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Old 12-15-2012, 04:57 PM   #121
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Say, 'If ye would love God then follow me, and God will love you and forgive you your sins, for God is forgiving and merciful.'

(The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 3 - Imran's Family)

Mayhap that God will place love between you and between those of them ye are hostile towards: for God is powerful, and God is forgiving, compassionate.

(The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 60 - The Tried)

Love has naught to do with five senses or six sides,
Its only aim is to be attracted to the Beloved!


(Mathnavi of Rumi (E.H. Whinfield tr), The Masnavi Vol 6)

This is the truth and there is naught beyond the truth save error. Know thou assuredly that-

Love is the mystery of divine revelations!

Love is the effulgent manifestation!

Love is the spiritual fulfillment!

Love is the light of the Kingdom!

Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit inspired into the human spirit!

Love is the cause of the manifestation of the Truth (God) in the phenomenal world!

Love is the necessary tie proceeding from the realities of things through divine creation!

Love is the means of the most great happiness in both the material and spiritual worlds!

Love is a light of guidance in the dark night!

Love is a bond between the Creator and the creature in the inner world!

Love is the cause of development to every enlightened man!

Love is the greatest law in this vast universe of God!

Love is the one law which causeth and controlleth order among the existing atoms!

Love is the universal magnetic power between the planets and stars shining in the lofty firmament!

Love is the cause of unfoldment to a searching mind, of the secrets deposited in the universe by the Infinite!

Love is the spirit of life in the bountiful body of the world!

Love is the cause of the civilization of nations in this mortal world!

Love is the highest honor to every righteous nation!


~ Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 525
 
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:22 AM   #122
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Misunderstood love causes all evil too.

Clinging to anything, you will encounter people that oppose it, and thus defend your ties.

This is how all violence starts.

Losing these identifications, seeing through them, knowing you are only the one watching all arise and fall and so not getting so involved in the story, violence ceases.

Divine love cannot arise in separation, when you are there love cannot be.

Love cannot exist through mind, so what use is scripture to bring us to it?

True love is the utter annihilation of ego.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 10:38 AM   #123
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Ego is the cause of all sense of separation.

It is ego which claims "I love the Lord", it insists on upholding self.

It is ego which claims "I am hearing this sound".

It is ego which claims "I know this".

It is ego which claims "I must do that".

Ego itself is only a thought, it is the identifications added to "I am" or "me".

It is ego which claims "I am Baha'i" or "I am Buddhist".

Ego is the cause of all antagonism in the world, this belief in false ideas, trust for our every thought.

Doomsday predictions are the greatest alchemy, for they cause us to consider absolute annihilation, without trace of anything to succeed us - although I know Baha'is explain it away very quickly. Fear is the basic root of ego, and this brings about the clearest sign of our sense of separation. Bringing this to the peak, going into such prophecy until our ego is at its greatest. In this, we can simply look at the phenomenon of ego, then we can see who is looking.

The nature of this watcher is love and silence, active and inactive peace.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InvestigateTruth View Post
The Baha'i View is, no Law of Old Testament was abrogated by Jesus, unless Jesus clearly and explicitly changed that Law.
Do you have a source for this from the Baha'i Writings?

Last edited by smaneck; 12-16-2012 at 11:11 AM.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 11:26 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
That is fine then Investigate, Christians simply disagree. We believe that the Torah in its entirety is no longer binding or necessary for salvation.
I think Christians have largely misunderstood the intended purpose of Divine Law. Neither Jews, Muslims or Baha'is see the Law as necessary for salvation. Rather they are necessary for the establishment of community based on God's will.

However if you are saying that nothing in the Torah is binding then one has to wonder why evangelical Christians keep bringing up the verse from Leviticus that states that it is an abomination to sleep with someone of the same sex? It seems to me that in practice what Christians did was pick and choose what they would retain from the Old Testament. For instance, they threw out the part about stoning adulterers but retained the part about not suffering a witch to live.

Mind you, I would not agree with the other Baha'i who insisted that the laws of Torah were still binding unless Jesus explicitly abrogated them, but some of them had to be retained or there would have been total chaos within Christendom without the social glue to hold it together.

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Jesus explained what the essence of the Old Covenant was and that is an eternal facet of it which is why it is still Sacred Scripture, inspired and worthy as a teacher of humanity.
You mean the part about loving God and loving your neighbor? That, of course, was something that had already been articulated by the Pharisees. I think the major reason the Old Testament was preserved as part of Christian teaching is that Jesus' own teachings could only be understood within that context.

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However none of its laws or punishments are valid post-Jesus in Christian eyes. Only the moral teachings which are perrenial and match up with Christian values are valid still.
And what and who precisely distinguishes what constitutes a moral teaching? What determines that the law in Leviticus which calls sleeping with another man an abomination is still binding but that which calls eating catfish an abomination is not?

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Its societal or social teachings are thus completely abrogated in our eyes.
Is the teaching against having sex with another man not a social teaching?

Last edited by smaneck; 12-16-2012 at 11:45 AM.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 11:54 AM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthra View Post
Progressive Revelation:

Is as far as I know fairly unique to the Baha'i Faith but I've heard some sense of teh concept used by some Christians when they speak of the Bible in terms of Old and New Covenant.
Dear Artha,

I think there is good evidence that Shoghi Effendi adopted the term from Christianity. The one place where it appears in Baha'u'llah's Writings, the more literal translation would have been "continuing revelation." This is not to say that it wasn't implicit in Baha'u'llah's revelation to begin with, but I don't think it is all that unique.

warmest, Susan
 
Old 12-16-2012, 01:12 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
If one wishes to critique Christian social teachings, one has to turn to the New Testament or early sacred traditions outside the Bible written in the first century or early second century not the Old Testament (Tanakh), that is Judaism.

Thus in the Catechism the Catholic Church explains
If you're Catholic would not canon law also be part of Christian social teachings?
 
Old 12-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhang View Post

As for praying for the deceased, Islam doesn't play around with the monotheism deal. You can't pray to saints and deceased prophets for intercession on your behalf. They're dead. Jesus, Abraham, they are all dead.
Why then does the Qur'an say:

“And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah, “They are dead,” Nay, they are living, but you perceive not.”" (2:154)

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Finally, abrogation is sinful and a crime.
Then Muhammad would have sinned when He changed the Qiblih.

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To think that God sends a book for all times and all places and them edits out 1/3 of it.
Or maybe He didn't send it for all times and places. And isn't this exactly what you believe about the Torah and the Injil? It was for this reason Baha'u'llah wrote the following:

"We have also heard a number of the foolish of the earth assert that the genuine text of the heavenly Gospel doth not exist amongst the Christians, that it hath ascended unto heaven. How grievously they have erred! How oblivious of the fact that such a statement imputeth the gravest injustice and tyranny to a gracious and loving Providence! How could God, when once the Day-star of the beauty of Jesus had disappeared from the sight of His people, and ascended unto the fourth heaven, cause His holy Book, His most great testimony amongst His creatures, to disappear also? What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the day-star of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muḥammadan Dispensation? What law could be their stay and guide? . . . Above all, how could the flow of the grace of the All-Bountiful be stayed? How could the ocean of His tender mercies be stilled? We take refuge with God, from that which His creatures have fancied about Him! Exalted is He above their comprehension!" Kitab-i Iqan 89-90.

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However, you can see why this idea of abrogation is gaining popularity among radicals. If the scholars say this verse is abrogated, what else is? The people look to the scholars for answers and suddenly they have all the power now. They do do some really crazy **** with it too.
I'll grant you that some of the jihadist have tried to use the concept of abrogation to argue that verses such as "there is no compulsion in religion" and that God does not love aggression were abrogated when they were not. But they didn't invent the idea of abrogation and there are clearly references to abrogation in the Qur'an.

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It's really wild. The Qur'an absolutely 100% forbids the killing of women and children. So did the Prophet. Then Bin Laden turns around and says that it's O.K. as long as it's for Jihad. Right. -.-'
What the jihadists have done is adopt the very Western idea of Total War for their own purposes. I would agree that it is quite unIslamic.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by arthra View Post
Most essentially from our view as Baha'is is that while Christianity grew up in a city state with Rome being an example... Islam was a "nation"
Dear Artha,

I think that represents Baha'i folklore but not anything we find in the Writings. Rome may have started out as a city state but by the time Christianity came around, it was an empire.

warmest, Susan
 
Old 12-16-2012, 02:50 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
It kind of ended though with Al-Ghazzali - a great Sufi mystic but as a philosopher he thought anything that was not strictly Islamic in origin to be "anathema". He railed against the use of Greek philosophy.
Ahh, you are attacking one of my great heroes. Al-Ghazali had no objection to the use of Greek Philosophy in areas where he thought it applied such as mathematics and medicine. What he objected to was it application to areas like metaphysics and morality which he believed could only be known by means of revelation. He took the same epistemological position which William of Occham later took and which would eventually become the basis of modern science along with the modern distinction between science and religion.

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Nevertheless Al-Ghazzali was also respected by the scholastics:
Mostly because of an accident. Before al-Ghazzali wrote The Incoherence of the Philosophers he wrote an earlier work explaining philosophy in easy-to-understand terms as a prelude for the Incoherence. It was this earlier work, not his later work refuting that philosophy that got translated into Latin and became the basis of much of Europe's understanding of Muslim philosophy.

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al-Ghazzali ended any "explicit" usage in the Islamic world of their works.
Not exactly. Neo-platonism continued to flourish in eastern Islamic lands under the name of Ishraqi philosophy. Aristotelian philosophy as represented by Averroes died out in western Islamic lands largely due the growth of a kind of fundamentalism that had nothing to do with al-Ghazali. The last great Aristotelian philosopher of the Magrib (N. Africa and Spain) was Ibn Khaldun who lived in the 14th century. L

Last edited by smaneck; 12-16-2012 at 02:52 PM.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 03:14 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
Dear Artha,

I think that represents Baha'i folklore but not anything we find in the Writings. Rome may have started out as a city state but by the time Christianity came around, it was an empire.

warmest, Susan
Thanks for your post Susan..

Rome would be an empire based on a city...just as it was later based on Constantinople..

Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 202)



I found this also in the writings of George Townshend:

Mankind had now had the experience of organizing the family, the tribe and the city
state. Before humanity could proceed to the task of organizing the far superior
government of the Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh a preliminary lesson in the art of
building a nation had to be given.


(George Townshend, Christ and Baha'u'llah, p. 32)

So there is that concept of evolving social organization from the family to the tribe to the city ... next the nation and the world:

Unity of family, of tribe, of city state, and nation have been
successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a
harassed humanity is striving....


(George Townshend, Christ and Baha'u'llah, p. 105)

At least the above I think sharpens for me the concept of evolving social systems..but I've been interested in the progressive development for a long time and may have gotten a little rusty...
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:00 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Christianity does not propose a law grounded in a particular revelation. Rather, it grounds Law in universal Natural Law discovered through reason.
Granted that this was the position the Pope took in his Islamophobic speech before the Reichstat, but is that really a Christian position? I can't help but think of this passage from 1 Corinthians:

"18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,"

That strikes me as pretty strong condemnation of Greek philosophy.

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This flexibility has allowed Christianity to adapt to practically any system of laws or society.
But for that very reason it has been unable to transform those societies.

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Christianity was born into a highly developed, classical world with an advanced legal system that is still the basis of our own modern Western legal systems through the Christian Emperor Justinian's "Institutes" in the sixth century AD. These institutes are still studied by every legal student who takes Civil Law. They are a codification by Justinian of Roman Law as developed in the Christian Roman Empire, adapted, changed and amended by them accordingly. Property Law has changed little since Roman times.
Not exactly. The Justinian Code is not introduced into medieval Europe until the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. The Crusaders stole books from the Byzantine library and sent them to Europe leading to the establishment of the first school of law in Bologna. Before that Latin Christians followed Germanic customary law and saw land as something to rule, not own.

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The only "law" in Christianity is the law of conscience. If we heed this law, informed by divinely revealed truths in scripture, then we adhere to the Will of God.
How does the exclusion of women from the priesthood accord with the 'law of conscience'? How does the prohibition against birth control do that?

It doesn't accord with my conscience!
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
BTW According to Christian teaching the Natural Law implanted in our conscience teaches monogamy
In Romans Paul does seem to imply that Gentiles know right from wrong by virtue of natural law, but nowhere does he associate this with monogamy. Early Christians were monogamous 1) because polygamy was prohibited by Roman Law, 2) they regarded marriage as the second-best choice after celibacy.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #134
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Dear Artha,

Had the Roman Empire really been based on a city-state it would not have survived the fall of Rome. While the West likes to refer to the surviving Roman Empire as Byzantium, they will continue to call themselves Romans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arthra View Post
Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 202)
Yes, but only in the case of Islam does he explicitly associate any of these political forms with a specific revelation. And here I think he had in mind the umma as you said, not the modern nation-state which doesn't emerge until the end of the eighteenth century.

warmest, Susan
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:17 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
And most Christians do not follow Paul's practice of women wearing hats or headcoverings during Church services (
They did until very recent times.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:33 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Not everything Jesus said and did was recorded in the four Gospels. Likewise Roman society was a slave-state, so it does not surprise me that Jesus is not referenced in the Gospels as condemning it, even though Paul's later epistles completely undermine the system through the horizontal equality in Christ made between slaves and freemen,
That spiritual equality which Paul makes between slave and free, Jew and Gentile, male and female did not prevent him from believing in either slaver or hierarchy. In regards to slavery, he urges slaves to be obedient to their masters and even persuaded an escaped slave (Onesimus) to return to his master. In regards to women he wrote:

3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Quote:
which is why later Christian Church Fathers and Popes opposed it.
Huh? The popes owned slaves! Pope Nicholas V wrote this bull:

“We weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso -- to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit -- by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors”.

What the church prohibited was the enslaving of Christians. Pagans and Muslims were fair game. Canon law provided for four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.

Last edited by smaneck; 12-16-2012 at 04:42 PM.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 04:47 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
Now we have the Baha'i Faith which is already talking about violent conquest of nations,
Where does the Baha'i Faith talk about the violent conquest of nations?
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:09 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
Christianity is responsible for the KKK and similar groups, actually, so it is ironic you make this comparison. It is required of every KKK or similar to be a white protestant and Christian texts are used to justify their propaganda.
Sorry, but the fact that the KKK made use of Christianity is not evidence that Christianity is responsible for the KKK. The same thing holds for al-Qaeda and Islam.

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The point I was making though is that the very fact this can be justified at all using these texts is reason enough to get rid of the text.
I don't know of any text which can't be distorted to serve the purpose of the perverse.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Some Further Questions View Post
Jesus, Paul and others responded quite differently to mockery and criticism. If Muhammad was the equal to Jesus why not wow the people and the opposing poets like Jesus did his opposition?
It's much more complicated than that. The poets in question here were going to Mecca while Muhammad was in Medina, not simply to mock the Prophet but to incite the Meccans to take up arms against the Muslims in Medina.

Obviously Jesus' opposition was not 'wowed' rather they arranged to have Him crucified. Had it been the case of Muhammad's own life, I think He might well have allowed Himself to be killed, but unlike Jesus, Muhammad had a community to protect. Therein lies the difference.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:24 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
You have failed to understanding the very point of my every word: Identification AS SUCH is the nature of all evil.
If that you mean a division between "us" and "them" I would agree, but not all identification falls into that category. Abdu'l-Baha, in one of His talks in America stated the following:

“Throughout past centuries each system of religious belief has boasted of its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others as darkness. Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two trees: one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic. Therefore, sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been continuous among them. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because each party has considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived of the mercy of God.”

He went on to say:

“God alone is Creator, and all are creatures of His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures, realizing that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants of His omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.
Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation. In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself.”
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:31 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
Do I need to quote the Aqdas about the obligation of dying for the cause?
There is a difference between dying for the Cause and killing for it.

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I have already touched on the fact that Baha'is believe and discuss among themselves a violent battle they feel will happen in the future to instigate the World Order of Baha'u'llah, are you going to deny this?
There are some Baha'is who believe that a catastrophe (not necessarily a battle) will proceed the establishment of the Lesser Peace but there is no indication that we should fight in it. In fact, when Baha'is are forced to serve in the military we seek non-combatant status. The Lesser Peace, by the way, is not the Baha'i take-over of the world, it is merely the world coming to recognize it can no longer engage in war. A Baha'i commonwealth will develop much more slowly and will not involve the use of violence.

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I understand your need to defend your identification, but please look at this rightly and intelligently.
You think Baha'is wouldn't know if they were authorized to conquer other nations?

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you know I'm not making this up.
It seems to me you are making up a great deal.

Last edited by smaneck; 12-16-2012 at 05:42 PM.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:38 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
I attended a meeting among mostly Local Assembly elects, and the founder of this assembly, a man still alive from the Hands of the Cause time and who actually went out and preached for Shoghi Effendi was there.

Another gentlemen touched on the issue of a future war, and this man thoroughly agreed, despite the negative reaction from most of the members due to my presence since I was new.
Dear Lunitik,

It is clearer now where you got these impressions. If you read the Citadel of Faith by Shoghi Effendi it is quite clear that he did not expect the Cold War to end peaceably and expected another conflagration. But he never, I repeat never urged Baha'is to participate in such hostilities. To the contrary, he urged Baha'is to leave the cities and scatter to the remote places of the earth believing this would best secure the future of the Cause.

warmest, Susan
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:00 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Some Further Questions View Post
@LordOfGoblins
Yeah I’m throwing out a few specific ones so far. But in my opinion Christianity is superior on all good counts.
If you were to choose between Christianity today and Islam today, I can see why you might come to that conclusion. But the real question is whether or not Christianity or the Baha'i Faith can meet the needs of the age in which we live.

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This isn’t a comprehensive list but here are my thoughts of how we might BEGIN to break down “taken together.”
I note that bringing about betterment of the world is missing from your list.

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]Yes I’ve heard that because Muhammad was sinless he could treat that all equally but even IF that was true why not lead by example?
Because the example Muhammad wished to set was that of caring for the widows and orphans. It is therefore no accident that all of the wives Muhammad married after Khadijah's passing, all but one were either widows or divorcees, people who would have been defenseless in that culture. It was within this context that the Qur'an allowed for polygamy.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:38 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Death? Theft was severely punished in the Middle Ages in Christian Europe, as in the Islamic East, however death (for example by hanging) was not the standard punishment for theft,
It depended on the amount of the theft and status of the person from whom one stole. For instance, in Sweden and Norway in the 13th century “full thievery” or stealing something worth 1/2 mark or more, and was punished by hanging from a tree or a gallows, or by banishment. If the goods were worth between three öre and 1/2 mark, it would cost the thief skin (through flogging) and one or both ears. For thefts of a lower value, fines were enough punishment. The death penalty for theft was not abolished in Sweden until 1855.

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Alternatively one could appeal to an ecclesiastical trial rather than the secular one.
Not unless you were among the "religious" i.e. monks, priests, nuns or one had committed heresy or blasphemy, etc.

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The punishments given by the ecclesiastical courts were intended to save the soul of the guilty and so they included time to repent, confess, and make restitution to the victim - meaning that where theft was concerned they were even less harsh than the normal secular courts.
Aren't you forgetting that the main way of bringing about such 'repentance' and 'confession' was by means of judicial torture?
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:45 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Some Further Questions View Post
If the truth is progressive why do we go from sons and daughters of God to servants (children of Adam only) in the Qur’an? Why go back to so much ritual that Paul says was merely a foreshadowing of what they now had?
Huh? There is much more ritual in Christianity than Islam. As for going from sons and daughters to servants, I don't think it was ever the intent of the Qur'an to suggest that we aren't sons and daughters of God in the sense you mean anymore than Jesus ever suggested we shouldn't be servants. What the Qur'an rejects is the Arab notion that Allah had three daughters or that God literally beget children.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:50 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Some Further Questions View Post
Final thought: Is there anything comparative to 1 Corinthians 13 in the Qur’an? If so I did not find it. It repeats many other biblical stories and concepts why not something so profound as that?
If we were to show you a similar passage in the Qur'an would you not accuse it of plagiarism rather than recognize its profundity?
 
Old 12-17-2012, 04:10 AM   #147
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@Sen McGlinn

I can see some similarity there. I can’t say for certain but I think even if I were not a Christian comparing the two passages (but just a believer in a good God in general) I would call 1 Corinthians more thorough and moving. You’re certainly entitled to disagree but do you think the passages equal in these regards or is one more so than the other?
 
Old 12-17-2012, 04:14 AM   #148
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@arthra

I’ll give you that the Baha’i writings you posted does remind me of 1 Cor 13. But I am focusing on the Qur’an my friend . The two verses you cited from it do not seem very comparable to me. Do you disagree?
 
Old 12-17-2012, 04:51 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunitik View Post
Ego is the cause of all sense of separation.

It is ego which claims "I love the Lord", it insists on upholding self.

It is ego which claims "I am hearing this sound".

It is ego which claims "I know this".

It is ego which claims "I must do that".

Ego itself is only a thought, it is the identifications added to "I am" or "me".

It is ego which claims "I am Baha'i" or "I am Buddhist".

Ego is the cause of all antagonism in the world, this belief in false ideas, trust for our every thought.
EXCEPT, of course, that by this measure, virtually EVERYTHING we do would be condemned as based on ego!

And you are grossly presumptuous in claiming that Baha'i and Buddhist teachings are "false": you have no right to make any such flat statement that presumes to carry more weight than your own personal opinion.

Bruce
 
Old 12-17-2012, 05:51 AM   #150
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My dear sister Smaneck

Wow! I am very much impressed by your "titan-like" entrance into this thread. I just love how you have come in, fairly critiqued Baha'i, Christian, Muslim and ah Lunitik ( ) and did it in a respectful (with the exception of the insuation that the Pope made an "Islamophobic speech" in Germany but I take that as a small blip) yet fully enlightening and persuasive fashion. That is a talent my friend - an art!

You have addressed so many points and I must answer them all to do you justice but where should I begin? I will start with slavery.

I had anticipated that someone (I thought Arthra) would reply back with the negative bulls and documents from certain popes that sanctioned slavery during wars against the Islamic world for captives. I was thus surprised that no one did, so thank you for engaging with me on that front in the manner I had hoped.

Quote:
The popes owned slaves! Pope Nicholas V wrote this bull:

“We weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso -- to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit -- by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors”.

What the church prohibited was the enslaving of Christians. Pagans and Muslims were fair game. Canon law provided for four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.
In the tenth century, bishops in Venice did public penance for past involvement in the Moorish slave trade and sought to prevent all Venetians from involvement in enslaving Muslims. There are other examples of this, which demonstrate that Christians didn't exactly think it was "A ok" to enslave Muslims.

I will note that the text in Latin does not say "perpetual slavery" but "perpetual servitude". Why this is different, is because the medieval church viewed enslaving innocent freeborn people of whatever faith as wrong but some popes did not regard "perpertual servitude" as immoral, even though this is arguably a form of "enslavement". The latter was a punishment for sin ie that a person's liberty should be taken away because they waged war against Christendom or committed heinous crimes. Its a very primitive idea but it only applied generally to prisoners of war, which normally happened to be Muslims for obvious reasons during the middle ages, and is equivalent to Victorians forcing prisoners to work in factories essentially for slave labour. "Perpetual servitude" is therefore something like a life sentence with forced labour from the perspective of medieval people. Not exactly moral by our standards but it doesn't conflict with a general opposition to slavery and the slave trade in the way you seem to think, at least not in medieval eyes.

When the Nicholas writes “illorumque personas in perpetuam servitutem redigendi”, is this actually slavery as we commonly know it? I think its more submission and servitude to the royal authority of Afonso and his successors, as well as life setence and forced labour for perceived "criminality" against Christians. There’s no mention of selling, buying or trade in slaves, and the Bull only ever really mentions conquering and subduing Muslim "pagans" and was directed to Alfonso's wars with Muslims in North Africa and the expansion of the Turks.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which brought an end to racial slavery in the U.S., does allow for just-title servitude to punish criminals: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Even today we can see prisoners picking up litter along highways accompanied by armed guards. Also the 1949 Geneva Conventions allow for detaining power to use the labor of war prisoners under very limiting circumstances (Panzer, p. 3). Such popes argued that the Muslims in question were criminals, unlike the innocent natives of the Americas. Obviously, this is not quite right to modern eyes because these Muslims were not criminals, and the proponents of this idea had to surpass wide theological hurdles in their own time. It was an excuse so as to "punish" these Muslims and make it appear that they were guilty of great crimes against Christian peoples but the very fact that such heavy excuses were made demonstrates that there was a general rule against slavery/slave trade if to justify their "perpetual servitude" the pope had to make it out that they had committed heinous acts. So while Pope Paul III proclaimed the non-Christian Indians "perpetually free", Pope Nicholas V condemned the captives of the Muslim nations then at war with Christendom to "perpetual servitude". And so the pope wrote in the bull:

Quote:
Therefore we consider, that those rising against the Catholic faith and struggling to extinguish Christian Religion must be resisted by the faithful of Christ with courage and firmness
This is IMHO quite similar to many verses of the Qur'an in which Muslims retaliate to aggression, except that this is on a state level rather than within a nation (Ie Arabia). Consider the so-called "sword verse" (ie slay them wherever ye find them, that is, if they don't stop fighting Muslims) as a parrallel.

The key is the phrase, "and other enemies of Christ" ie those at war with Christendom, as opposed to the completely innocent, freeborn natives of the Americas who had their land unjustly taken by westerners.

Eugene IV said in the 1400s, “some Christians (we speak of this with sorrow), with fictitious reasoning and seizing and opportunity, have approached said islands by ship, and with armed forces taken captive and even carried off to lands overseas very many persons of both sexes, taking advantage of their simplicity… They have deprived the natives of the property, or turned it to their own use, and have subjected some of the inhabitants of said islands to perpetual slavery, sold them to other persons, and committed other various illicit and evil deeds against them,” (Sicut Dudum.)

As you can see the kind of slavery that Eugene is decrying as a great evil is different from servitude for a crime; the former is cast by the popes as unjust and baseless slavery of innocent people, whereas the latter is utilized by some in very difficult circumstances.

On the issue of what kind of servitude this is, it seems clear in Romanus Pontifex that Nicholas did not have in mind a harsh chattel slavery. This is implied when he talks about what cannot be traded with the Saracens, infidels, pagans, etc (therefore there are things that CAN be traded with them). He says this with regard to conquest as is evident from the following quote. If the people subdued are being traded with, they are clearly not being possessed in the chattel slavery sense and even have a degree of financial independence

Quote:
"...that they do not by any means presume to carry arms, iron, wood for construction, and other things prohibited by law from being in any way carried to the Saracens, to any of the provinces, islands, harbors, seas, and places whatsoever, acquired or possessed in the name of King Alfonso, or situated in this conquest or elsewhere, to the Saracens, infidels, or pagans; or even without special license from the said King Alfonso and his successors and the infante, to carry or cause to be carried merchandise and other things permitted by law..."
I'm sure the bull was ill-considered and bad - it came out in 1452, and given that Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, I'd say that it was probably intended as an emergency permission for Portuguese Crusaders to use forced Muslim labor in the fight to save Constantinople. Nicholas V wrote the thing up too broadly, in the hope of getting some Europeans to do something fast. But apparently, the Portuguese took the bull and ran with it in the opposite direction, instead of trying to save Europe from rampaging Turkish hordes which is why the popes later spent so much effort trying to defend innocent natives and black people from being enslaved. The main intention of the bull is to defend Christendom by declaring war on the Saracens.

Nicholas actually failed to get the European Kings to help and that is why Byzantium fell. This bull was directed to the Spanish only and was an authorization to engage the conquering Turks and make war with them to stop their perceived encroachment and aggression. The pope used the language and emotion of the day.

In essence, Dum Diversas was a real papal bull but it in no way is a general endorsement of slavery. It is simply an authorization to the Spanish monarchy to engage the perceived aggressor enemy of Christians in a so-called "just war" and to take any survivors as prisoners and incarcerate them for life for their supposed crimes against Christianity. It was issued at a time when the Church was trying fervently to rally Christendom out of its apathy to help defend eastern Christian from being defeated, which did happen a year after this Bull and sent shock waves throughout Europe at the scope of the Turkish success.


For now, I think that you should read this:


Quote:
"...It is true that some popes did not observe the moral obligation to oppose slavery - indeed, in 1488 Pope innocent VIII accepted a gift of a hundred Moorish slaves from King Ferdinand of Aragon, giving some of them to favourite cardinals. Of course, Innocent was anything but that when it came to a whole list of immoral actions...However, laxity must not be confused with doctrine. Thus while Innocent fathered many children, he did not retract the official doctrine that clergy should be celibate. In similsar fashion, his acceptance of a gift of slaves should not be confused with official church teachings...."

- Rodney Stark, social historian
A brief look at the "pornocracy" would confirm what Stark is saying.

Initially yes, its primary aim was to end slavery on the European continent amongst Christians which it did by the the early 1000s. It became replaced largely with serfdom. You see the church baptized Christian slaves, taught that they had the right to marry whom they willed, that they could become priests (if male) etc. Such endeavours, linked with the emancipatory work of women such as Saint Bathilde, effectively ended slavery amongst European Christians.

However your idea of "pagans" being "fair game" is not accurate. Consider Pope Paul III's bull that I quoted far back on the enslavery of non-Christian native Indians:

Quote:
Pope Paul III wrote:


"...The exalted God loved the human race so much that He created man in such a condition that he was not only a sharer in good as are other creatures, but also that he would be able to reach and see face to face the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good...Seeing this and envying it, the enemy of the human race, who always opposes all good men so that the race may perish, has thought up a way, unheard of before now, by which he might impede the saving word of God from being preached to the nations. He (Satan) has stirred up some of his allies who, desiring to satisfy their own avarice, are presuming to assert far and wide that the Indians...be reduced to our service like brute animals, under the pretext that they are lacking the Catholic faith. And they reduce them to slavery, treating them with afflictions they would scarcely use with brute animals...Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.

By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, which shall thus command the same obedience as the originals..."

- Pope Paul III, Sublimus Dei, 1537. [Ibid., pp.79-81 with original critical Latin text]


Pope Paul not only condemned the slavery of Indians but also "all other peoples." Furthermore they are to have complete liberty "even though they are outside the faith", not Catholics. The Protestant historian James Bowden writes: "In two separate briefs, Pope Paul III imprecated a curse on any Europeans who should enslave the Indians or any other class of men".
Then we have the work of Bartolome de las Casas who was the instrumental force in ending the slavery of Native Americans. He was a bishop, did he care that they weren't 'Christian'? No and neither did the Catholic Church which is why it was ended.

Casas preached in his sermons:

Quote:
"...The Indians are our brothers, and Christ has given his life for them...All the races of the world are humans, and of all men and of each individual there is but one definition, and this is that they are rational. All have understanding and will and free choice, as all are made in the image and likeness of God … All the peoples of the world are humans. All the races of humankind are one. Thus the entire human race is one...No one may be deprived of his liberty nor may any person be enslaved..."

- Bartolomé de las Casas (c. 1484–1566) Catholic Bishop, defender of rights of native Americans, abolitionist and social reformer

And when the slave trade transferred to the African slave trade, many popes likewise opposed it:


Quote:
1686: the Congregation of the Holy Office (the Roman Inquisition now 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith') takes up the matter. On March 20, 1686, it ruled in the form of questions and answers:


It is asked:

Whether it is permitted to capture by force and deceit Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one?

Answer: no.

Whether it is permitted to buy, sell or make contracts in their respect Blacks or other natives who have harmed no one and been made captives by force of deceit?

Answer: no.

Whether the possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and been captured by force or deceit, are not held to set them free?

Answer: yes.

Whether the captors, buyers and possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and who have been captured by force or deceit are not held to make compensation to them?

Answer: yes

: Pope Gregory XVI's 1839 bull, In Supremo, reiterated papal opposition to enslaving "Indians, blacks, or other such people" and forbade "any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse". It clearly condemned slavery:


"...We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks or other such peoples..."
The key above is "harmed no one" in view of what I have written preceding this.

I think that you would be hard pushed to find any similar such effort from another institution of another religion at that time to end the slave trade and slavery for so many people. The only exception is Quakers and other Protestant Christians such as William Wilberforce.

It should also be noted that the first people to oppose slavery on an institutional scale were not Muslims or Christians but the first century Essene Jews. As with the Torah laws dealing with theft, in many ways Jews were more advanced than Christians and Muslims.

This is an unrecognised fact despite much villainy put against the Old Testament. As Rodney Stark explains:


Quote:
"...Eventually some Jews outlawed slavery entirely. Thus the Essenes, were said to have outlawed slavery. As Philo of Alexandria (ca.20 B.C.E - 50 reported, the Essenes 'condemn [slave] masters, not only as unjust, inasmuch as they corrupt the very principle of equality, but likewise as impious, because they destroy the ordinances of nature, which generated them all equally". In similar fashion, the Therapeutae ("healers"), another Jewish sect believed to have lived near Alexandria, also rejected slavery. Philo wrote, 'And they do not use the ministrations of slaves, looking upon the possession of...slaves to be a thing absolutely and wholly contrary to nature, for nature has created all men free'...So far as I can determine, the Essenes and Therapeutae were the first "societies" (albeit small ones) to prohibit slavery..."

[B]- Rodney Stark, social historian[/B

Scholars debate how these Jews considered themselves to be "Torah observant" whilst opposing slavery but regardless this was a true innovation in human history that is overlooked and it came from followers of the religion of Moses, not Christ or Muhammad. Not for another 1,800 years nearly would slavery be outlawed by Great Britain officially!

I know, I know, if only these Jewish groups had survived the horrors of AD 70, however it cannot be disputed that Jews (non-Rabbinic but still Jews) were the first to outlaw slavery.

Both Judaism and Christianity thus gave rise to antislavery doctrines. True, not absolute, but significant. I am sure that brother Zhang, with his far greater knowledge of Islam than I, could probably highlight such doctrines within Islam as well.

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-17-2012 at 08:00 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 05:54 AM   #151
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MONSTROUSLY BIG POST @smaneck!

(You just had so much to say that I wanted to reply to

"This flexibility has allowed Christianity to adapt to practically any system of laws or society. But for that very reason it has been unable to transform those societies."

Oh Susan how can you say such a thing!

BBC - Religions - Christianity: The Welsh Revival

Week by week Abertillery's local paper the South Wales Gazette recorded events with the enthusiastic eloquence of the day.
"The Revival"... has been the absorbing theme of thought and discussion. Before it, the War, the state of trade, ordinary and extraordinary political topics, and even football, have been thrown into the shade as topics of general conversation.
Drunkards have been soberised, publicans have lost much business, conduct on public streets has been elevated, and the police and magistrates have had quieter times... The bottom of the pits have been utilised as centres for prayer and praise meetings, and there has been a general raising of the standard of public life.
************************************************** ***********
This is the first revival that sprung to mind but you can also check out the work God did through Nate Saint and other missionaries to a savage tribe that thrives as Christians to this day. I am confident I and/or Yeshua could provide many references to Christianity transforming various societies.

“It's much more complicated than that. The poets in question here were going to Mecca while Muhammad was in Medina, not simply to mock the Prophet but to incite the Meccans to take up arms against the Muslims in Medina.

Obviously Jesus' opposition was not 'wowed' rather they arranged to have Him crucified. Had it been the case of Muhammad's own life, I think He might well have allowed Himself to be killed, but unlike Jesus, Muhammad had a community to protect. Therein lies the difference.”

Mat 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. 22 When they had heard these words, they MARVELLED, and left him, and went their way.

(emphasis added)

See Matthew 22:35-46 “no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.”
Paul had communities to protect too. He could reasonably assume that since he was no longer a Christian hunter the non- believing Jews would try to acquire another. Paul didn’t raise up any armies either.

Acts 6:9- chapter 7. Acts 9:29 Most of Acts 17, notably the Intelligent Dionysius was persuaded.

Did the poets have good reason to rally the Meccans? Jesus did not raise a literal army by any stretch of the imagination, Muhammad sure did. I think my point still stands. Perhaps the Meccans would have attacked anyway. But at the least I think Muhammad should have been capable of making those poets (or the listeners) marvel and/or unable to speak more (for a time) like Christ did if he was Jesus’ equal.

And c’mon! Jesus didn’t have a community to protect? Erhmm… Saul/the council anyone?

In the autumn of the second year of the Hijrah (623), Abu-Sufyan took the annual caravan of the Meccans to Syria. A fairly large number of prosperous Meccan merchants travelled with him. They were due to return in the spring. Muhammad sent two men to discover the whereabouts of the caravan, but they lost their way and came back to Medina without news. Muhammad then sent two other men to reconnoitre, who were successful, but their presence in the neighbourhood of Badr was discovered by Abu-Sufyan. He immediately stopped in his tracks and turned back towards Syria whence he had come. He also dispatched a messenger to Mecca to raise the alarm. Then, with the aid of 'Amr Ibn al-'As, he made a detour, touched the sea by Jiddah, and led the caravan safely to Mecca. In the meantime Muhammad had come out of Medina with a force composed of 314 men, and the Meccans had sallied forth to protect their caravan.
(H. M. Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam, p. 64)

My comments:

These were merchants coming back from Syria with no intent on attacking Muhammad or Medina. The Meccans are DEFENDING themselves. Shortly after mind you MUSLIMS killed another Meccan carvan during the holy months which prohibited fighting-p 63. Where is the righteous DEFENSE of Medina? It seems Muhammad's philosophy is "a good offense is the best defense.")

smaneck wrote:

"Because the example Muhammad wished to set was that of caring for the widows and orphans. It is therefore no accident that all of the wives Muhammad married after Khadijah's passing, all but one were either widows or divorcees, people who would have been defenseless in that culture. It was within this context that the Qur'an allowed for polygamy."

Are you telling me that Muhammad could not adequtely provide for them without marrying them? Even if Muhammad was sinless, his wives were not. One such wife -Zaynab- (I can find the details if you like) boasted about being chosen by Allah to be Muhammad's wife. That would stir up some problems that otherwise could have been avoided don't you think?

The early church took care of it's widows, why couldn't Islam do the same?

"I note that bringing about betterment of the world is missing from your list. "
Betterment of the world is a broad, possibly subjective and often vague term... But I think betterment of the world INCLUDES many things, but I am attempting to breakdown not compile. However I'll be happy to look at that too in this discussion, but again vague, subjective and broad....

smaneck wrote:

"Huh? There is much more ritual in Christianity than Islam. As for going from sons and daughters to servants, I don't think it was ever the intent of the Qur'an to suggest that we aren't sons and daughters of God in the sense you mean anymore than Jesus ever suggested we shouldn't be servants. What the Qur'an rejects is the Arab notion that Allah had three daughters or that God literally beget children. "

SFQ:

I differ from our good friend Yeshua here but in my point of view Scripture only points to two rituals: Baptism and Communion. I'd be interested to see NT Scripture that points to more.
I assume you’re aware of the various washings and prayers Muslims are instructed to go through so unless you disagree I won’t bother digging them up at this time. Not to mention what hand to use for various purposes, how many shakes ect.

Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Joint-heirs = equals with Christ. Consider Galatians chapter 4 also.

Does the Qur’an EVER refer to ANYONE (except Jesus) as a child of God? If not WHY not? I find a lack of affection from the God of the Qur’an in many places. I’ve never come across a verse about Allah’s love for someone unless it was first linked to THEIR obedience.

6:141 He it is Who produceth gardens trellised and untrellised, and the date-palm, and crops of divers flavour, and the olive and the pomegranate, like and unlike. Eat ye of the fruit thereof when it fruiteth, and pay the due thereof upon the harvest day, and be not prodigal. Lo! Allah loveth not the prodigals.

(The God of the Bible does -Luke 15:11-32)

6:149 Say - For Allah's is the final argument - Had He willed He could indeed have guided all of you.

6:159 Lo! As for those who sunder their religion and become schismatics, no concern at all hast thou with them. Their case will go to Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.

Doesn’t exactly remind you of the Shepherd looking for his one lost sheep does it?

(BTW I will dig up verses comparing servants and children of God from both books. Give me some time )

“If we were to show you a similar passage in the Qur'an would you not accuse it of plagiarism rather than recognize its profundity?”

Well depending on HOW comparable it was to 1 Corinthians 13 would modify my answer. I think it would have been great benefit to Muslims over the centuries to have such a beautiful description of (in part) what love is, even if he quoted it word for word. I think part of the reason’s it’s not there is because the God of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible view love differently and it would in fact conflict. How many times does the Qur’an mention who Allah does not love? It speaks of Allah loving those obedient to Him but I’ve never found a verse saying that he loved sinners like the Bible does have you?

Thanks for your participation Susan!
 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:03 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
If you're Catholic would not canon law also be part of Christian social teachings?
Canon Law is not divinely revealed or inspired. It did not even exist in the Early Church but arose later because of the need for the Church to govern itself and have discipline amongst the clergy, for example. It is mutable and can be changed at any time by any pope. Read:

Quote:
Is the Code of Canon Law "divinely inspired"?

No, but I see why some people might think it is.

Canon law is truly a "sacred discipline" because it operates in direct service to sacred things. When John Paul II promulgated the 1983 Code, he used a document entitled The Laws of Sacred Discipline; likewise when he set out the Eastern Code, he used a document entitled Sacred Canons. Nevertheless, neither document claims that these Codes of Canon Law, or individual canons therein, are "divinely inspired".

We use the term "divinely inspired" to describe, for example, the text of Sacred Scripture, or maybe certain pronouncements of Ecumenical Councils...But if we want "divinely inspired" to convey something special in those crucial contexts, I think we should refrain from using it to describe many other things that popes and bishops do in the exercise of their ecclesiastical duties.

Frankly, it would be difficult to find the "divine inspiration" behind, say, Canon 1630 (setting 15 days as the period of time to lodge appeals) or Canon 307 (noting that a person may be concurrently enrolled in multiple associations of the faithful). Such canons are reasonable and represent directives made by the pope as ruler of the Church, but that does make them or the Code that contains them "divinely inspired".

A few canons, to be sure, uphold propositions that may be considered divinely inspired, such as Canon 1024 (restricting holy orders to baptized males) or Canon 924 (specifying bread and wine as the matter for the Eucharist). But even here, the canonical norms themselves are not described as "divinely inspired". For remember, regular folks can make these assertions too; they might even do so in the exercise of ecclesiastical offices, but that would not make them "divinely inspired".

Canons come and canons go. 1917 CIC 796 discouraged the same individual from serving as someone's sponsor at baptism and at confirmation; 1983 CIC 893 encourages this double service. Which norm is divinely inspired? Indeed, whole Codes come and go. The 1983 Code replaced the 1917 Code. Was the 1917 Code "divinely inspired" for 65 years, only to be divinely de-inspired in 1983? If these questions sound silly (and they should) it's because the basic notion that Codes of Canon Law are "divinely inspired" is a misnomer to begin with.

I can list at least half a dozen good, even compelling, reasons to enforce and obey the canons of the 1983 Code of Canon Law; but one of those reasons won't be that the Code is "divinely inspired". Claiming divine inspiration for the Code overstates the case, and when it is shown to be an overstatement, that only gives a pretext to those already looking for excuses to disregard the legitimate demands of Church law.
On the contrary Catholic "social teaching" is known as the "Social Doctrine" of the Church and has certain immutable elements as well as being of the Magisterium, the official teaching authority of the Roman Church.

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-17-2012 at 08:20 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:14 AM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
I don't know of any text which can't be distorted to serve the purpose of the perverse.


That is true.

Quote:
"...To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure..."

- Titus 1:15
People of a certain mindset have a tendency in all religions to read their own malice into sacred writings.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:27 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
They did until very recent times.
Your not wrong. Christianity has never had any requirements (Ie hijab) for men and women in daily life to wear, out with church services. Other religions such as Judaism, Islam, Sikhism etc. do have such requirements.

However the requirement that men cannot wear hats during Mass (and must remove all headgear out of social respect) and that women wear head coverings at Mass was part of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which provided:

Quote:
Canon 1262

§2. Men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bare-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord.
Notice that this didn’t establish a requirement for any particular form of head covering. It could be a mantilla, a veil, a hat, a scarf, etc.

After the Second Vatican Council in 1962-65, men and women ceased to follow these disciplines en masse. A new "mass" was promulgated by Pope Paul VI, the Novus Ordo or "ordinary form" and these disciplines were not enforced as part of it, they ceased to have any status.

As a reflection of this change in practice amongst the faithful, when the 1983 Code of Canon Law was released, it provided:

Quote:
Canon 6

§1. When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated:

1° the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;
Laws which had been part of the 1917 Code, including canon 1262, thus lost their force and the requirement was officially ended. (The custom had already fallen into disuse in many places since it was never a binding "command" of divine inspiration, merely a discipline like priestly celibacy which was made a discipline in canon law after the Gregorian Reform in the 12th century. Prior to this most priests had been married.)

Some men still remove their hats out of respect when entering buildings or when being respectful to another person.

Paul never made it obligatory and neither does the Church. It was simply Paul's opinion and no one agrees with him today nor was it ever considered to be a divinely revealed truth or part of the deposit of faith.

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-17-2012 at 08:34 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:31 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
Early Christians were monogamous 1) because polygamy was prohibited by Roman Law.
I have already addressed this and explained why I disagree with this assumption
 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:42 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
I think Christians have largely misunderstood the intended purpose of Divine Law. Neither Jews, Muslims or Baha'is see the Law as necessary for salvation. Rather they are necessary for the establishment of community based on God's will.

Quote:
“…Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s…”

– Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:21
Quote:
“…My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Judeans. But now as it is my kingdom is not from the world…”

– Jesus Christ, John 18:36
Quote:
"...The Catholic Church is eager to share the richness of the Gospel’s social message, for it enlivens hearts with a hope for the fulfilment of justice and a love that makes all men and women truly brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. She carries out this mission fully aware of the respective autonomy and competence of Church and State. Indeed, we may say that the distinction between religion and politics is a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions..."

- Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Address to Philippine Ambassador, 2008

Quote:
"...The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics. . . . The State may not impose religion, yet it must guarantee religious freedom and harmony between the followers of different religions...For her part, the Church, as the social expression of Christian faith, has a proper independence and is structured on the basis of her faith as a community which the State must recognize. The two spheres are distinct, yet always interrelated...This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just. The Church's social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church's responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church's immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically...The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply...formation of just structures is not directly the duty of the Church, but belongs to the world of politics, the sphere of the autonomous use of reason. The Church has an indirect duty here, in that she is called to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run. The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity..."

- Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 2009

I do not believe that it is the place of religion to dictate specific judicial punishments or laws to be enacted by states. Ethics for personal and communal morality which can then be translated by individuals into the state yes, I accept that, but to directly infringe on the independence of the sovereign right of states to make law is too close to "theocracy" for me and contravenes the New Testament teachings on "rendering to Caesar". I am a firm believer in secularism, so long as it respects freedom of religion, as is the current Pope Benedict XVI and as was Martin Luther in the 16th century, which is one of the areas which I think Luther got spot on with his reformation movement.

Human societies change, laws and punishments are mutable. Christ ordained no divinely revealed legal system for society but simply taught timeless moral doctrines, such that his religion can be adapted to any society or legal system, provided it does not directly contravene the rights of its citizens or of the Church.

Christianity simply disagrees with Judaism, Islam and the Baha'i Faith in this respect. God created an immutable law built into nature which is available to our conscience to discern. This is the Divine Law. Positive law sometimes constitutes a valid expression of natural law in the human sphere, such as certain elements of the Jewish Torah and Roman Law, whereas in other parts it reflects human imperfection and the imperfection of the age in which it is delivered. It is the duty of human beings, both individually and collectively as a people through the promotion of a humane culture and ethos, to discern the dictates of this natural law through the light of human reason and our conscience: guided by the divinely revealed truths of the Christian faith which (in Catholic eyes) represents the most complete, faithful and honest expression positively of the implicit natural law written on human hearts that has ever been revealed to man by God.

I do not believe that it is the place of religion to issue a judicial code or legal punishments to society. Christianity is concerned with the salvation and deification of humanity, both personally and corporately (mankind as a whole), so that mankind can return to God and attain theosis, the perfection which man had in his first origins and which he is called towards for all eternity, beyond time. The temporal human order is important and Christians must apply Christian social teachings to impove and progress it towards a higher and higher plane of perfection as society evolves, and God wills this, however it is not the concern of a timeless teaching of divine revelation to directly address the concerns of an imperfect, temporal human order that must be continually renewed with the passing of time, by individual people guided by the morality of the Church as its doctrine also develops under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the issuing of some kind of positive legal code that must always be imperfect since it is limited to a specific time period and will probably never constitute an absolute enactment of natural law into human society, because man's understanding of revealed truth and natural law is always progressing and being purified and renewed continuously.

Now, I have absolutely no problem with other religions which have divinely revealed legal systems or an series number of laws, provided that they find a way in which to adapt them to modern, secular, more advanced values where necessary, however I will firmly state that Christians do not have such a divine law and see no use or need for one within our religion.

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-17-2012 at 09:25 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 09:34 AM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
Granted that this was the position the Pope took in his Islamophobic speech before the Reichstat, but is that really a Christian position? I can't help but think of this passage from 1 Corinthians:

"18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,"

That strikes me as pretty strong condemnation of Greek philosophy.
Apart from your unjustified and offensive insinuation about the Holy Father, may I ask, sister Susan, what Greek philosophy has got to do with a divinely revealed law?

It should be noted that the Church has always expressed its teachings through the language and veritable insights of greek philosophy. The Fathers utilized it en masse, as did Thomas Aquinas and the scholastics and the Neoplatonist mystics.

Christianity always respected what was good, true and inspired in Greek philosophy, to the extent that Saint Clement of Alexandria called Greek philosophy a "gift from God" and he said the same about the philosophy of other peoples, such as the followers of the Buddha, Zoroastrians, Hindus etc..


Quote:
"...Greek philosophy is a clear image of truth, a divine gift to the Greeks. Before the advent of the Lord, philosophy helped the Greeks to attain righteousness, and it is now conducive to piety; it supplies a preparatory teaching for those who will later embrace the faith. God is the cause of all good things...The way of truth is one. But into it, as into a perennial river, streams flow from all sides...God is the Teacher, who instructs the enlightened Christian by mysteries, and the faithful labourer by cheerful hopes, and the hard of heart with His keen corrective discipline; so that His providence is particular, public, and universal... for He is the Saviour not of these or those, but of all...Should it be said that the Greeks discovered philosophy by human wisdom, I reply, that I find the Scriptures declare all wisdom to be a divine gift...Thus philosophy, a thing of the highest utility, flourished in antiquity among the barbarians, shedding its light over the nations. And afterwards it came to Greece. First in its ranks were the prophets of the Egyptians; and the Chaldeans among the Assyrians; and the Druids among the Gauls; and the Sramanas [Buddhists] among the Bactrians; and the philosophers of the Celts; and the Magi of the Persians, who foretold the Saviour's birth, and came into the land of Judaea guided by a star. The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sramanas, and others Brahmins...Among the Indians are those philosophers who follow the precepts of Buddha, whom, on account of his extraordinary sanctity, they have raised to divine honours..."

- Saint Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - c. 220), Early Catholic Church father

St Justin Martyr (103–165 AD), one of the earliest church fathers, lauded and reverenced the great Greek philosophers as genuine prophets:


Quote:
"...We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them..."

Of Plato Justin wrote:


Quote:
"...Well done, Plato! Thou hast touched on the truth...Whence, O Plato, is that hint of the truth which thou givest?...let it not be this one man alone--Plato; but, O philosophy, hasten to produce many others also, who declare the only true God to be God, through His inspiration...For the knowledge of God, these utterances, written by those we have mentioned through the inspiration of God..."

And so we find that the Fathers highly praised the prophets of a great number of religions and proclaimed them as being inspired, and as being believers in the same philosophy despite difference of religious faith, including:


- The philosophers of the Jain religion and the Bactrian Buddhists (Sramanas)

- The Buddha himself

- The great Greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and Heraclitus (among others)

- The prophets of the Egyptian polytheistic religion

- The Chaldean prophets of the Assyrian people

- The Druids of the Gaulic people

- The philosophers of the Celts

- The Magi of the Zoroastrian religion (whom Clement believed had prophecies foretelling the birth of Christ)

- The Sages and Prophets and priests of the Hindu religion (Brahmins, Gymnosophists)



This is why Blessed Pope John Paul II once said,

Quote:
"...You speak of many religions. Instead I will attempt to show the common fundamental element and the common root of these religions. The Council defined the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions in a specific document that begins with the words "Nostra aetate" ("In our time"). It is a concise and yet very rich document that authentically hands on the Tradition, faithful to the thought of the earliest Fathers of the Church.

From the beginning, Christian Revelation has viewed the spiritual history of man as including, in some way, all religions, thereby demonstrating the unity of humankind with regard to the eternal and ultimate destiny of man. The Council document speaks of this unity and links it with the current trend to bring humanity closer together through the resources available to our civilization. The Church sees the promotion of this unity as one of its duties...The words of the Council recall the conviction, long rooted in the Tradition, of the existence of the so-called semina Verbi (seeds of the Word), present in all religions...In another passage the Council says that the Holy Spirit works effectively even outside the visible structure of the Church (cf. Lumen Gentium 13), making use of these very semina Verbi, that constitute a kind of common soteriological root present in all religions.

I have been convinced of this on numerous occasions, both while visiting the countries of the Far East and while meeting representatives of those religions, especially during the historic meeting at Assisi, where we found ourselves gathered together praying for peace.

Thus, instead of marveling at the fact that Providence allows such a great variety of religions, we should be amazed at the number of common elements found within them...
"

- Blessed Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Saint Paul had a similar understanding. The Bible confirms this, in the apostle Paul's speech before the Areopagus (legislative and debating forum) in the Greek city of Athens, the intellectual capital of the first century Roman Empire, in Acts chapter 17:

Quote:
"...While Paul was waiting for them in Athens...some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities." (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new. Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way...The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one blood every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man..."
This passage tells us that God in his plan of salvation "determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitations" and that he did this so that these different peoples, with very different religious beliefs "would seek God" and actually find Him and arrive at an understanding of the Truth. To show the Athenians that they actually worship the same God as Paul - a Jew - and to prove that God inspired elements of the Greek polytheistic religion and Greek philosophy, Paul quotes from two pre-Christian Greek poets Aratus and Epimenides. These inspired men taught that:

1. In God every person "lives and moves and has their being"
2. That we are all children of God

The teachings of Greek philosophers are thus part of the Holy Scriptures of Christianity through their quotation by Paul in the Book of Acts.

So I disagree with you on this one Susan. Paul and the Church had a positive view of Greek philosophy, with the exception of say Tertullian (who became a Montanist), as Saint Thomas Aquinas explained:


Quote:
"...All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said, has its origin in the Spirit..."


- Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Catholic theologian, mystic and Doctor of the Church

In saying this Saint Thomas was merely attesting to this Sacred Tradition had been spoken of much earlier by all the Fathers, for example Saint Justin Martyr and Augustine:


Quote:
"...All truth, wherever it is found, belongs to us as Christians and is Christian truth..."


- Saint Justin Martyr (AD 100–165), Early Catholic Church Father

BTW where in that speech in 2011 to the Reichstag was the pope "Islamophobic"? I take offense at this. In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI said, "Despite the differences, Muslims are our brothers" and in 2006 he took of his shoes when entering a mosque in Turkey and prayed towards Mecca!

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-17-2012 at 10:13 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 11:01 AM   #158
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I haven't read every post on this thread yet, so forgive me if I'm just repeating things that have already said.
Also, this is all just my opinion.
The question is, "is Islam more progressive than Christianity?" In some ways, yes. But it cannot be forgotten that the Revelations of the Manifestations are not just meant to be "better" than the previous ones, they are meant to be better than the previous Revelation for the people of that time, that place. The Arabs were not a single people. The Arabs were tribes of men and women constantly at war, who would have, if not for Muhammad, wiped each-other out. The Hebrews, though, were not constantly at war with each-other when the Torah was revealed, nor would they have wiped each-other out without Moses. So they had different needs. The same is true for Christianity. Were the Jews going to wipe each-other out? No. The Romans? No. The Greeks? Nope. But at that time the Jews WERE going to end up causing themselves to be wiped out because of their rebellion against the Roman Empire. Which they almost did. The Jews were also so bound up in the Law that they could not see the Spirit. So, Jesus preached what was needed at that time. He taught a non-legalistic, pacifist, religion. And because of His teachings, and His prophecies, the Christians (Jewish and Non) lived, although not always well.
Muhammad wasn't a Jew, though. Nor was He a Christian. He was, before becoming a Monotheist, a polytheistic Arab. And so were most of the people around Him. So, although His Revelation did abrogate those of the previous Manifestations, it was not necessarily always more progressive in its laws. The laws of Islam are hard. Much as the Torah is (although comparing the two isn't really a good idea, because, again, they were meant for different peoples at different times) hard. But it did its job. Islam united the tribes of Arabs into one nation, one people. In the lifetime of ONE man. This is a process that usually takes hundreds, if not thousands, of years. So yes, many times the Qur'an seems to be harsh. But it was for a harsh people, during a harsh point in time. It also says much about the mercy of God, and His forgiveness. It speaks of love. It speaks of truth. It contains mysticism that astounded me when I first read it. It is a beautiful book, and Islam is a beautiful religion.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smaneck View Post
Do you have a source for this from the Baha'i Writings?
Baha'u'llah in Iqan confirmed the verse of Quran:

“What He pleaseth will God abrogate or confirm: for with Him is the Source of Revelation.”
Iqan, p.45

That means, it is only God who can abrogate His own Laws. If He does not abrogate, that means, He confirmed it. Notice "OR", which means either the Law is abrogated, or it is confirmed to be followed again in the new Revelation.


For example regarding Polygamy:

"Polygamy is a very ancient practice among the majority of humanity. The introduction of monogamy has been only gradually accomplished by the Manifestations of God. Jesus, for example, did not prohibit polygamy, but abolished divorce except in the case of fornication; Muḥammad limited the
number of wives to four, but making plurality of wives contingent on justice, and reintroducing permission for divorce; Bahá’u’lláh, Who was revealing His Teachings in the milieu of a Muslim society, introduced the question of monogamy gradually in accordance with the principles of wisdom and the progressive unfoldment of His purpose. The fact that He left His followers with an infallible Interpreter of His Writings enabled Him to outwardly permit two wives in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but uphold a condition that enabled ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to elucidate later that the intention of the law was to enforce monogamy."

Aqdas, p.105

So, I think the statement "Jesus, for example, did not prohibit polygamy" means, He allowed it, since He did not prohibit it.
 
Old 12-17-2012, 04:14 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
My dear sister Smaneck
Thank you, Yeshua. I must say I was astounded when I glanced at the Youth folder to find you were only 18. I'm impressed!

Quote:
(with the exception of the insuation that the Pope made an "Islamophobic speech" in Germany but I take that as a small blip)
I have to confessed while I predicted fifteen years before it happened that Ratzinger would be elected Pope, I wasn't happy to see it. Might have something to do with the fact that most of what I know about him I learned from Hans Kung. I am longing for a Pope John the XXIV. In any case, the talk he gave in Germany had so many holes in it I could have driven a truck through it. I was very much tempted to write a refutation and post it to the web. Pope Benedict is paranoid about the Islamization of Europe. He has written books about it. That is why I consider him an Islamophobe.

Quote:
I will note that the text in Latin does not say "perpetual slavery" but "perpetual servitude".
Would you kindly tell us what are the Latin terms for those two things? Because in most languages servant and slave are the same thing.

Quote:
Why this is different, is because the medieval church viewed enslaving innocent freeborn people of whatever faith as wrong but some popes did not regard "perpertual servitude" as immoral, even though this is arguably a form of "enslavement".
Which suggests to me they thought it okay to possess people who were already slaves or born into slavery. That's going to have tremendous ramifications when it comes to Africa.


Quote:
When the Nicholas writes “illorumque personas in perpetuam servitutem redigendi”, is this actually slavery as we commonly know it? I think its more submission and servitude to the royal authority of Afonso and his successors, as well as life setence and forced labour for perceived "criminality" against Christians. There’s no mention of selling, buying or trade in slaves, and the Bull only ever really mentions conquering and subduing Muslim "pagans" and was directed to Alfonso's wars with Muslims in North Africa and the expansion of the Turks.
It was my understanding that the Romanus Pontifex authorized King Alfonso to wage war against all non-Christian, not just Muslims. This allowed for Henry the Navigator (Alfonso's brother) to launch voyages down sub-Saharan Africa and acquire slaves there. Some 150,000 Africans were enslaved by the Portuguese in the course of the 15th century and many of these ended up on Italy, often slaves at the Holy See.

Quote:
However your idea of "pagans" being "fair game" is not accurate. Consider Pope Paul III's bull that I quoted far back on the enslavery of non-Christian native Indians:
The reason that Native Americans were not supposed to be enslaved is that they were considered subjects of the Spanish throne.

Quote:
Then we have the work of Bartolome de las Casas who was the instrumental force in ending the slavery of Native Americans.
You are forgetting a key element of De Las Casas argument. He was of the opinion that African slaves should be used by the Spanish, not Native Americans!

As late as June 20, 1866, the Holy Office (now called the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) issued a statement that said:
"Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons.... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given."

Quote:
It should also be noted that the first people to oppose slavery on an institutional scale were not Muslims or Christians but the first century Essene Jews.
Actually, it was the Zoroastrians. Cyrus the Great was the first ruler in history to abolish slavery. Unfortunately, his successors did not retain that policy.
 
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