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Old 05-10-2018, 03:26 PM   #1
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Learning to love Baha'u'llah

Dear all,

I have been investigating the Baha'i faith for over a year now, and I find the writings to be beautiful and inspiring, the central principal of progressive revelation makes complete sense to me.
And I truly believe that the world would be a better place if we followed the Baha'i teaching !

However, I am struggling with accepting Baha'u'llah as divine, as a manifestation of God , as the return of Jesus.

I come from a Christian background, and I have realized over the course of the past few months where I have been study the Baha'i faith and reading about other religions, that I love Jesus.

It is easy for me to look at the stories of Jesus' life and see him as divine, without sin, a reflection of God..

But it is harder with Baha'u'llah.... he had three wives ! I know that this is inline with middle eastern custom but he married his third wife after he experienced his first revelations.. One man with three wives how is this equality ?

Baha'u'llah spoke many wise and loving words.. but where were his loving actions ?

To accept the Baha'i faith I need to learn to love Baha'u'llah, but I am really struggling..

Regards,
T
 
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:15 PM   #2
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I do not know how much my answer will help but when I was with an Ahmadiyya group they had mentioned how David had many wives, and that it's by no means a bad thing, in the sense that God saw him fit to properly care for that many wives. I would assume the same applies to Baha'u'llah?
 
Old 05-10-2018, 06:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
...
To accept the Baha'i faith I need to learn to love Baha'u'llah, but I am really struggling.
Good morning Traveller

It may sound strange, but I think that your struggle is a Good Thing (note the capitalisation). Nothing good is obtained without a struggle - heck, if it was easy, the whole world would be Baha'i today.

It also brings great joy to my heart to hear you say that you love Jesus. Yet, one must ask - is it the material Jesus you love, or is it the Holy Spirit which was manifest in Him, or is it the fact that He was the mouthpiece of God, the Chosen of God for that day, and thus, for all intents and purposes, our contact with God, and Whose Presence, spiritually, is the entrance into Paradise?

The same evidence, the identical evidences that have proved to you that Christ was the True One from God, the proof of the Testimony of the previous Manifestations, and of the Essence of Divinity, apply to the proofs that Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for this Day.

The first "step" in this process is patience. Otherwise one can make a hasty decision, and a hasty decision is seldom entirely correct, and can, in fact, be entirely erroneous.

The second "step" is trust. Have complete trust and faith in God, Who is the Sender of all the Messengers, and the Source of both being and not-being. Know of a certainty that only with trust will your patience prove of benefit. Know of a certainty that God will show you the way and guide you into Truth.

Isn't there something in the Bible about faith, trust and something? Worth a hunt-down.

The third "step" is prayer. Devoted, loving, earnest, humble. Pray with trust, knowing that God is the answerer of every prayer, and await the outcome with patience.

The fourth "step" is acceptance. Not every Truth that God will bring to your attention will be palatable to pre-perceived ideas, thoughts, beliefs, customs and manners. It is learning to accept Truths as presented by God, but likewise it requires discrimination that one is not misled by personal promptings. There is a wealth of Sacred Texts from all the Faiths which will show you how and where and what to discriminate out, and what to discriminate in. Choose one or choose them all - they all are revealed by God - it's only man that interferes with the original intent.

Be scientific in your approach to acceptance and discrimination.

Knowledge leads to understanding. Knowledge and understanding are the two wings of wisdom.

With my love and my most warm greetings

Romane

Last edited by Romane; 05-10-2018 at 06:32 PM. Reason: typo's
 
Old 05-11-2018, 06:26 AM   #4
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Dear friend Traveller

I think what you are experiencing is really normal. I, too, loved Jesus very much. I am from a Muslim background, but I never loved anyone more than I loved Jesus, and I always felt He was with me.
Then I found the Baha'i faith, and had just the same struggle as you have now. now I love Bahaullah, and learnt how to connect with His spirit after nearly 5 years. My idea is that to be able to make a connection with the messenger of God at each era is very difficult. What do I mean? I mean that for example it had been the same difficulty for people in time of Jesus to start to love Jesus more than they loved Moses. Or in time of Mohammad, as I have read in Quran, Jews had great difficulty starting to love Mohammad as much as they loved Moses. why is that is because, in my opinion, the messenger of each era sets new and high standard that are spiritually a bit too high for us. we have to strive to reach that point where we can finally see the light.
I went through the same struggle and I found what i was searching for. So I assure you that you need not worry. just move slowly slowly and one day suddenly the door will be opened to your heart
 
Old 05-11-2018, 10:05 AM   #5
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If you want to love Baha'u'llah read The Revelation of Baha'u'llah by Adib Taherzadeh. It has 4 volumes but it's worth the reading. It's about the Revelation of Baha'u'llah but there's a lot about Baha'u'llah in that and His companions.

Besides that, look at Abdu'l-Baha. Baha'u'llah and His wife raised Him. He raised Abdu'l-Baha to such heights that He has to be a Manifestation of God.
 
Old 05-11-2018, 11:26 AM   #6
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Welcome back Traveller! I remember you as being very earnest in your seeking of Truth. I pray you will find the answer You need. Glad too, you are still seeking. It takes many of us a long time to find what it is we seek. And often it was there all the time, we just didn't recognize it. Or maybe you are another Traveler finding your way. Regardless, welcome!
Loving regards,
Becky

Last edited by becky; 05-11-2018 at 11:28 AM.
 
Old 05-12-2018, 04:02 PM   #7
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Hello!
I just have to reply to this. Above all, you must read, read, read! I Remember reading Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah when I was 16 during a family holiday. By the time I had finished I was transformed into a new being. The connection that you make with the Manifestation of God is like a father with a newborn child. What no one likes to admit is that the love doesn't always start when the baby is born. For some it can take a year to start but then it becomes the deepest feeling in the father's life. I am now 41 and my love for Baha'u'llah has continued to grow through the decades. It is now almost overpowering. It is He that gives me the connection to all the other Manifestations. I don't love Him as a man, so much as The Glory of God!, the appearance of blinding light into human civilisation, a revelation so potent it wil take us centuries to understand. I feel so passionately in my ardour, that I would remain a Baha'i even if an atheist were able to prove the non-existence of God.

I would strongly advise you to limit your internet-based research. I have found that the web is filled with people of ill-will who will stop at nothing to try to damage other people's belief in Baha'u'llah. I fear that if I had had the Internet in 1993 I might have been too troubled by the slanders and accusations mouthed by enemies of the Faith to actually pursue reading the Writings. As far as I am concerned, full immersion in the Writings is the only proof we need, although we must of course do this with complete detachment from all ego.

You mention Jesus. I would say I feel the same about Jesus as I do about Baha'u'llah. My love for Him is blinding, but also somewhat different to when I was a Christian. I find that I dislike seeing His picture now, and I certainly don't like seeing crucifixes. I avert my eyes! For me Jesus is too glorious and cosmic and holy to be represented as a murdered man. He is a being of light, and when you gaze upon Him with your inward eye you catch a glimpse of infinity, and the essence - God - Who creates it all. His greatest miracle is bringing us closer to God and transforming us into new beings

Consider the almost inconceivable vision Jesus paints of the future time when His spiritual essence will again appear. I think this is why many don't respond to the Baha'i claim: its implications are utterly staggering.

Regarding the wives of Baha'u'llah: that was how it was in His culture. The Baha'i view of marriage wasn't fully established until perhaps the time of Abdul Baha. The principle of progressive revelation must be understood to occur during the scriptural phase of the religion.

I hope this offers some small help. Again, do focus on book-learning and be wary of wolves on the internet!

Zam疣
 
Old 05-12-2018, 10:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaman View Post
Hello!
I just have to reply to this. Above all, you must read, read, read! I Remember reading Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah when I was 16 during a family holiday. By the time I had finished I was transformed into a new being. The connection that you make with the Manifestation of God is like a father with a newborn child. What no one likes to admit is that the love doesn't always start when the baby is born. For some it can take a year to start but then it becomes the deepest feeling in the father's life. I am now 41 and my love for Baha'u'llah has continued to grow through the decades. It is now almost overpowering. It is He that gives me the connection to all the other Manifestations. I don't love Him as a man, so much as The Glory of God!, the appearance of blinding light into human civilisation, a revelation so potent it wil take us centuries to understand. I feel so passionately in my ardour, that I would remain a Baha'i even if an atheist were able to prove the non-existence of God.

I would strongly advise you to limit your internet-based research. I have found that the web is filled with people of ill-will who will stop at nothing to try to damage other people's belief in Baha'u'llah. I fear that if I had had the Internet in 1993 I might have been too troubled by the slanders and accusations mouthed by enemies of the Faith to actually pursue reading the Writings. As far as I am concerned, full immersion in the Writings is the only proof we need, although we must of course do this with complete detachment from all ego.

You mention Jesus. I would say I feel the same about Jesus as I do about Baha'u'llah. My love for Him is blinding, but also somewhat different to when I was a Christian. I find that I dislike seeing His picture now, and I certainly don't like seeing crucifixes. I avert my eyes! For me Jesus is too glorious and cosmic and holy to be represented as a murdered man. He is a being of light, and when you gaze upon Him with your inward eye you catch a glimpse of infinity, and the essence - God - Who creates it all. His greatest miracle is bringing us closer to God and transforming us into new beings

Consider the almost inconceivable vision Jesus paints of the future time when His spiritual essence will again appear. I think this is why many don't respond to the Baha'i claim: its implications are utterly staggering.

Regarding the wives of Baha'u'llah: that was how it was in His culture. The Baha'i view of marriage wasn't fully established until perhaps the time of Abdul Baha. The principle of progressive revelation must be understood to occur during the scriptural phase of the religion.

I hope this offers some small help. Again, do focus on book-learning and be wary of wolves on the internet!

Zam疣
Hello Zaman,

Admittedly, when I first read this thread header I thought it rather odd that anyone would be concerned about loving Baha置値lah. Mind you, I was never a Christian or any religion before I became a Baha段 at age 17, and I do not recall believing in God, so the concept of loving Jesus is altogether foreign to me, as it the concept of Jesus loving me. I also have issues believing that God loves me, and I really do not feel that God is All-Loving, given all the suffering I see in the world, including my own suffering which has been almost constant...

I have been a Baha段 now over 47 ス years. I became a Baha段 two weeks after I stumbled upon it as I had no question it was the truth, but that was more because of the teachings than because of God. For many personal reasons, I fell away from the Baha段 Faith for 42 years, and I was angry at God for quite a while, and in January 2013 I stumbled upon the Planet Baha段 forum and that started a whole new journey in my life. I started to learn a lot about the Faith I had not known before and I started to make peace with God. I cannot say I have come that far because I can't say that I love God and most of the time I do not even like God.

This journey was mostly intellectual until.... in June 2014 I picked up Gleanings again after many years of not reading it... In fact, I had probably not read it since I first became a Baha段 and I really did not understand it back then... This time I picked it up was after a major life crisis that had brought me to the brink of suicide. I do not know what made me ask my husband for it but he gave it to me and I was reading it on the bus on my way home from work... tears rolled from my eyes, as I realized the import of what I was reading... Baha置値lah was speaking as God, for God...

Well, suffice to say, my life has not been the same since... I have read it at least five times since and every waking hour of my life when not working is spent proclaiming that Baha置値lah has come and answering questions if people are interested. I have done all this on forums and continue to do so... I have no time for any Baha段 activities.

There have been so many times I have wondered why I am so compelled but all I have to do is remember what Baha置値lah wrote in Gleanings; one of many quotes is the following:

徹 ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.
Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 329-330

Do I take that seriously or just go back to my old life where material world enjoyments mattered to me? Try as in might, I cannot. I just know this Cause is too important. I have neglected many things that I think I should be doing, responsibilities to take care of houses and cars, etc., but I reason that they are just not as important as people.

But lately I have had a crisis of faith and I wonder if any of this really matters. I mostly post to nonbelievers so it has taken its toll on me since I have no contact with any Baha段s except my husband and one Baha段 forum friend. In light of my doubts, I sometimes wonder if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing... How can I really know? I wonder if maybe I am doing this for another reason because I like posting on forums and I meet all kinds of people. It does take my mind off things that are depressing in my life, but that is not a good enough reason to be doing it. I know I am relieved when I do not have any posts to answer, which is a rarity, so maybe this is not what I really want to be doing, but rather what I feel I have to be doing for Baha置値lah. The subconscious mind can play a lot of tricks on us.

So, the other day I cried out to God, I mean I yelled at Him, asking if I was supposed to keep doing this and the next day I think I got the answer. Unfortunately, the answer was yes but I know I also need to cut down and take care of some matters that are urgent, such as at my rental house... But where I am at is not IN this world anymore...

But how can we ever really know what God wants us to do; this is a big problem for me. Is this just my ego, me thinking it is God telling me, or is it really inspiration from God? For now, I have conceded to the fact that I cannot know, but I just follow my conscience. Unfortunately, I am feeling really guilty for not doing other things I think I should be doing, but if I abandon the forums I feel guilty about that too. So I am going to try to balance the two and do fewer posts and more chores. I only got this idea last week and it has not been working very well so far, but I will keep trying.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 12:43 AM   #9
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Hello! ...
True and sagacious advice. Advice I would commend to, not only to our very dear friend Traveller, but to any who may be seriously seeking for truth.

With my most warm greetings

Romane
 
Old 05-13-2018, 02:33 AM   #10
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Dear all,
Thank you for your kind support. I am hoping to get hold of the series "The revelations of Ball'ullah' to continue my studies, hopefully with this I can gain a better understanding. . .



Dear Trailblazer,
If I my offer the following from Hidden Words
O SON OF MAN!

I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.

#5: Arabic
O SON OF BEING!

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 03:49 AM   #11
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Hi Traveller,

All I can add is that as a Bah癇 I much, much love Jesus more than when I was a devout Christian. Baha置値lah and Abdul-Baha praise and glorify Jesus so, so much. Baha置値lah has even written a very moving tribute to Him.

As to wives.

This link should assist you.

https://bahai-library.com/uhj_wives_bahaullah

...as regards Bah'u'll疉's marriage it should be noted that His three marriages were all contracted before He revealed His Book of Laws, and even before His declaration in Baghd疆, at a time when Bah' marriage laws had not yet been known, and the Revelation not yet disclosed.
(25 May 1938 to a National Spiritual Assembly)










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Old 05-13-2018, 06:17 AM   #12
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To find out what God wants from us, is to do what he commands through his messengers. Community building is part of the present plan from UHJ, and individual teaching is also a command.

Last edited by Yousefy2; 05-13-2018 at 07:47 AM.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 01:13 PM   #13
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As to wives.

This link should assist you.

https://bahai-library.com/uhj_wives_bahaullah

...as regards Bah'u'll疉's marriage it should be noted that His three marriages were all contracted before He revealed His Book of Laws, and even before His declaration in Baghd疆, at a time when Bah' marriage laws had not yet been known, and the Revelation not yet disclosed.
(25 May 1938 to a National Spiritual Assembly)




Dear World Citizen,

I'm sorry but no matter how many times I am told " it was standard practice of the times and consistent with Islamic law.." I do not believe it is just.

The words Baha'u'llah wrote are pure light.. but his actions ? I am not so sure about those...

Regards,
T
 
Old 05-13-2018, 03:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
As to wives.

This link should assist you.

https://bahai-library.com/uhj_wives_bahaullah

...as regards Bah'u'll疉's marriage it should be noted that His three marriages were all contracted before He revealed His Book of Laws, and even before His declaration in Baghd疆, at a time when Bah' marriage laws had not yet been known, and the Revelation not yet disclosed.
(25 May 1938 to a National Spiritual Assembly)




Dear World Citizen,

I'm sorry but no matter how many times I am told " it was standard practice of the times and consistent with Islamic law.." I do not believe it is just.

The words Baha'u'llah wrote are pure light.. but his actions ? I am not so sure about those...

Regards,
T
What actions were not lawful and moral?

By what standards do we use to make such a judgement?

You would be aware that if one did marry more than one wife, that each had to be treated equally.

This subject is much more than our current thoughts on what is moral and what is not, it is Baha'u'llah that has set the standard of Morality first in His life and then in the Word.

Regards Tony
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:13 PM   #15
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Hi Tony,

Jesus did not follow the law of stoning an Adulteress to death, he acted in love and then taught love.


Also you may find this article interesting
Why polygamy breeds civil war
When large numbers of men are doomed to bachelorhood, they get desperate
FEW South Sudanese see a link between their country痴 horrific civil war and polygamy. Instead they blame greedy politicians or the tribe next door. Fair enough: corruption, weak institutions and tribalism all make violence more likely. But marital customs matter, too. Wherever polygamy is widely practised (in South Sudan, perhaps 40% of marriages involve multiple wives) turmoil tends to follow. The 20 most fragile states in the world are all somewhat or very polygamous. Polygamous nations are more likely to invade their neighbours. The polygamous regions of Haiti and Indonesia are the most turbulent. One London School of Economics study found a strong link between plural marriage and civil war. How come?
Polygamy nearly always means rich men taking multiple wives. And if the top 10% of men marry four women each, then the bottom 30% cannot marry at all. This often leaves them not only sexually frustrated but also socially marginalised. In many traditional societies, a man is not considered an adult until he has found a wife and sired children. To get a wife, he must typically pay a 澱rideprice to her father. When polygamy creates a shortage of brides, it massively inflates this brideprice. In South Sudan, it can be anything from 30 to 300 cattle, far more wealth than an ill-educated young man can plausibly accumulate by legal means.
In desperation, many single men resort to extreme measures to secure a mate. In South Sudan, they pick up guns and steal cattle from the tribe next door. Many people are killed in such raids; many bloody feuds spring from them. Young bachelors who cannot afford to marry also make easy recruits for rebel armies. If they fight, they can loot, and with loot, they can wed. In a paper published last year, Valerie Hudson of Texas A&M University and Hilary Matfess of Yale found that a high brideprice is a 田ritical factor 菟redisposing young men to become involved in organised group violence for political purposes. Jihadist groups exploit this, too. One member of Pakistan痴 Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the attack on Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people, said he joined the organisation because it promised to pay for his siblings to get married. During its heyday the so-called Islamic State offered foreign recruits honeymoons in Raqqa, its former capital. In northern Nigeria, where polygamy is rife, Boko Haram still arranges cheap marriages for its recruits.
Globally, polygamy is in retreat, but in some pockets support for it is rising. After America痴 Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in 2015, some people argued that plural unions should be next. According to Gallup, a pollster, the proportion of Americans who consider polygamy to be morally acceptable rose from 5% in 2006 to 17% last year, among the most dramatic jumps in the subjects it tracks. Campaigners in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and other central Asian states are seeking to re-establish men痴 right to take multiple wives. In Kazakhstan, a bill failed in 2008 after a female MP included an amendment stipulating that polyandry (women taking multiple husbands) also be allowed. Advocates claim that polygamy promotes social harmony by giving lusty husbands a legitimate alternative to infidelity. The mayhem in places like South Sudan, Afghanistan and northern Nigeria suggests otherwise.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:21 PM   #16
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Every time God sends His Representatives to earth it has been a sore test for former believers.

Moses was a murderer. The immaculate conception of Jesus. The wives and concubines of Abraham and David.

These are tests and we know even the most knowledgeable such as the Jewish pharisees failed because they judged God by their own understandings.

A point worthy of note is that Abraham also had more than one wife and both God and Jesus accepted Him. It was part of God痴 plan and wisdom then as it was in the time of Baha置値lah.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:27 PM   #17
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Dear World Citizen,
That is the difference between Jesus and the other prophets , it is easy to see Jesus as Divine, the other prophets where not like Jesus...
This is my struggle

Regards,
T
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:29 PM   #18
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
Hi Tony, Jesus did not follow the law of stoning an Adulteress to death, he acted in love and then taught love.
Hi Traveller - Baha'u'llah also did not teach stoning and acted in Love and taught Love.

The wisdom of God is not our Wisdom

Moses was guilty of murder and then gave the Ten Commandments on being that one Shall not Kill.

Baha'ullah married lawfully and then a Law was later made for this age, that is a man can only have one wife and thus likewise a woman can only have one husband.

Can I suggest you could research when and why these additional marriages were contracted.

What I see is but a bounty to us when we consider the only family that remained loyal to the Covernant was from Baha'u'llahs first Marriage. This is something to ponder deeply upon. To me it supports the first marrage as the eternal bond and reflects the bounty of a single spouse.

As suggested above, there is much to learn from why God gave Bahau'llah more than one wife, then gave the Law that we can only have one spouse.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 05-13-2018 at 04:33 PM.
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:40 PM   #19
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Dear World Citizen,
That is the difference between Jesus and the other prophets , it is easy to see Jesus as Divine, the other prophets where not like Jesus...
This is my struggle

Regards,
T
The Jews rejected Jesus using that same standard. Jesus was supposed to confirm all the Laws of Moses and rule like a King from a throne on this earth. Thus to the Jews, Jesus was not as Divine as Moses and is still not.

Regards Tony
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Hi Traveller - Baha'u'llah also did not teach stoning and acted in Love and taught Love.

The wisdom of God is not our Wisdom

Moses was guilty of murder and then gave the Ten Commandments on being that one Shall not Kill.

Baha'ullah married lawfully and then a Law was later made for this age, that is a man can only have one wife and thus likewise a woman can only have one husband.

Can I suggest you could research when and why these additional marriages were contracted.

What I see is but a bounty to us when we consider the only family that remained loyal to the Covernant was from Baha'u'llahs first Marriage. This is something to ponder deeply upon. To me it supports the first marrage as the eternal bond and reflects the bounty of a single spouse.

As suggested above, there is much to learn from why God gave Bahau'llah more than one wife, then gave the Law that we can only have one spouse.

Regards Tony


Very good point Tony about Moses and the Ten Commandments and Thou shalt not kill. Coming from one who had been guilty Himself of murder it just goes to show how God tests His servants.




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Old 05-13-2018, 04:47 PM   #21
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Originally Posted by worldcitizen View Post
Very good point Tony about Moses and the Ten Commandments and Thou shalt not kill. Coming from one who had been guilty Himself of murder it just goes to show how God tests His servants.


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Allah'u'abha David my wonderful friend

I am so excited about the Movie "The Gate". We are going to show it to all we can here in Normanton, I am hoping the Churches here will show it.

Love from my wife and I, Regards Tony
 
Old 05-13-2018, 04:51 PM   #22
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Allah'u'abha David my wonderful friend



I am so excited about the Movie "The Gate". We are going to show it to all we can here in Normanton, I am hoping the Churches here will show it.



Love from my wife and I, Regards Tony

Hi dear Tony. Do you know when it will be available to us all and can we download it? Really looking forward to it myself. Love to you and your 礎etter half. Lol


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Old 05-13-2018, 05:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by worldcitizen View Post
Hi dear Tony. Do you know when it will be available to us all and can we download it? Really looking forward to it myself. Love to you and your 礎etter half. Lol


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David, this link

https://thegatefilm.com/home-8/

They would like us to.show it on the 23rd of this month.

You can fill in the form online.

Regards Tony
 
Old 05-13-2018, 05:37 PM   #24
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Thanks Tony. I already filled in the form but will we have it by the 23rd. It痴 close. Do you have your copy yet?


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Old 05-14-2018, 03:14 PM   #25
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Dear Traveller

I understand very well the pain and turmoil of tests and challenges such as you are experiencing. I don't know if this helps but I can safely say that I personally don't see any difference between the apparent divinity of Jesus and Baha'u'llah. I say this as someone who had to read literally everything before making my declaration as a Baha'i. Indeed, accepting Baha'u'llah was the only way I felt I could be faithful to Jesus. Jesus even explicitly predicts future prophets when He says 'by Their fruits ye shall know them." As a Baha'i I find my life is replete with ecstatic insight and miracle.

I am not writing to try to convince you, but simply to assure that others have been on the same journey and have been able to resolve their difficulties. I am truly glad to be a believer in the Glory.

Best wishes

Zam疣
 
Old 05-14-2018, 04:09 PM   #26
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Dear Zaman,

Thanks for your support. Yes I often think about "you will know them by their fruits" I watched the Widening Embrace video the other day, inspiring

And I am also reading everything I can get my hands on ..

Regards,
T
 
Old 05-14-2018, 06:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
Dear Trailblazer,
If I my offer the following from Hidden Words
O SON OF MAN!

I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.

#5: Arabic
O SON OF BEING!

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
Thanks. I know these Hidden Words well but I have a problem with them. If we cannot love God or even Baha'u'llah, is God going to just not love us because we did not love Him first? That does not seem very loving to me.

Mind you, I was never a Christian before I became a Baha'i so I have no conception of the love of Jesus. I listen to Christian radio all the time but I do not even relate to what they are all excited about. I believe that Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God and I believe in God, but I do not love either one of them. Just being honest.
 
Old 05-14-2018, 09:10 PM   #28
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Dear Trailblazer,

My interpretation of those 2 verses is :
i) God created us out of love
then
ii) God does not force his rules (guidance/love) on us, we must choose to seek God and to listen , then Gods guidance can help us.

With regard to loving Jesus, have read the Gospels ? Most Christians would recommend you start with the Gospel according to John.

I will admit that God, being unknowable to u, is hard to love, but Jesus is knowable .. through knowing Jesus we love him and through him love God.

Kind regards,
T

Last edited by Traveller; 05-14-2018 at 09:14 PM.
 
Old 05-15-2018, 03:47 AM   #29
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Many kind stories of Bah'u'll疉 .. He was called the father of the poor before declaring to be a manifestation
 
Old 05-15-2018, 08:27 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
Dear Trailblazer,

My interpretation of those 2 verses is :
i) God created us out of love
then
ii) God does not force his rules (guidance/love) on us, we must choose to seek God and to listen , then Gods guidance can help us.

With regard to loving Jesus, have read the Gospels ? Most Christians would recommend you start with the Gospel according to John.

I will admit that God, being unknowable to u, is hard to love, but Jesus is knowable .. through knowing Jesus we love him and through him love God.

Kind regards,
T
Thanks for your kind words and trying to help but I consider myself a pretty hopeless case, at least when it comes to God.

I think your interpretation is pretty much the same as my interpretation. We must choose to love God and then God will help us. But if we cannot choose to love God or even believe in God then we are up the creek without a paddle. Such is the plight of the atheists I post to day and night. They cannot 屠ust believe in Manifestations of God because they want to. I don稚 believe that they can so I do not blame them for being atheists. Most of these are sincere people who just do not think like we do. I think it is really awful if God punishes them for their lack of belief, but I do not know if God does that.

Like I said, I was never a Christian so I do not believe that God actually guides us in any sense that we can ever possibly decipher. Maybe other Baha段s believe that but I think it is a carryover from their Christian past. I suppose I could accept that God hears our prayers but what good does it do? We can imagine we got an answer but there is no way we can ever know it came from God or whether it was just something that was destined to happen anyway.

The reason I cannot love God is not because God is unknowable such that I need to relate to God through a Manifestation of God such as Jesus or Baha置値lah. I just do not love God and maybe that is why I do not love the Manifestations of God either. However, I am neutral about Jesus and Baha置値lah because I do not blame them for creating a world in which so many people suffer and then just allowing people to suffer. I blame God for that. The Manifestations of God are just like mailmen bringing us messages from God; God built the post office and God runs it.

God creating a world like this and then allowing people to suffer is like a mother having a baby and then leaving it in the crib unattended, left all alone to suffer and starve. We are supposed to believe that this invisible God is 鍍here for us but there is no indication that God is anywhere, so I have to say I think it is very nave to believe that.

Of course we all know that people and animals die and that was part of the plan God had to add to the suffering we already have in this life.

It is probably really easy to believe in God if one has had minimal suffering in their life, because it is just something they see on television and then they can go back to their happy life, with a loving spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog, a good job, etc. doing all their Baha段 activities and wondering why more Baha段s are not participating as they do.

I know all the Baha段 apologetics that address suffering, why we have it, how it is good for us, how we will be so much better off in the afterlife; I know those apologetics only too well, but that is all they are, apologetics. There is no proof of any of this; we are just supposed to believe it because Baha置値lah or Abdu値-Baha wrote it. Sorry, but that is not good enough for me.

I wanted to do what Baha置値lah enjoined us to do so for the last four years that I have been on forums day and night proclaiming and teaching the Faith, posting mostly to nonbelievers, because most Christians are mired in their own beliefs. Posting to nonbelievers has probably taken its toll on me. I understand a lot of why they do not believe in God, the only difference is that I do believe in God because of the Manifestations of God and nonbelievers do not believe that anyone speaks for God.

Most people who feel the way I do about God have become atheists but unfortunately I believe Baha置値lah was who He claimed to be and I cannot deny that so I am in between a rock and a hard place. My husband says I do not really believe in Baha置値lah if I feel the way I do about God, but who is he to say that? I know what I believe but I am not happy about it.

Sorry to be such a wet blanket. Most of the time I do not want to live but I do not want to die either because I dread the thought of living forever in some strange realm. Maybe I will be lucky enough to go to where the nonbelievers will dwell. I certainly do not belong in heaven with the believers.

Sincerely, Trailblazer
 
Old 05-16-2018, 07:13 AM   #31
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I think your interpretation is pretty much the same as my interpretation. We must choose to love God and then God will help us. But if we cannot choose to love God or even believe in God then we are up the creek without a paddle. Such is the plight of the atheists I post to day and night. They cannot “just believe” in Manifestations of God because they want to. I don’t believe that they can so I do not blame them for being atheists. Most of these are sincere people who just do not think like we do. I think it is really awful if God punishes them for their lack of belief, but I do not know if God does that.
I have a different view, I think that loving God itself is something that gives us tangible benefits. The "reward" of loving God is the "act" of loving God itself.

I read recently the Alchemy of Happiness by al Ghazzali which made the following point:

If a doctor tells you that making a change in lifestyle will lead to a benefit to your health, and you do not heed that doctor's advice, failing to get the benefit is not a result of the doctor punishing you for disobedience.

So I don't think it's a case of God saying "Love me and I will give you a reward, or else I will keep the reward from you", but rather a case of God saying "Loving me has the following benefits..."

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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
The reason I cannot love God is not because God is unknowable such that I need to relate to God through a Manifestation of God such as Jesus or Baha’u’llah. I just do not love God and maybe that is why I do not love the Manifestations of God either. However, I am neutral about Jesus and Baha’u’llah because I do not blame them for creating a world in which so many people suffer and then just allowing people to suffer. I blame God for that. The Manifestations of God are just like mailmen bringing us messages from God; God built the post office and God runs it.

God creating a world like this and then allowing people to suffer is like a mother having a baby and then leaving it in the crib unattended, left all alone to suffer and starve. We are supposed to believe that this invisible God is “there for us” but there is no indication that God is anywhere, so I have to say I think it is very nave to believe that.

Of course we all know that people and animals die and that was part of the plan God had to add to the suffering we already have in this life.
Ahhh, the topic of suffering.

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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
I know all the Baha’i apologetics that address suffering, why we have it, how it is good for us, how we will be so much better off in the afterlife; I know those apologetics only too well, but that is all they are, apologetics.
Well good news, because I don't think my answer is anything you've heard before, and I like you I think a claim that "suffering is good for us" is a really foolish and absurd argument.

My answer is more complicated...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
There is no proof of any of this
To start out with, I'd like to present the counter of "There is no proof that suffering is an aspect of our world". Which I understand is a radical, and probably counter-intuitive sounding claim so I will try to explain in detail.

I can imagine several responses to the above, admittedly radical, claim:

"Of course there is suffering in the world, people are starving to death in [insert geographic region of choice here]."

Is hunger, or extreme hunger, suffering?? Well there are aesthetics who fast to sometimes extreme degrees without suffering. Ergo, by example, hunger is not suffering. Starvation is not suffering.

"Of course there is suffering in the world, there's countless war, disease, and natural disasters in this world."

War and disease are both called bad because they cause pain and death. So can pain or death be called suffering??

The sensation of pain is a neurological response to external stimuli, therefore it is a physical aspect of this world. But people who experience certain pains can get used to the pain. Like I have headaches not infrequently, but as a result I don't experience suffering from minor headaches. Likewise a person can suffer without experiencing any physical pain, and so pain cannot be suffering, as suffering can be present or absent independent of pain.

Is death suffering?? Some people can be observed suffering as they die, even if they are dying painlessly, due to fear of the unknown. But likewise we see individuals with no fear of death, who take it fearlessly as it comes. They do not suffer. Likewise we see in extreme cases like suicide, some people decide that death is preferable to life. Ergo we can't say death is suffering, at least not for the person dying, as suffering can be present or absent with the onset of death onto the person.

But it could be argued, I suppose, that death does not cause suffering to the person who dies, but rather to those they "leave behind". We can indeed see people who suffer when someone close to them dies, but we can also see, even within the same family sometimes, someone who does not suffer when a loved one dies, for whatever the reason they may have. So death cannot be suffering, because suffering can be either present or absent from death.

"Of course there is suffering in the world, there's excessive poverty in many places."

This one seems easiest to counter. As there are those who are rich yet have excessive stress and suffering, and those who are poor but are content with what they have. So poverty cannot be suffering, because suffering can be present or absent independent of poverty.

So hunger cannot be suffering, pain cannot be suffering, death cannot be suffering, disease cannot be suffering, war cannot be suffering, poverty cannot be suffering. Because we can see instances of individuals with hunger, pain, death, disease, and war present, yet who do not suffer as a result.

Let's look at some other instances of suffering that are commonly not explored when discussing the topic of suffering. Usually because these concerns are considered "trivial".

Someone can experience suffering when a break-up in a relationship has occurred. The first break-up in my life left me feeling emotionally distraught and, indeed, suffering. The second one I experienced left me with no feelings of suffering, as I had by then realized the relationship would not work and did not wish for it to continue either. So suffering can be either present or absent in a break-up.

If a child is told that he must stop playing with a toy and go to sleep now, he may indeed be distraught and suffer. However tell an emotionally mature adult this same thing, and they are much less likely to experience suffering. So suffering can be present or absent in the cessation of play.

If a child is told they must eat something healthy before they can have a dessert, they may suffer because they do not want to eat that healthy thing, or because they want to eat the dessert now. Or the child might not suffer, and be okay with the trade-off. So suffering can be present or absent in such a case.

If a spoiled rich brat wants their parents to buy them a specific type of car, but receive a slightly different car instead, they will suffer. We may trivialize and even laugh at this suffering, but it is suffering none-the-less. But a kid raised not to be attached to wealth and their own desires may be happy and content even without a vehicle.

The reason for all these above scenarios is that we can see that the above examples alone do not cause suffering. We can have any scenario above, whether hunger, pain, death, relationship ending, playtime ending, or being forced to eat your vegetables, with or without suffering.

So what is the point of commonality between the scenarios that causes the experience to become suffering??

If a person is hungry, and they desire strongly to not be hungry, they will suffer. If a person is hungry, but they do not desire to satisfy their hunger, they do not suffer (such as a person on a fast).

If a person is in pain, and they desire strongly to not be experiencing pain, they will suffer. If a person is in pain, but has gotten used to this pain and accepted it as part of their life, they will not suffer (such as my not-infrequent headaches cause me no suffering).

If a person dies, and they desire strongly to live, they will suffer in their death. If a person dies, but has no attachment to their own life, they will not fear death nor will they suffer in dying (such as a suicide, a dark example perhaps, but an illustrative one none-the-less).

If a person has someone die that was close to them, and they strongly desire that the person had remained alive, they will suffer. If a person dies that was close to them and they accept this death, whether because they believe strongly in an afterlife or they simply don't view death as a negative, they will not suffer due to this death.

If a person is poor, and desires wealth, they will suffer. Likewise a person who is rich, but desires more wealth, will suffer. But if either does not desire more wealth, they will not suffer.

If a person goes through a break-up, but wanted the relationship to continue, they will suffer. But the person who broke up with them, who wanted the relationship to end, will not suffer from the break-up.

If a child wants to play now, but they are told that now is the time for sleeping, they will suffer. But if the child does desire immediate play, they will accept sleep, and will not suffer.

If a child wants to eat what they like, and not eat what they do not like, being told they cannot have the former and must eat the latter will cause suffering. If the child accepts eating what they must, they will not suffer

If a spoiled brat is attached to the idea of getting a certain object of their desires, and they don't entirely get their wishes, they will suffer as a result of this. But if the child has been raised properly and is not attached to wealth and self image, they will understand they can't always get what they want and will not suffer as a result of merely not having their every whim fulfilled.

The common pattern that I observe in every instance of suffering, the common pattern that translates an Event into Suffering, is: A person's desire for the world to be different from what it is. This is the commonality between all types of suffering, and all instances of it.

-Desire for comfort is what translates hunger and pain into suffering.
-Desire for life is what translates death into suffering.
-Desire for wealth is what translates poverty into suffering.
-Desire for a person translates a death of another or a break-up into suffering.
-Desire for play translates naptime into suffering.
-Desire for dessert translates vegetables into suffering.
-Desire for every material desire to be fulfilled translates minor inconveniences into suffering.

Thus I return to my original thesis. "There is no proof that suffering is an aspect of our world". I posit instead that Suffering, rather than being an aspect of the external world, is an aspect of our internal self. It is, to some degree, a choice. It results not from the world itself but from our own desires for the world to be different.

As an expansion on this idea, I never understood the story of Adam and Eve when growing up as a kid. That is, until, as a teenager, I read the Tao Te Ching, the central Taoist holy text (which communicates some of the above ideas I have expressed), which gave me a new perspective on the story.

On the face of it, the story doesn't seem to make much sense. Adam and Eve are in a paradise with no suffering, until they obtain the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which makes God angry and causes them to be cast out of that paradise. It doesn't make much sense because we naturally think to ourselves "Isn't having the Knowledge of Good and Evil a good thing??" In fact, some Christian denominations, like the Gnostics and Mormons have taken it so far as to re-tell the story to make the act of eating the forbidden fruit a good thing, rather than a sin.

But I propose the following theory: What if the "Knowledge of Good and Evil" is a false knowledge??

If you have this "knowledge" then you no longer view the world as just the world, but instead categorize everything within it as either "Good" or "Evil". If there are things within the world you see as bad, this naturally gives you a desire to root out the bad and expand the good. It causes you to desire the world to be in a different state than it already is, which as I think I have thoroughly shown, is the cause of suffering itself.

If we don't categorize the world as good and bad, but accept it as it is, we have no suffering. If that is the case we live in a paradise, since the world as we see it has no flaws. Once we start discriminating and viewing things within the world as "good" or "bad", we cause in ourselves suffering, cause the world in our view to be imperfect, and cast ourselves out of that paradise.

And that's exactly what Gautama Buddha teaches us we need to do to end suffering. It's what the Jewish Scriptures tells us is the way to Eden. It's what the Sufis and Baha'is point to as Unity on the path of the Seven Valleys. It's what the Taoists call "freeing from the bond", and the Hermetics view as the innate perfection of the world. The process to reject the false "Knowledge of Good and Evil" and return to paradise is somewhere within the writings of every religion I know of.

I posit that it is as the story of Eden describes. The world was created with no suffering. Suffering is something we invent within ourselves, and must work to overcome through acceptance of the world, allowing a return to paradise. Suffering isn't a thing that exists in the external world, it is a thing that exists internally within the self. And the goal is to learn to overcome that.

...

...

I'm sorry, I didn't originally intend to write an essay in response. O.o I just wanted to be thorough... hopefully someone finds use in this.

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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
It is probably really easy to believe in God if one has had minimal suffering in their life, because it is just something they see on television and then they can go back to their happy life, with a loving spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog, a good job, etc. doing all their Baha’i activities and wondering why more Baha’is are not participating as they do.
I don't think this is true. At least, I don't think that your implication that a wealthier life is something that leads to less suffering is true. More wealth leads to more potential for attachments. Less wealth is less attachments. And attachments lead to suffering, as I've described.

Last edited by Walrus; 05-16-2018 at 07:22 AM.
 
Old 05-16-2018, 12:54 PM   #32
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Yes very thorough Walrus! :P
But, spot on

While Baha'u'llah may be the messenger for the present age , there is still a lot to be gained by studying the writings of previous messengers.

Regards,
T
 
Old 05-17-2018, 03:29 PM   #33
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I really like your analysis, Walrus. But it is not easy to achieve that state of mind.
 
Old 05-17-2018, 07:02 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
I have a different view, I think that loving God itself is something that gives us tangible benefits. The "reward" of loving God is the "act" of loving God itself.

I read recently the Alchemy of Happiness by al Ghazzali which made the following point:

If a doctor tells you that making a change in lifestyle will lead to a benefit to your health, and you do not heed that doctor's advice, failing to get the benefit is not a result of the doctor punishing you for disobedience.

So I don't think it's a case of God saying "Love me and I will give you a reward, or else I will keep the reward from you", but rather a case of God saying "Loving me has the following benefits..."
Referring only to the spiritual teachings of the Baha’i Faith, there are many different ways we can interpret the Writings so in that regard the Baha’i Faith is no different from Christianity. The mere fact that the Writings can be interpreted differently by different people is proof positive that it is not clear what God wants of us. So here we are, basing our entire lives upon something we are not even sure is what God wants.

Of course we could all be right since the interpretations of the Hidden Words most Baha’is have given are not contradictory. I can interpret those Hidden Words to mean “Loving me has the following benefits” and that might even be true, but love cannot be willed. Also, I am not really sure if there are any benefits or if believers have just convinced themselves of that so that is why they feel benefitted, kind of like the placebo effect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Well good news, because I don't think my answer is anything you've heard before, and I like you I think a claim that "suffering is good for us" is a really foolish and absurd argument.

My answer is more complicated... To start out with, I'd like to present the counter of "There is no proof that suffering is an aspect of our world". Which I understand is a radical, and probably counter-intuitive sounding claim so I will try to explain in detail.
Actually, what I meant is that there is no proof of the Baha’i apologetics that address suffering; why we have it, how it is good for us, how we will be so much better off in the afterlife. There certainly is proof that humans suffer. The proof is that they SAY they suffer. That is the only proof that is necessary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
So hunger cannot be suffering, pain cannot be suffering, death cannot be suffering, disease cannot be suffering, war cannot be suffering, poverty cannot be suffering. Because we can see instances of individuals with hunger, pain, death, disease, and war present, yet who do not suffer as a result.
Suffering is a subjective experience. Just because some people do not suffer under certain conditions that does not mean all people can be like those people. For example, some people who get cancer will suffer a lot, some a little, some not at all. It is all related to how they process their experiences and that is not something that is easily changed because it is a complex phenomenon. Likewise, some people can lose a loved one and not suffer but others might suffer for years and years. Who are we to judge those people who suffer? Only they know how they feel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
The reason for all these above scenarios is that we can see that the above examples alone do not cause suffering. We can have any scenario above, whether hunger, pain, death, relationship ending, playtime ending, or being forced to eat your vegetables, with or without suffering.

The common pattern that I observe in every instance of suffering, the common pattern that translates an Event into Suffering, is: A person's desire for the world to be different from what it is. This is the commonality between all types of suffering, and all instances of it.

Thus I return to my original thesis. "There is no proof that suffering is an aspect of our world". I posit instead that Suffering, rather than being an aspect of the external world, is an aspect of our internal self. It is, to some degree, a choice. It results not from the world itself but from our own desires for the world to be different.
I agree that all suffering is psychological but that does not change the fact that people suffer. It is not always a choice and I would argue that it is rarely a choice. To say that is to say that people choose to suffer. Only a masochist chooses to suffer and very few people are masochists.

Suffering is intrinsic to the material world because the material world is the cause of suffering in various degrees depending upon the situation and the person experiencing it.

“In this world we are influenced by two sentiments, Joy and Pain.

Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. But when sadness visits us we become weak, our strength leaves us, our comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirits fail to discover the sacred mysteries, and we become even as dead beings.

There is no human being untouched by these two influences; but all the sorrow and the grief that exist come from the world of matter—the spiritual world bestows only the joy!
If we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion.

For instance, a merchant may lose his trade and depression ensues. A workman is dismissed and starvation stares him in the face. A farmer has a bad harvest, anxiety fills his mind. A man builds a house which is burnt to the ground and he is straightway homeless, ruined, and in despair.

All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.

Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we shall be helped.”
Paris Talks, pp. 109-110

I am sorry to say that there is no remedy at our doors because we cannot live in the spiritual world until after we die. Also, there is no evidence that God does anything when we call upon Him... If people believe that I guess that can make them feel better but that’s about it.

My point was that God created a material world in which humans would suffer. Abdu’l-Baha backs up what I said. Then we get the apologetics: All you have to do is rise above it all and live in the spiritual world. But that will never work for everyone so many people will still suffer. Apparently God does not care because if God is All-Knowing, God knew people would suffer by creating world like this. That is the only logical deduction I can make.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
If we don't categorize the world as good and bad, but accept it as it is, we have no suffering. If that is the case we live in a paradise, since the world as we see it has no flaws. Once we start discriminating and viewing things within the world as "good" or "bad", we cause in ourselves suffering, cause the world in our view to be imperfect, and cast ourselves out of that paradise.

I posit that it is as the story of Eden describes. The world was created with no suffering. Suffering is something we invent within ourselves, and must work to overcome through acceptance of the world, allowing a return to paradise. Suffering isn't a thing that exists in the external world, it is a thing that exists internally within the self. And the goal is to learn to overcome that.
That might be the goal of most people and it might be what the older religions taught is a goal, but it is not attainable by all people. Many people slip through the cracks. God knew that would happen, so there are only three logical possibilities:

(1) God does not care how much we suffer because God is malevolent; or
(2) God expects us to overcome our suffering by being more spiritual; or
(3) God is benevolent and wants us to suffer for our own benefit.

Is it really the goal, to overcome suffering? Certainly not according to Abdu’l-Baha:

“Those who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection....

While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.

Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.”
Paris Talks, pp. 50-51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
I don't think this is true. At least, I don't think that your implication that a wealthier life is something that leads to less suffering is true. More wealth leads to more potential for attachments. Less wealth is less attachments. And attachments lead to suffering, as I've described.
I was not referring to material wealth, not at all. I was referring to a life that has been problem-free for the most part; a loving spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog, a good job, etc. There is no way people who had those things can understand those who have not. We live in completely different worlds. As the old saying goes “To understand the man, you must first walk a mile in his moccasin.”
I agree that more wealth leads to more suffering and my own life is a case in point. The more we have the more we have to take care of and worry about. Unfortunately it is not always that easy to remedy that situation so the best solution is to not be attached to what we have.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As an aside, what I see is an apparent contradiction. The Baha’i Writings say just to live in the spiritual world and you will not suffer, but I see the exact opposite all around me; the people that are enjoying the material world are not suffering and in fact they use material world enjoyments to assuage any suffering they might otherwise have if they faced the spiritual reality, which would necessitate them giving up what they are so attached to.

“Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bah’u’ll疉, p. 276

One might say that they are living an illusion, but that is what the bulk of people do, at least in American society.
 
Old 05-18-2018, 07:10 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
There certainly is proof that humans suffer. The proof is that they SAY they suffer.
I am suffering right now.

That last statement was a lie.

I get what you are saying but the technical side of my mind wants to point out that making the statement is not a proof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
Suffering is a subjective experience. Just because some people do not suffer under certain conditions that does not mean all people can be like those people.

Then we get the apologetics: All you have to do is rise above it all and live in the spiritual world. But that will never work for everyone so many people will still suffer.

That might be the goal of most people and it might be what the older religions taught is a goal, but it is not attainable by all people. Many people slip through the cracks.
It seems like the bulk of your counterargument is "Not all people can do this".

What proof have you of this claim??

From my experience, anyone can be taught meditation, and the whole process is basically just an extension of meditation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
I agree that all suffering is psychological but that does not change the fact that people suffer. It is not always a choice and I would argue that it is rarely a choice. To say that is to say that people choose to suffer. Only a masochist chooses to suffer and very few people are masochists.

Suffering is intrinsic to the material world because the material world is the cause of suffering in various degrees depending upon the situation and the person experiencing it.
These two paragraphs placed one next to the other seem to be a contradiction. Either it's psychological and the causes are psychological as the first indicates, or it is intrinsic to the material and the cause is material as the second paragraph says. I believe the first paragraph is the correct one, and the second paragraph is incorrect, so to address the first:

To elaborate, there is a reason I was careful in choosing my words when I said "to some degree, a choice". Suffering has been established as being internal, not external, thus it must be combated internally. The choice to overcome the self is the choice to end suffering.

Think of a wealthy child that has been raised improperly. Spoiled to the point where if they don't get their wishes exactly as they want, they will experience hysteria and suffering. There's plenty of videos online that mock such individuals, but the way their mind works was not their own choice. This person was a victim of their parents raising them in such a way that their mind works in this improper manner and translates slight inconvenience into suffering. The baseline they were given to work with is not their own fault.

But they can choose to put in the effort to overcome their self. So the continuation of their suffering is, again to some degree, a choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
I am sorry to say that there is no remedy at our doors because we cannot live in the spiritual world until after we die.
Oh?? Where's your proof of that??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
Also, there is no evidence that God does anything when we call upon Him... If people believe that I guess that can make them feel better but that痴 about it.
I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion of suffering. If suffering is internal, as I believe we both agree, then no external force could remedy it. God altering the physical world to suit our whims would not end our suffering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
My point was that God created a material world in which humans would suffer.
We've established that nothing in this world causes suffering, the cause is within ourselves. With this in mind, it is thus incorrect to say "God created a material world in which humans would suffer."

Perhaps you could say "God created a human psychology in which humans can suffer". But suffering is not an aspect of the material. In every situation you can imagine that is a material "cause" of suffering, we have seen we can also find an instance of that supposed external cause existing without suffering occurring. Therefore the true cause must be internal, not external.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
Is it really the goal, to overcome suffering? Certainly not according to Abdu値-Baha:

典hose who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection....

While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.

Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.
Paris Talks, pp. 50-51
Well of course!!

Because, almost paradoxically, suffering teaches us how to not suffer.

If you constantly experience the world in a state not to your liking, then eventually you will learn to accept the world as it is.

Attaining "Perfection" necessitates suffering ending (the Seven Valleys go through the Valley of Contentment after all). And suffering can teach you how to overcome suffering through acceptance of the way things are.

'Abdu値-Baha's correct in that quote. If someone's attachments are never challenged then they will not know detachment. But such people live in a precarious position, because as Baha'u'llah writes "The world has never had nor does it now possess stability". Change is constant, and inevitability the man who's never had his attachments challenged will have an attachment change, at which point in time, even if it is a minor inconvenience, his suffering will be immense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
I was not referring to material wealth, not at all. I was referring to a life that has been problem-free for the most part; a loving spouse, 2.5 kids and a dog, a good job, etc.
The joking side of myself wants to point out that if this person has 1/2 of a child, they probably don't have a life that could commonly be classed as "problem free".

But I get what you are saying, in that you envision the "average life" as having few problems...

But even then, I think such a lifestyle probably has plenty of problems you aren't seeing... more on that later...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
There is no way people who had those things can understand those who have not. We live in completely different worlds. As the old saying goes 典o understand the man, you must first walk a mile in his moccasin.
And those who have not cannot possibly understand those who have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
As an aside, what I see is an apparent contradiction. The Baha段 Writings say just to live in the spiritual world and you will not suffer, but I see the exact opposite all around me; the people that are enjoying the material world are not suffering and in fact they use material world enjoyments to assuage any suffering they might otherwise have if they faced the spiritual reality, which would necessitate them giving up what they are so attached to.
Well you're not seeing what is there, then. The world becomes safer and safer and paradoxically reported instances of depression appear to be rising statistically speaking. It could be an issue of over-diagnoses and over-prescription, but even if that is the case their lives are surely not as easy as you think.

If you asked them, I'm sure they'd have a whole host of complaints that they had about their lives. We might be able to laugh off much of the complaints as "first world problems", but that's the thing: they're still suffering from these minor concerns. The more used you are to attachments, the more a minor inconvenience becomes a thing of suffering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
(1) God does not care how much we suffer because God is malevolent; or
(2) God expects us to overcome our suffering by being more spiritual; or
(3) God is benevolent and wants us to suffer for our own benefit.
I have a thought experiment:

Let's say we have an "Enlightened Individual".

This enlightened individual is totally content with the state of things and the state of change, he's attained a supreme freedom from all suffering.

It took thus individual a long time to attain this state.

During that time, he was suffering.

But why would he care about his past suffering??

If he's attained a state of non-suffering, then suffering in his past is surely of no concern to him, logically speaking, because nothing is a concern to him.

An individual who has attained freedom from suffering logically would not care about his past suffering, as he would accept that just as he accepts everything about the process of change.

So, logically, as long as an individual eventually reaches a state free from suffering, then any and all suffering that the individual had endured up until that point would simply not matter, because Future Him will not care about the suffering he has endured.

A second thought experiment:

You posit that escaping suffering is not possible for all people. I think we can observe the inverse, however.

It is quite easily observable that people have the capacity to become used to things over time. If a person experiences a certain hardship every single day, then even if they resented it at the beginning, eventually they will become used to whatever that hardship is.

For example, a person who must regularly test their blood will become used to the pain of the syringe and will eventually cease to care about these regular pains.

Regular exposure to something we don't like helps us accept it. So the passage of time cultivates detachment, through repeated exposure to change.

So if a person exists forever, wouldn't they eventually become used to everything??

Based on these thought experiments I posit two things:

1. If we can escape suffering, then all past suffering we've endured no longer becomes something we are concerned about.
2. An infinite, eternal existence practically guarantees eventual detachment and freedom from suffering, as repeated exposure to something we don't like causes us to gradually, begrudgingly, accept it.
 
Old 05-18-2018, 04:51 PM   #36
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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I will take out a few quotes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
We've established that nothing in this world causes suffering, the cause is within ourselves. With this in mind, it is thus incorrect to say "God created a material world in which humans would suffer."
I post this passage;

"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness. This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful. We have accepted to be abased, O believers in the Unity of God, that ye may be exalted, and have suffered manifold afflictions, that ye might prosper and flourish. He Who hath come to build anew the whole world, behold, how they that have joined partners with God have forced Him to dwell within the most desolate of cities!" -- Bah'u'll疉, Gleanings from the Writings of Bah'u'll疉, pp. 99-100

Then this passage

Isaiah 45:7"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."

Then observe the Manifestations have chosen Suffering, would that not mean Suffering is part of this world?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
1. If we can escape suffering, then all past suffering we've endured no longer becomes something we are concerned about.
2. An infinite, eternal existence practically guarantees eventual detachment and freedom from suffering, as repeated exposure to something we don't like causes us to gradually, begrudgingly, accept it.
I think I can see what you are saying, but at the same time this is a world where we do have the opposing forces and when I read the stories of Abdul'baha who is our example, I do not read where Abdul'baha was free from suffering in this world.

Suffering then becomes a gift, but it is suffering, is it not?

". . . the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to try, his servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns. Even as He hath revealed: 船o men think when they say 展e believe they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?" (Bah癇u値l疉, Kit畸-i-ヘq疣, pp. 8-9.)

"But for the tribulations which are sustained in Thy path, how could Thy true lovers be recognized; and were it not for the trials which are born for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee he revealed? Thy might beareth me witness! The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts." (Bah癇u値l疉, Prayers and Meditations, p. 155.)

"Were it not for tests, pure gold could not be distinguished from the impure. Were it not for tests, the courageous could not be separated from the cowardly. Were it not for tests, the people of faithfulness could not be known from the disloyal." (羨bdu値-Bah, Divine Art of Living, p. 87.)

"While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelms him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations." (羨bdu値-Bah, Paris Talks, pp. 50-51)

"Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby" (Bah癇u値l疉, Crisis & Victory, p. 154.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
2. An infinite, eternal existence practically guarantees eventual detachment and freedom from suffering, as repeated exposure to something we don't like causes us to gradually, begrudgingly, accept it.
Thus I think what you are saying is what I would agree with, that we must find a state of mind that embraces all Suffering, not begrudgingly but with open and welcoming arms.

Regards Tony
 
Old 05-18-2018, 10:04 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
That last statement was a lie.
I get what you are saying but the technical side of my mind wants to point out that making the statement is not a proof.
Why? If someone says they are suffering why would we question them? Why would you question yourself? Would Abdu値-Baha tell someone who says they are suffering that they are not suffering?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
It seems like the bulk of your counterargument is "Not all people can do this".

What proof have you of this claim??
The proof that not everyone can do this is that not all people have done this (rise above it all and live in the spiritual world). Not all people even believe in God or religion.

What proof do you have that all people CAN do this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
From my experience, anyone can be taught meditation, and the whole process is basically just an extension of meditation.
Are you saying that meditation is all people need to rise above it all and live in the spiritual world?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
These two paragraphs placed one next to the other seem to be a contradiction. Either it's psychological and the causes are psychological as the first indicates, or it is intrinsic to the material and the cause is material as the second paragraph says.
I do not think it is an either/or. Suffering is psychological but it is ALSOintrinsic to the material world because the material world is the cause of suffering in various degrees. So if there was no material world then there would be no 妬nternal suffering.
To say that the second paragraph is incorrect is to say that Abdu値-Baha was wrong when he said 的f we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
I believe the first paragraph is the correct one, and the second paragraph is incorrect, so to address the first:

To elaborate, there is a reason I was careful in choosing my words when I said "to some degree, a choice". Suffering has been established as being internal, not external, thus it must be combated internally. The choice to overcome the self is the choice to end suffering.
I agree with that in part. Much of suffering is because of selfishness. However, suffering as the result of illness or loss of others that we love, humans or animals, is not selfish. Suffering because we see others suffering or we see injustices in the world is not selfish. Suffering because we have a psychological problem we cannot overcome is not selfish.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Think of a wealthy child that has been raised improperly. Spoiled to the point where if they don't get their wishes exactly as they want, they will experience hysteria and suffering. There's plenty of videos online that mock such individuals, but the way their mind works was not their own choice. This person was a victim of their parents raising them in such a way that their mind works in this improper manner and translates slight inconvenience into suffering. The baseline they were given to work with is not their own fault.

But they can choose to put in the effort to overcome their self. So the continuation of their suffering is, again to some degree, a choice.
That is true, if their suffering is because they are not getting what they WANT, they can learn a new way and choose to overcome that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Oh?? Where's your proof of that??
We can live with our thoughts on the spiritual world but we are still living in the material world. We cannot be thinking 100% of the spiritual world if we have many responsibilities in the material world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion of suffering. If suffering is internal, as I believe we both agree, then no external force could remedy it. God altering the physical world to suit our whims would not end our suffering.
True, but not all suffering can be ended by knowing its cause is internal even if it is. A person can know what their psychological problem is and still not be able to overcome it. That is why psychiatrists prescribe drugs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
We've established that nothing in this world causes suffering, the cause is within ourselves. With this in mind, it is thus incorrect to say "God created a material world in which humans would suffer."
Both are true. The material world causes suffering AND suffering is psychological.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Perhaps you could say "God created a human psychology in which humans can suffer". But suffering is not an aspect of the material. In every situation you can imagine that is a material "cause" of suffering, we have seen we can also find an instance of that supposed external cause existing without suffering occurring. Therefore the true cause must be internal, not external.
"God created a human psychology in which humans will suffer". God knew that so God is responsible for what He created.
That does not prove a thing, logically speaking, because one instance or even several instances of people overcoming suffering that had a material cause does not prove all people can overcome suffering that has a material cause. Even if the true cause is internal that does not mean it can be magically wafted away by some Baha段 magic formula. This is why religion has a black eye in the eyes of man atheists, as it should.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Well of course!!

Because, almost paradoxically, suffering teaches us how to not suffer.

If you constantly experience the world in a state not to your liking, then eventually you will learn to accept the world as it is.
That is true. I can vouch for that. SMILE FROWN But not everyone can learn from suffering and come to accept the world as it is. What about the people who can稚?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Attaining "Perfection" necessitates suffering ending (the Seven Valleys go through the Valley of Contentment after all). And suffering can teach you how to overcome suffering through acceptance of the way things are.

'Abdu値-Baha's correct in that quote. If someone's attachments are never challenged then they will not know detachment. But such people live in a precarious position, because as Baha'u'llah writes "The world has never had nor does it now possess stability". Change is constant, and inevitability the man who's never had his attachments challenged will have an attachment change, at which point in time, even if it is a minor inconvenience, his suffering will be immense.
I agree, but this only works for people who have this knowledge and awareness, and it won稚 even work for all of them. So we have the potential to get to the Valley of Contentment, but that does not mean they will get there. There are myriad factors that determine this.
Humans have the will/ability to make choices based upon their desires and preferences. Our desires and preferences come from a combination of factors such as childhood upbringing, heredity, education, adult experiences, and present life circumstances. How FREE they are varies with the situation. Certainly what we refer to as 吐ree will has many constraints.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
The joking side of myself wants to point out that if this person has 1/2 of a child, they probably don't have a life that could commonly be classed as "problem free".
And they might not have a problem-free life even if they had two or three children without the half. It might be more difficult when they are younger and raising the children, but it will 渡ormally be a lot easier after the children leave the nest and especially when they have children to help take care of them in their old age.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
But I get what you are saying, in that you envision the "average life" as having few problems...

But even then, I think such a lifestyle probably has plenty of problems you aren't seeing... more on that later...
And those who have not cannot possibly understand those who have.
That痴 true too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Well you're not seeing what is there, then. The world becomes safer and safer and paradoxically reported instances of depression appear to be rising statistically speaking. It could be an issue of over-diagnoses and over-prescription, but even if that is the case their lives are surely not as easy as you think.
That is true, and that is because the material world enjoyments do not solve the psychological problems for all people, although they do a good job of masking the problems in many people, like a drug. Take those away from people and watch them squirm. The fact that they need them to be happy means they would not be happy without them, logically speaking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
If you asked them, I'm sure they'd have a whole host of complaints that they had about their lives. We might be able to laugh off much of the complaints as "first world problems", but that's the thing: they're still suffering from these minor concerns. The more used you are to attachments, the more a minor inconvenience becomes a thing of suffering.
That is probably true for some people, but not for all people, because the 田ontrollers can always figure out how to solve their minor inconveniences quickly enough. And then they have all their material world enjoyments to fall back on when things do not go exactly their way. Then some of them have their religious delusions to fall back on. Jesus loves me, I am saved and forgiven and Jesus is coming soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
I have a thought experiment:

Let's say we have an "Enlightened Individual".

This enlightened individual is totally content with the state of things and the state of change, he's attained a supreme freedom from all suffering.

It took thus individual a long time to attain this state.

During that time, he was suffering.

But why would he care about his past suffering??

If he's attained a state of non-suffering, then suffering in his past is surely of no concern to him, logically speaking, because nothing is a concern to him.

An individual who has attained freedom from suffering logically would not care about his past suffering, as he would accept that just as he accepts everything about the process of change.

So, logically, as long as an individual eventually reaches a state free from suffering, then any and all suffering that the individual had endured up until that point would simply not matter, because Future Him will not care about the suffering he has endured.
That is only true if he never thinks about the past. Ever heard of PTSD?
Besides that, why did he have to go through all of that to be free from suffering? Answer: Because that is how God designed it. We either accept that or we get angry at God or we choose not to believe in God.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
A second thought experiment:

You posit that escaping suffering is not possible for all people. I think we can observe the inverse, however.
What is possible does not help because possible is just possible. It is not going to happen for all people. Just like I keep telling this atheist who thinks god should communicate directly with everyone instead of sending one Messenger. That is possible given God is omnipotent, but there are REASONS why it is not going to happen. Likewise, there are reasons why everyone is not going to escape suffering.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
It is quite easily observable that people have the capacity to become used to things over time. If a person experiences a certain hardship every single day, then even if they resented it at the beginning, eventually they will become used to whatever that hardship is.
That depends upon what that hardship is. Repeated hardships over time can make one tougher or it can make them weaker, depending upon how they process that hardship and depending upon what the hardship was:

徹 thou seeker of the Kingdom! Thy letter was received. Thou hast written of the severe calamity that hath befallen thee葉he death of thy respected husband. That honourable man hath been so subjected to the stress and strain of this world that his greatest wish was for deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode: a storehouse of afflictions and suffering. It is ignorance that binds man to it, for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the most humble commoner. If once this life should offer a man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow; such is the condition of this world. The wise man, therefore, doth not attach himself to this mortal life and doth not depend upon it; at some moments, even, he eagerly wisheth for death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. Thus it is seen that some, under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide. Selections From the Writings of 羨bdu値-Bah, p. 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
For example, a person who must regularly test their blood will become used to the pain of the syringe and will eventually cease to care about these regular pains.

Regular exposure to something we don't like helps us accept it. So the passage of time cultivates detachment, through repeated exposure to change.

So if a person exists forever, wouldn't they eventually become used to everything??
Nobody is ever going to be exposed to everything, so unless they just do the same things over and over again, things they are used to doing, there is the potential for 渡ew things that will cause suffering. And sometimes new things cannot be avoided and we are faced with doing them because we have to, like I had to send my husband to pick up my car at the shop and I was suffering thinking about him getting in an accident on the way home, since he never drives my car.

He normally meets me at the grocery store every Friday after work in his own car, so I do not suffer too much worrying because he does it every week; but as soon as he is late I have an anxiety attack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Based on these thought experiments I posit two things:

1. If we can escape suffering, then all past suffering we've endured no longer becomes something we are concerned about.
I guess you mean that if we are happy all the time we are not prone to be thinking about past suffering.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
2. An infinite, eternal existence practically guarantees eventual detachment and freedom from suffering, as repeated exposure to something we don't like causes us to gradually, begrudgingly, accept it.
That would be true if we experiences everything we don稚 like repeatedly, like I finally got used to my coworker I see every day. But there will always be new things that have the potential to cause suffering. So as I see it, the only hope (for some of us) is that there will be no more suffering in the next world. Also, we can try to be detached and that will minimize suffering.

徹 My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain. Gleanings From the Writings of Bah癇u値l疉, p. 329
 
Old 05-18-2018, 10:32 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Thus I think what you are saying is what I would agree with, that we must find a state of mind that embraces all Suffering, not begrudgingly but with open and welcoming arms.

Regards Tony
But if we welcomed it and embraced it, would it still be suffering?

Maybe what you are saying is that we should not resent God for our suffering? Here is where I am at with that. God created a world wherein He knew people would suffer, and some people would suffer much more than others through no fault of their own. The unequal distribution of suffering alone does not seem just.

I cannot logically accommodate a benevolent God that allows excessive undeserved suffering. This idea that all suffering is preventable if we only have the right spiritual attitude does not cut it. Ideals are rarely attainable for most people. To say that we will be rewarded and no longer suffer after we die does not cut it either, because there is really no proof of any afterlife, let alone a glorious one. So we are being asked to take everything on faith. That works for some people but not all people. Even if/when it works for me I care about other people it does not work for.

The whole idea of an omnipotent God that is supposed to love humans but just sits back and lets them suffer is problematic to me because it just makes no logical sense. To say that we will be better off in the next life because of our suffering in this life does not help in this life. Besides that, not all suffering makes people more spiritual. Some people cave under the pain. Sorry, I guess I just don't buy into the Baha'i paradigm. I do not see any evidence that God is compassionate and the Writings are just not enough evidence for me to believe that.
 
Old 05-19-2018, 04:57 AM   #39
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Dear Traveller,

To reply to your first post:

Firstly, be assured that your love for Jesus will be in no way diminished by loving Bah'u'llah. My advice, as well as all of your reading, is to frequently pray that you will be shown what is true, from God. This is what I did, when investigating the Bah' Faith, I studied Bah'i writings and other religious writings and prayed that I would be shown what was true, and I came to recognise the Bah' Faith. I had previously considered myself Christian but was unable to reconcile seeing the light of God shining from other non-Christian religions. The Bah' Faith for me was the missing piece of the jigsaw, that I had been aware of for many years before I recognised its significance.

In a later post you said
Quote:
Thanks. I know these Hidden Words well but I have a problem with them. If we cannot love God or even Baha'u'llah, is God going to just not love us because we did not love Him first? That does not seem very loving to me.
I think you may be referring to "love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My Love can in no wise reach thee"
Personally I read this as God's love being always there, always available and shining on us but if we do not love God, it is as if we shade ourselves from the rays of His Love and are not warmed by them. It is not God with-holding His Love, but us hiding from it.

I believe the relationship between the Manifestations of God is mystical and seems to have contradictions. On the one hand they are individuals each with their own identity. (Jesus, Bah'u'llah, Moses, Muhammad to name some). For each one, sometimes when they say "I" they are referring to themselves as we would. In another context, "I" refers to God when they are speaking for Him to us. Sometimes, I think the "I" refers to them all when they are speaking as God's message bearer. Sometimes their stations seem different but it is that they each had a different job. They are all equal in station and knowledge but came to share what mankind needed to know.
 
Old 05-19-2018, 01:45 PM   #40
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Joined: Jul 2017
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Posts: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollwr View Post
In a later post you said
Quote:
Thanks. I know these Hidden Words well but I have a problem with them. If we cannot love God or even Baha'u'llah, is God going to just not love us because we did not love Him first? That does not seem very loving to me.

I think you may be referring to "love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My Love can in no wise reach thee"
Personally I read this as God's love being always there, always available and shining on us but if we do not love God, it is as if we shade ourselves from the rays of His Love and are not warmed by them. It is not God with-holding His Love, but us hiding from it.
That was me who said "That does not seem very loving to me."

But thanks for your interpretation of the Hidden Words. I agree with your interpretation but I still have "issues" with God.

How do we hide from God's Love? Where is this Love? How can we hide from something that we cannot see? Is this something people feel? How can they know it is really God they feel and not their own imagination?

It seems to me like it is something people imagine because as Baha'is we know that God cannot communicate directly with anyone else except Manifestations of God. I do not understand how God loves us, how we can ever know that. I guess we are just supposed to believe that because it says that in Writings, but that is just not enough for me.
 
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