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Old 05-03-2017, 07:53 AM   #1
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Will there more opportunities for evil people after this life?

Hi friends

Considering the Bahai doctrine on the immortality of human soul, I would like to know what is the Bahai stance on the fate of people who in this life show a systematic, deliberate rejection of all that is good and divine.

Will their souls find successive chances for repentance after this life, or is this their only chance and will spend eternity away from God?
 
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:44 AM   #2
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Good question. Maybe there are career opportunities over there - like becoming a dark angel, a demon or just an ordinary evil spirit.

Best

from

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 05-03-2017 at 10:53 AM.
 
Old 05-03-2017, 01:30 PM   #3
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Yes, indeed!

Now, the bottom of the question is whether you can't get too evil as to close the opportunities to learn.

This is not only important for really evil people like the torturers of bahais in Iran or of Jews in Nazi Germany... it is important for people like you and me who are common sinners.
Can I have the assurance that, whatever my current flaws, I can still advance in eternal life?
For example, I was not as good father. I spent with my daughters less time that I should... I was not a role model. My daughters are now 22 and 21 and their character is already formed, for good and bad.
I am now 50. If I die tomorrow out of a heart attack, for example, I don't know whether I will have any chance in eternity to learn how to become a good father or I basically missed my chance.

My reasoning is that, since there is no reincarnation, this life is what I get.
But then, will I get over my defficient fatherhood someway, someday? In Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol", after being comended by three spirits, Scrooge finds himself still alive and with a new chance to love. He then rejoices in his new, incredible opportunity, and starts hopping and laughing as a child.
I want the kind of chance Dickens gave his character.
But how can I repent from being a bad father, if I have no way to prove to the Lord I have repented?

Maybe the Lord needs no proof, because He will know I understand the cause of my sin and feel sorry for it.
But, is it all about understanding and feelings?
If so, then any sinner (say, a murderer) will have an eternity to learn why he sinned, understand their errors, feel pain and then repent.
In few words, if you have an eternity to spend in the hereafter, and a Merciful God, all mankind will in the end, sooner or later, come to the Light with pure heart.

In the big picture, in the divine scale of things, maybe there is no "true evil" but sort of temporary blindness. There is no everlasting hell, but a transient deviation from the Divine Path.

What do you think?

Last edited by camachoe; 05-03-2017 at 01:54 PM.
 
Old 05-03-2017, 05:21 PM   #4
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There are many references in the Baha'i Writings to the subject of the condition of the soul in the next world, and how we should prepare ourselves while we are alive in this world. Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha also talk about how God is merciful and can forgive sins even at the hour of death, and that we can pray for those who have died so they can advance in the next world. That shows progress is possible even after death. Here is one reference, there are many others:
Bahá'í Reference Library - Some Answered Questions, Pages 241-243
 
Old 05-04-2017, 08:17 AM   #5
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Thank you, Jcc, for this reference.


There are so many references to the unfathomable mercifulness of God, that I am inclined to believe that, at some point of our eternal progress, we all ( I mean, all) will come to participate fully of his Beauty and Oneness.

I must admit, though, that this brings a potential problem: if given enough time I will progress anyway, why to bother in developing my character on this Earth?

If I was created to know and workship God, and if I will sooner or later come to know Him and workship Him, why to bother to start doing it on this mortal life?

It would seem more reasonable to think that this life presents unique opportunities of learning that necessarily require a body, and that if not seized, I will indeed MISS and never ever see again. Therefore, this short bodily life is as important and precious as the eternal spiritual afterlife.

What do you all think of this?

Last edited by camachoe; 05-04-2017 at 08:22 AM.
 
Old 05-05-2017, 11:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
...more reasonable to think that this life presents unique opportunities of learning that necessarily require a body, and that if not seized, I will indeed MISS and never ever see again...
That's what I've gotten from the Sacred Texts, the idea that our life on this plane is analogous to that of our life as a fetus on our mothers, and how we developed there affected enormously our lives here. Likewise our development here will have a tremendous affect on the next.

Carrying the analogy further we consider that as our experiances here would be incomprehensible to an unborn child, likewise the nature of the next world is far beyond our ken.
 
Old 05-05-2017, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
In Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol", after being comended by three spirits, Scrooge finds himself still alive and with a new chance to love. He then rejoices in his new, incredible opportunity, and starts hopping and laughing as a child.
I want the kind of chance Dickens gave his character.
Actually, you DO have the chance that Dickens gave his character. You have today. You have this moment. You can change, if you choose. And do NOT wait to be visited by three spirits! It is a huge mistake to wait for something so dramatic, especially when you are already clearly aware of a problem.

What really happened to Scrooge? Do you think he spent the end of his life worrying about all that he had done or failed to do? Or did he rejoice in the chance to make the most of the days he had left? I think it was the latter. That was the whole point of the story.

Your children are still your children, and they will never stop being your children. Be the best father you can be today, right now. Learn from the mistakes you feel you've made, but don't let regret cripple you. Do what you can. It may take time and effort, but if you sincerely try I hope you will feel absolved of any lingering regret. Remember, too, that if you feel you missed your chance with your own children, there are always grandchildren. But again, if you want the chance to be a good grandfather, it will be much easier to do by being the best father you can be today...

Last edited by Scribe; 05-05-2017 at 06:01 PM.
 
Old 05-06-2017, 03:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pete in Panama View Post
That's what I've gotten from the Sacred Texts, the idea that our life on this plane is analogous to that of our life as a fetus on our mothers, and how we developed there affected enormously our lives here. Likewise our development here will have a tremendous affect on the next.

Carrying the analogy further we consider that as our experiances here would be incomprehensible to an unborn child, likewise the nature of the next world is far beyond our ken.
Yes!
 
Old 05-06-2017, 04:19 PM   #9
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Thank you very much, scribe.
I Will make the most of the days that God will give me.
 
Old 05-14-2017, 02:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Hi friends

Considering the Bahai doctrine on the immortality of human soul, I would like to know what is the Bahai stance on the fate of people who in this life show a systematic, deliberate rejection of all that is good and divine.

Will their souls find successive chances for repentance after this life, or is this their only chance and will spend eternity away from God?
The people of Bahá, who are the inmates of the Ark of God, are, one and all, well aware of one another’s state and condition, and are united in the bonds of intimacy and fellowship. Such a state, however, must depend upon their faith and their conduct. They that are of the same grade and station are fully aware of one another’s capacity, character, accomplishments and merits. They that are of a lower grade, however, are incapable of comprehending adequately the station, or of estimating the merits, of those that rank above them. Each shall receive his share from thy Lord. Blessed is the man that hath turned his face towards God, and walked steadfastly in His love, until his soul hath winged its flight unto God, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Most Powerful, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.
The souls of the infidels, however, shall—and to this I bear witness—when breathing their last be made aware of the good things that have escaped them, and shall bemoan their plight, and shall humble themselves before God. They shall continue doing so after the separation of their souls from their bodies.

It is clear and evident that all men shall, after their physical death, estimate the worth of their deeds, and realize all that their hands have wrought. I swear by the Day Star that shineth above the horizon of Divine power! They that are the followers of the one true God shall, the moment they depart out of this life, experience such joy and gladness as would be impossible to describe, while they that live in error shall be seized with such fear and trembling, and shall be filled with such consternation, as nothing can exceed. Well is it with him that hath quaffed the choice and incorruptible wine of faith through the gracious favor and the manifold bounties of Him Who is the Lord of all Faiths....

Gleanings, p. 169.

And elsewhere:

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.
Gleanings, p. 155

One strongly suggests reading what follows this quote. Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá?u?lláh. This excerpt, however, seems to imply that all souls will continue to progress, and that implication appears, to these eyes, to be borne out, by implication, in much else in the Writings - Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Of course, it must be accepted that this is one's own view, and that it is quite possible that it may be wrong.

With warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 05-17-2017, 01:38 AM   #11
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Greetings Camachoe,

This is an interesting question because we have been informed that comprehension of the soul is beyond our understanding. So naturally it can be rather difficult to approach this topic. The best we can do is offer conjecture. However as this topic is so relevant to some people, I have come to understand that we have a duty of care to at least offer something plausible on this matter, otherwise there can be no point in promoting a Bahá'í way of life.

While the Bahá'í Faith accepts the principle of equality, 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained that humans are more or less equal to one another. In other words we are only equal with one another in relationship to the human condition when compared with any other species in lower kingdoms like minerals, plants and animals for instance. So our equality is actually variable by degrees. This is why no two humans are ever the same. It is from this concept we can understand why humans have different capacities from one another. However it is not our capacity that defines us, rather how well we reach our capacity. So for instance if we place a 1 gallon container next to a 100 gallon container, we can say that the 100 gallon container has more capacity than the 1 gallon container, but if the 100 gallon container is only half full and the 1 gallon container is full, then the 1 gallon container can be said to have reached its full capacity and thus has achieved its purpose for what it was created for. Likewise, in human terms, our capacity is quite meaningless without the application of the will to achieve our full measure. As we do not know anyone's capacity we are unable to judge anyone's accomplishments relative to their capacity. This is why it is better to simply foster a positive environment that encourages personal growth for all. It is not a question of being right or wrong, because these are really crude concepts, rather it is more important to allow people to embrace personal growth, because it is through such growth we learn to view things in less confrontational ways.

The Guardian once explained to some of the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh that a Bahá'í was considered equal to ten-thousand non-believers. While this might appear an astounding comparison we need to temper this with the consequences of not reaching our capacity. 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained that hell was the realisation of a lost opportunity. So if we combine these two concepts together it could be argued that it is actually more terrifying to be a Bahá'í who has done nothing to promote spiritual values in this world as opposed to being a non-believer who has. It is simple a matter a perspective, nothing more than this because all life inevitably comes to an end in a transient world.

With regards to the next world, as Pete has pointed out, we are informed that all human souls progress towards a plain of existence that Bahá'ís know of as the 'Abhá Kingdom. It is an extension of our material world, rather like our world is an extension of the womb. Like a fetus can sense the world outside of the womb, we can sense the next world too, even if we cannot directly observe it. In the same way the placenta functions to materially create a human from an attached fertilised egg to exist in our world, our body function as a home to house our mind that helps us to spiritually develop our soul for the next world. We are informed that a soul comes into being at the point of conception, so it is the only core component of our very being that traverses through embryonic development, human experience and into the next world with us.

While the Bahá'í Writings offer very little about the next world, it has been explained to us that it is more difficult to progress without having achieved the spiritual qualities we need to develop within this life. So as a child embryo develops within the womb of its mother to be born into our world, we develop within this world to be born into the next world too. This progress however is based upon the extent to which we reach our capacity. So we have now come full circle.

On a point of interest, the Guardian explained in a letter to one individual that there is no need to directly teach the Bahá'í Faith to those that are brain damaged because such individuals are already under God's protection. As I was arguably in such a position myself once, I can personally relate to this, but rather than viewing it as a spiritual exemption, which is common with those that read about this, it is a spiritual intensity that can be extremely difficult to articulate to others because it is like reverting back to fetal perception, so one views the world rather like being back in the womb once again. There is one late Bahá'í that like me obtained a short glimpse into this unique world even though this element of his story is rarely spoken about. He sustained a fatal injury during the Great War, was considered dead by the medics and his body was laid out to rest with the rows of dead. Later his body started to resuscitate, his injuries began to bleed once again and a vigilant medic noticed this and had him removed to be hospitalised. His name was Richard St. Barbe Baker, affectionately known as St. Barbe and he was later given the title Man of the Trees by a U.S. President. Despite his families horticultural heritage with trees, it was this spiritual experience that compelled him to work towards raising people's spiritual awareness on the importance of trees. To a developing embryo within the womb they view the placenta branching out like being under a tree and to all intensive purposes it is like being under the shelter of a Manifestation of God. This is why standing under a tree and looking up towards the sky can naturally remind us of our prenatal experience. In the same way brain damaged people are placed under the protection of God in our world, I have come to believe that the same is likely to transpire to spiritually damaged people within the next world too. This is how I have come to personally rationalise the consequences of being an evil doer in this world. Namely I believe they will be placed under the protection of God and be locked within the perception of living within our world until they are ready to progress. But of course I could be completely wrong because just like everyone else I can only be guided by my own experience.

Think about your own unique experiences and be assured that you will develop a perception about this matter too. It does not matter whether you are right or wrong, but at least you will have something to share with those that have deep concerns about this matter and it might help to comfort them so they can move forward in life. Some people are simply paralysed with the notion of injustice in this world and this can even be inherited through the way their ancestors were treated. In relationship to Native Americans this is now a recognised medical condition and it can be experienced in any group of people that have been openly persecuted. Indeed it can also apply to the descendants of Iranian Bahá'ís too. It can promote intense depression and is an illness in its own right. Ultimately we need to view teaching and healing as being one and the same. As experiencing injustice can harm people's mental state, it is important to understand how justice can be applied to those that have departed from this world without facing redress.

I will leave you with an interesting Ted presentation by Annie Murphy Paul on how a fetus develops based on its experiences within the womb because it also quite illuminating on how we might be developing for life in the next world too https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=stngBN4hp14

Earth

Last edited by Earth; 05-17-2017 at 01:43 AM.
 
Old 05-17-2017, 05:22 AM   #12
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......Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law of motion, it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul, there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and progress alone constitute the motion of the soul........


........In the world of spirit there is no retrogression. The world of mortality is a world of contradictions, of opposites; motion being compulsory everything must either go forward or retreat. In the realm of spirit there is no retreat possible, all movement is bound to be towards a perfect state. "Progress" is the expression of spirit in the world of matter. The intelligence of man, his reasoning powers, his knowledge, his scientific achievements, all these being manifestations of the spirit, partake of the inevitable law of spiritual progress and are, therefore, of necessity, immortal.......


Abdu'l-Baha', Paris Talks: Addresses Given by Abdu'l-Baha' in Paris in 1911, 1969.


Happily, the progress of the soul in the Kingdom, is forward towards perfection.

Loving regards,
Becky

Last edited by becky; 05-17-2017 at 06:37 AM.
 
Old 05-17-2017, 06:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Earth View Post
Greetings Camachoe,

This is how I have come to personally rationalise the consequences of being an evil doer in this world. Namely I believe they will be placed under the protection of God and be locked within the perception of living within our world until they are ready to progress. But of course I could be completely wrong because just like everyone else I can only be guided by my own experience.
Thank you very much for your opinion on this matter, Earth.
You presented it with humility, warmth and intelligence and for sure it has helped me.

I share your view on the ultimate progress of every human soul, even if it happens at different rates and different ways, according to their readiness.
The concept of "readiness" is very interesting and speaks loudly about a Merciful, All Knowing, Loving God.

Ultimately, we should do what is good and avoid of what is evil not because we pursue a prize or fear a punishment, but because we care about our own development and well being.

In the past, when mankind was at its infancy, prophets used to use metaphors of heaven and hell, prizes and punishments, in the same way we teach little children about the rationale for being good.

As mankind grows into adolescence and adulthood, we understand the rationale for being good in terms of natural consequences... what is good for us in the long (very long) term.
 
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