojo on me, and we got engaged :) It was while we were dating in earnest and during the course of our engagement that I started studying the Faith more intensely.

    As an aside, it wasn't required for me to convert in order for us to be married. Actually, Bahai'i requirements for marriage are pretty chill. All that is required is the consent of the couple's parents, for the couple to say "We will all, verily abide by the Will of God," are for this to have been witnessed by a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly.

    This computer is wiggin' out, so I'll need to break this up into smaller posts...


  25. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    During the course of my investating the Baha'i Faith, I came to the conclusion that there was definitely something supernatural about Baha'u'llah. With my Christian background, alarms started going off; either this was something really good, or really REALLY bad. I kept recalling the Biblical warning about false prophets.

    In re-reading the Bible during that time, I came across a passage that reminded me that the wisdom of men is foolishness. That's when I realized that I had been looking at the Baha'i Faith through the lense of logic and reason. Granted, it totally passed muster, but I was using intellectual criteria to what is supposed to be a spiritual understanding. I :oops: when I realized that I hadn't prayed about it [face_blush]

    The moment I entered that prayerful state, I felt God ask me "so in your learning about Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, do you feel like you've become closer to Me, or farther away?" It was like something I refer to as "a two by four to the head from God" and I was like "Yes! Well duh!" :p

    And that was that :)

  26. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    This is what struck me most when reading Baha'u'llah. Beautiful words, beautiful sentiments. A gentle religion for gentle people. This is also my experience in my relationships with the Bahais I've known. Good people through and through. Too accepting and peace-loving to survive in this world for long.

    Their communities are small. In any given U.S. community you can think of, it's possible to know every single Bahai in the area very well. If they actually succeeded in uniting the world under a single religion and government, the movement would lose all its charm. But I don't worry much about that happening.
  27. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Why do you say that?
  28. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    The Bahai faith doesn't evangelize, so other than those born into it, people self-select into the religion, and I think it attracts the kind of people who are most susceptible to its many charms.

    Simply put, a religion is the sum total of its membership. To attract more people, it would have to attract less charming people. As a true world religion, the Bahai faith would lose the best things about it, which is not necessarily its doctrine, but more the people who are attracted to that doctrine. That is no different from what has long since happened to Christianity and Islam.
  29. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    "To attract more people, it would have to attract less charming people."

    OR...

    It could inspire people to be more charming ;)
  30. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    We can only hope. I already think your faith makes the world a more charming place by virtue of its existence and its ability to attract the kind of people it attracts.