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Old 02-16-2016, 09:19 AM   #1
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Why does the AO not speak of this?

I have been wondering why the Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith keeps silent on a major teaching presented by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and the Guardian, that is central to the Faith, both in terms of its growth and spiritual health. I have asked "Why?" of my ABM, two Continental Counselors, the NSA of the US, and some in the Wilmette Institute. None of these persons or bodies have answered why.

So I will ask this august assemblage. "Why is the teaching of the second birth, a.k.a., baptism in the holy spirit, and to be born again, not mentioned on any of the official Baha'i websites, taught in any Ruhi courses, or published in any Baha'i works?"

For those who have never heard of this pivotal teaching I provide the following quotes:
The spirit and intelligence of man is essential, and that is the manifestation of divine virtues, the merciful bestowals of God, the eternal life and baptism through the Holy Spirit.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 70)

The Prophets come into the world to guide and educate humanity so that the animal nature of man may disappear and the divinity of his powers become awakened. The divine aspect or spiritual nature consists of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. The second birth of which Jesus has spoken refers to the appearance of this heavenly nature in man. It is expressed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he who is baptized by the Holy Spirit is a veritable manifestation of divine mercy to mankind. Then he becomes just and kind to all humanity; he entertains prejudice and ill will toward none; he shuns no nation or people.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 41)

During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few -- His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 147)

Furthermore, you have listened to the call of Bahá'u'lláh. Your nostrils are perfumed with the breezes of the paradise of Abha. You have caught glimpses of the light from the horizon of the Orient. You were asleep; you are awakened. Your ears are attentive; your hearts are informed. You have acquired the love of God. You have attained to the knowledge of God. This is the most great bestowal of God. This is the breath of the Holy Spirit, and this consists of faith and assurance. This eternal life is the second birth; this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 188)

By the power of the Holy Spirit, working through his soul, man is able to perceive the Divine reality of things. All great works of art and science are witnesses to this power of the Spirit.

The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.

Those alone who are baptized by the Divine Spirit will be enabled to bring all peoples into the bond of unity. It is by the power of the Spirit that the Eastern World of spiritual thought can intermingle with the Western realm of action, so that the world of matter may become Divine.

It follows that all who work for the Supreme Design are soldiers in the army of the Spirit.

The light of the celestial world makes war against the world of shadow and illusion. The rays of the Sun of Truth dispel the darkness of superstition and misunderstanding.

You are of the Spirit! To you who seek the truth, the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh will come as a great joy! This teaching is of the Spirit, in it is no precept which is not of the Divine Spirit.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 85)


In this century of the latter times Bahá'u'lláh has appeared and so resuscitated spirits that they have manifested powers more than human. Thousands of His followers have given their lives; and while under the sword, shedding their blood, they have proclaimed, "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha!" Such resuscitation is impossible except through a heavenly potency, a supernatural power, the divine power of the Holy Spirit. Through a natural and mere human power this is impossible. Therefore, the question arises: How is this resuscitation to be accomplished?

There are certain means for its accomplishment by which mankind is regenerated and quickened with a new birth. This is the second birth mentioned in the heavenly Books. Its accomplishment is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The resuscitation or rebirth of the spirit of man is through the science of the love of God. It is through the efficacy of the water of life.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 277)

I render Thee thanks, therefore, and extol Thee, in the name of all them that are dear to Thee, for that Thou hast caused them to be born again, by reason of the living waters which have flowed down out of the mouth of Thy will. Since Thou didst quicken them by Thy bounteousness, O my God, make them steadfastly inclined, through Thy graciousness, towards Thy will; and since Thou didst suffer them to enter into the Tabernacle of Thy Cause, grant by Thy grace that they may not be kept back from Thee.
(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 42)

Say: O people! The Tree of Life hath verily been planted in the heart of the heavenly paradise and bestoweth life in every direction. How can ye fail to perceive and recognize it? It will in truth aid thee to grasp all that this well-assured Soul hath disclosed unto thee of the essence of the divine mysteries. The Dove of holiness warbleth in the heaven of immortality and admonisheth thee to array thyself with a new vesture, wrought of steel to shield thee from the shafts of doubt concealed in the allusions of men, saying: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again."

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 51)

"Such things have come to pass in the days of every Manifestation of God. Even as Jesus said: "Ye must be born again."[1] Again He saith: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."[2] The purport of these words is that whosoever in every dispensation is born of the Spirit and is quickened by the breath of the Manifestation of Holiness, he verily is of those that have attained unto "life" and "resurrection" and have entered into the "paradise" of the love of God. And whosoever is not of them, is condemned to "death" and "deprivation," to the "fire" of unbelief, and to the "wrath" of God. In all the scriptures, the books and chronicles, the sentence of death, of fire, of blindness, of want of understanding and hearing, hath been pronounced against those whose lips have tasted not the ethereal cup of true knowledge, and whose hearts have been deprived of the grace of the holy Spirit in their day. Even as it hath been previously recorded: "Hearts have they with which they understand not.""

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 117)


"Bahá'u'lláh has announced that no matter how far the world of humanity may advance in material civilization, it is nevertheless in need of spiritual virtues and the bounties of God. The spirit of man is not illumined and quickened through material sources. It is not resuscitated by investigating phenomena of the world of matter. The spirit of man is in need of the protection of the Holy Spirit. Just as he advances by progressive stages from the mere physical world of being into the intellectual realm, so must he develop upward in moral attributes and spiritual graces. In the process of this attainment he is ever in need of the bestowals of the Holy Spirit.

Without the presence of the Holy Spirit he is lifeless. Although physically and mentally alive he is spiritually dead. His Holiness Christ announced, "That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit," meaning that man must be born again. As the babe is born into the light of this physical world so must the physical and intellectual man be born into the light of the world of divinity.

In the human plane and kingdom man is a captive of nature and ignorant of the divine world until born of the breaths of the Holy Spirit out of physical conditions of limitation and deprivation. Then he beholds the reality of the spiritual realm and kingdom, realizes the narrow restrictions of the mere human world of existence and becomes conscious of the unlimited and infinite glories of the world of God. Therefore no matter how man may advance upon the physical and intellectual plane he is ever in need of the boundless virtues of divinity, the protection of the Holy Spirit and the face of God. (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 58)

"That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore man has need of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues or perfections must be acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of life everlasting; it must be attained during this vanishing existence.

By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind, and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence." (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 63)

There is still another power which is differentiated from that of the soul and mind. This third power is the spirit which is an emanation from the divine bestower; it is the effulgence of the sun of reality, the radiation of the celestial world, the spirit of faith, the spirit His Holiness the Christ refers to when he says, "Those that are born of the flesh are flesh, and those that are born of the spirit are spirit." The spirit is the axis round which the eternal life revolves. It is conducive to everlasting glory and is the cause of the exaltation of humanity.

In another instance His Holiness the Christ says, "Whosoever has not received a portion of the spirit is as dead. Let the dead bury their dead." This means that although the souls of humanity are living, yet if they are deprived of contact with the spirit they are as dead. In another place Christ says, "You must be baptized with the spirit." This spirit of faith is the flame of reality, the life of humanity and the cause of eternal illumination. It inspires man to attain the virtues and perfections of the divine world.

It is my hope that each one of you may become conscious of this flame.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 121)

The world of humanity cannot advance through mere physical powers and intellectual attainments; nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is essential. The divine Father must assist the human world to attain maturity. The body of man is in need of physical and mental energy, but his spirit requires the life and fortification of the Holy Spirit. Without its protection and quickening the human world would be extinguished. Jesus Christ declared, "Let the dead bury their dead." He also said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." It is evident, therefore, according to Christ that the human spirit which is not fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead and in need of resurrection by that divine power; otherwise, though materially advanced to high degrees, man cannot attain full and complete progress.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 182)
The above represents some, not all, of the calls to the second birth. I would ask the readers to inquire of their respective NSA's and/or Counselors, asking why this core teaching is not being presented. Thank you.
 
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:30 AM   #2
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A very, very good question. In Evangelical churches, the idea of an instantaneous rebirth is cherished, and such rebirth often is part of the service: individuals come forth and experience personal salvation, often in dramatic circumstances. When I first joined the Faith, I believed that this was foreign to the Faith, but I too have read some of the quotes shown above. And in accounts of meetings with 'Abdu'l-Bahá numerous people testify to having gone through such an experience.

Furthermore, the Fire Tablet was indeed revealed in order to ignite heavenly fire in the believers.

On the whole, when I joined the Faith in the 1970s, I was surprised to realize that the focus was very much on building up institutions and administration, whereas the texts and their meanings were read but very little discussed.

Best

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Old 02-16-2016, 10:36 AM   #3
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who says this notion of second birth is not mentioned on any of official Baha'i websites?! it is mentioned in Iqan book and this book is available on Baha'i reference library!

Baptism in this new cycle, in days of Baha'ullah (during which we are living now), has changed form. it is no more essential to be done physically like Christians do (it can be tho, if people are willing) but look at this quote which you yourself have provided:

Quote:
Furthermore, you have listened to the call of Bahá'u'lláh. Your nostrils are perfumed with the breezes of the paradise of Abha. You have caught glimpses of the light from the horizon of the Orient. You were asleep; you are awakened. Your ears are attentive; your hearts are informed. You have acquired the love of God. You have attained to the knowledge of God. This is the most great bestowal of God. This is the breath of the Holy Spirit, and this consists of faith and assurance. This eternal life is the second birth; this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 188)
so by ONLY listening to the call of Baha'ullah and acting upon His teachings it is like we have drank the water of life and we are burnt in the fire of love.

In Iqan book it is mentioned on and on that people of our times before accepting Baha'ullah are dead, spiritually speaking. but after they come to know Him, if they accept Him, it is like they rise out of their graves and are endowed with a SECOND LIFE.
the story of Jesus Christ telling that man "let dead people bury their deads" is also mentioned in Iqan. it is said that if we accept Baha'ullah, we are no more considered to be dead.
 
Old 02-16-2016, 10:40 AM   #4
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I think maryamr and I are talking about different things. Indeed, those texts are in the books, available for everyone to read. I was rather thinking of Bahá'í community practice.

gnat
 
Old 02-16-2016, 10:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnat View Post
I think maryamr and I are talking about different things. Indeed, those texts are in the books, available for everyone to read. I was rather thinking of Bahá'í community practice.

gnat
what practice Gnat? the kind of Baptism which Abdul Baha and Bahaullah have talked about doesn't need to be acted physically like Christians do. so what kind of practice do you mean?! are we not already Baptized by breath of Bahaullah?
 
Old 02-16-2016, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
what practice Gnat? the kind of Baptism which Abdul Baha and Bahaullah have talked about doesn't need to be acted physically like Christians do. so what kind of practice do you mean?! are we not already Baptized by breath of Bahaullah?
In theory, yes, but one cannt say that it takes place like that kind of overwhelming experience that is practiced in the churches and was experienced by those who met 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It's rather like a long, slow process, very much unlike birth. And it's very difficult to point to it and say things like "Then you were still unborn, and - lo and behold - in that moment you were born."


gnat
 
Old 02-16-2016, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
In theory, yes, but one cannt say that it takes place like that kind of overwhelming experience that is practiced in the churches and was experienced by those who met 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It's rather like a long, slow process, very much unlike birth. And it's very difficult to point to it and say things like "Then you were still unborn, and - lo and behold - in that moment you were born."


gnat
yes, it takes place gradually, slowly and needs to tolerate some difficulties and exactly because of the same reason it is not restricted only to the physical form of baptism. and also about those people who are baptized by Abdul Baha, sorry I don't have information about them but I don't think they had been Muslims who had converted to Baha'i. they MUST HAVE BEEN Christians who had converted and BAhaullah ahs done this for them because it is not a "mustn't be done" thing and it gives christians a good feeling.
 
Old 02-16-2016, 11:23 AM   #8
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I would guess that the reason we don't see this subject emphasized in the Administrative documents is because the subject has to do with one's individual spiritual journey, and not the community. The two are certainly connected, but the primary domain of the institutions is about action, not belief. Baha'is, at least in the west, cherish their rights to individually investigate the Writings and have a personal relationship with God. Spirituality is often experienced in Baha'i communities through devotionals and confirmations in our efforts to serve and study together, but our privacy values tend to stop the conversation about spirituality before it pries into the personal experiences of others.

That said, I do see this subject emphasized by many individual Baha'is and Baha'i teachers. David Young promoted a course called Teaching Christians, where baptism and rebirth were highly emphasized. Likewise, I have seen this subject emphasized in works by the Hands of the Cause, though it has been too long since I've read those works for me to cite specific instances.

I don't think I would call this oversight an error on behalf of the Administrative Order, as it likely reflects the current state of what people are comfortable discussing and is not a deliberate effort to stymie the conversation. I would, however, see value in developing a future Ruhi Book comparing spiritual themes in other religions of God with the Baha'i understanding. This Book could be a deeper exploration of Book 1, and could go into subjects such as prayer, rebirth, sacrifice, and other spiritually visceral subjects with greater poignancy. Passages from the Seven Valleys could be particularly useful in such a text.
 
Old 02-16-2016, 12:27 PM   #9
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I would, however, see value in developing a future Ruhi Book comparing spiritual themes in other religions of God with the Baha'i understanding. This Book could be a deeper exploration of Book 1, and could go into subjects such as prayer, rebirth, sacrifice, and other spiritually visceral subjects with greater poignancy. Passages from the Seven Valleys could be particularly useful in such a text.
Oh, I do agree. That was my first idea when I took some Ruhi courses. Instead of doing Book 2 directy after Book 1, I'd like to see Books 1.2, 1.3, 1.4....etc.

I strongly feel that the Ruhi books are too strongly geared towards trying to make people accept the Faith as quickly as possible, as if the Ruhi Books were an assembly line, whereas we actually are encouraged by the House to engage in meaningful discussions. We know that not everyone is ready, but I would so much like to hear people say things like "When you go to the Bahá'ís, you get to understand your own and other faiths and beliefs so much better. They seem to have a clue about what it's all about. We'd better ask them to tell us more about their own beliefs"

What I mean is that the Ruhi books, to my mind, overfeed people too quickly, whereas I believe more in an approach that would stimuate people's craving for more of the same.

gnat
 
Old 02-16-2016, 01:57 PM   #10
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If we were to have physical baptism, who would perform it, a marriage officer?
 
Old 02-16-2016, 02:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
Oh, I do agree. That was my first idea when I took some Ruhi courses. Instead of doing Book 2 directy after Book 1, I'd like to see Books 1.2, 1.3, 1.4....etc.

I strongly feel that the Ruhi books are too strongly geared towards trying to make people accept the Faith as quickly as possible, as if the Ruhi Books were an assembly line, whereas we actually are encouraged by the House to engage in meaningful discussions. We know that not everyone is ready, but I would so much like to hear people say things like "When you go to the Bahá'ís, you get to understand your own and other faiths and beliefs so much better. They seem to have a clue about what it's all about. We'd better ask them to tell us more about their own beliefs"

What I mean is that the Ruhi books, to my mind, overfeed people too quickly, whereas I believe more in an approach that would stimulate people's craving for more of the same.

gnat
It is a gradual process. I see a future where the books branch into different paths, and enough study circles exist for people to choose their subject of interest. Book 1 is still a great introduction text. The rest seem to be in order of immediate importance to the Cause. Once the courses are established at their basic level so as to allow the institutional process to thrive, we should have time to create additional study texts that go beyond the linear model and into fields of common interest.

And in the meantime there are always firesides and home brewed courses. I myself participate in a biweekly study of Islam with other Baha'is, arranged by a Middle Eastern Studies graduate.

Book 9 will be a relief on this front, I hope. I was able to study the first unit during a sort of "beta test," and I perceived the course as an introduction to advanced Baha'i theology. Multiple sections were committed to comparing symbolic language used in various Religions texts, similar to GoaForce's approach in his recent post on mention of animals in the Writings. We were challenged to think of physical language that have spiritual meanings in the Writings, and to try to apply these techniques in our own discussions consciously.
 
Old 02-16-2016, 05:55 PM   #12
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ReedC:

Here are a couple more quotes from 'Abu'l-Baha that I personally find very powerful to add to your compilation on the subject if you are so inclined:

TURN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Know thou, that letter sent to thee by me, was only because of my perfect love for thee and my pity upon thee, for I had the desire that the fragrance of the Holy Spirit, which hath perfumed all regions and imbued the entire body of the world with the Spirit of Life, should pass over thee and abide with thee. Notwithstanding the high position it occupieth, still, with an eloquent tongue, through which the Spirit moveth, hearts are attracted and bosoms burn, it speaketh to the pure hearts and to the good and righteous souls in every spot of the earth. This is the powerful Spirit, the dazzling light, the brilliant star and the overwhelming and universal abundance. And, from its traces, spread and divulged everywhere, thou wilt know and realize its influence and comprehend its radiance. I ask God to expose thee to its fragrance, move thee by its breeze, enkindle thee by its coals of fire and illuminate thee by its brightness. Turn thyself wholly to it--thus thou shalt be enabled to ascertain its influence and power, the strength of its life and the greatness of its confirmation. Verily, I say unto thee, that if for the appearance of that Divine Essence thou desirest to have a definite proof, an indisputable testimony and a strong, convincing evidence, thou must prepare thyself to make thy heart empty and thine eye ready to look only toward the Kingdom of God. Then, at that time, the radiance of that widespread effulgence will descend upon thee successively, and that motion rendered thee by the Holy Spirit will make thee dispense with any other strong evidence that leadeth to the appearance of this Light, because the greatest and strongest proof for showing the abundance of the Spirit to the bodies is the very appearance of its power and influence in those bodies.

INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

I now assure thee, O servant of God, that, if thy mind become empty and pure from every mention and thought and thy heart attracted wholly to the Kingdom of God, forget all else besides God and come in communion with the Spirit of God, then the Holy Spirit will assist thee with a power which will enable thee to penetrate all things, and a Dazzling Spark which enlightens all sides, a Brilliant Flame in the zenith of the heavens, will teach thee that which thou dost not know of the facts of the universe and of the divine doctrine. Verily, I say unto thee, every soul which ariseth today to guide others to the path of safety and infuse in them the Spirit of Life, the Holy Spirit will inspire that soul with evidences, proofs and facts and the lights will shine upon it from the Kingdom of God. Do not forget what I have conveyed unto thee from the breath of the Spirit. Verily, it is the shining morning and the rosy dawn which will impart unto thee the lights, reveal the mysteries and make thee competent in science, and through it the pictures of the Supreme World will be printed in thy heart and the facts of the secrets of the Kingdom of God will shine before thee.

-- Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í World Faith, pp. 368-369
 
Old 02-17-2016, 03:35 AM   #13
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maryamr,

You missed some of the operative clauses or conditions necessary for the second birth. In the quote that you provided, these conditions are:
  • You have acquired the love of God.
  • You have attained to the knowledge of God.

In another quote, also above, the Master lays out the conditions that will prepare us for the second birth:
"By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind, and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence." [emphasis mine]

Baha'u'llah tells us ""Such things have come to pass in the days of every Manifestation of God. Even as Jesus said: "Ye must be born again.""
Well, being born again is not simply acknowledging Christ or Baha'u'llah. In the NT we read "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (NASV, John 1:12-13)
So, merely believing is not enough, believing only gives us the right to become children of God. We, of course, must take action upon this right; e.g., to know God, to love God. However, we cannot choose to be born again, it is of God.
Abdu'l-Baha tells us this as well: "He becomes the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the disciples that they "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" -- that is to say, they were delivered from the animal characteristics and qualities which are the characteristics of human nature, and they became qualified with the divine characteristics, which are the bounty of God. This is the meaning of the second birth."(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 223)[emphasis mine]

The second birth is a basic teaching of all divine religions, as Baha'u'llah tells us. The essential part of all divine religions is the same. So, why is this not taught as one of the first elements of the Baha'i Faith? I don't know the answer, hence I asked the question.

Last edited by ReedC; 02-17-2016 at 04:06 AM.
 
Old 02-17-2016, 04:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReedC View Post
maryamr,

You missed some of the operative clauses or conditions necessary for the second birth. In the quote that you provided, these conditions are:
  • You have acquired the love of God.
  • You have attained to the knowledge of God.

In another quote, also above, the Master lays out the conditions that will prepare us for the second birth:
"By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind, and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence." [emphasis mine]

Baha'u'llah tells us ""Such things have come to pass in the days of every Manifestation of God. Even as Jesus said: "Ye must be born again.""
Well, being born again is not simply acknowledging Christ or Baha'u'llah. In the NT we read "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (NASV, John 1:12-13)
So, merely believing is not enough, believing only gives us the right to become children of God. We, of course, must take action upon this right; e.g., to know God, to love God. However, we cannot choose to be born again, it is of God.
Abdu'l-Baha tells us this as well: "He becomes the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the disciples that they "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" -- that is to say, they were delivered from the animal characteristics and qualities which are the characteristics of human nature, and they became qualified with the divine characteristics, which are the bounty of God. This is the meaning of the second birth."(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 223)[emphasis mine]

The second birth is a basic teaching of all divine religions, as Baha'u'llah tells us. The essential part of all divine religions is the same. So, why is this not taught as one of the first elements of the Baha'i Faith? I don't know the answer, hence I asked the question.
yes. you are right
it is not only believing- by believing I meant that deep true belief which leads into true actions. but you're right. I should have mentioned it completely.
 
Old 02-17-2016, 05:58 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ReedC View Post

In another quote, also above, the Master lays out the conditions that will prepare us for the second birth:
"By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. [I]
Just wanted to share a thought. I presently believe the Faith teaches that our souls continue into future lives regardless of whether we sin, so I take this quote to mean that we are spiritually dead/unawakened until such time as our souls meet these requirements. This could happen in this life or the hereafter. But until this moment of baptism takes place, we are unable to truly grow spiritually. It is the starting point of the Straight Path, it is the gate to the Valley of Knowledge. All these terms mean the same thing to me.
 
Old 02-18-2016, 05:16 AM   #16
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Neal,

I like your qualification, "I presently believe." I must keep that in mind myself (unless you have it copyrighted ).
You said
Quote:
Just wanted to share a thought. I presently believe the Faith teaches that our souls continue into future lives regardless of whether we sin, so I take this quote to mean that we are spiritually dead/unawakened until such time as our souls meet these requirements. This could happen in this life or the hereafter. But until this moment of baptism takes place, we are unable to truly grow spiritually. It is the starting point of the Straight Path, it is the gate to the Valley of Knowledge. All these terms mean the same thing to me.
Let us define some terms. Abdu'l-Baha described man as a tripartite being - spirit, soul, and body. The Guardian corroborated this but mentioned that the terms spirit, soul, and mind, were often mixed up in the translations into English.

The Master tells us that the Spirit of God must resuscitate the spirit of man, then through the enervated spirit, the soul (will, mind, and emotions) will receive spiritual life, gradually, through a growing knowledge of God and sanctification. "Their aim has been no other than the education of the people, so that at the time of death they may depart to the Supreme Friend, with perfect sanctification, purification, and severance."(Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 404)

So, understanding that the human spirit is inherently eternal, as an emanation from God, and the human soul is inherently mortal, as the creation of God, we must in this life, through obedience to God's will for us, sanctify the soul, that is, bring as much of the soul into the Kingdom of God as is possible for us. We each have our potential portion, some more, some less, of sanctification of our souls in this life. "Those souls who are not vivified and attracted by the Holy Spirit, are accounted among the dead, because their souls are deprived of the breath of the Holy Spirit, and these persons after physical death are in a certain condition, having feeling and discernment in their environment, but in comparison with the pure souls who have been vivified by the Holy Spirit, they are as dead and deprived."
Quote:
"The same thing applies to the spirit of man. Though death destroy his body, it has no power over his spirit -- this is eternal, everlasting, both birthless and deathless.
As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God's Mercy.

From the moment the soul leaves the body and arrives in the Heavenly World, its evolution is spiritual, and that evolution is: The approaching unto God.
...
The soul does not evolve from degree to degree as a law -- it only evolves nearer to God, by the Mercy and Bounty of God."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 67)
[emphasis mine]
So, I think, at present, that the soul of man does not alter after death. The soul may, or may not, grow closer to God, depending upon God's Mercy and Bounty.
Thanks.

Last edited by ReedC; 02-18-2016 at 05:19 AM.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 02:01 AM   #17
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One ought not understand the Writings except by Their own light, and to expect Them to dance to the tune of a rather particular understanding of a previous dispensation is like sending a dull student to instruct an ideal teacher.

Spiritual death (in the Faith) does not imply the eventual annihilation of the soul but simply refers to a relative lack of spirituality. Furthermore, the soul is an eternal bestowal which progresses in all the worlds of God:-

"And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of 156 God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure." - Bahá’u’lláh
Bahá'í Reference Library - Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Pages 155-158

Rebirth in this age - in brief - entails a process of growing within the Faith, so there are degrees of 'life' even among 'living' souls of similar capacity.

Robert

Last edited by Robert; 02-19-2016 at 02:22 AM.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 03:15 AM   #18
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Robert,

You said
Quote:
One ought not understand the Writings except by Their own light, and to expect Them to dance to the tune of a rather particular understanding of a previous dispensation is like sending a dull student to instruct an ideal teacher.
If you look carefully in the Baha'i Writings, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and the Guardian all quoted the words of Jesus regarding being born again, so it is not just from a previous dispensation, it is from the present dispensation as well. Also, all divine religions are of two parts:
Quote:
Each divine revelation is divided into two parts. The first part is essential and belongs to the eternal world. It is the expression of the love of God, the knowledge of God. This is one in all the religions, unchangeable and immutable. The second part is not eternal; it deals with practical life, transactions and business and changes according to the evolution of man and the requirements of the time of each prophet. (from Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 150)
So, the spiritual elements of Christianity are the same as the Baha'i Faith. Only the "mundane laws" differ.

As for your quote regarding the soul from Gleanings, the Guardian translated Gleanings. The Guardian's stated preference for the tripartite nature of man was "soul, mind, and body", while the Master preferred "spirit, soul, and body." Hence, the term "soul" in that quote refers to the spirit of man, an emanation from God which is immortal, eternal, and unchanging. Note, the progress is towards God, but the state and condition of the spirit never alters.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 04:12 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ReedC View Post
Robert,

You said

If you look carefully in the Baha'i Writings, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and the Guardian all quoted the words of Jesus regarding being born again, so it is not just from a previous dispensation, it is from the present dispensation as well.
My point is that we even the Jesus we know is Jesus as understood from the perspective of the Baha'i Faith. There are lots of other versions. For instance, even one who married Mary Madeline, and one who traveled to India. Each Christian sect has its own Jesus.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ReedC View Post
Also, all divine religions are of two parts:

So, the spiritual elements of Christianity are the same as the Baha'i Faith. Only the "mundane laws" differ.

As for your quote regarding the soul from Gleanings, the Guardian translated Gleanings. The Guardian's stated preference for the tripartite nature of man was "soul, mind, and body", while the Master preferred "spirit, soul, and body." Hence, the term "soul" in that quote refers to the spirit of man, an emanation from God which is immortal, eternal, and unchanging. Note, the progress is towards God, but the state and condition of the spirit never alters.
To be clear, progression is until the soul reaches the presence of God (that is, the presence of Bahá’u’lláh) and attains "a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter." This meaning is confirmed by a nearby sentence: "When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation." It is illogical to say something progresses yet does not alter, and it does not help if the manifest intention of a Passage is ignored. Your understanding that the soul may actually perish, which you say is Shoghi Effendi's, is really just your own and is not consistent with 'mainstream' (for want of a better word) understanding, but you are entitled to believe as you wish.

Robert

Last edited by Robert; 02-19-2016 at 09:19 AM.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 06:29 AM   #20
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Robert,

You have me confused now. You said:
Quote:
My point is that we even the Jesus we know is Jesus as understood from the perspective of the Baha'i Faith. There are lots of other versions. For instance, even one who married Mary Madeline, and one who traveled to India. Each Christian sect has its own Jesus.
I was speaking of the words of Jesus as recorded and translated into English, probably in the KJV (which the Guardian always kept close to hand). Baha'u'llah and the Master were speaking of those words. What do the various human notions about the person of the man Jesus have to do with the words which Baha'u'llah tells us are true?
It is like saying we cannot trust the recorded words of Baha'u'llah because one person says He was 5'4" in height and another says He was 5'8".
Very confusing.

Please point out to me where I said "that the soul may actually perish." The term "mortal soul" is not my own --
Quote:
Grant them the soul immortal; enrich them above the world, and detach them from the world; usher them into the tent of Thy Kingdom and give them a portion of the divine bounty.
Bestow upon them the everlasting life and bless them with the new teachings. (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 34)
Abdu'l-Baha never said that souls perished, nevertheless, he often spoke of, and prayed for, immortality being bestowed upon souls.

You said:
Quote:
This meaning is confirmed by a nearby sentence: "When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation." It is illogical to say something progresses yet does not alter, and it does not help if the manifest intention of a Passage is ignored.
Okay, so, if I get in my car and drive twenty feet, when I step out of my car, I have (spatially) progressed, but to all observers I have not been altered.
I repeat the words of the Master:
Quote:
"The same thing applies to the spirit of man. Though death destroy his body, it has no power over his spirit -- this is eternal, everlasting, both birthless and deathless.

As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God's Mercy.

From the moment the soul leaves the body and arrives in the Heavenly World, its evolution is spiritual, and that evolution is: The approaching unto God.

In the physical creation, evolution is from one degree of perfection to another. The mineral passes with its mineral perfections to the vegetable; the vegetable, with its perfections, passes to the animal world, and so on to that of humanity. This world is full of seeming contradictions; in each of these kingdoms (mineral, vegetable and animal) life exists in its degree; though when compared to the life in a man, the earth appears to be dead, yet she, too, lives and has a life of her own. In this world things live and die, and live again in other forms of life, but in the world of the spirit it is quite otherwise.

The soul does not evolve from degree to degree as a law -- it only evolves nearer to God, by the Mercy and Bounty of God."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 67)
So, the soul is not changing after death, in state or condition, "...it only evolves nearer to God, by the Mercy and Bounty of God."

Now, let us examine the your implication that I ignored "the manifest intention of a Passage." Here is your passage set into its context:
Quote:
"When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation. Such an existence is a contingent and not an absolute existence, inasmuch as the former is preceded by a cause, whilst the latter is independent thereof. Absolute existence is strictly confined to God, exalted be His glory." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)
So, when the soul (a.k.a., spirit) reaches the Presence of God, God will, as He wishes, alter the form of the spirit to that which best fits it. This says nothing about any alteration of the spirit or soul as it progresses toward God. As we know from the Master's statement above, the soul does not alter in the next worlds, it only changes in nearness to God, if God so wills. If the soul is shriveled from no contact with the spirit of God in the earthly life, thus it remains. That is why we have the possibility of the second birth in this life. That is also why the Baha'i websites should present this teaching of the second birth.
That is my present understanding.

Last edited by ReedC; 02-19-2016 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Added paragraph in quote
 
Old 02-19-2016, 10:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ReedC View Post
Robert,

If the soul is shriveled from no contact with the spirit of God in the earthly life, thus it remains.
Oh dear! It is clear that even those who have died in sin and unbelief have a volitional mind (a consciously aspiring soul) in the next world which they may employ for their own advancement - just as they can in this world:-

"Are not all the people in that [the next] world the creatures of God? Therefore, in that world also they [those who have died in sin and unbelief] can make progress. As here they can receive light by their supplications, there also they can plead for forgiveness and receive light through entreaties and supplications. Thus as souls in this world, through the help of the supplications, the entreaties and the prayers of the holy ones, can acquire development, so is it the same after death. Through their own prayers and supplications they can also progress, more especially when they are the object of the intercession of the Holy Manifestations." (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 232)

If they were to be dealt with according to strict justice, they would perish, thus the mercy of God is stressed:-

".. they may become the object of pardon through the bounty of God, not through His justice — for bounty is giving without desert, and justice is giving what is deserved ..." (Ibid.)

That is true in this world, too.

Robert

Last edited by Robert; 02-19-2016 at 11:55 AM.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 12:55 PM   #22
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Some additional ideas here

The Judeo-Christian tradition speaks of salvation in terms of the theme of bondage and liberation, whether this theme depicted the historical enslavement and emancipation of the Hebrew people, or the burdened soul who turned to God or Christ for release. Bahá'u'lláh, too, speaks this same language of bondage and liberation when He, in turn, proclaims His empowerment to release the captive soul: "He is indeed a captive who hath not recognized the Supreme Redeemer, but hath suffered his soul to be bound, distressed and helpless, in the fetters of his desires." (Gleanings 169) His grand redemptive role is further stated in these verses: "We, verily, have come for your sakes, and have borne the misfortunes of the world for your salvation." (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh 10) Unlike Protestant Christianity, however, there is no one mystical, characteristic, conversion experience in the Bahá'í Faith that is encouraged as the norm for "being saved".

While a Bahá'í may be confident in the salvation of his soul, the Bahá'í Faith warns against self-righteousness. There is nothing automatic in the process of salvation, even for the one who has lived righteously. All our acts, the Bahá'í Faith affirms, are conditioned upon the good-pleasure of God. Believers can and do change. The most ardent believer can sometimes grow cold. On the other hand, the non-believer who was once most contemptuous of God, can become steadfast in faith.


The discussion of salvation could be initiated at two familiar poles, that of the individual soul and the world, or individual and universal salvation respectively. It is in some ways artificial to divide individual salvation from universal salvation, since much of what is said about the one can be applied to the other. When Bahá'í scripture speaks of individual or universal salvation, it speaks the covenantal language inherited from the prophets of the past, an urgent language of proclamation that speaks of eschatological fulfillment, warning and judgement, redemption and second birth, the kingdom and eternal life. The very familiarity of these age-old phrases may tend to blunt us to their presence. Whatever the present or past associations of these words, however, they are conspicuously present in the Bahá'í writings.

The basic meaning of individual salvation for a Bahá'í would be when the individual soul has faith ("conscious knowledge") in Bahá'u'lláh. This conscious knowledge includes the recognition of Bahá'u'lláh's station as the Divine Manifestation of God for our age, as well the practice of goodly deeds, deeds which are based on the observance of His teachings and laws in a spirit of love and sincerity for God, His Manifestation, and humankind. The knowledge of God is fundamental in the Bahá'í view to the process of salvation.

by Jack McLean, The Concept of Salvation

The Concept of Salvation | Welcome to MARKINGS, the website of Jack (J.A.) McLean
 
Old 02-19-2016, 01:34 PM   #23
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The full context is useful.
Quote:
It is even possible for those who have died in sin and unbelief to be transformed, that is, to become the object of divine forgiveness. This is through the grace of God and not through His justice, for grace is to bestow without desert, and justice is to give that which is deserved. As we have the power to pray for those souls here, so too will we have the same power in the next world, he world of the Kingdom. Are not all the creatures in that world the creation of God? They must therefore be able to progress in that world as well. And just as they can seek illumination here through supplication, so too can they plead there for forgiveness and seek illumination through prayer and supplication. Thus, as souls can progress in this world through their entreaties and supplications, or through the prayers of holy souls, so too after death can they progress through their own prayers and supplications, particularly if they become the object of the intercession of the holy Manifestations.
So, the Some Answered Questions passage seems to disagree in part with the passage in Paris Talks. As both are Authoritative Writings, it is a bit of a conundrum. What we do know for certain from both of the passages is that there is no automatic progression, either in condition or nearness to God. The Master said that it is "even possible for those who have died in sin and unbelief to be transformed, that is, to become the object of divine forgiveness." "Even possible" does not sound like a ringing endorsement. After all, those persons did not seek illumination while in the temporal world; it seems unlikely that they would alter their practices in the next world. They may "hate the light." Thus, unless one who died in unbelief begins to supplicate God, he will remain in his current state; indeed, even supplication does not guarantee God's mercy.

There are some who can never progress. As Abdu'l-Baha tells us in Some Answered Questions:
Quote:
If a soul distances himself from the Manifestation, he may yet be awakened, for he may have failed to know Him and to recognize Him as the Embodiment of the divine perfections. But if he loathes the divine perfections themselves, which are the Holy Spirit, this shows that, bat-like, he is a hater of the light.

This hatred of the light itself is irremediable and unforgivable; that is, it is impossible for such a soul to draw near to God. This lamp here is a lamp because of its light; without the light it would not be a lamp. A soul that abhors the light of the lamp is, as it were, blind and cannot perceive the
light, and this blindness is the cause of eternal deprivation.

It is evident that souls receive grace from the outpourings of the Holy Spirit which are apparent in the Manifestations of God, and not from the individual personality of the Manifestation. It follows that if a soul fails to partake of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit, it remains deprived of God’s grace, and this deprivation itself is equivalent to the denial of divine forgiveness.

That is why there have been many souls who opposed the Manifestations of God, not realizing that They were Manifestations, but who became Their friends once they had recognized Them. Thus, enmity towards the Manifestation of God was not the cause of eternal deprivation, for they
were enemies of the candleholder and knew not that it was the seat of God’s effulgent light. They were not the enemies of the light itself, and once they understood that the candleholder was the seat of the light, they became true friends.

Our meaning is that remoteness from the candleholder is not the cause of eternal deprivation, for one may yet be awakened and guided aright, but that enmity towards the light itself is the cause of eternal deprivation and has no remedy.
We don't know how many of those who enter the next world in unbelief are haters of the light; it is idle to speculate. However, this does indicate that not all those whose silver cord has been severed will progress, or even have the possibility to progress, in the next worlds.
"In the same way the punishments of the other world, that is to say, the torments of the other world, consist in being deprived of the special divine blessings and the absolute bounties, and falling into the lowest degrees of existence. He who is deprived of these divine favors, although he continues after death, is considered as dead by the people of truth."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 324)
Do you not think it would be better for the Administrative Order, through websites and Ruhi courses, to tell us of the second birth, that we may know the Kingdom while in this world? It can do great good and no harm; else Baha'u'llah and the Exemplar would not have made such mention of it.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 01:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
The basic meaning of individual salvation for a Bahá'í would be when the individual soul has faith ("conscious knowledge") in Bahá'u'lláh. This conscious knowledge includes the recognition of Bahá'u'lláh's station as the Divine Manifestation of God for our age, as well the practice of goodly deeds, deeds which are based on the observance of His teachings and laws in a spirit of love and sincerity for God, His Manifestation, and humankind. The knowledge of God is fundamental in the Bahá'í view to the process of salvation.
The knowledge of God is necessary, but the true knowledge is only provided, by grace, through the Spirit of God. Thus the Master tells us:
Quote:
"By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind, and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence."
You said:
Quote:
Unlike Protestant Christianity, however, there is no one mystical, characteristic, conversion experience in the Bahá'í Faith that is encouraged as the norm for "being saved".
Not a specific, characteristic experience that either the individual or the community can point to; yet clearly, as noted above, the second birth, baptism by the Holy Spirit, is experiential. Perhaps some might perceive the experience in their lives; others may not. The Writings are not clear on anything but the need for the second birth.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 01:54 PM   #25
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So, the Some Answered Questions passage seems to disagree in part with the passage in Paris Talks. As both are Authoritative Writings, it is a bit of a conundrum.
Sorry to nitpick and go off topic. Paris Talks are not Authoritative, according to the Guardian. Some Answered Questions is, though.

Carry on!
 
Old 02-19-2016, 01:59 PM   #26
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Perhaps it is impossible to progress while one holds on to enmity towards the light. But also, perhaps one can choose to relinquish that enmity in the hereafter. Could not such souls receive God's Mercy?

Perhaps this is the logic that caused many Catholics to embrace the concept purgatory.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 02:18 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ReedC View Post
The full context is useful.


So, the Some Answered Questions passage seems to disagree in part with the passage in Paris Talks. As both are Authoritative Writings, it is a bit of a conundrum. What we do know for certain from both of the passages is that there is no automatic progression, either in condition or nearness to God. The Master said that it is "even possible for those who have died in sin and unbelief to be transformed, that is, to become the object of divine forgiveness." "Even possible" does not sound like a ringing endorsement. After all, those persons did not seek illumination while in the temporal world; it seems unlikely that they would alter their practices in the next world. They may "hate the light." Thus, unless one who died in unbelief begins to supplicate God, he will remain in his current state; indeed, even supplication does not guarantee God's mercy.

[...]

We don't know how many of those who enter the next world in unbelief are haters of the light; it is idle to speculate. However, this does indicate that not all those whose silver cord has been severed will progress, or even have the possibility to progress, in the next worlds.
And Christ says exactly the same as 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Some Answered Questions:

And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
(Matt 12:31-32)

Only those who hate the light, the very Source, cannot be forgiven. Fascinating that Christ and 'Abdu'l-Bahá say exactly the same thing.

gnat
 
Old 02-19-2016, 03:34 PM   #28
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Paris Talks was not considered authoritative because the Guardian did not have the original Persian notes. Obviously, over time the texts were found as the House considers Paris Talks to be authoritative. See http://www.bahai.org/library/authori...ts/abdul-baha/

The Guardian thought very highly of Paris Talks, for example:
Quote:
In regard to certain matters you raised in your letters: he does not consider it necessary to publish at present "This Earth One Country"; there are other books more urgently needed by the German friends such as "Some Answered Questions" and the "Paris Talks" of the Master." (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 160)
And Paris Talks was signed off on by the Master -
Quote:
While He [the Master] was in America she went to Mount Pelerin, in Switzerland, to edit the rough notes of "Paris Talks", had them sent to Him for correction and had the book published in time for His second visit when He signed and gave away many copies.(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 469)

Last edited by ReedC; 02-19-2016 at 03:37 PM. Reason: fix link
 
Old 02-19-2016, 04:58 PM   #29
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Reed, I have always understood hatred of the light to be covenant breaking, and I see the scholar Moomen has the same view: Covenant, The, and Covenant-breaker
I find no reason to change my understanding after reading pages 127-128 in SAQ. Indeed, the reverse is true.

It seems very obvious logic to say that if "All that which ye potentially possess can [...] be manifested only as a result of your own volition" (Gleanings p. 149), movement towards the light is not possible for a hater of it. However, I sense that you will not be susceptible to the charms of my logic - or much else I say - so I will now leave this discussion.

Best wishes,
Robert
 
Old 02-19-2016, 07:07 PM   #30
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Robert,
You said:
Quote:
Reed, I have always understood hatred of the light to be covenant breaking, and I see the scholar Moomen has the same view: Covenant, The, and Covenant-breaker
I find no reason to change my understanding after reading pages 127-128 in SAQ. Indeed, the reverse is true.
But Moojan Momen wrote:
Quote:
`Abdu'l-Bahá states that there are two aspects to the Manifestations of God. There is the physical form and personality, which `Abdu'l-Bahá likens to the lamp, and the Holy Spirit that dwells within, which `Abdu'l-Bahá likens to the light. If one turns away from a particular lamp, this act can be forgiven as it may be that one is mistaken or unaware of that from which one has turned away and one may yet be led to the light. But if a person hates the light itself and rejects it, then that person cannot be guided and is unreceptive to the mercy and forgiveness of God (SAQ 31:127-8).
Then he later defines Covenant-breaking, thusly:
Quote:
From this it would appear that a definition of Covenant-breaking would be: "willful opposition to the authorized center of the Bahá'í Faith (or any other religion), despite a conscious knowledge and understanding of the spiritual station of that center."
The hater of the Holy Spirit does not have to oppose the authorized center of the Faith, for the hater may not recognize that the particular center, e.g., the House of Justice, is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Further, there is no suggestion in the SAQ verses that the hater of the light actively opposes anything, he abhors the light of the lamp, not the lamp itself. The Covenant-breaker, according to Momen, will oppose the House itself.
Just my understanding.

Last edited by ReedC; 02-20-2016 at 11:00 AM.
 
Old 02-20-2016, 07:52 PM   #31
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Hi, Reed.

This is tangential to your OP, but I don't understand this quote you shared (copied below for clarity) to mean that the Master signed off on Paris Talks but rather physical copies of Paris Talks. I see His signing of the books as simply providing His autograph rather than formally giving the talks the same authority as tablets.

Quote:
While He [the Master] was in America she went to Mount Pelerin, in Switzerland, to edit the rough notes of "Paris Talks", had them sent to Him for correction and had the book published in time for His second visit when He signed and gave away many copies.(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 469)
Also, as far as I know, only some of the talks have been authenticated, at least as of 1987:

Quote:
For many of His addresses included in "The Promulgation of Universal Peace" and "Paris Talks", for example, no original authenticated text has yet been found.
- From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 23 March 1987
 
Old 02-21-2016, 07:37 AM   #32
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Joined: Aug 2015
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Posts: 26
Hi Clex19,

By "signed off on" I meant that he received the edited talks for correction. I assumed that the Talks would not have been published until after the Master had sent back the corrected documents; thus providing His imprimatur. It is an assumption, but reasonably safe.

Yes, in 1987 that was the case. However, today the House lists Paris Talks as authoritative, so something has changed.

Another question is "Which of the Some Answered Questions translations is now authoritative, the first translation, or the 2014 translation?"

Regards,
Reed
 
Old 02-27-2016, 12:33 AM   #33
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From: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posts: 676
The new translation of Some Answered Questions is certainly better than the old one. This text is authoritative because Abdu'l-Baha corrected the Persian notes of these talks.

As for Paris Talks, I know of nothing to suggest it is authoritative. I do think its history is complex, and that in at least some cases it appears that the first English and French texts have been edited by someone who knew what Abdu'l-Baha had said in Persian. But I can only deduce this for some talks, and where there are Persian notes -- and in that case the conclusion is redundant, because having found the Persian notes the correct thing to do is translate them, and abandon the Paris Talks version however close or far it may be from what Abdu'l-Baha said in Persian.

That's the catch 22 -- if we cannot locate Persian notes, the English version is not authenticated, it is pilgrim's notes; if we can locate Persian notes, the English version based on what the interpreter said is not needed.
 
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