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Old 07-14-2016, 11:08 PM   #1
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Joined: Jul 2016
From: United States of America
Posts: 13
Greetings!

Hello All!

I just want to take a quick minute to introduce myself and explain what brings me here before I begin bombarding these forums with questions.

I'm Augustine, a 21 year old college student. I go to school in NYC where I study philosophy, French, and English. As for my faith, I'm a practicing Catholic. I came to the Church when I was 15 years old after much study and much debating with my Protestant brothers and sisters.

I believe I had an account on this forum several years ago, but I have long forgotten my username and the like! At the time, my investigation into the Baha'i Faith was rather limited. I learned a rough outline of the religion, but because I was unable to accept the station of the Prophet Muhammad, I decided that it was unreasonable to accept a faith that considered itself a successor to the Prophet's revelation.

Yet last summer I gained a new appreciation for the Prophet Muhammad and the religion He founded. I read Michael Anthony Sells' Approaching the Qu'ran: The Early Revelations, a beautiful translation and commentary that served as my first proper introduction to the Qu'ran, and Reza Aslan's No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. These texts and a few others really transformed and enlightened my view of Islam, which, while not bigoted in any way, was superficial. And I still have much, much more to learn of course; I am in no way an expert on Islam.

As I read, however, I began to ponder the relationship between the Christian and the Islamic revelations. While the Catholic Church affirms that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, it refuses to entertain any notion of the prophethood of Muhammad or that Islam (or any other religion) is "complimentary...or substantially equivalent to" Christianity. This position struck me as odd. After all, how could the Prophet Muhammad simultaneously lead a people toward and away from the truth? Or as Saint James would have said, "Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" Ultimately, after some thought and prayer, I came to a conclusion somewhat similar to the Baha'i position on Joseph Smith: If Muhammad wasn't a prophet--this being the position of the Church--then he must have been some sort of "seer" used by Providence. This idea did not satisfy me, but it provided closure enough for me to put the issue to rest for the time being.

This topic and several others initiated a new period of questioning in my faith journey. (Although, I admit, it is difficult to say if my earliest period of questioning ever really ceased! ) Now, a year later, I am perhaps the least rigid and the farthest from fundamentalism and legalism that I have ever been. I am no less confused however!

All of which brings us to a few weeks ago when I found The Book of Certitude in a used bookstore, and my memories of the Baha'i Faith came rushing back. With the Prophet Muhammad now held in higher esteem in my mind, and my own disposition being far more tolerant than a few years before, I thought that perhaps I should look again at "'the renowned Baha'u'llah.'' I purchased the book and finished reading it this past week. It is a beautiful and impressive scripture! I am now working my way through Some Answered Questions, and my mind is reeling with questions of my own.

I hope you will be patient with me as I present some of these queries to you. Nothing would make me happier than to have a clearer understanding of your faith and my own.

Please forgive the length of this introduction; it has far outgrown my expectations, but I thought that a little background information might benefit some of you as we communicate in the near future.

Augustine
 
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:58 AM   #2
Kam
Senior Member
 
Joined: Jun 2015
From: Perth, Australia
Posts: 135
Welcome, welcome, welcome, dear brother in God.

We are all your humble servants. Please allow us the bounty of being of service to you

Kam
 
Old 07-15-2016, 03:13 AM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
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Great to see you here again Augustine, your finding of Kitab-i-iquan "The Book of Certitude" and your journey thus far is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

Look forward to chatting again.

Welcome and Regards Tony
 
Old 07-15-2016, 03:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
I'm Augustine, a 21 year old college student.
Hey Augustine!

Do you happen to be a fan of St. Augustine? I enjoyed reading The Confessions of St. Augustine.

Good luck with your studies!
 
Old 07-15-2016, 03:56 AM   #5
Minor Bloodsucker
 
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Welcome Augustine!

Your path of search seems fascinating. This site is wide open to discussions of Muslim - Catholic - Bahá'í issues.

gnat
 
Old 07-15-2016, 04:37 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Joined: Nov 2012
From: Florida
Posts: 949
Welcome, Augustine!

The Book of Certitude along with Some Answered Questions is certainly a nice 1-2 punch with which to renew your investigation of the Baha'i Faith....it seems you've received a gentle tap on the shoulder.

If you have questions, please ask. The combined wisdom on this Forum is amazing.
 
Old 07-15-2016, 07:35 AM   #7
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,093
Hello Augustine,

I am a Catholic and I heartily agree with Gnat that if you are looking for a place to dialogue on Baha'i-Catholic-Muslim issues then you've found a good forum for that.

It's interesting that you mention St. Augustine. His City of God, his great work published after The Confessions, was the the first full-blown philosophy of world history.

Read this:


Idea of Progress: A Bibliographical Essay by Robert Nisbet - Online Library of Liberty


Quote:
Augustine, as even J.B. Bury acknowledges, is the earliest to emphatically insist upon the unity of mankind, the ecumenical idea. This introduces the conception of a history of mankind that, although predetermined by God in the beginning, has undergone an unfolding, a realization of essence, a struggle toward perfection through forces immanent in humanity. Augustine fused the Greek idea of growth or development with the Jewish idea of a sacred history. As a result Augustine sets forth the history of mankind in terms of both the stages of growth understood by the Greeks and the historical epochs into which the Jews divided their own Old Testament history.

Thus, in a celebrated and influential passage, Augustine writes:

"The education of the human race, represented by the people of God, has advanced, like that of an individual, through certain epochs, or, as it were, ages, so that it might gradually rise from earthly to heavenly things, and from the visible to the invisible."

The phrase "education of the human race" and the analogy of the development of mankind to growth in the individual would persist in Western thought, and we find it both in philosophers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who would no doubt have been astounded had the actual origin of the phrase and the analogy been revealed to their secular minds...


Additional elements in Augustine's legacy of progress include: the conception of time as linear and divisible into developmental-historical ages; the doctrine of historical necessity that would be, when purged of the divine, the stock in trade of a host of "scientific" historians and social evolutionists; and, to reiterate, the mesmerizing, the seductive conception of an earthly state ahead in which man would know liberation from the toils and torments of prior history and, for the first time, a condition of earthly paradise.

Augustine was the first too teach two pivotal ideas that would become the core of Baha'i belief: the unity of humankind and progressive revelation.

Last edited by Yeshua; 07-15-2016 at 07:37 AM.
 
Old 07-15-2016, 02:05 PM   #8
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From: France
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Bonjour et bienvenue sur notre forum !
 
Old 07-15-2016, 03:01 PM   #9
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Cead Mile Failte brother Augustine. I'm a former Catholic and I've know doubt that the Book of Certitude was placed for your benifit
 
Old 07-15-2016, 03:03 PM   #10
Lives in hope
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Hello Augustine,

I am a Catholic and I heartily agree with Gnat that if you are looking for a place to dialogue on Baha'i-Catholic-Muslim issues then you've found a good forum for that.

It's interesting that you mention St. Augustine. His City of God, his great work published after The Confessions, was the the first full-blown philosophy of world history.

Read this:


Idea of Progress: A Bibliographical Essay by Robert Nisbet - Online Library of Liberty





Augustine was the first too teach two pivotal ideas that would become the core of Baha'i belief: the unity of humankind and progressive revelation.
It surprises me that Augustine taught about progressive revelation as Catholicism does not accept this concept
 
Old 07-15-2016, 07:47 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Joined: Oct 2013
From: United States
Posts: 1,142
Welcome, Augustine. I have met so many amazing and wonderful Catholics over the years including the most wise and thoughtful Yeshua who has already commented in this thread, and it seems to me that now I am meeting another such Catholic.
 
Old 07-16-2016, 02:54 AM   #13
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,093
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahanu View Post
Confessions also made a positive contribution to the world by setting in motion "a revolution in narrative technique":
"Apart from its contribution to the development of Christian doctrine, the Confessions enacted a revolution in narrative technique – a revolution that set the narrating subject free to reflect on its own incompleteness. You could think of it as the literary equivalent of the revolution in art brought about by the discovery of perspective: God functions not as an actually existing creator and judge, but as an imaginary horizon. God in this sense is a literary device, offering new ways to arrange our perceptions and enabling us to inject some irony into our relations with ourselves (as in Augustine’s prayer: “Lord make me chaste, but not yet”) and to recognise ourselves not as isolated bastions of self-knowledge but parts of a drifting cloud of unknowing."


Yes indeed and I could add a third element, that I feel needs little exposition on my part...


Quote:
"...That which is now known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist; from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed began to be called Christianity...For this reason, I said: 'In our times, this is the Christian religion,' not because it did not exist in Former times, but because it had received this name in later times..."

- Saint Augustine of Hippo, Retractions, Book One, Part 12, "One Book on the True Religion.
 
Old 07-17-2016, 05:05 PM   #14
Junior Member
 
Joined: Jul 2016
From: United States of America
Posts: 13
I tried to respond here a day and a half ago, but that post never materialized on the forum. I'll try again!

Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahanu View Post
Hey Augustine!
Do you happen to be a fan of St. Augustine?
Augustine is actually my confirmation name. Saint Augustine was one of the first theologians that I ever researched. His story is inspiring and relatable, and his works challenge me intellectually and morally. He's near and dear to my heart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoaForce View Post
Bonjour et bienvenue sur notre forum !
Merci beaucoup! Enchanté!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AidanK View Post
It surprises me that Augustine taught about progressive revelation as Catholicism does not accept this concept
I don't know of Saint Augustine proposing any idea of revelation that progressed beyond Christ Jesus. As shown in the quote in Yeshua's most recent post, several of the Church Father's believed that pagan peoples possessed memories of the one God deep within their cultures and that the the wise and righteous among them more directly anticipated the coming of Christ. But as far as I understand it, Saint Augustine believed Jesus to be God's first, last, and only Word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Light View Post
Welcome, Augustine. I have met so many amazing and wonderful Catholics over the years including the most wise and thoughtful Yeshua who has already commented in this thread, and it seems to me that now I am meeting another such Catholic.
Thank you for the kind words! It's an honor to be held in such wonderful company.
 
Old 07-31-2016, 06:39 PM   #15
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Joined: Jul 2016
From: United States of America
Posts: 13
Forgive the double-post, but I wanted to share some information with the community, and I figured this thread was the best place for that.

This past week I had the joy of taking my vacation, and I returned to the bookstore where I had previously purchased my copy of The Book of Certitude. After a good deal of searching, I managed to find paperback editions of both Some Answered Questions (with a lovely note of encouragement from its first owners) and The Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh. I had the hunch that something else would turn up if I kept poking around, and sure enough I finally unearthed a beautiful edition of The Most Holy Book!

I've already finished Some Answered Questions and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. As soon as I finish this post, I plan on starting the Tablet to the Christians before going to bed. It's been an exciting period of study, and I anticipate that I'll be posting many questions here as that process continues.

On one final note, it just so happens that I have business in Chicago this next weekend. As I'll have some downtime while I'm there, I plan to visit the House of Worship in Wilmette! I hope I can ask for your prayers as I prepare for my travels and my visit to the temple.
 
Old 07-31-2016, 06:46 PM   #16
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Posts: 3,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
Forgive the double-post, but I wanted to share some information with the community, and I figured this thread was the best place for that.

This past week I had the joy of taking my vacation, and I returned to the bookstore where I had previously purchased my copy of The Book of Certitude. After a good deal of searching, I managed to find paperback editions of both Some Answered Questions (with a lovely note of encouragement from its first owners) and The Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh. I had the hunch that something else would turn up if I kept poking around, and sure enough I finally unearthed a beautiful edition of The Most Holy Book!

I've already finished Some Answered Questions and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. As soon as I finish this post, I plan on starting the Tablet to the Christians before going to bed. It's been an exciting period of study, and I anticipate that I'll be posting many questions here as that process continues.

On one final note, it just so happens that I have business in Chicago this next weekend. As I'll have some downtime while I'm there, I plan to visit the House of Worship in Wilmette! I hope I can ask for your prayers as I prepare for my travels and my visit to the temple.
Wonderful update dear friend. Well done 😃to you.

You will enjoy the Tablet to the Christains, it is a powerful work and left no doubt as to what is being said.

God bless your journey throughout all His Worlds.

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-01-2016, 12:45 AM   #17
Kam
Senior Member
 
Joined: Jun 2015
From: Perth, Australia
Posts: 135
God bless you Augustine.

Your spirit of endeavour and earnest search for God in your life will not be unrewarded by the Almighty.

Please pray for us at the House of Worship as we pray for you privately

Kam
 
Old 08-01-2016, 01:28 AM   #18
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
God bless you Augustine.

Your spirit of endeavour and earnest search for God in your life will not be unrewarded by the Almighty.

Please pray for us at the House of Worship as we pray for you privately

Kam
Kam...Hope Carnarvon was rewarding. Prayers assured

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-01-2016, 03:13 AM   #19
Kam
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Joined: Jun 2015
From: Perth, Australia
Posts: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Kam...Hope Carnarvon was rewarding. Prayers assured

Regards Tony
Unbelievable!!

So far only two Baha'is in that small town. When we go there for Baha'i childrens classes, the entire village of Aboriginal children come every single day. Soon the institute process will take hold with many seekers and the process will unfurl. Confident the goals of the 5 year Plan will be achieved in that town and its surrounding cluster!

Hope all is well in your part Tony?

Keep us informed....maybe we start another thread on 5 year Plan developments?

Love
Kam
 
Old 08-01-2016, 03:25 AM   #20
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Posts: 3,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam View Post
Unbelievable!!

So far only two Baha'is in that small town. When we go there for Baha'i childrens classes, the entire village of Aboriginal children come every single day. Soon the institute process will take hold with many seekers and the process will unfurl. Confident the goals of the 5 year Plan will be achieved in that town and its surrounding cluster!

Hope all is well in your part Tony?

Keep us informed....maybe we start another thread on 5 year Plan developments?

Love
Kam
Great News Kam. Nearly Pioneered there in 1997. I like Carnarvon. Windswept as it is 😄

Yes thread may be good idea. I am very busy getting house ready for my former Baha'i Wife Annette, we are again going to Marry and Pioneer back to Our first Post!

Life is full of twists and turns 😄😉

As I type there is trouble on tue streets, alcohol and drugs are now rampid in the community, much work in front of us!

God bless you and all Kam Regards Tony

Regards Tony
 
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