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Old 08-31-2017, 04:31 PM   #1
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A Sincere Atheist Can Become A Member..

I would guess that an Atheist who was sincere could approach the UHJ and request becoming a member (if that is the right term, I feel it isn't.)

They could approach the UHJ and state, I am an Atheist, but I am sincerely drawn to the Teachings, especially about One World, One People, all people coming together as one, without sexism, without bigotry, without racism, with support for advanced education for all.

Since all in The Bahá'í Faith are allowed to come to acceptance of any or all Teachings in their own time or perhaps never for some. It's seems to me that the acceptance of Baha' u llah as a real person, but not able to accept a supreme being can also be factored in as something some individuals are allowed to come to or not on their personal journey. Keeping firmly in mind that we are Taught we all have personal journeys and experiences which keep us from accepting all Teachings automatically.

For to disallow all who wish to be apart of the process to push forward the cause of global unity and peace. Than all who wish must be able to feel they can be a part of this great movement, would be a great disservice to the Teachings if they were denied. Our source of Creation accepts all after mortal death, how can we mere creations deny any who see even just a glimmer of the bright light of truth.

I feel we have a two prong objective, one being to be completely accepting of all others and personal growth in love and compassion.

Last edited by MichaelAW; 08-31-2017 at 04:39 PM.
 
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
I would guess that an Atheist who was sincere could approach the UHJ and request becoming a member (if that is the right term, I feel it isn't.)

They could approach the UHJ and state, I am an Atheist, but I am sincerely drawn to the Teachings, especially about One World, One People, all people coming together as one, without sexism, without bigotry, without racism, with support for advanced education for all.

Since all in The Bahá'í Faith are allowed to come to acceptance of any or all Teachings in their own time or perhaps never for some. It's seems to me that the acceptance of Baha' u llah as a real person, but not able to accept a supreme being can also be factored in as something some individuals are allowed to come to or not on their personal journey. Keeping firmly in mind that we are Taught we all have personal journeys and experiences which keep us from accepting all Teachings automatically.

For to disallow all who wish to be apart of the process to push forward the cause of global unity and peace. Than all who wish must be able to feel they can be a part of this great movement, would be a great disservice to the Teachings if they were denied. Our source of Creation accepts all after mortal death, how can we mere creations deny any who see even just a glimmer of the bright light of truth.

I feel we have a two prong objective, one being to be completely accepting of all others and personal growth in love and compassion.
Hi Michael

I was am atheist (or pantheist, which is a cool way to pút it) for several years.
My wife is still an atheist and is in a somewhat similar situation.
She is realizing that she can participate with me in devotional gatherings, study circles and activities with the Baha'i community without having formally "signed up" (we say "declared") as a Baha'i.

You may try the same thing. Just allow yourself enough time and see what happens. Do not put pressure on you not allow anyone to do it.

You may someday realize that Bahá'u'llah has a message for you as an individual, and not just for mankind in the abstract... or you may not and that's OK.

Baha'i Faith teaches that, in the end, God is Unknowable.
So any intellectual pursuit to understand what we mean when we say "GOD" is doomed.
However, we can start experiencing a connection to that Ultimate Reality... and then try to explain out such experience with any sort of words or mental models.

That experience will come, eventually, if you read and meditate on what you read, if you serve other people, and if you try to pray.

Give it a try and let us know! We are here to help!
 
Old 09-01-2017, 05:04 AM   #3
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Camachoe,
Thanks for nice post, I'm a Bahai, just thinking ahead for possible discussions I might have with others. Been Bahai since 2005, my wife is inactive Catholic.
 
Old 09-01-2017, 05:20 AM   #4
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In practice, I am not so sure it would be allowed. I remember that when becoming a member myself I was basically asked to just confirm two beliefs: a belief in one God, and Baha'u'llah as His prophet, much like Islam's Shahada, so it seems like my own country's institutions views those two things as the two things that determines whether a person is a member of the Faith or not.

Now on the other hand, in theory I think it should definitely be a possibility. Because 'Abdu'l-Baha states: "To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood."

So there is no requirement for belief in God for 'Abdu'l-Baha's given standard of what a Baha'i is. If someone like what you describe in your original post ever does come to exists, an atheist who doesn't believe in God but loves the teachings and wants to join, I'd think as long as they presented 'Abdu'l-Baha's above words with their petition to join, that no institution could see a way to refuse them.
 
Old 09-01-2017, 05:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
In practice, I am not so sure it would be allowed. I remember that when becoming a member myself I was basically asked to just confirm two beliefs: a belief in one God, and Baha'u'llah as His prophet, much like Islam's Shahada, so it seems like my own country's institutions views those two things as the two things that determines whether a person is a member of the Faith or not.

Now on the other hand, in theory I think it should definitely be a possibility. Because 'Abdu'l-Baha states: "To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood."

So there is no requirement for belief in God for 'Abdu'l-Baha's given standard of what a Baha'i is. If someone like what you describe in your original post ever does come to exists, an atheist who doesn't believe in God but loves the teachings and wants to join, I'd think as long as they presented 'Abdu'l-Baha's above words with their petition to join, that no institution could see a way to refuse them.

Nice quote, thanks, and I feel what you said in later part of post is highly probable. I feel the part we mortals are needed to step up to is being completely inclusive, to create a united world not divided by nationalism, sexism, bigotry etc so that justice may prevail globally.
 
Old 09-01-2017, 10:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
In practice, I am not so sure it would be allowed. I remember that when becoming a member myself I was basically asked to just confirm two beliefs: a belief in one God, and Baha'u'llah as His prophet, much like Islam's Shahada, so it seems like my own country's institutions views those two things as the two things that determines whether a person is a member of the Faith or not.

Now on the other hand, in theory I think it should definitely be a possibility. Because 'Abdu'l-Baha states: "To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood."

So there is no requirement for belief in God for 'Abdu'l-Baha's given standard of what a Baha'i is. If someone like what you describe in your original post ever does come to exists, an atheist who doesn't believe in God but loves the teachings and wants to join, I'd think as long as they presented 'Abdu'l-Baha's above words with their petition to join, that no institution could see a way to refuse them.
Yes, but they are asked to say the obligatory prayer in which they are asked to pray to God. I think to be a Baha'i one has to be a believer in God because other wise saying you recognize Baha'u'llah as a Manifestation of God is nonsense.
 
Old 09-01-2017, 01:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Duane View Post
Yes, but they are asked to say the obligatory prayer in which they are asked to pray to God. I think to be a Baha'i one has to be a believer in God because other wise saying you recognize Baha'u'llah as a Manifestation of God is nonsense.
In truth, regardless of what an individual thinks is true, we all are of God. Who are we to refuse anyone who truly supports the future of mankind but who is personally wrestling with a belief God doesn't exist? That is their spiritual growth which they are allowed to progress or not. The BF at some future point cannot freeze out all good hearted people from the community?
 
Old 09-01-2017, 09:15 PM   #8
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Yes, but they are asked to say the obligatory prayer in which they are asked to pray to God.
I agree. Not only that, but the Short Obligatory Prayer says: “I bear witness oh my God” so one who did not believe in God would be making themselves into a liar.

I think a better strategy for atheists is to start with God, and then if they ask why you believe in God you can say because of Baha’u’llah. I think they have to believe in God first, or at least consider it “possible” that there is a God, before they could believe in Baha’u’llah.
To try to be a Baha’i based upon the teachings alone and not understand where those teachings came from ~~ God via Baha’u’llah ~~ seems silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane View Post
I think to be a Baha'i one has to be a believer in God because other wise saying you recognize Baha'u'llah as a Manifestation of God is nonsense.
Not only is it nonsense, it is dishonest.

The entire edifice upon which belief in Baha’u’llah rests is God, so to believe in Baha’u’llah and not God is disrespecting Baha’u’llah and all that He sacrificed for God... Baha’u’llah wrote:

“Behold Him, an exile, a victim of tyranny, in this Most Great Prison. His enemies have assailed Him on every side, and will continue to do so till the end of His life. Whatever, therefore, He saith unto you is wholly for the sake of God, that haply the peoples of the earth may cleanse their hearts from the stain of evil desire, may rend its veil asunder, and attain unto the knowledge of the one true God—the most exalted station to which any man can aspire. Their belief or disbelief in My Cause can neither profit nor harm Me. We summon them wholly for the sake of God. He, verily, can afford to dispense with all creatures.” Gleanings, p. 85

“Incline your ears to the counsels which this Servant giveth you for the sake of God. He, verily, asketh no recompense from you and is resigned to what God hath ordained for Him, and is entirely submissive to God’s Will.” Gleanings, p. 127
 
Old 09-02-2017, 04:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
I agree. Not only that, but the Short Obligatory Prayer says: “I bear witness oh my God” so one who did not believe in God would be making themselves into a liar.

I think a better strategy for atheists is to start with God, and then if they ask why you believe in God you can say because of Baha’u’llah. I think they have to believe in God first, or at least consider it “possible” that there is a God, before they could believe in Baha’u’llah.
To try to be a Baha’i based upon the teachings alone and not understand where those teachings came from ~~ God via Baha’u’llah ~~ seems silly.



Not only is it nonsense, it is dishonest.

The entire edifice upon which belief in Baha’u’llah rests is God, so to believe in Baha’u’llah and not God is disrespecting Baha’u’llah and all that He sacrificed for God... Baha’u’llah wrote:

“Behold Him, an exile, a victim of tyranny, in this Most Great Prison. His enemies have assailed Him on every side, and will continue to do so till the end of His life. Whatever, therefore, He saith unto you is wholly for the sake of God, that haply the peoples of the earth may cleanse their hearts from the stain of evil desire, may rend its veil asunder, and attain unto the knowledge of the one true God—the most exalted station to which any man can aspire. Their belief or disbelief in My Cause can neither profit nor harm Me. We summon them wholly for the sake of God. He, verily, can afford to dispense with all creatures.” Gleanings, p. 85

“Incline your ears to the counsels which this Servant giveth you for the sake of God. He, verily, asketh no recompense from you and is resigned to what God hath ordained for Him, and is entirely submissive to God’s Will.” Gleanings, p. 127
And this is the mentality that has been the cause of all hate when one says, 'believe in your mind exactly what I believe or you are the enemy.'

Can nobody comprehend what was said, we all are equal in the mind of God, we all have gods attributes period, no one is better than another, regardless of what we think, we must move forward beyond childish mentality of casting out all those who because of their current life experience's aren't ready to accept and exactly what was brought forth. Then the next step is fighting over interpretations! Which we are cautioned against doing. Human's have a sick talent for inventing false divisions and then hating each other. If we only focus on, we are all equal creations of an unknown source of Creation, and use that thought before any action we take towards another, maybe than world unity can be accomplished. If someone through very bad experiences with a church they were in were caused to hate or deny God, which is a major cause of atheism, they are still in fact an equal in God's mind, no other human as a right to declare them as less for what they think due to circumstance and life experience. IMHO
 
Old 09-02-2017, 05:08 AM   #10
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I'm going to play devil's advocate by quoting Baha'u'llah. It's a quote that actually shocked me a bit, since its meaning is rather clear and not at all as accepting as I would have thought. I don't know its original source, but you can find it in the Gleanings, Section 114 paragraph 3:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baha'u'llah
"Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously toward his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly."
I'm going to go out on a limb, then, and assume that a belief in God is critical to being a Baha'i, at least according to Baha'u'llah.
 
Old 09-02-2017, 06:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
I'm going to play devil's advocate by quoting Baha'u'llah. It's a quote that actually shocked me a bit, since its meaning is rather clear and not at all as accepting as I would have thought. I don't know its original source, but you can find it in the Gleanings, Section 114 paragraph 3:



I'm going to go out on a limb, then, and assume that a belief in God is critical to being a Baha'i, at least according to Baha'u'llah.

Not as clear as one might believe, in that time there were horrible men which was covered in God Speaks Again and many secular historical works. Many in that region and time were notorious for their cruelty. They may even had believed in God but cursed God. Therefore I see Godless as a name for a person who is a cruel and dangerous individual incapable of any goodness towards others. Whose all gain was accomplished through harm to others.

I cannot imagine Baha'u'llah condemning an Atheist/Humanitarian at all and speaking the same way towards them.

So, I think having a better understanding of the day when that quote was made is imperative towards having a proper understanding of the discourse.
 
Old 09-02-2017, 01:45 PM   #12
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Of course there are many friends of the faith who aren't Bahais and attend gatherings
 
Old 09-02-2017, 04:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by AidanK View Post
Of course there are many friends of the faith who aren't Bahais and attend gatherings
Bahá'u'lláh once stated, when so many people, including family members were working against the Teachings and Bahá'u'lláh, "there are better non-Bahá'í then some Bahá'í.", not that this quote is in direct connection to my OP, but goes to the heart.

Bahá'í's in my understanding need to view everyone as a creation of the Creator first and foremost!, but stay wary of their intentions until we firmly know them. Some, we must remove from our lives as they are belligerent and/or physically or mentally harmful to others. Yet we still cannot judge them. Keeping in mind we are all formed by our personal experiences in life.

I see Bahá'í who act like many others in earlier Teachings hard at work trying to point to laws and eyeball others who they say are not being proper. Getting hung up on being judge and jury of others.

Being a Bahá'í to me is working hard to unite all people and at the same time to grow my maturity, my spirituality which helps me in both endeavors. I keep my head down and don't waste time trying to make sure others are acting/thinking as I feel the Teachings say they should be.

Anyway, Personally I can hold in high regards any Atheist/Humanist who desires to come on board if they are thrilled with the earthly guidance of Unity and Justice and all that goes with it.. Yet cannot in honesty accept a Creator, that is an issue they as all of us will have our time to discover.

I know lifelong Bahá'í who when near death, still fear dying and still wondering if it's all true, is there really an after life and they have been excellent members of the faith as well as held LSA positions. What is the difference between them and an Agnostic/Atheist I say!

Last edited by MichaelAW; 09-02-2017 at 05:06 PM.
 
Old 09-02-2017, 04:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Duane View Post
Yes, but they are asked to say the obligatory prayer in which they are asked to pray to God. I think to be a Baha'i one has to be a believer in God because other wise saying you recognize Baha'u'llah as a Manifestation of God is nonsense.
Saying the daily prayers to can be cathartic and meditative. Your asked to try to do these daily prayers and if you don't, do you get punished later after death even though you ran a Mother Teresa operation some where? IMHO our Creator would rush up and hug you if you ran a Mother Teresa operation even if you never said one daily prayer.

Versus the many who recite them daily yet never lift a finger to assist another being who is in serious need. We are teaching people that they are a spiritual beings with Ruhi, don't we? Many come into the faith and need to educated they are spiritual beings, we do that with Ruhi. Are we Baha'i, the club, and we have to recite the magic words or, are we all family regardless of what we verbally say?

Last edited by MichaelAW; 09-02-2017 at 05:04 PM.
 
Old 09-02-2017, 07:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
And this is the mentality that has been the cause of all hate when one says, 'believe in your mind exactly what I believe or you are the enemy.'
I do not have many friends, and most of them are on forums... Duane is my bff but other than that all my friends are nonbelievers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
Can nobody comprehend what was said, we all are equal in the mind of God, we all have gods attributes period, no one is better than another, regardless of what we think, we must move forward beyond childish mentality of casting out all those who because of their current life experience's aren't ready to accept and exactly what was brought forth. Then the next step is fighting over interpretations! Which we are cautioned against doing. Human's have a sick talent for inventing false divisions and then hating each other. If we only focus on, we are all equal creations of an unknown source of Creation, and use that thought before any action we take towards another, maybe than world unity can be accomplished. If someone through very bad experiences with a church they were in were caused to hate or deny God, which is a major cause of atheism, they are still in fact an equal in God's mind, no other human as a right to declare them as less for what they think due to circumstance and life experience. IMHO
I can certainly comprehend what you said... In fact, now you are making me cry because of the hurt I have seen committed against nonbelievers, all in the name of belief... You see, for several years I have spent more time posting to nonbelievers on forums than believers and I have a certain affinity for their positions as well as an understanding as to why they do not believe in God...

Many nonbelievers have a great sensitivity to the suffering in the world and they cannot understand how “a loving God” would create a world like this or allow the suffering to exist, since God is omnipotent and could stop it... I share their sentiments about the suffering although I am logical enough to understand that the world was created this way, so God cannot just step in and intervene to prevent suffering, because that would interfere with free will. But given how I often feel about suffering, I am kind of caught in the middle, between belief and non-belief...

I know God exists but I cannot understand so many things... Even though they are explained in the Writings that is just an intellectual understanding and it does not penetrate my heart... I ride my bike to work 13 miles each way so I see animals that have been hit by cars... Every time I see these animals I cry out to God, but no answer is forthcoming... It is almost enough to make an atheist out of me... Does God only care about humans? If so, why did He even create animals? So many questions, so few answers.

Nonbelievers, in addition to not understanding why God allows suffering, do not see Manifestations of God as “evidence” that God exists... In most cases, I do not think it is a willful thing; they just do not what is so clear to us. Is it because we were guided by God and they were not? That is what the Writings say, but then that opens up another question; why were we guided? All these questions do not have answers, as so many people seem to think.

Who are we to judge anyone, be it a believer or a nonbeliever? I would never judge anyone... I might disagree with their values but it is not my place to judge anyone. Many nonbelievers have better values and are more spiritual than believers... Belief in God does not guarantee good values or spirituality.

It is one thing to say that one has to believe in God to be a Baha’i on paper, and another thing to say that a nonbeliever cannot be a Baha’i in spirit. Many nonbelievers are Baha’is in spirit because they live according to what Baha’u’llah taught. Moreover, because they do not believe in any reward in the afterlife, what they do they do for the sake of others, not for themselves.
 
Old 09-03-2017, 04:34 AM   #16
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Trailblazer,

Wow, I know what your saying and I have spent many years of my life off and on dwelling on the suffering.

1. When I was a very young child I remember stepping barefoot upon a bee in the grass. It was horrible pain and mentally traumatic. I cannot remember the pain but I remember the episode. It no longer is trauma but a simple memory. I feel that after we pass on all of our life's pain, no matter how awful at the time, will appear the same way. We'll be able to look at the pain objectively and with out any trauma as I do now for things that happened 58 years ago. On the other hand happy things that happened still warm my heart and I can feel the joy no matter how long ago. My mother scratching my head when about 5 years old still makes me feel loved.

2. I have a sense we may have existed prior to earth time. That we may have volunteered to be here. Perhaps as a vacation from a timeless eternity! I look towards Quantum Physics to understand what we actually are, and the Light symbolism appears here. We honestly are not solid, we are waves of energy in all truth. Duality. And that energy resides in a timeless place, like a state line, we have one foot in Ohio and one foot in Indiana.

Do I now have a proven answer, no. But I instead of blaming a Creator thinking of myself as a physical, helpless lump of flesh, I accept some responsibility as a state of energy that has an awareness, or a walking bad of bacteria, we have more bacteria then human cells.. I'm heavily prone to believe we impose ourselves upon this fake world for reason of growth or maybe it's just a stage for experiencing all emotions. I prefer to take the higher ground of thought. Sort of like the drug addict coming out of his haze and seeing I did this all to myself and nobody else did it to me.

Last edited by MichaelAW; 09-03-2017 at 04:53 AM.
 
Old 09-03-2017, 11:16 PM   #17
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Humbly.....

Baha'is do not worship God. Baha'is worship Baha'u'llah.

Anything else that we worship is only a figment of our imagination.

"This people, all of them, have pictured a god in the realm of the mind, and worship that image which they have made for themselves.......Consider then, how all the peoples of the world are bowing the knee to a fancy of their own contriving, how they have created a creator within their own minds, and they call it the Fashioner of all that is—whereas in truth it is but an illusion. Thus are the people worshipping only an error of perception."


Bahá'à Reference Library - Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Pages 53-54

If you are considering worshiping anything other than the Manifestation of God and you think that "something" even "exists" then you are falling for the error of perception that is mentioned above. For "existence" is an attribute given to things.

I, personally, pray to the potentiality of Divinity existing within me when I pray the Obligatory Prayer. I pray for me and my will to be aligned with nature, the Divine Will, the Primal Will.

No need to believe in anything that is an "error of perception"

Kam

Last edited by Kam; 09-03-2017 at 11:18 PM.
 
Old 09-04-2017, 12:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
Baha'is do not worship God. Baha'is worship Baha'u'llah.

Anything else that we worship is only a figment of our imagination.
We do not need to imagine what God is like in order to worship God.
The Short Obligatory Prayer clearly states that we worship God, not Baha’u’llah.

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.

There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bahá’u’lláh

Short Obligatory Prayer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
If you are considering worshiping anything other than the Manifestation of God and you think that "something" even "exists" then you are falling for the error of perception that is mentioned above. For "existence" is an attribute given to things.

No need to believe in anything that is an "error of perception"
Is God is an error in perception simply because we cannot perceive God?

If God does not exist how could we have knowledge of God and observe what has been sent down by the Divine Will?

“The beginning of all things is the knowledge of God, and the end of all things is strict observance of whatsoever hath been sent down from the empyrean of the Divine Will that pervadeth all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.”

Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 5
 
Old 09-04-2017, 01:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
Baha'is do not worship God. Baha'is worship Baha'u'llah.

Anything else that we worship is only a figment of our imagination.
Surely you jest?

I am not a declared Baha'i, but I have been studying the Faith for over twenty years. Nowhere have I ever read that Baha'is should worship a Manifestation. On the contrary, I have often seen Christians criticized for worshiping Jesus as a deity because it is a direct contradiction of Baha'i beliefs to worship a Manifestation. Baha'is worship God alone.

Ironically, your quote from Abdu'l-Baha seems to warn against the very mistake you are making in assuming any Manifestation should be worshiped. The text continues:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abdu'l-Baha
But that Essence of Essences, that Invisible of Invisibles, is sanctified above all human speculation, and never to be overtaken by the mind of man. Never shall that immemorial Reality lodge within the compass of a contingent being.
Baha'u'llah is a "contingent being," despite his high station, and can never possess or fully comprehend all the grandeur of God. He admits as much in many places. If Baha'u'llah himself cannot fully grasp the reality of God, why on Earth would we worship him as a deity? Shouldn't that be reserved for God alone?

You are welcome to defend your position with further quotes, but everything I remember reading about Baha'i in all of my years seems to contradict it.
 
Old 09-04-2017, 06:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
Humbly.....

Baha'is do not worship God. Baha'is worship Baha'u'llah.

Anything else that we worship is only a figment of our imagination.

"This people, all of them, have pictured a god in the realm of the mind, and worship that image which they have made for themselves.......Consider then, how all the peoples of the world are bowing the knee to a fancy of their own contriving, how they have created a creator within their own minds, and they call it the Fashioner of all that is—whereas in truth it is but an illusion. Thus are the people worshipping only an error of perception."


Bahá'à Reference Library - Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Pages 53-54

If you are considering worshiping anything other than the Manifestation of God and you think that "something" even "exists" then you are falling for the error of perception that is mentioned above. For "existence" is an attribute given to things.

I, personally, pray to the potentiality of Divinity existing within me when I pray the Obligatory Prayer. I pray for me and my will to be aligned with nature, the Divine Will, the Primal Will.

No need to believe in anything that is an "error of perception"

Kam
Dear Kam,

From what I understand with my limited knowledge.

The BF from what I derived from Kenneth bowers is that the source of Creation is unknowable, yet: is currently considered as a Being, there an individual consciousness as well as Supreme as in above others by its ability to create.

We never put Baha'u'llah above the source of Creation, rather use Baha'u'llah as an Intercessor between us and the Creator. (From my limited knowledge.) regardless of what mortal words we use to feebly attempt to describe or explain what the Creator is, we can never truly comprehend. Our current le vel of mental power cannot comprehend. I do understand the your figment comment and agree by what I wrote above, I feel your correct in that we are incapable of comprehending the Creator.

Last edited by MichaelAW; 09-04-2017 at 06:24 AM.
 
Old 09-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
I am not a declared Baha'i, but I have been studying the Faith for over twenty years. Nowhere have I ever read that Baha'is should worship a Manifestation. On the contrary, I have often seen Christians criticized for worshiping Jesus as a deity because it is a direct contradiction of Baha'i beliefs to worship a Manifestation. Baha'is worship God alone.

Ironically, your quote from Abdu'l-Baha seems to warn against the very mistake you are making in assuming any Manifestation should be worshiped. The text continues:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abdu'l-Baha
But that Essence of Essences, that Invisible of Invisibles, is sanctified above all human speculation, and never to be overtaken by the mind of man. Never shall that immemorial Reality lodge within the compass of a contingent being.
I agree. Baha’is worship God alone. The fact that God is unknowable is unrelated to this matter. We KNOW [what we can know] about God, God’s Attributes and God’s Will for any age in history, through His Manifestation, but we do not WORSHIP God’s Manifestation, Baha’u’llah.

The quote you cited from Abdu’l-Baha about God being sanctified above human speculation, is confirmed by the Writings of Baha’u’llah and letters from Shoghi Effendi:

“... Immeasurably exalted is His Essence above the descriptions of His creatures. He, alone, occupieth the Seat of transcendent majesty, of supreme and inaccessible glory. The birds of men’s hearts, however high they soar, can never hope to attain the heights of His unknowable Essence. It is He Who hath called into being the whole of creation, Who hath caused every created thing to spring forth at His behest. Shall, then, the thing that was born by virtue of the word which His Pen hath revealed, and which the finger of His Will hath directed, be regarded as partner with Him, or an embodiment of His Self? Far be it from His glory that human pen or tongue should hint at His mystery, or that human heart conceive His Essence. All else besides Him stand poor and desolate at His door, all are powerless before the greatness of His might, all are but slaves in His Kingdom. He is rich enough to dispense with all creatures.” Gleanings, p. 193

“Far, far from Thy glory be what mortal man can affirm of Thee, or attribute unto Thee, or the praise with which he can glorify Thee! Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves.

No one else besides Thee hath, at any time, been able to fathom Thy mystery, or befittingly to extol Thy greatness. Unsearchable and high above the praise of men wilt Thou remain for ever. There is none other God but Thee, the Inaccessible, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Holy of Holies.” Gleanings, pp. 4-5


703. God Can Be Known Only Through His Prophets--Heaven and Hell Are Conditions Within Our Own Beings

"We will have experience of God's spirit through His Prophets in the next world, but God is too great for us to know without this Intermediary. The Prophets know God, but how is more than our human minds can grasp. We believe we may attain in the next world to seeing the Prophets. There is certainly a future life. Heaven and hell are conditions within our own beings."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, November 14, 1947)
Lights of Guidance (second part)

Personal God

While the Bahá'í writings teach of a personal god who is a being with a personality (including the capacity to reason and to feel love), they clearly state that this does not imply a human or physical form.[2] Shoghi Effendi writes:

What is meant by personal God is a God Who is conscious of His creation, Who has a Mind, a Will, a Purpose, and not, as many scientists and materialists believe, an unconscious and determined force operating in the universe. Such conception of the Divine Being, as the Supreme and ever present Reality in the world, is not anthropomorphic, for it transcends all human limitations and forms, and does by no means attempt to define the essence of Divinity which is obviously beyond any human comprehension. To say that God is a personal Reality does not mean that He has a physical form, or does in any way resemble a human being. To entertain such belief would be sheer blasphemy.[17][18]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God in the Baha'i Faith
 
Old 09-05-2017, 03:37 AM   #22
Kam
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Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
Dear Kam,

From what I understand with my limited knowledge.

The BF from what I derived from Kenneth bowers is that the source of Creation is unknowable, yet: is currently considered as a Being, there an individual consciousness as well as Supreme as in above others by its ability to create.

We never put Baha'u'llah above the source of Creation, rather use Baha'u'llah as an Intercessor between us and the Creator. (From my limited knowledge.) regardless of what mortal words we use to feebly attempt to describe or explain what the Creator is, we can never truly comprehend. Our current le vel of mental power cannot comprehend. I do understand the your figment comment and agree by what I wrote above, I feel your correct in that we are incapable of comprehending the Creator.
Hi Michael,

From my (also) limited understanding, I have come to the conclusion that Baha'u'llah who is the Primal Will is the Source of all that can attributed with the word "created"

There is no other Creator outside of Him.

There is an Essence of Essences which is without attribute and that Essence is not a creator for He/It is attribute-less. To be a Creator, the Essence would become a Reality that has attributes, and even Abdu'l-Baha implies that this Essence can not even be said to "exist" for existence is also an "attribute of things"

Kam
 
Old 09-06-2017, 07:36 PM   #23
Kam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Surely you jest?

I am not a declared Baha'i, but I have been studying the Faith for over twenty years. Nowhere have I ever read that Baha'is should worship a Manifestation. On the contrary, I have often seen Christians criticized for worshiping Jesus as a deity because it is a direct contradiction of Baha'i beliefs to worship a Manifestation. Baha'is worship God alone.

Ironically, your quote from Abdu'l-Baha seems to warn against the very mistake you are making in assuming any Manifestation should be worshiped. The text continues:



Baha'u'llah is a "contingent being," despite his high station, and can never possess or fully comprehend all the grandeur of God. He admits as much in many places. If Baha'u'llah himself cannot fully grasp the reality of God, why on Earth would we worship him as a deity? Shouldn't that be reserved for God alone?

You are welcome to defend your position with further quotes, but everything I remember reading about Baha'i in all of my years seems to contradict it.
Hi Scribe,

Apologies. I somehow missed your post.

I am a sincere adherent to the Guardians letter 5th July 1949:

"Likewise he is constantly urging them [the Bahá'ís] to really study the Bahá'í teachings more deeply. One may liken Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to a sphere; there are points poles apart, and in between the thoughts and doctrines that unite them."

There are two poles at play here. One is the pole of Baha'u'llah as a Prophet and God as an unknown Entity, and the other is the pole of Baha'u'llah as God. Epistemology and ontology come into play, of course, but all perspectives are correct according to Baha'u'llah in His Tablet to Jamal-i-Burujirdi.

I personally, having studied the Bab's Tablets on the Primal Will (see Gate of the Heart by Nader Saeedi) and some of the Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha on the inability to assign attributes to God have wondered, who then, is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, the All-Powerful?

Kam
 
Old 09-07-2017, 01:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
I am a sincere adherent to the Guardians letter 5th July 1949:

"Likewise he is constantly urging them [the Bahá'ís] to really study the Bahá'í teachings more deeply.
Very well, let us study the writings. I still disagree with your view that Baha'u'llah is God in any literal sense. Here is a quote from the Gleanings, Section 113 paragraph 18 (pp. 227-228 according to Ocean):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baha'u'llah
Certain ones among you have said: "He it is Who hath laid claim to be God." By God! This is a gross calumny. I am but a servant of God Who hath believed in Him and in His signs, and in His Prophets and in His angels. My tongue, and My heart, and My inner and My outer being testify that there is no God but Him, that all others have been created by His behest, and been fashioned through the operation of His Will. There is none other God but Him, the Creator, the Raiser from the dead, the Quickener, the Slayer. I am He that telleth abroad the favors with which God hath, through His bounty, favored Me. If this be My transgression, then I am truly the first of the transgressors.
Can you please explain to me what I am missing? Perhaps provide a few actual quotes from the Bab, Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha to support some other interpretation? It seems to me that saying Baha'u'llah calls himself God is blatant calumny. How could it be any better if someone else says it?

Last edited by Scribe; 09-07-2017 at 01:12 AM.
 
Old 09-07-2017, 01:31 AM   #25
Kam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Very well, let us study the writings. I still disagree with your view that Baha'u'llah is God in any literal sense. Here is a quote from the Gleanings, Section 113 paragraph 18 (pp. 227-228 according to Ocean):



Can you please explain to me what I am missing? Perhaps provide a few actual quotes from the Bab, Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha to support some other interpretation? It seems to me that saying Baha'u'llah calls himself God is blatant calumny. How could it be any better if someone else says it?
Hi Scribe,
This is a great exploration and I most certainly will not assert that I am right, your thinking is not incorrect.

My understanding of the quote you have given is that Baha'u'llah is here referring to His human aspect who is the servant. He has a Divine aspect which has attributes and which is otherwise known as the Word, Primal Will or First Mind. It is this Divine aspect of Baha'u'llah which is All-Knowing, All-Wise etc etc and it has a Will and the human Baha'u'llah is subservient to His Divine Self, and subservient to His Divine Will. It is important to remember the union of these two aspects of the Manifestation of God. His human aspect is finite. It is born, suffers and dies. His Divine Reality is eternal and EMANATES from the Essence of Essences (whatever that actually means).

Here is a quote from Abdu'l-Baha which clarifies that when he starts his prayers with Hovallah (He is God), the God is in reference to Baha'u'llah:

"O thou who art firm in the Covenant!
Thou hast asked regarding the phrase, “He is God!” written above the Tablets. By this Word it is intended that no one hath any access to the Invisible Essence. The way is barred and the road is impassable. In this world all men must turn their faces toward “Him-whom God-shall-Manifest.” He is the “Dawning-place of Divinity” and the “Manifestation of Deity.” He is the “Ultimate Goal,” the “Adored One” of all and the “Worshipped One” of all. Otherwise, whatever flashes through the mind is not that Essence of essences and the Reality of realities; nay, rather it is pure imagination woven by man and is surrounded, not the surrounding. Consequently, it returns finally to the realm of suppositions and conjectures. "

Bahá'à Reference Library - Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Page 485

I will try and find some quotes from the Bab in a second

Kam

Last edited by Kam; 09-07-2017 at 01:35 AM.
 
Old 09-07-2017, 01:43 AM   #26
Kam
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From: Perth, Australia
Posts: 159
.


I think this whole book is a great great read but scroll down to the chapter titled "The Primal Will as the Unity of Subject and Object"

http://chupin.ru/library/NaderSaiedi..._the_Heart.pdf

Kam


.
 
Old 09-08-2017, 12:26 PM   #27
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On the subject of the distinction between God and Manifestation... I'm not entirely sure as to how important it is??

I think it's like looking in a mirror in which we can see the reflection of the sun. Two people can point to the mirror, one saying "Oh look, the sun!!" and the other saying "Oh look, a mirror!!" and both are correct.
 
Old 09-08-2017, 01:58 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
On the subject of the distinction between God and Manifestation... I'm not entirely sure as to how important it is??

I think it's like looking in a mirror in which we can see the reflection of the sun. Two people can point to the mirror, one saying "Oh look, the sun!!" and the other saying "Oh look, a mirror!!" and both are correct.
You're right, of course. I guess I just took issue with the whole "Baha'is do not worship God, they worship Baha'u'llah" statement--as if Baha'is worship Baha'u'llah to the exclusion of God--and it continued from there. Worshiping a Manifestation just seems like idolatry to me, and is something that seems discouraged in the Writings. To put it in terms of the popular metaphor you are using, I got the impression Kam was saying "Baha'is only worship the mirror, they do not care about the Sun."

For personal reasons, I would really like to know if there is a tendency among actual Baha'is to worship Baha'u'llah. It's a line of thinking I have not encountered before, though my experience with Baha'is is mostly limited to online interactions.

Last edited by Scribe; 09-08-2017 at 02:03 PM.
 
Old 09-08-2017, 11:04 PM   #29
Kam
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I think the sun and mirror analogy goes a certain distance before we realise that there is a problem, namely, that the sun has attributes.

I think a deeper exploration will give a realisation that the sun and the mirror are two aspects of the same Reality. There is no God as the sun, and Baha'u'llah as the mirror. All of it is Baha'u'llah (or any Manifestation of God). They have 2 aspects, the mirror is the human aspect, and the sun is the Divine aspect. They are not separable.

Kam
 
Old 09-09-2017, 04:55 AM   #30
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We may simply have to agree to disagree. I have not read the book you linked to, Kam, so perhaps there is some support for your position there. Other than that, though, I have yet to see a quote that convinces me there is any actual support for your position without adding meanings that I do not even think are there.

Let us first assume that Baha'u'llah meant what he said in the quote I gave above saying he is not God, i.e. that he is not engaging in outright deceit. That means Baha'u'llah admits he is God's creation. We then come to this quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baha'u'llah
He is really a believer in the Unity of God who recognizeth in each and every created thing the sign of the revelation of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, and not he who maintaineth that the creature is indistinguishable from the Creator.
That is from Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 189., or Section 93.13 if you prefer.

I am still awaiting some support from Baha'i writings that states Baha'u'llah is God, much less that the "mirror and the sun" are the same. Like I said, we may simply have to agree to disagree. I have witnessed enough religious debates to know that opinions about religion rarely change, however, so I personally doubt that this conversation will bear much fruit no matter how long it continues.

Last edited by Scribe; 09-09-2017 at 05:32 AM.
 
Old 09-09-2017, 06:24 AM   #31
Jcc
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This is a good example of where we can have our own understanding of the Writings without trying to impose it on others. The relationship between God and His creation can be understood on multiple levels but ultimately it simply can't be understood.

"And since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation, and no resemblance whatever can exist between the transient and the Eternal, the contingent and the Absolute, He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself.To this testifieth the tradition: “Manifold and mysterious is My relationship with God. I am He, Himself, and He is I, Myself, except that I am that I am, and He is that He is.” And in like manner, the words: “Arise, O Muḥammad, for lo, the Lover and the Beloved are joined together and made one in Thee.”... The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: “I am but a man like you.” “Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?” "
--Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 27

The apparent paradox is present in the teachings of Christianity also, for instance in John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known" (New International Version.)

Thousands of people have seen Jesus, who "is Himself God" yet no one has ever seen God.

Last edited by Jcc; 09-09-2017 at 06:35 AM.
 
Old 09-10-2017, 05:37 PM   #32
Kam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
We may simply have to agree to disagree. I have not read the book you linked to, Kam, so perhaps there is some support for your position there. Other than that, though, I have yet to see a quote that convinces me there is any actual support for your position without adding meanings that I do not even think are there.

Let us first assume that Baha'u'llah meant what he said in the quote I gave above saying he is not God, i.e. that he is not engaging in outright deceit. That means Baha'u'llah admits he is God's creation. We then come to this quote:



That is from Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 189., or Section 93.13 if you prefer.

I am still awaiting some support from Baha'i writings that states Baha'u'llah is God, much less that the "mirror and the sun" are the same. Like I said, we may simply have to agree to disagree. I have witnessed enough religious debates to know that opinions about religion rarely change, however, so I personally doubt that this conversation will bear much fruit no matter how long it continues.
And this is the beauty of the Baha'i Revelation Scribe

We don't need to agree to disagree. We can both be correct. All are true within the infinite planes of reality that we all explore as the wayfarer.

I did give you the quote from Abdu'l-Baha above where he is referring to Baha'u'llah when he starts his prayers with "He is God"....I'm not sure I'm aware of anything that is as direct as that one

What is of critical importance however is that whatever we may believe internally sees manifestation on a collaborative and united vision in action

Kam
 
Old 09-11-2017, 03:01 AM   #33
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
On the subject of the distinction between God and Manifestation... I'm not entirely sure as to how important it is??

I think it's like looking in a mirror in which we can see the reflection of the sun. Two people can point to the mirror, one saying "Oh look, the sun!!" and the other saying "Oh look, a mirror!!" and both are correct.
Baha'u'llah has said both views are valid and correct. They are both wrong if they become a point of argument.

This was a discussion on this Forum a few years back, it was discussed in quite some detail. Maybe 2013 to 2014.

Regards Tony
 
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