Bahaism -- now discussing this religion

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

  1. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

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    The claim that all the major monotheistic religions are an expression of the same God and therefore equally true.
  2. Ghost Chosen One

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    Well, that's what even most non-Baha'i believe... Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha'i (and it maye be argued Zoroastrians) all worship the same god. Christians even view our God as also the God of the Jews. Muslims even view their God as the God of the Christians and Jews. Sure, there's big disagreements between them, such as on the status of Jesus, but we all believe in the same God.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Technically, Islam, Judaism and Bahaism are monotheistic religions, whereas Christianity is a polytheistic religion.
  4. Ghost Chosen One

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    No. Many people misunderstand Christianity. There is only one God, who lives in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



    One cannot exist without the other two.



    The Father has perfect knowledge, therefore perfect self-knowledge. The Father's mental image of himself is so perfect, possessing all the qualities of himself, that it's real. This perfect image of the Father is called the Son. There was never a time the Father did not have perfect self-knowledge, therefore the Father and the Son always existed, and one cannot exist without the other. The Father and the Son also perfectly love each other, and love requires "self-donation," therefore perfect love requires perfect self-donation. Since the Father and the Son perfectly give all of themselves in their love, their love is actually a third person: the Holy Spirit. There was never a time the Father and the Son didn't exist together, and there was never a time the Father and the Son didn't love one another, so there was never a time the Holy Spirit didn't exist.

    One person of the Trinity cannot exist without the other two.

    Also, since the Holy Spirit is perfect love, and the Holy Spirit is an exact image of the Father and the Son, that means that both the Father and the Son themselves are nothing more or less than perfect love, so therefore God (and all three persons of the Trinity) is Love.

    In addition to this, the Son is the Father's mental image of himself generated by his perfect self-knowledge, so it is basically God the Father seeing and recognizing himself (knowing himself) in something other than himself.

    Jesus Christ is a man, of the universe, therefore not of God... yet God the Father finds and recognizes himself in Jesus Christ... therefore Jesus is of God, and is the Son. Also, what makes God recognize himself in Jesus is when Jesus suffers and dies to give everyone a chance at eternal life and joy, so basically God recognizes himself in Jesus because Jesus perfectly loves.

    Jesus offers eternal life by telling others to live in him and him in them (so they become one with him, one with the Son, one with God), and this is done by learning how to love one another, thereby making God recognize himself in those who love, therefore giving eternal life and joy to those who love. This means that God recognizes that humans who love are the "images of God" (and therefore the Son, therefore himself, therefore eternal).

    As Jesus said, the sum of the laws and the prophets is simple... love one another.




    Discussing the Trinity is probably better for the "Understanding Christianity" thread. :p Although, Jedi Merkurian has said before that these theological Christian ideas are very similar to fundamental Baha'i concepts of God, the Manifestations, and Humanity.

  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    It's important I think for people to understand that Bahaism is a genuine monotheistic religion as compared to Christianity and its complex pantheon of Gods and demigods. Also, they make much more sense when they talk about Jesus than you do - they declare him a prophet tasked with conveying God's will to the people in the time in which he lived. Elegant, comprehensible, straightforward. Not that convoluted nonsensical doublespeak Christians always fall into when they try to explain their three-headed God to a nonbeliever.
  6. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

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    I have trouble with the notion of God creating us for the purpose of worshiping Him. It makes much more sense that God created us for no reason at all; just to live, with life in itself being the reason of our existence. Life simply for the purpose of life. After all, why does God Himself exist? What is the reason for His existence? He just does. Similarly, I find it to make more sense that He created us too, like Himself, for no specific purpose. Just to exist. And that He tests us to determine which of us are worthy of the gift of eternal existence in joy. Granted, that makes Him a hypocrite as He never put Himself through such a test. But if He created us for the sole purpose of worshiping Him, that makes Him an egomaniac, so in either interpretation, He has character flaws, which is antithetical to God, who is supposed to be perfect...

    But this can be remedied in both scenarios. Scenario 1) God has created us to worship Him. Solution: by applying the concept of the Trinity, it stands to reason that He also loves and worships his Son, which is also Himself, so He does not ask us of something He is not already doing, which means He is not a hypocrite. Although, one who can't get enough His own eternal and infinite worship of Himself, and has to create us to assist in His self-worship makes Him an even bigger egomaniac... Hmm..[face_thinking] I was wrong. Scenario 1 can not be remedied.

    Scenario 2) God created us for no particular reason. Just to exist. However He did arrange for us to be tested for worthiness of eternal existence, whereas He did not put Himself through such a test, although it can be argued that He doesn't need to as He is perfect... But that just creates another dilemma. Why does he give us the disadvantage of creating us flawed and putting us through the test, while He himself gets to be perfect and therefore not even need to be tested?
    Solution: He has once in the past made Himself imperfect and flawed and lived as a Man and put Himself through a test and subsequently proven Himself worthy by the same standards He has put forth for us. He just didn't mention it to us in any of His sent Scriptures.

    Scenario 2 can be justified. I'm going with scenario 2. God created us just to exist, but must test us. This is not hypocritical as He has once tested Himself by equal terms as us, but has failed to mention this in his Scriptures sent to man, so as to not tarnish his Godly image. I'm going with this explanation.
  7. Ghost Chosen One

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    Christianity does not have a complex pantheon of Gods and demigods.

    It has one God, in three persons. I explained how. And there are no demigods, Jesus is fully God and fully man.

    A balloon consists of 3 parts: the helium/air, the rubber, the string... is that too complicated?

    H2O can exist in 3 states: ice as a solid, water as a liquid, water vapor as a gas... is that too complicated?

    Many things explained in science are complex. Yet they are true. Why can't the Trinity be true? Saying it's too complex or complicated is a poor excuse, not a reason. That's like a person saying "the world can't be round, and go around the Sun, and the Sun be only one of countless stars, not at the center of anything... that's too complicated and complex for me!"

    Baha'i does not call Jesus a prophet, but a Manifestation of God. Islam calls Jesus a Prophet of God. Both religions name many others like Jesus, while Christianity obviously places special emphasis on Jesus Christ.

    You can disagree, but how is the Trinity "convoluted, nonsensical doublespeak"? It's fine for you to disagree, and for other religions to be more appealing, but it's not okay to say "something doesn't make sense because it doesn't make sense, so I don't like it."

  8. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

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    But if He had not created us, we would not need to learn it. The need arises after the fact. Therefore, I'm leaning towards option 2: He created us just for the sake of life. In other words; no particular reason.


    Indeed. Christianity just became a whole lot more appealing to me, although instead of the doctrine of creating us to know love, I'm leaning towards just creating us, and then testing us for our worthiness of eternal bliss.
  9. Ghost Chosen One

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    I'm not sure if I'm following here. I'm saying God created life for the purpose of us learning how to love. That if God did not want us to learn how to love, then he wouldn't have created us. What am I misunderstanding?


    But isn't the "test" learning how to love according to most religions, including Christianity and Baha'i?

    So then aren't those two possibilities you mentioned really different ways of saying the same thing?

    Eternal life/bliss is good, your test is to learn how to love, pass the test and you will have eternal life/bliss = the purpose of life is to learn how to love

    Right?
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Other Jabba: A couple things. First, there exists (and have pretty much always existed) a number of Christian denominations that adhere to a monotheistic interpretation. Regardless, though, even claiming that Trinitarianism is polytheist is not very tenable. While your right that the theology is quite complex, its conclusions are not: there's no more than one divine being.

    Ghost: Yes, while it's widely recognized that, say, that Christians worship the same God that was featured in Judaism, that's not what OZK was objecting to. Rather, it was the second claim, unique to Baha'ii that therefore they are all equally true. Very few people would argue that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all equally true, especially where they contradict one another.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Darth-Ghost, what you provided above was not an "explanation "of the God-Jesus dichotomy. It was merely a lyrical poem to your own personal religion you made up. Very lyrical by the way. I liked it.

    Christianity has thousands of gods in its pantheon: God. Jesus. Satan (god of the underworld) and the virgin Mary, who is more of a demigod, I guess. There are several lesser gods called "angels." Below that rank of deity come the thousands of minor gods called "saints" in at least one major christian sect (the one true version of Christianity if numbers count for anything). Come to think of it, I think Islam and Judaism recognize angel demigods as well, leaving Bahaism as the sole monotheistic religion of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
  12. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    You seem to be using definitions of both "god" and "demigod" that are idiosyncratic. Almost no one else would classify things as you just have, mostly because you seem to lump any non-human (and frankly, you didn't even hold to that limitation) sentient entity into the "divine" category. That's not what it means.
  13. Ghost Chosen One

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    On your response to Jabbadabado, I agree.

    On your response to me, I may be wrong, but Jedi Merkurian said that there are differences that need to be reconciled, so that would mean all religions are NOT equally true in the Baha'i faith. Baha'i does not agree with Christianity that Jesus is God, for one outstanding example.

    It was an explanation, what did you not follow? And it wasn't just my explanation, but the explanation of Thomas Aquinas, universally recognized as one of the greatest Christian philosophers/theologians.

    Your just being silly with your "pantheon" of Christian "gods/demigods." Mary is not worshipped. Neither are Angels, who are merely messengers. Satan isn't treated at the god of anything, and contrary to popular belief, mainstream Christianity states that Satan does not rule over Hell but will be sentenced to Hell in the future. Catholics believe in Saints, not all Christians, but there's nothing that makes them more divine than you or me. Your last sentence makes me think you're not even being semi-serious about this.

  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Thomas Aquinas is non canonical, but he is a saint and worshiped as a god by the largest and most authoritative Christian sect. Come on guys, be honest. Christians may try to finesse the nomenclature, but the religion has all the same cast of character types of gods and demigods and heroes of any other classic pantheon, Lucifer and Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Jesus, Thomas Aquinas and John Paul II.
  15. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

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    In Christianity, God is uncreated and he is the uncaused caused.

    All of these other "gods" or "demigods" you have mentioned are beings whom he created.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    That doesn't keep them from being gods though. Just like Christianity, other mythologies have gods being created by other gods. My personal opinion is that Christianity would add greatly to its credibility as a religion if, like the Bahai Faith, it would try to incorporate other earlier religions into its story of itself. For example, Greek and Norse Myths could be recognized as factual accounts of history, just like the Bible, only concerning different peoples and places than those covered in the old testament. Zeus is Yaweh, and the Greek myths are really accounts of ancient peoples' interactions with the angels. Christianity might have spread even faster if people had been told the Truth that everyone was really worshiping the same pantheon of Gods.
  17. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Your claims are sloppy and wrong.

    In the first place, neither the Greek nor Roman religions meaningfully predate Judaism, which as you well know Christianity developed as an offshoot of. To wit, Josephus actually wrote treatises defending his older faith against the "newer" Classical ones.

    Likewise, your comparisons of various parts of Christianity to demigods is wrong. Angels are gods? As worshiped by whom? What votive service do they? Who prays to them, or offers them sacrifices? What about their instructions to humans in almost every account featuring them that they not be worshiped? The proper comparison isn't to divine beings. It's to things like Herodotus's giant ants that work the mines of India, sea monsters (eg krakens), or dragons from various cultures. That is, fantastical creatures that we don't really have evidence for the existence of, but not really "divine" entities either.
  18. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Well I'd agree with you that Christianity is less monotheistic than Judaism and Islam, but all three are transitional steps (with Christianity a step back in the direction of full bore polytheism) toward the more authentic monotheism of the Bahai faith.
  19. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Again, that's a silly claim. Monotheism is belief in a single god. You've failed to show the other things you mentioned qualify as divine at all. It's like asserting that belief in unicorns violates monotheism. It doesn't signify insight into religion so much as a pretty marked lack thereof.
  20. wannasee Force Ghost

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    While I appreciate that you feel you have an insight into the nature of God, you must know the explanation you provided doesn't explain anything. It's just a series of hypotheses.


    Mary is a pretty big deal in Latin American countries.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    From Wikipedia:
    A deity[1] is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers, often religiously referred to as a god.

    Deities are depicted in a variety of forms, but are also frequently expressed as having human form. Some faiths and traditions consider it blasphemous to imagine or depict the deity as having any concrete form. They are usually immortal, and are commonly assumed to have personalities and to possess consciousness, intellects, desires, and emotions similar to those of humans. Such natural phenomena as lightning, floods, storms, other 'acts of God', and miracles are attributed to them, and they may be thought to be the authorities or controllers of various aspects of human life (such as birth or the afterlife). Some deities are asserted to be the directors of time and fate itself, to be the givers of human law and morality, to be the ultimate judges of human worth and behavior, and to be the designers and creators of the Earth or the universe.


    And


    The boundary between human and divine in most cultures is by no means absolute. Demigods are the offspring from a union of a human with a deity, and most royal houses in Antiquity claimed divine ancestors.


    From wikipedia's discussion of angels:


    Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name,[17] mentioning Gabriel (God's primary messenger) in Daniel 9:21 and Michael (the holy fighter) in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature.[16] Coogan explains the development of this concept of angels: "In the postexilic period, with the development of explicit monotheism, these divine beings?the 'sons of God' who were members of the divine council?were in effect demoted to what are now known as 'angels', understood as beings created by God, but immortal and thus superior to humans."[16] This conception of angels is best understood in contrast to demons and is often thought to be "influenced by the ancient Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism, which viewed the world as a battleground between forces of good and forces of evil, between light and darkness."[16] One of these "sons of God" is "the satan", a figure depicted in among other places according to the Book of Job.


    Objectively, angels are minor deities, Jesus is a demigod and the virgin Mary takes on deity qualities for having given birth to a demigod.

    I don't see any reason to think of a monotheistic religion as being superior to a polytheistic religion, but if you're looking for monotheism and whatever benefits you derive from worshiping only one deity, for whatever the reason, Bahaism is one of the only games in town.


  22. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Thomas Aquinas was a great writer, but he's not a 'demigod.' Not all Christians are Catholics, you know. "Hear, oh Israel, the LORD your God is one LORD." God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one. The end. This is not nearly so hard to understand when you think pragmatically and practically. I am a writer in my free time, an administrative support assistant on the job, a son when I'm with my mother, a friend when I'm with my friends. But I'm still just one person; one being, as all beings are, with a multitude of facets and roles and aspects. I don't know why this concept is so hard to grasp when applied to God. We all understand it quite easily about ourselves and about other people. No one on my job calls me Rogue1-and-a-half. Few people on this website know my full name as reflected on my birth certificate. Does that mean I'm two people? Yeah, that's a no. Jesus said it himself, "I and My Father are one." "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father."

    There is no 'pantheon' of demigods in my religion. The moving and powerful thing about the Bible is that all of its characters are deeply flawed, deeply human people, not perfect icons of sainthood. Noah was a drunk. Abraham was a doubter. Jacob was a con man. The prophets of God are flawed; that's why they are prophets and not, as you seem determined to have it, gods themselves. And not to open a whole other can of worms, but Mary was, in her own words, "the handmaiden of the Lord," and when someone said to Christ that his mother was blessed, He replied, "Blessed rather are those that hear the word of God and obey it. They are my mother and brother and sister." Bottom line, there's one God in Christianity. I haven't ever prayed to a saint in my life and the idea of praying to the Pope is laughable to me. So just cool the generalizations. Catholocism is a large portion of Christianity. But it's far from the monolithic whole. You're forgetting Protestants entire which is just an absurd thing to do if you're going to make statements about what Christians believe.

    EDIT: By the way, I'm not 'finessing the nomenclature.' And I find the assumption that I am to be incredibly insulting. This is my faith. This is a huge part of my life and who I am. I'm not going to be disingenous about it just to try to win some argument or claim a label for my faith that I don't actually believe in. I feel strongly about Christianity and if I had ever in my life considered Pope John Paul II to be divine, I would admit that. If I had ever in my life considered praying to an angel or to Mary, I would admit that. I pray to God in the persons of the Father, Jesus and the Spirit. The assertion that I have somehow basically been practicing Greek paganism without knowing it is incredibly ridiculous and insulting to my intelligence. If my religion was polytheistic, I would know it, for God's sake. No pun intended. :p

    EDIT EDIT: I'm sorry, but your posts really are filled with a tremendous amount of misinformation about Christianity. Catholocism is the "one true Christianity?" That's an absurd and offensive statement to make about any religion. No religion is a monolith; all religions are made up of sects and divisions and explicit breaks in beliefs all the way down to the individual level. Which of the hundreds of sects of Buddhism is the "one true Buddhism?" In which country can one find the "one true Islam?" Or Judaism? Or, for that matter, atheism? People disagree; religious groups are made up of people; there is no "one true Christianity." Anyone who names the name of Christ is a 'Christian.' That's the thing about religions; they're like political parties - you basically self-identify and then you're in. If you are as blue dog as they come and register as a Republican, you're still a Republican and no one can do a thing about that. If someone tells me they're a Christian, it's not my business to say whether they're a "true Christian" or not. And when you leave out Protestants and Orthodox Christians, that is mill
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Objectively, to an outside observer, it's polytheistic. This is why comparisons to real monotheistic religions like the Bahai Faith are so instructive, and why so few Christians are willing to make the effort. The power of lifelong indoctrination closes people's minds to even the most obvious and fundamental truths.
  24. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Again, though, what evidence do you have for your claims? You referred to a quote in Wikipedia. A quote that doesn't even make a direct argument. Instead, he asserts angels are gods implicitly, as part of his larger claim that Judaism did not begin as a monotheist religion. That's a tautology. "Judaism was not monotheistic because I don't think Judaism was monotheistic."

    I ask again, in what way does the actual depiction of angels in the Old Testament/Torah correspond with something that could legitimately be called a minor deity? It doesn't. I don't think you really have legs to stand on, here.

    Likewise, as Jesus is not of mixed heritage, no one would classify him as a "demigod." You're just grossly misapplying definitions, here. There's nothing objective about your analysis.
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Objectively, the Jesus birth story is a classical style demigod birth story, very much in the style of Zeus (Yaweh) impregnating Leda (Mary) in the form of a swan, who gives birth to Pollux (Jesus). Jesus is actually more a composite of Castor and Pollux and fits in perfectly into a classical pantheistic framework.

    Believe me, I understand how years of Christian indoctrination would make this stuff invisible to you. I've been there.