A hammer?

Mar 2015
25
North America
#1
In a discussion on a different forum found here, someone remarks that:
"All religions are One" is the hammer for the Baha'is which they use to hammer differing religions into a Baha'i shape.
This statement is followed by a series of “well said” posts from others who apparently agree that the Bahá'í teaching is merely intended to cannibalize other religions into Bahá'í. What is the response to this?

There also exists more thoughtful discussion on this topic. For example, this Bahá'í Faith and Buddhism Dialogue addresses certain perceived misconceptions in "Buddhism and the Bahá'í Faith" (a book that the poster “tiltbillings” criticizes elsewhere in his statement referenced above on the other forum). Yet the underlying message from tiltbillings and Bruce Burrill is similar: that Bahá'í misrepresents other religions for the purpose of inventing underlying unity where in fact no such unity exists. (It appears Burrill’s discussions on the topic later became more contentious.)

What is the response to this notion that by teaching the underlying unity of religion, Bahá'í is merely hammering other religions into a Bahá'í shape?
 
Oct 2013
697
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
#2
Good morning moonshadow

...(It appears Burrill’s discussions on the topic later became more contentious.)

What is the response to this notion that by teaching the underlying unity of religion, Bahá'í is merely hammering other religions into a Bahá'í shape?
First, I notice that the last link goes to fglaysher.com. Glaysher is known to the Baha'is.

Yesterday the sun rose from a point in the east, and traversed the sky till it became night. We called this day Friday.

The sun rose again this morning from a point in the east, but a point or two further to the north or the south, depending on which hemisphere one lives in. It traversed the day and became night. We called this day Saturday.

Tomorrow, the sun will again rise from a point in the east, but it will be a point or two further to the north or the south, depending on which hemisphere one lives in. It will traverse the day and become night. We will call this day Sunday.

If we are to examine the sun by considering only its rising points, we will find differences.

If we are to consider the sun only by the name we call the day, we will find differences.

If we are to consider the sun by itself, we will see that it is the same sun. Its essence remains the same. Its light is the same. Its warmth is the same. What changes are its characteristics.

The sun itself is the essential. Its characteristics are the non-essential.

If we remain tied to its rising points, we will deny the oneness of that sun when it rises from another point.

If we remain tied to its naming, again we will deny the oneness of the sun when it arises under another name.

The denial of the sun stems from an adherance to the non-essentials. Because of this adherance to the non-essentials, the followers of the rising points and the followers of the names fail to perceive that it is the same sun which has arisen on each of these three days. For why should it, in their eyes, be the same sun? It has risen from a different point and carries a different name.

But when one see the essentials and recognised the relationship of the non-essentials to the essentials, then is truth found, and then is unity of understanding and knowledge achieved.

As with the material sun, the Sun of Religion arises at dawn from a point in the East, and traverses the Day till it becomes night - the night of unbelief and loss of spirituality. Then, with the new dawn, the Sun again arises from the East, but from a different point and with a different Name. Those who remain tied to the rising point of the previous Rising deny the rising of the Sun from its new Rising Point, and likewise with those who remain tied to the Name carried by the Sun at its previous Rising.

With most warm greetings

Romane
 
Last edited:
Jun 2014
1,021
Wisconsin
#4
Ah.

Looks like those on the linked thread are only aware of Unity by Conformity. Not understanding Unity in Diversity, they think Unity is destructive to Diversity.

Which is understandable. A lot of people (even some Baha'is I've seen) who espouse Unity promote Unity by Conformity. People who promote Unity in Diversity are (unfortunately) much less common then those who promote Unity by Conformity. So a prevailing view of Unity being destructive to Diversity is understandable, if untrue.
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#5
What is the response to this notion that by teaching the underlying unity of religion, Bahá'í is merely hammering other religions into a Bahá'í shape?
Dear Moonshadow, for me it all comes down to one simple point.

If you believe in a Messenger of God (in this case Baha'u'llah) then you believe and follow His teachings.

If you look at history, every Messenger of God has had their deniers.
So you either believe or you deny.
Coming from a Christian background myself, I have only had my faith confirmed day by day since. To me it is far more logical that God, if He is our creator who we are to look upon as our spiritual Father, would instruct His children all over the world, on how to live and what is important in life, this the Baha'i faith does.
Others who refuse to accept people of different faiths, do they bring peace to the world? No sadly they bring mostly hatred and killing, the news each day is full of it.
I consider a person should be able to see what is true, by their own reasoning, something Baha'u'llah teaches us, not to be influenced by others.

Loving regards to you
bill
 
Nov 2012
949
Florida
#6
Words of Abdu'l-Baha

"The prophets of God have been divine shepherds of humanity. They have established a bond of love and unity among mankind, made scattered peoples one nation and wandering tribes a mighty kingdom. They have laid the foundation of the oneness of God and summoned all to universal peace. All these holy, divine Manifestations are one. They have served one God, promulgated the same truth, founded the same institutions and reflected the same light. Their appearances have been successive and correlated; each one has announced and extolled the one who was to follow and all laid the foundation of reality. They summoned and invited the people to love and made the human world a mirror of the Word of God."

"Therefore the divine religions they established have one foundation; their teachings, proofs and evidences are one; in name and form they differ, but in reality they agree and are the same. These holy Manifestations have been as the coming of springtime in the world. Although the springtime of this year is designated by another name according to the changing calendar, yet as regards its life and quickening it is the same as the springtime of last year. For each spring is the time of a new creation, the effects, bestowals, perfections and life-giving forces of which are the same as those of the former vernal seasons although the names are many and various. This is 1912, last year’s was 1911 and so on, but in fundamental reality no difference is apparent. The sun is one but the dawning-points of the sun are numerous and changing. The ocean is one body of water but different parts of it have particular designation, Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, Antarctic, etc. If we consider the names, there is differentiation, but the water, the ocean itself is one reality."

"Likewise the divine religions of the holy Manifestations of God are in reality one though in name and nomenclature they differ. Man must be a lover of the light no matter from what day-spring it may appear. He must be a lover of the rose no matter in what soil it may be growing. He must be a seeker of the truth no matter from what source it come. Attachment to the lantern is not loving the light. Attachment to the earth is not befitting but enjoyment of the rose which develops from the soil is worthy. Devotion to the tree is profitless but partaking of the fruit is beneficial. Luscious fruits no matter upon what tree they grow or where they may be found must be enjoyed. The word of truth no matter which tongue utters it must be sanctioned. Absolute verities no matter in what book they be recorded must be accepted."

"If we harbor prejudice it will be the cause of deprivation and ignorance. The strife between religions, nations and races arises from misunderstanding. If we investigate the religions to discover the principles underlying their foundations we will find they agree, for the fundamental reality of them is one and not multiple."

"By this means the religionists of the world will reach their point of unity and reconciliation. They will ascertain the truth that the purpose of religion is the acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, betterment of morals, spiritual development of mankind, the real life and divine bestowals. All the prophets have been the promoters of these principles; none of them has been the promoter of
corruption, vice or evil. They have summoned mankind to all good. They have united people in the love of God, invited them to the religions of the unity of mankind and exhorted them to amity and agreement." -Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, pp 14-15
 
May 2013
1,773
forest falls california
#7
Viewed from the same moonshadow

that Bahá'í misrepresents other religions for the purpose of inventing underlying unity where in fact no such unity exists. (It appears Burrill’s discussions on the topic later became more contentious.)

What is the response to this notion that by teaching the underlying unity of religion, Bahá'í is merely hammering other religions into a Bahá'í shape?[/QUOTE]


This all sounds very much like a flat earth society. Until one lands on the moon, turns around, looks at the earth, seeing all the oceans as one, the atmosphere as one, a single sun shining upon all mankind, which is of course one, some people may deny this essential oneness.

You can tap many wells into the ground, use many windmills, but the source of all that water is one reservoir. Maybe one can be accused of drilling with a hammer, but however you sink that well, its the same water bubbling up.

And if people have tainted the water, bottled it in this glass or that container, if its got real water in it, it comes from the same source.
 
Mar 2013
491
none
#8
The hammer, the word, is as far from heaven as it is the stone.
Nobody would bring them together. Like noone would find out of etymology,
what men discuss is the hammer. so hammer
 
Mar 2015
25
North America
#9
I appreciate the insightful and, at times, poetic responses.
The sun itself is the essential. Its characteristics are the non-essential.
This thought evokes a lot. If characteristics are non-essential, then can words ever describe this sun?
Is this sun found within or beyond? Or is the distinction meaningless?
In Baha'i, how do we come to truly know this sun?

"The prophets of God ... have served one God, promulgated the same truth, founded the same institutions and reflected the same light. Their appearances have been successive and correlated; each one has announced and extolled the one who was to follow and all laid the foundation of reality. They summoned and invited the people to love and made the human world a mirror of the Word of God."
I think the Theravada Buddhists on the other forum would argue that God has no place within their understanding, and that therefore the Buddha cannot fit within this description of the prophets, and on that basis they would deny any underlying unity, even Unity in Diversity.
 
Nov 2012
949
Florida
#10
I think the Theravada Buddhists on the other forum would argue that God has no place within their understanding, and that therefore the Buddha cannot fit within this description of the prophets, and on that basis they would deny any underlying unity, even Unity in Diversity.
My knowledge of Buddhism is very limited, but the fact remains that it is ancient and has over time split into many divisions with many interpretations -- all part of the natural evolution of religion. That the Bab and Baha'u'llah wrote in Their own hands is unique in religious history, and the Baha'i Covenant is unprecedented; it will prevent future divisions and discord.

Abdu'l-Baha explains what has happened to religions in the past:


"If a man would succeed in his search after truth, he must, in the first place, shut his eyes to all the traditional superstitions of the past."

"The Jews have traditional superstitions, the Buddhists and the Zoroastrians are not free from them, neither are the Christians! All religions have gradually become bound by tradition and dogma."

"All consider themselves, respectively, the only guardians of the truth, and that every other religion is composed of errors. They themselves are right, all others are wrong! The Jews believe that they are the only possessors of the truth and condemn all other religions. The Christians affirm that their religion is the only true one, that all others are false. Likewise the Buddhists and Muḥammadans; all limit themselves. If all condemn one another, where shall we search for truth? All contradicting one another, all cannot be true. If each believe his particular religion to be the only true one, he blinds his eyes to the truth in the others. If, for instance, a Jew is bound by the external practice of the religion of Israel, he does not permit himself to perceive that truth can exist in any other religion; it must be all contained in his own!"

"We should, therefore, detach ourselves from the external forms and practices of religion. We must realize that these forms and practices, however beautiful, are but garments clothing the warm heart and the living limbs of Divine truth. We must abandon the prejudices of tradition if we would succeed in finding the truth at the core of all religions. If a Zoroastrian believes that the Sun is God, how can he be united to other religions? While idolaters believe in their various idols, how can they understand the oneness of God?"

"It is, therefore, clear that in order to make any progress in the search after truth we must relinquish superstition. If all seekers would follow this principle they would obtain a clear vision of the truth."

"If five people meet together to seek for truth, they must begin by cutting themselves free from all their own special conditions and renouncing all preconceived ideas. In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices, our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one."

"Therefore it is imperative that we should renounce our own particular prejudices and superstitions if we earnestly desire to seek the truth. Unless we make a distinction in our minds between dogma, superstition and prejudice on the one hand, and truth on the other, we cannot succeed. When we are in earnest in our search for anything we look for it everywhere. This principle we must carry out in our search for truth."

"Science must be accepted. No one truth can contradict another truth. Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West. Be free from prejudice, so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You will realize that if the Divine light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it also shone in Moses and in Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this truth. This is what is meant by the ‘Search after Truth’."

"It means, also, that we must be willing to clear away all that we have previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to truth; we must not shrink if necessary from beginning our education all over again. We must not allow our love for any one religion or any one personality to so blind our eyes that we become fettered by superstition! When we are freed from all these bonds, seeking with liberated minds, then shall we be able to arrive at our goal.
‘Seek the truth, the truth shall make you free.’ So shall we see the truth in all religions, for truth is in all and truth is one!" -Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp, 135-137

"...I am not the first Buddha Who came upon this earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a Master of angels and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you. He will preach to you His religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal, in spirit and in the letter. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and pure, such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands, while Mine number many hundreds." -Gospel of Buddha, by Carus, pp 217-218