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Old 05-19-2018, 06:02 PM   #1
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Festive's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2018
From: Michigan
Posts: 1
Wanting to try something different with life.

Hi, I'm very new here, as in I signed up like 10 minutes ago, and I've been quite conflicted with myself recently. I have been an atheist for probably my whole life, but I've really been sure of it over the past 3-4 years. I am 15, nearly 16, and am really new to all this Baha'i stuff, and want to learn more about it. The problem comes with my upbringing, my family just doesn't talk about religion, at all, and my parents wanted me to choose what I believed, no matter what it was, they are very accepting. It's just the fact that.. well.. I've already come out as an Atheist, and kind of want to keep all of this on the down low for now at least, just because of the awkwardness it would create if I openly said I wanted to try and be religious.

Basically I've never tried to be religious, but I'm willing to give it a shot, even with all the doubts I've built up over my atheistic years. This is the only religion I've seen that has a message that I genuinely agree with, and I just want to know where to start with all of this. I've looked at a few different websites and I can understand the general message, but I want to go deeper into it, I want to learn more. I just need somewhere to start, so I ask this forum if they can please help a guy out haha, It's quite confusing right now.
 
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:50 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Joined: Nov 2015
From: Canada
Posts: 134
Well, welcome to the forums, and I wish you the best on your path of life! One who seeks sincerely will surely find joy. My first question to you is: is there a specific part or principle that interested you, or are you looking to learn more in general?

Best wishes,
-Mark
 
Old 05-19-2018, 06:50 PM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
tonyfish58's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Posts: 4,276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Festive View Post
Hi, I'm very new here, as in I signed up like 10 minutes ago, and I've been quite conflicted with myself recently. I have been an atheist for probably my whole life, but I've really been sure of it over the past 3-4 years. I am 15, nearly 16, and am really new to all this Baha'i stuff, and want to learn more about it. The problem comes with my upbringing, my family just doesn't talk about religion, at all, and my parents wanted me to choose what I believed, no matter what it was, they are very accepting. It's just the fact that.. well.. I've already come out as an Atheist, and kind of want to keep all of this on the down low for now at least, just because of the awkwardness it would create if I openly said I wanted to try and be religious.

Basically I've never tried to be religious, but I'm willing to give it a shot, even with all the doubts I've built up over my atheistic years. This is the only religion I've seen that has a message that I genuinely agree with, and I just want to know where to start with all of this. I've looked at a few different websites and I can understand the general message, but I want to go deeper into it, I want to learn more. I just need somewhere to start, so I ask this forum if they can please help a guy out haha, It's quite confusing right now.
Great to see you here Festive, welcome.

You are at an age of great discoveries and all the potential of your life still in front of you. Good on you for starting to take control of your own life and own decisions.

This the path that Baha'u'llah has guided us to, that we are responsible and must make our choices in life, as no one but ourselves are responsible for these decisions.

We will try to give you some advice on the questions that are important to you, so ask away, we look forward to it. You will find that we all see life in a different way and we all have different reactions to the same situations.

Now as for being religious, Baha'u'llah has given us what triggers the need to know about God and Faith, it is our heart, asking these questions is from the heart;

This is the first Hidden Word from the Arabic;

"O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.

We are then told to search with justice in the 2nd Hidden Word;

"O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

Look forward to a chat or two, Regards Tony
 
Old 05-19-2018, 07:10 PM   #4
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Joined: Oct 2013
From: Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 697
Good morning Festive

I offer to you my welcome, and my heartfelt greetings.

First, strange as it may sound, conflict, properly approached, can be the long-lasting seeds of new directions in which one discovers what happiness truly is. It is too easy to go down the negative path, but the easy path never, at any time in human history, satisfactorily came to a solid and positive and lasting result. Conflict is to learn from, not to submerge beneath.

I personally think that coming from a background of atheism can be a Good Thing. It should have, at least in theory, helped you to develop your mind to discriminate between that which is true and that which is not true. This is, in any field, a matter of great importance.

The question, of course, lies in what one accepts as the criteria for determining that which is true from that which is not true. And this, perhaps, may be your strongest point, and it may also be your weakest point.

One does not give religion "a shot". Religion is not the superstitions and the dogma, the politics and, in some cases the hypocrisy which we see associated with current traditional religious practices and teachings in the world's many active Faiths. If this is what you see of religion, then you have been right and proper in rejecting. Religion is a personal activity, one which includes prayer and devotion and an acceptance of God. It is a way of life, one of developing ones inner character according to the Teachings of the Prophet (called a Manifestation in the Baha'i Faith) of God.

First, Religion, true Religion, is as scientific as any of the world's true sciences as studied and practiced. Again, in this scientific approach to Religion, truth and not-truth are determined by the criteria by which you adjudge truth and not-truth. However, using a scientific approach one can critically and reliably determine what these criteria should be.

One of the main Baha'i principles is the independent investigation of truth. No-one but yourself can ascertain that which is true to you. Touched on again further down.

Just a little schtuff which may be considered as perhaps very different to what you may have understood to date.

Realise that there are two parts to the Teachings of the Manifestations. One, the important part, remains unchanged in every Faith of the world, regardless of when or where revealed - these are the spiritual truths. The other part changes from Revelation to Revelation and are not important, as such, except in the social order of things, and these are the social teachings - laws of marriage, divorce, burial, diet and all those other things which somehow seem to have, in the past, been tangled up as being "permanent' forever; it is these that cause one to see apparent contradictions between all the world's religions.

So, first, separate from the Teachings that which is essential and spiritual, and that which is temporary and "social".

And read. Read the Sacred Writings. Read them with a critical eye - they will themselves show you the criteria by which they should be adjudged. And note that only the Writings are authoritative - others can provide their thought, and those thoughts can be invaluable to your own understanding, but this in accordance with that principle invoked above. For just as our thoughts can be invaluable, they can also be misleading. However, by sharing, everyone learns, even the speaker of the moment.

And always remember - there is no such thing as a silly question. Ask here freely.

And lastly (This post is already overlong) I will present a definition between physical and spiritual.

Physical is that which can be perceived by one or more of the five senses. In this modern age, we must include those matters visible through the means of tools we have developed through the application of the findings of science.

Spiritual is that which cannot be perceived by one or more of the five senses, except indirectly through its effects. Thus, for example, I cannot see your intelligence directly, yet I can see indirectly by it effects (your expression of thought, you capacity to discriminate and etc. etc.). Intelligence is a spiritual quality. As are other matters which are only seen by their effects - love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and a great wad of other qualities and attributes.

If we ask what it is that defines you, which would you say? You material existence, or your spiritual existence?

If you examine the matter carefully, you will say your spiritual existence. You are thus, by this definition, a spiritual being, not a physical being.

And what is Religion? The means of developing that spiritual existence, of growing as a person in ways that are beneficial to both yourself and to society.

'nuff. I hope I have not overloaded you, and I hope and trust that we will see from you not only questions, but also your own point of view on any matter discussed in this forum.

I give to you

My most warm greetings

Last edited by Romane; 05-19-2018 at 07:19 PM.
 
Old 05-20-2018, 01:57 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Joined: May 2018
From: New Zealand
Posts: 20
Dear Festive,

I want to start by saying we are all trying to be religious! some days are easier than others

The Bahai faith has a tonne of online resources , I would recommend starting with the these two short videos:

Spiritual but not Religious—Are Millennials Missing the Plot?



As for "going deeper" there are of course there are the writings; the scriptures of the Bahai faith, all the writings are available through online through the reference library at
The Bahá’ Faith - The website of the worldwide Bahá’ community

The writings can be confusing for people not familiar with the old-English these have been translated into , or unfamiliar with the poetic style of religious texts. But it is worth persevering.

I would recommend starting with "The hidden words" since they are short verses.

But I will leave you with my favourite passage from "Gleanings" :

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.


Regards,

T
 
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