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Old 04-21-2009, 01:31 AM   #1
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Baha'i Teachings - Social principles and Covenant

Baha'i Teachings
Shoghi Effendi, the appointed head of the religion from 1921 to 1957, wrote the following summary of what he considered to be the distinguishing principles of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, which, he said, together with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas constitute the bed-rock of the Bahá'í Faith:

"The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of humankind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements [which Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed]."

Social principles
The following principles are frequently listed as a quick summary of the Bahá'í teachings. They are derived from transcripts of speeches given by `Abdu'l-Bahá during his tour of Europe and North America in 1912. The list is not authoritative and a variety of such lists circulate:
  • Unity of God
  • Unity of religion
  • Unity of humankind
  • Equality between men and women
  • Elimination of all forms of prejudice
  • World peace
  • Harmony of religion and science
  • Independent investigation of truth
  • Universal compulsory education
  • Universal auxiliary language
  • Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics
  • Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty

With specific regard to the pursuit of world peace, Bahá'u'lláh prescribed a world-embracing collective security arrangement as necessary for the establishment of a lasting peace.

Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
The Bahá'í teachings speak of both a "Greater Covenant", being universal and endless, and a "Lesser Covenant", being unique to each religious dispensation. The Lesser Covenant is viewed as an agreement between a Messenger of God and his followers and includes social practices and the continuation of authority in the religion. At this time Bahá'ís view Bahá'u'lláh's revelation as a binding lesser covenant for his followers; in the Bahá'í writings being firm in the covenant is considered a virtue to work toward. The Greater Covenant is viewed as a more enduring agreement between God and mankind, where a manifestation of God is expected to come about every thousand years at times of turmoil.

With unity as an essential teaching of the religion, Bahá'ís follow an administration they believe is divinely ordained, and therefore see attempts to create schisms and divisions as efforts that are contrary to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Schisms have occurred over the succession of authority, but any Bahá'í divisions have had relatively little success and have failed to attract a sizeable following. The followers of such divisions are regarded as Covenant-breakers and shunned, essentially excommunicated.
 
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Old 06-14-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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thanks for that message and explanation. I don't find any of that tough to believe.

But how does one know what is true and what isn't about God?
With all the many religions and ideas out there, how can we know which is true?

Are they all true or apart of the truth? If so, does it make any different if you are a christian, hindu, muslim, jew or buddhist?
 
Old 06-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #3
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All the "different" religions -- Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc. -- are simply different installments of essentially one religion.

Baha'is believe in the concept of "progressive revelation." That is, the idea that God has sent a series of major prophets, teachers, divine spiritual physicians -- what we call "The Manifestations of God."

While they appear on earth in the form of an Earthly personality (Jesus of Nazareth, for example) the Manifestations are not merely people with good ideas, or inspired humans.

They are actually pre-existing beings, capable of fully reflecting all the attributes of God. (Think of the light and heat of the sun reflecting in a perfectly polished mirror.)

Again, the Human soul, while immortal and surviving past the "death" of the earthly body, had a beginning. Baha'is believe the Human soul comes into being at the moment of conception.

Conversely, the Manifestations are pre-existing in the spiritual realm. (Thus, for example, Christ Jesus is quoted in the Gospels as saying, "Before Abraham was, I am.")

Though Baha'is don't believe in a literal incarnation of God, the Manifestation's direct relationship with God allows them to brings God's inspiration and methods for an ever-advancing civilization to Humanity.

Each Manifestation brings a divine religious revelation. Some of the better-known Manifestations have included Moses, Christ Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Zoroaster, and so forth. Baha'is acknowledge that the identity of other, earlier Manifestations have been lost in time. For example, some of the older (what we might call "Pagan" religions), or Native American Beliefs, were probably at some ancient time, inspired by Manifestations whose specific Earthly personalities or identities have been forgotten, because they appeared in times or places without recorded history.

We believe Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for this age -- the age of Human maturity, and an eventually global society.
 
Old 06-14-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
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By their fruits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nienna View Post
thanks for that message and explanation. I don't find any of that tough to believe.

But how does one know what is true and what isn't about God?
With all the many religions and ideas out there, how can we know which is true?

Are they all true or apart of the truth? If so, does it make any different if you are a christian, hindu, muslim, jew or buddhist?
>>>
The more ancient texts were handed down as oral traditions, and as such, when finally written down centuries later, are of questionable authenticity in their entirety. Some common sense helps us to distinguish between what is metaphorical imagery and what simply cannot be taken literally, although some people will cling to the latter out of simplicity.

If I am hungry, my taste buds tell me something about what I am placing in my mouth. Sometimes when walking in the woods I will nibble on a piece of vegetation of a berry unknown to me. There might be some who argue intellectually that one should not sample plants this way, but I trust my taste buds, sampling a small portion anyway.
If I am handed a plastic banana, it doesn't take long before I realize that it is not real. A bouquet of plastic flowers may fool our eyes from a distance, but as we approach and look for ourselves, we can see the difference. We need to develop our spiritual senses and trust in them, not to rely upon others, such as the authority of a priest or one who interprets for us.

"... every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified. Had he not been endowed with such a capacity, how could he be called to account for his failure?"
 
Old 06-14-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
>>>
The more ancient texts were handed down as oral traditions, and as such, when finally written down centuries later, are of questionable authenticity in their entirety. Some common sense helps us to distinguish between what is metaphorical imagery and what simply cannot be taken literally, although some people will cling to the latter out of simplicity.

If I am hungry, my taste buds tell me something about what I am placing in my mouth. Sometimes when walking in the woods I will nibble on a piece of vegetation of a berry unknown to me. There might be some who argue intellectually that one should not sample plants this way, but I trust my taste buds, sampling a small portion anyway.
If I am handed a plastic banana, it doesn't take long before I realize that it is not real. A bouquet of plastic flowers may fool our eyes from a distance, but as we approach and look for ourselves, we can see the difference. We need to develop our spiritual senses and trust in them, not to rely upon others, such as the authority of a priest or one who interprets for us.

"... every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified. Had he not been endowed with such a capacity, how could he be called to account for his failure?"
What may be common sense to one may not be common sense to another, so using common sense seems a vague way of knowing the truth considering that so many in the world today would say that its common sense that there is no God.

Is it common sense that Christ with a few loaves of bread and fish could feed a multitude? Yes according to the bible he did. If this was not meant to be literal, then how do we know that the entire book is not in fact fiction? By common sense? And if so who's common sense?

What about the Holy Spirit the Bible speaks so much about, was this fantasy or common sense?

I appreciate your answer and mean no disrespect. I sincerely want the truth and take it as a great evidence of good if we can discuss, seek and promote truth and discuss in a civil manner. Thanks for this.
 
Old 06-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mytmouse57 View Post
All the "different" religions -- Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc. -- are simply different installments of essentially one religion.

Baha'is believe in the concept of "progressive revelation." That is, the idea that God has sent a series of major prophets, teachers, divine spiritual physicians -- what we call "The Manifestations of God."

While they appear on earth in the form of an Earthly personality (Jesus of Nazareth, for example) the Manifestations are not merely people with good ideas, or inspired humans.

They are actually pre-existing beings, capable of fully reflecting all the attributes of God. (Think of the light and heat of the sun reflecting in a perfectly polished mirror.)

Again, the Human soul, while immortal and surviving past the "death" of the earthly body, had a beginning. Baha'is believe the Human soul comes into being at the moment of conception.

Conversely, the Manifestations are pre-existing in the spiritual realm. (Thus, for example, Christ Jesus is quoted in the Gospels as saying, "Before Abraham was, I am.")

Though Baha'is don't believe in a literal incarnation of God, the Manifestation's direct relationship with God allows them to brings God's inspiration and methods for an ever-advancing civilization to Humanity.

Each Manifestation brings a divine religious revelation. Some of the better-known Manifestations have included Moses, Christ Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Zoroaster, and so forth. Baha'is acknowledge that the identity of other, earlier Manifestations have been lost in time. For example, some of the older (what we might call "Pagan" religions), or Native American Beliefs, were probably at some ancient time, inspired by Manifestations whose specific Earthly personalities or identities have been forgotten, because they appeared in times or places without recorded history.

We believe Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for this age -- the age of Human maturity, and an eventually global society.
Who is Baha'u'llah and how could he manifest himself as God? And if so why is this more logical and common sense than for Christ to perform miracles?
 
Old 06-14-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nienna View Post
Who is Baha'u'llah and how could he manifest himself as God? And if so why is this more logical and common sense than for Christ to perform miracles?
Baha'u'llah is the figure Baha'is regard as the Manifestation of God for this age.

He did not "Manifest himself as God," -- not in the way I think your perciving it.

God is completely singular, unique, and exhaulted above any incarnation or understanding.

The Manifesations don't "become" or make themselves God, literally. Rather, they have the capacity to reflect God's attributes.

Again, think of that analogy I gave you. A perfectly polished mirror, turned to reflect the sun. The attributes of the sun (light, heat) are manifest in the mirror. But the sun did not literally enter the mirror. Nor did the mirror become the sun.
 
Old 06-14-2013, 09:37 PM   #8
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Science and religion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nienna View Post
Who is Baha'u'llah and how could he manifest himself as God? And if so why is this more logical and common sense than for Christ to perform miracles?
Nienna,
It is good that you are using your mind and intellect to ask such questions. They are all valid questions, and God gave us the power of reason to accept or reject truth.

`Abdu'l-Bahá on Science and Religion:

Bahá'u'lláh has declared that religion must be in accord with science and reason. If it does not correspond with scientific principles and the processes of reason, it is superstition. For God has endowed us with faculties by which we may comprehend the realities of things, contemplate reality itself. If religion is opposed to reason and science, faith is impossible; and when faith and confidence in the divine religion are not manifest in the heart, there can be no spiritual attainment.

If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science, they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible, and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.

There are certain pillars which have been established as the unshakeable supports of the Faith of God. The mightiest of these is learning and the use of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, and insight into the realities of the universe and the hidden mysteries of Almighty God. To promote knowledge is thus an inescapable duty imposed on every one of the friends of God.

Among other principles of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings was the harmony of science and religion. Religion must stand the analysis of reason. It must agree with scientific fact and proof so that science will sanction religion and religion fortify science. Both are indissolubly welded and joined in reality. If statements and teachings of religion are found to be unreasonable and contrary to science, they are outcomes of superstition and imagination. Innumerable doctrines and beliefs of this character have arisen in the past ages. Consider the superstitions and mythology of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians; all were contrary to religion and science. It is now evident that the beliefs of these nations were superstitions, but in those times they held to them most tenaciously. For example, one of the many Egyptian idols was to those people an authenticated miracle, whereas in reality it was a piece of stone. As science could not sanction the miraculous origin and nature of a piece of rock, the belief in it must have been superstition. It is now evident that it was superstition. Therefore, we must cast aside such beliefs and investigate reality. That which is found to be real and conformable to reason must be accepted, and whatever science and reason cannot support must be rejected as imitation and not reality. Then differences of belief will disappear. All will become as one family, one people, and the same susceptibility to the divine bounty and education will be witnessed among mankind.

Every religion which is not in accordance with established science is superstition. Religion must be reasonable. If it does not square with reason, it is superstition and without foundation. It is like a mirage, which deceives man by leading him to think it is a body of water. God has endowed man with reason that he may perceive what is true. If we insist that such and such a subject is not to be reasoned out and tested according to the established logical modes of the intellect, what is the use of the reason which God has given man? The eye is the organ of sense by which we view the world of outer phenomena; hearing is the faculty for distinguishing sounds; taste senses the properties of objects, such as bitter, sweet; smell detects and differentiates odors; touch reveals attributes of matter and perfects our communication with the outer world; yet after all, the circle and range of perception by the five senses is exceedingly limited. But the intellectual faculty of man is unlimited in its sphere of action. The eye views details perhaps a mile, but the intellect can perceive the far East and West. The ear may hear tone modulations at one thousand feet, but the mind of man can detect the harmonies of the heavenly spheres as they swing in their courses. Mind makes geological discoveries in subterranean depths and determines the processes of creation in the earth's lowest strata. The sciences and arts, all inventions, crafts, trades and their products have come forth from the intellect of man. It is evident that within the human organism the intellect occupies the supreme station. Therefore, if religious belief, principle or creed is not in accordance with the intellect and the power of reason, it is surely superstition.
 
Old 06-15-2013, 04:38 AM   #9
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Who is Baha'u'llah and how could he manifest himself as God?
Bah'u'llah did not Manifest Himself. God Manifested Him. In a Tablet, Baha'u'llah wrote:

"By My life! Not of Mine own volition have I revealed Myself, but God, of His own choosing, hath manifested Me"

"Think ye, O people, that I hold within My grasp the control of God’s ultimate Will and Purpose?… Had the ultimate destiny of God’s Faith been in Mine hands, I would have never consented, even though for one moment, to manifest Myself unto you, nor would I have allowed one word to fall from My lips. Of this God Himself is, verily, a witness."


Bahá'í Reference Library - Bahá’u’lláh, Pages 25-26
 
Old 06-15-2013, 09:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for reiterating that point, InvestigateTruth. All the Manifestaions say similar things, and are humble in that regard. The don't just egotistically declare, "I speak for God, I am awesome, look at me!"

Rather, again, they take a humble approach. As Christ Jesus said: "As I see, I judge, and my sentence is just, because I seek not my own will, but the Will of Him who sent me."
 
Old 02-14-2015, 07:31 AM   #11
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Universal auxiliary language. +++++++++++++++++++COuld one get a definition of what this means?
 
Old 02-14-2015, 07:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dingo El Gringo View Post
Universal auxiliary language. +++++++++++++++++++COuld one get a definition of what this means?

A universal language. Language that all people on the Earth know so we can communicate with everyone
 
Old 02-14-2015, 09:12 AM   #13
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Universal auxiliary language. +++++++++++++++++++Could one get a definition of what this means?
"Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the adoption of a universal language. A language shall be agreed upon by which unity will be established in the world. Each person will require training in two languages: his native tongue and the universal auxiliary form of speech. This will facilitate intercommunication and dispel the misunderstandings which the barriers of language have occasioned in the world. All people worship the same God and are alike His servants. When they are able to communicate freely, they will associate in friendship and concord, entertain the greatest love and fellowship for each other, and in reality the Orient and Occident will embrace in unity and agreement."

-from a talk Abdu’l-Baha delivered on September 1st, 1912, at the Church of the Messiah in Montreal, Canada
 
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