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've been getting quite busy again, so I just now got a chance to visit this thread. Thanks Merk, for giving me a detailed background on your faith; the full scoop about your conversion. It's nice that there is a love story to go with it. I realized during my research on Baha'i that much like Hinduism it has a spiritual quality about it that makes it an easy religion to adapt to. I am Christian by all means, but I think there is still some valuable wisdom to be found in the Baha'i faith. I didn't feel that when I studied Islam or Mormonism, but I did when I studied Bahaism, Shamanism and Hinduism. I believe that there are auras and energy centers in the human soul which is only explained in Hinduism. You said becoming Bahai brought you closer to God, so I suppose anything that brings somebody closer to God is a good thing in general. Even Jesus said, "Those who do what my Father asks are my brother, my sister, etc...." Like Hinduism, the Baha'i faith is very peaceful. Some people may get alarmed by the one-world acceptance of all religions thing; but I do think that all faiths have something spiritual to offer. For example, some of the nicest people in the world I have ever met are Mormons. Now I am not Mormon, and I am the first to say that I think the Book of Mormon is fiction, but this doesn't take from the fact that they are usually, if not always, good people in general. Searching for God is the first step in finding God, no matter where you look. The only thing is, and this is with every other religion too, the cusp of the question: what happens after you die, and how can you get there? So I did study as much as I could about the Baha'i faith during my research, but what is the terms of salvation in your faith? In other words, what steers you towards heaven, makes one saved; I mean to say and how is one saved in Baha'i?


    Jedi merk writes:

    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:

    This brings to mind Shamanism. I used to deeply study Shamanism when I was about 20 years old in early 90's and I still think there are some relevant spiritual concepts in Shamanism; so I can identify with the "dreamtime" concept of the spiritual realm. The Prophet Daniel received many visions in his dreams.


  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    From my reading, the Bahai concept of salvation is much more sophisticated and appealing than the binary concept of salvation in protestant Christianity. As I understand it, they think of spirituality as a journey that seeks proximity to God. The more you follow the teachings and live according to its principles, the farther along that journey you will get in life and the closer you will be to God at death. But that the journey toward proximity with God continues after death as well. Some people die farther away from God than others, but all get to continue that journey.
  3. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    I don't think that's right - I believe that 'Dreamtime' refers to the age of Creation and has little to do with sleep. I might be wrong, I'm not an aboriginal.
  4. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    On the topic of salvation in the Baha'i Faith, Jabba is spot-on [face_coffee] I'd say that salvation is not just a status to reach, but more of a state to maintain. When I began studying the Baha'i Faith in earnest, I came across this passage, and had to pick up pieces of my mind from off the floor afterwards:
    Regarding what happens to the soul after death, this is a topic that Baha'u'llah writes about often. But paradoxically, He often says that the soul achieves a state that no mortal mind can comprehend or describe. I'll quote you one such passage, which also contains what I consider to be a justification for the Catholic notion of patron saints:
  5. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    BTW, lest folks think that this is some sort of fringe religion for "airy-fairy" types :p, here's a list of well-known Baha'is:

    [image=http://www.jazzpages.com/Deker/pics/gillespie_dizzy_450p.jpg]
    "Dizzy" Gillespie

    [image=http://www.irvinehousingblog.com/images/uploads/2009102/album-diamond-girl.jpg]
    Seals & Croft

    [image=http://meritoriu.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/carole_lombard_320x240.jpg]
    Carole Lombard

    [image=http://z.about.com/d/humor/1/0/P/0/-/-/rainn_wilson.jpg]
    Rainn Wilson

    [image=http://www.heroesrevealed.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/justin-baldoni.jpg]
    Justin Baldoni

    [image=http://talkingmakeup.com/pics/interviews/eva203.jpg]
    Eva LaRue

    [image=http://www.shoutfactory.com/productlines/room222header.jpg]
    Lloyd Haynes
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    There's no shame in being an "airy fairy type," JM. Embrace it.
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Airy fairy, riiiight...


  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Arguably jazz is a religion all its own.
  9. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Watto: Hey, I didn't say all of us were perfect! :p
  10. Ghost Chosen One

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    I just started talking with Merk about the Baha'i faith in the InterFaith thread, so I'll move the converation over to here.




    OK, Darth-Ghost, you've given me a mindfull of stuff to answer, and I'll answer as best as I can. I'll say ahead of time that some of these topics I don't know the Scriptural basis for an answer. The good news with that is you've given me quite the research project :D


    Good! Don't you love it when you have a mindfull of stuff you want to get into and research? :D It's a great feeling, just too bad we can't always put as much time and effort into it as we want, and then sometimes it fades away onto a never-to-be-done Checklist that justs keeps growing...

    But I think this post will give you more food for thought, hopefully. [face_peace]




    <<<Also, if the Baha'i view all the Prophets as "manifestations" of God... how is that different from the Hindu or Christian belief that, for example, Jesus was God (for Christians) or God's many avatars and forms (such as Krishna and Rama, for Hindus)? What is the difference between prophet/manifestation and avatar/incarnation? Following on that, does this mean the Prophets of the Baha'i faith weren't human in essence? Or are all humans really manifestations of God? I'm just not sure I understand this Baha'i doctrine that well.>>>

    Baha'i Scripture is full of allegory and metaphor. Some recurring metaphors that are pertinent to these questions are:
  11. While each created thing bears within it one of God's names and one of His attributes, upon man God has seen fit to bestow all of His names and all of His attributes.

  12. The soul of man is like a mirror that reflects the majesty of God. The more pure and flawless the mirror, the more accurate the reflection of God.

  13. The Manifestations of God are like completely flawless mirrors.

  14. While a flawless mirror perfectly reflects the image of the sun, the mirror is still the mirror, and the sun is still the sun.

  15. So as I interpret it, the distinction between an avatar/incarnation (A/I) and a prophet/manifestation (P/M) stems largely from the inaccuracies of our own limited mortal perception and communication. In one sense, A/I and P/M are God, in that they're perfect reflections of God. However, in another sense, they are not God, inasmuch as a mirror isn't the sun.

    Make sense?

    Regarding the question of the "humanity" of the Manifestations, they were indeed human. Baha'u'llah grew ill and suffered permanent bodily harm because of His many imprisonments. It's my understanding that the Buddha died of food poisoning. Regarding the "prophet-ability" of us mortals, given that according to Baha'i Scripture, we're all mirrors that have been imbued with all of God's attributes, I s'pose it's theoretically possible for us to reach that level. But in practice...



    Ok, that's helped clarify some of the Baha'i doctrines for me! Using those metaphors, of how everything reflects some attributes of God, but only humans can reflect all the attributes of God, and only the Manifestations reflect each attribute purely.
    (1) Did I get that right?
    (2) I wonder how a Christian or Hindu, that is much more educated in their religion than I am, would view this metaphor? Maybe it's all just a matter of semantics?
    (3) Is there a list of these attributes of God?
    (4) And how exactly could people like us "purify" your reflection?
    (5) Are the Manifestations born so pure, or do they discipline themselves to reach that state?




    <<<And last thing, is there a limited number to the prophets (such as it's only Adam, Noah, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, Bab, Baha'u'llah), like are any prophets or religions stated to not be of God in the Baha'i Faith; and any meaningful distinction between major and minor prophets, besides level of worldly fame?>>>

    It's my understanding that there is some distinction made between "greater" and "lesser" Manifestations. *cue research project*



    (6) Ok, let me know when
  16. WormieSaber Force Ghost

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    lol, airy fairy. It's almost as if the Baha'i faith attracts a certain mind-set, not necessarily airy-fairy :p but just people that are gentle by nature.



    Jedi Merk writes:

    Regarding what happens to the soul after death, this is a topic that Baha'u'llah writes about often. But paradoxically, He often says that the soul achieves a state that no mortal mind can comprehend or describe.

    I've been reading some similar things, especially from my old Shamanism days, about the separation of the soul from the body as being revelation of spiritual freedom that awakens you into bliss; you finally realize that you are limited in the body, both in preception and thought. While this is all true, Baha'u'llah still points out:

    Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the state of the soul after its separation from the body. Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly, return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved.

    So moralism during life is most certainly an issue and it indicates that though it's teaching are gentle by nature, there is a way that one can walk that isn't God's ways. What does the Baha'i faith say about hell, Merk, or does it? I don't seem to quite remember since my research paper.


    The Baha'i faith has actually grown quite a lot within the 150 years that it has existed. So it's not really the back-water religion of the natives.
  17. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    For sake of discussion, yes. However, Baha'u'llah also says in no uncertain terms that there is life on other planets, and that those life-forms also worship God. Therefore, I'd modify the above to say that only sentient life-forms can reflect all the attributes of God. My own pet theory is that the next Manifestation will either be (A)not from this planet, (B) not a homosapien, or (C) both.

    "I wonder how a Christian or Hindu, that is much more educated in their religion than I am, would view this metaphor?"
    Dunno. Maybe a topic for the Inter-Faith Chapel? ;)

    "Is there a list of these attributes of God?"
    None that I'm aware of. Baha'u'llah often writes that God is waaaaaaay beyond our comprehension, so I'd postulate that to attempt to compose such a list would be an exercise in futility. That having been said...

    "And how exactly could people like us 'purify' your reflection?"
    By practicing virtues like honesty, compassion, humility, charity, detachment, etc. Abdu'l-Baha writes:
    Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of the worlds of God are impossible for a soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also become realized.

    "Are the Manifestations born so pure, or do they discipline themselves to reach that state?"
    It's my understanding that the Manifestations were innately Gifted.

    "I know Baha'i tries to include many religions and prophets. Do they reject any?"
    Well, we reject Satanism, because there is no Satan in the Baha'i Faith* ;) The Writings also look askance at animistic religions, as it views them as worshiping the the created rather than the Creator. Beyond that, I'll need to add that to my research project :)

    "Do you know the unique insight that Muhammed and Islam brought into the world?"
    From my own recollections of the Quran, no. As I've said however, the Quran didn't resonate with me like the Baha'i Writings have. So in all likelihood, there is such an insight from Him that I've just not gotten. It's times like these that I miss aPPmaSTer. :( You might try asking this in the Inter-Faith thread, or I can direct you to a very eloquent Muslim who posts mainly in Lit. & Sci-Fi.





    *While the Writings reject the notion of a Supreme Evil Dude of Evilness, or the notion of "evil" altogether (instead describing what we view as evil as something more akin to ignorance, or absence of light), the Writings also make numerous references to "satanic influences" and "satanic fancies," which I view as functions of our own mortal selfishness. So there's no "Big 'S' Satan," but there's lots of "Little 's' satans." Make sense?
  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    I'm actually reading about this currently in the Kitab-i-Iqan. I'm still trying to unravel it, but from what I understand, notions like a "Day of Resurrection" and a "Day of Judgement" are partially symbolic, and partially experienced on an individual level. Like I said, I'm still trying to decipher it.

    The thing I'm discovering about the Baha'i Writings is that they come in three tiers: 1) simple in text & easy to understand, (2) so incredibly "word-dense" that you have to re-read it several times to even follow the text, let alone understand the the meaning, and (3) simple in text and mind-blowing in meaning.

    "Was Baha?u?llah the Second Coming depicted in the Bible?"
    Short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is that some of the stuff in Revelations refers to the relationship between Islam (or more correctly, the Imams of that time) the Bab and Baha'u'llah. For the even longer answer :p Abdu'l-Baha discusses the topic in Some Answered Questions.

    "If he was, why didn't everything come true?"
    According to Baha'u'llah, they did. However, He also Writes that we mortals have a spectacular capacity for mis-interpreting things. Disclaimer: in referencing Baha'i Writings in order to validate the Baha'i Faith, there's that level of circular logic, so take this how you will. Baha'u'llah Writes that we mortals, for whatever reason, come up with our own ideas of how God will fulfill His Covenant with us, and when He doesn't do things like we think He will, we get mad at Him for "ur doin' it rong!11!!1!"

    Another thing about "polishing the mirror" from the previous post: In the Baha'i Faith, not doing wrong is not enough; the mirror is polished by actively doing good. In a related vein, it's been my experience that the Faith is not big on rituals. I mean, there are a few, but the focus is not so much on "what to do," but instead on "how to be."
  19. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    I'll refer you back to page 1 of this thread for the actual positions of Baha'u'llah, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice on the subject. Speaking personally, in all of my investigations of the Baha'i Faith, the opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage is one of exactly two things that I find to be illogical/inconsistent. Even so, I'll credit the UHJ for being forward-thinking. While the statement I found from Shoghi Effendi on homosexuality could be no more recent than the mid-1950's, the statement from the UHJ addressing gay marriage was from the mid-1980's, if memory serves.

    The use of intoxicants (alcohol, smoking, "recreational" drugs, etc.) are forbidden also. The rationale is that God gifted us with the capacity for reason; don't do stuff to hinder that capacity. Gambling is forbidden, though the topic of lotteries & raffles is ambiguous.

    My experience has been that "intolerant Baha'i" is an oxymoron. The Writings frown on even discussing other people's...shortcomings:
    O SON OF MAN! Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.
    -the Hidden Words, verse 27

    (A true seeker) should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul.
    -Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pg. 265

    A saying I often hear from my fellow Baha'is is "what you do is between you and God." Hope that answers this question [face_peace]
  20. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Bahaism is clearly second only to satanism in raw musical win.
  21. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    I've not come across any sort of "official" stance on atheism or agnosticism.

    For a Baha'i marriage, what if you were to marry an atheists, or someone's parents were not consenting?
    From an "administrative" standpoint, the marriage would not be considered valid. The Baha'i who entered into such a union would lose their administrative rights, i.e., they are not eligible to hold any sort of elected office in the body of the Faith, nor are they eligible to vote for anyone to hold office. From a "personal" standpoint, the people are still loved and accepted.

    Who/what is God? is God=love, like in Christianity? is God more personable, like Western religions? Or more of an impersonal force/reality, like Eastern religions?
    A lot of the Writings indicate that God is far beyond any mortal's capacity to understand. On the topic that God = love, the Writings indicate that God's love is "the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation." In another passage, it is Written:
    O SON OF MAN: Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, then My love can in no way reach thee. Know this, O servant.

    "Is there a Hell? Or reincarnation?"
    The Writings describe "hell" as a spiritual state of separation from God, rather than a place of damnation. Paradoxically, the Writings also make references to the "nethermost fires," and the "fire of separation." Regarding reincarnation, the Writings indicate that after death, our souls are clothed in forms befitting our station, but that there isn't a physical reincarnation. To paraphrase Abdu'l-Baha, why would we wanna come back?

    "What is the afterlife like?"
    To paraphrase Baha'u'llah, it's so awesome that if He were to reveal it to us now, some of us would die of joy, while the rest would die of terror.

    How does one progress closer to God during life? After death?
    During the physical life, one draws closer to God by "polishing the mirror." I'll also refer you to this somewhat lengthy passage for a further explanation.

    Why do they believe people suffer?
    Some commentary on the Writings that I've come across suggests that suffering is a warning that "ur doin' it rong!11!!1!" The more wrong you are, the more severe the "warning." Also, Shoghi Effendi writes:
    Physical pain is a necessary accompaniment of all human existence, and as such is unavoidable. As long as there will be life on earth, there will be also suffering, in various forms and degrees. But suffering, although an inescapable reality, can nevertheless be utilised as a means for the attainment of happiness. This is the interpretation given to it by all the prophets and saints who, in the midst of severe tests and trials, felt happy and joyous and experienced what is best and holiest in life. Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement. In every suffering one can find a meaning and a wisdom. But it is not always easy to find the secret of that wisdom. It is sometimes only when all our suffering has passed that we become aware of its usefulness. What man considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings.
  22. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Shame on me for not mentioning this previously, but yesterday was the beginning of the twelve day Festival of Ridvan.

    In 1853 after having been released from the Siyah-Chal ("the Black Pit"), an underground dungeon in Tehran, Mirza Husayn-Ali accepted exile from Persia (now known as Iran) to the Ottoman Empire, spending time in Baghdad & Kurdistan. Recognizing this man's growing influence within the Babi Faith, the Persian government requested Husayn-Ali's extradition. The Ottomans refused, instead requesting movement from their border regions to the capitol city of Constantinople (now called Istanbul).

    On April 21st 1863, Mirza Husayn-Ali and several companions departed from Baghdad, staying for 12 days in what is now known as the Garden of Ridvan, prior to leaving for Constantinople. It was in that garden where Mirza Husayn-Ali took the title Baha'u'llah (Arabic for "Glory of God") and publicly declared His mission and station as the Manifestation of God for this Day, the One referred to by the Bab as "Him whom God shall make manifest."
  23. Ghost Chosen One

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    Interesting... how do you celebrate Ridvan? Is it a Christmas/Easter/Hanukkah type holiday?

    And I am going to get around to responding to everything sometime this weekend, probably in another one of my super-posts, just want you to know I haven't forgotten.
  24. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    We get together for prayers & social activities, and we're not supposed to work on the 1st, 9th, and 12th days of the Festival [face_blush].

    The closest analog to Christmas, i.e., the giving of stuff, is Ayyam-i-Ha, which is Feb. 26th to March 2nd. Even that's more service-oriented, giving to others, that sort of thing.
  25. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment in Iran of the Yaran, ("the Friends"), a body that, in the aftermath of the abolition of that country's National Spiritual Assembly, saw to the administrative and spiritual need of Iranian Baha'is.

    More information.
  26. Ghost Chosen One

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    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! Finally done with the semester.


    *Hmm... seems like the virtues are all just different aspects of valuing Love and Truth. I know in Christianity, the three "supreme"/theological virtues are: faith, hope, love. Is there something like this in the Baha'i faith? Or is it just Truthfulness, like you said?

    *So you cannot become a Manifestation, it is a gift by the grace of God to the few, not earned? I'm skeptical about this, not sure how any human can simply be born with perfect virtues but still simply be human (since Baha'i doesn't believe a sentient person can be the incarnation of God, which is the only way a perfectly virtuous human can make sense to me).

    *So there is a distinct, Abrahamic division between Creator and Creation in the Baha'i view? In other words, it rejects the Eastern and "pagan" doctrines that God is within, a part of, or simply equal to the physical universe? And I guess this is Why they reject God's incarnation as
  27. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Hopefully you survived the semester with your sanity intact o.0

    I know in Christianity, the three "supreme"/theological virtues are: faith, hope, love. Is there something like this in the Baha'i faith? Or is it just Truthfulness, like you said?

    I don't know that there is a "supreme" virtue in the Baha'i Faith, nor is there, AFAIK, a "supreme" sin. I'd say that truthfulness isn't so much a supreme virtue so much as it forms the foundation upon which all other virtues are built.

    So you cannot become a Manifestation, it is a gift by the grace of God to the few, not earned? I'm skeptical about this, not sure how any human can simply be born with perfect virtues but still simply be human (since Baha'i doesn't believe a sentient person can be the incarnation of God, which is the only way a perfectly virtuous human can make sense to me).

    Yeah, that's something of a head-scratcher for me too, so I offer this as my own supposition: for whatever reason, God won't* instill us with lasting perfection, but provides for us the means to achieve it for ourselves. It's kinda like as a parent, I don't give my children all the answers, but give them tools and guidance to learn things for themselves.

    So there is a distinct, Abrahamic division between Creator and Creation in the Baha'i view? In other words, it rejects the Eastern and "pagan" doctrines that God is within, a part of, or simply equal to the physical universe?

    Equal to? Most definitely. In the Baha'i Faith, God has no equal. However, there are some similarities in that the Writings say "Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes." So in that respect, there is something to the notion of "God within."

    By partially symbolic, do you mean the Baha'i may not be required to believe in an afterlife/resurrection?

    Oh, there is most definitely an afterlife according to the Writings. And as I noted earlier, the Writings indicate that the soul is clothed befitting its form.

    And have you learned anymore about what their conception of Hell is?

    Here's a sample passage I found:
    Whoso hath failed to recognize Him will have condemned himself to the misery of remoteness, a remoteness which is naught but utter nothingness and the essence of the nethermost fire. Such will be his fate, though to outward seeming he may occupy the earth?s loftiest seats and be established upon its most exalted throne.


    If the Second Coming already happened, and the Baha'i say Christians misunderstood it just as Christians say Jews misunderstood the Messiah... does this mean the Earth will never enter into the paradise of no suffering/death? Or is that still to come?
    We are to work towards establishing a Kingdom on earth, a Divine Civilization, if you will.

    I'll post more later [face_peace]







    *I can't really bring myself to apply the concept of "can't" to anything involving God :)
  28. Ghost Chosen One

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    I don't know that there is a "supreme" virtue in the Baha'i Faith, nor is there, AFAIK, a "supreme" sin. I'd say that truthfulness isn't so much a supreme virtue so much as it forms the foundation upon which all other virtues are built.

    Oh ok.

    Very similar to Zoroastrianism then (which is very similar to the Abrahamic religions, it's sometimes grouped with them), basing God and Good in Truth (and evil in lies), and also founded in Persia/Iran.

    I could question more and ask deeper about the theology here, but I'll spare you, I've asked enough already. :p



    Yeah, that's something of a head-scratcher for me too, so I offer this as my own supposition: for whatever reason, God won't* instill us with lasting perfection, but provides for us the means to achieve it for ourselves. It's kinda like as a parent, I don't give my children all the answers, but give them tools and guidance to learn things for themselves.

    Still not sure how that reconciles some people being born as Manifestations. Unless you're saying that God doesn't make the Manifestations perfect, but shows them a way to become perfect, and then Manifestations? Still noo sure why he doesn't just do that for everyone, then.



    Equal to? Most definitely. In the Baha'i Faith, God has no equal. However, there are some similarities in that the Writings say "Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes." So in that respect, there is something to the notion of "God within."

    Well, by equal to, I was questioning if they reject "God=universe" (or within it, or simply a part of it), and have a strict division between Creator and Creation (being more like Judaism/Islam, and less like Hinduism or even Christianity).

    I was asking that because earlier you said that humans/sentients all reflect all the attributes of God, just not perfectly. But then you said that the Baha'i faith is cautious about accepting the animistic religions, since they feel they worship the Creation instead of the Creator. So I asked if there was a strict line, like in Islam andJudaism, between Creator/Creation. Or if it's more blurred, like in Christianity, where God incarnates and becomes a part of Creation. Or if they are equal, such as in Hinduism, where behind all the illusions of maya, the ultimate reality/truth of the universe is God.

    And if Baha'i faith does have a strict line between Creator and Creation, if that's the reason why they reject Jesus and other Manifestations as actually being an "incarnation" of God.

    But now that verse seems to say that God of the Baha'i faith IS within Creation... So I'm either confused, or misunderstanding, or just really overthinking this. 8-}



    Oh, there is most definitely an afterlife according to the Writings. And as I noted earlier, the Writings indicate that the soul is clothed befitting its form.

    Yeah, I realized after I wrote that. Still trying to absorb all the information, you've been a really good source of knowledge!



    Here's a sample passage I found:

    Whoso hath failed to recognize Him will have condemned himself to the misery of remoteness, a remoteness which is naught but utter nothingness and the essence of the nethermost fire. Such will be his fate, though to outward seeming he may occupy the earth?s loftiest seats and be established upon its most exalted throne.

    Hmm...still a vague description of Hell (separation from God). Still seems to be describing that Hell is in life, not the afterlife. Not stated if you die in this state, and this is your fate in the afterlife, if there's a way out... almost makes it sound like the soul is destroyed, or it could just be in Despair. What does it mean to "recognize" God? Just have faith in something, or do you have to be Baha'i?



    We are to work towards establishing a Kingdom on earth, a Divine Civilization, if you will.

    So humans, not God
  29. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    You say the stance on homosexuality is one of the two things you question of find inconsistent. What is the other one?

    That women are not allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice. They can (and most definitely do) serve on Local Spiritual Assemblies, regional councils, and National Spiritual Assemblies. To paraphrase the Writings, it?s my understanding that Baha?u?llah says ?it?ll make sense to you later.?

    Also, is it required you believe that about homosexuality, or do they just say "this is the official stance, but you can use your interpretation and connection to God to make up your own mind"?

    Somewhat like that. A Baha?i truism I?ve often heard is that ?what you do in your own home is between you and God.? That having been said, it?s a no-no for a Baha?i to either blatantly act in defiance of the tenets of the Faith, or to misrepresent Baha?i positions on various matters.

    Yeah, I just don't get why parental consent is needed for marriage. Especially if the parents of one did not consent because their child was marrying a Baha'i, or whatever reason.

    Part of the rationale is that unity is an essential element of Baha?i life. Not just the passive unity that is merely the absence of strife, but active unity borne of truthfulness & love.

    Another part of the rationale is that the family consists not just of the husband & wife. A man does not cease to be someone?s son just because he gets married; likewise for a daughter. For the couple to marry against the wishes of the parents ?and remember, we?re talking about active, not passive unity, so not saying no is not enough- introduces a corrosive element into the family dynamic.

    If a parent says no for whatever reason, then everyone has to work together (and pray) until the situation changes. And in that process, it?s likely that other underlying issues can be brought to light and dealt with, and all the relationships are that much stronger for it. I know this from personal experience ;)

    How do you settle contradictions in the faith, or between the faiths Baha'i is seeking to unite?

    By consulting each other, consulting the Writings, and lots & lots of prayer [face_peace]

    Do they view gambling/drinking as grave sins? Do they have any distinction between greater/lesser sins? On this note, tied into what I was asking about the Manifestation above, do they ever commit greater/lesser sins (if there is a distinction)?

    I don?t know that there is an ?hierarchy of sin,? for lack of a better term. Likewise, it?s my understanding that the Manifestations lived flawless lives.

    Still not sure how that reconciles some people being born as Manifestations. Unless you're saying that God doesn't make the Manifestations perfect, but shows them a way to become perfect, and then Manifestations? Still noo sure why he doesn't just do that for everyone, then.

    I think that God makes the Manifestations perfect reflections, and that part of Their being perfect reflections prevents those reflections from becoming flawed. Make sense? As far as why we?re not all made to be perfect reflections, if I may hazard a guess, I?d say a clue can be found in these passages:
    O Son of Being! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

    O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
    -The Hidden Words

    Remember, this is just me guessing, but maybe He did create us perfect, and for whatever reason, collectively we choose not to be. Maybe God, in His perfect love for us, honors our choice and
  30. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Part of the rationale is that unity is an essential element of Baha?i life. Not just the passive unity that is merely the absence of strife, but active unity borne of truthfulness & love.

    Another part of the rationale is that the family consists not just of the husband & wife. A man does not cease to be someone?s son just because he gets married; likewise for a daughter. For the couple to marry against the wishes of the parents ?and remember, we?re talking about active, not passive unity, so not saying no is not enough- introduces a corrosive element into the family dynamic.

    If a parent says no for whatever reason, then everyone has to work together (and pray) until the situation changes. And in that process, it?s likely that other underlying issues can be brought to light and dealt with, and all the relationships are that much stronger for it. I know this from personal experience


    Well I'm glad it worked out for you. :) Still seems imperfect to me, since there are some families that are just too broken, abusive or drug-addicted or just willfully-ignorant parents, or they never were a family to begin with and there is no dynamic to corrode because it was never there. I mean, I happen to live a very loving family, but I know not everyone is that lucky. So I guess I just disagree with this, along with the two things you also find inconsistent (on homosexuality, and women serving in the Universal House of Justice). But I don't think I have any more questions about it, so you're doing your job in explaining it to me. ;)






    By consulting each other, consulting the Writings, and lots & lots of prayer

    So it's all very individual, not a universal church stance on how certain inconsistencies between faiths should be reconciled?






    It?s my understanding that the Manifestations lived flawless lives.

    I think that God makes the Manifestations perfect reflections, and that part of Their being perfect reflections prevents those reflections from becoming flawed. Make sense?

    As far as why we?re not all made to be perfect reflections, if I may hazard a guess, I?d say a clue can be found in these passages:
    O Son of Being! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
    O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
    -The Hidden Words

    Remember, this is just me guessing, but maybe He did create us perfect, and for whatever reason, collectively we choose not to be. Maybe God, in His perfect love for us, honors our choice and allows us to labor under the illusion of our imperfections, all the while sending us signs and Manifestations to guide us to the right path. Again, I?m reminded of the idea that as a parent, I allow my kids to mess up in minor ways, and encourage them to learn for themselves (in accordance to their capacities, of course), rather than do everything for them.

    I?d say that this capacity for choice even extends to the Manifestations. Think about it: at Gethsemane (?), Christ prayed ?if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.? Perhaps all Manifestations can choose not to fulfill Their destinies, and we only hear about those Who did.


    Yeah, I have a problem with God making some perfect Manifestations, and others as warped reflections.

    But if you're right, and the Manifestations are simply the ones that made it all the way through life without making error (which I find hard to believe for any human anyways, but just going with that) then what exactly did we do wrong? Are we scratched off the list from the first selfish thought we have when we're a kid? Why do evil/sin/imperfection/n