A hammer?

Sep 2010
Normanton Far North Queensland
I am still searching for an interfaith discussion forum where the people who show up to post aren't looking for a fight.
That dear friend is for a world that is not here yet ;)

As a Baha'i this is our instruction, over time we must find wisdom as to when to "leave them to themselves".

Mostly these days that is not long after the topic has started!

God bless and regards Tony
May 2013
forest falls california
Hmmm... Yeah, it does that

but a lot of the people drawn to the topic of religion seem unfortunately super-combative.
I am still searching for an interfaith discussion forum where the people who show up to post aren't looking for a fight.

. I think you've hit on something here (yeah... my head!) Whatever it is about this thing called "religion" draws up the dragon inside of people.
. Verrrry Intereshtink. but shtupid!

. Hence, the jihad. Everybody's got a little dragon in their pocket, like a dog guarding the back yard, just waitin' to roar and proclaim to its master the reason for feeding it...

Mar 2015
North America
I don't know the cause, but the, for lack of a term "proselytizers" seem to take over many religious forums.
Sadly, many religious forums seem to breed and encourage this type of approach. I came across what I find to be a shocking example in a discussion from about five years ago that is still visible through this link. I found it while looking at how the Baha'i Faith has been portrayed on the Dhamma Wheel Buddhist discussion forum.

In the thread, forum moderator tiltbillings (whose views appear to mirror those of longtime Baha'i critic Bruce Burrill) first states that Baha'i is "an Islamic offshoot," and then he dismisses a Baha'i article about the parallels between Buddhism and Baha'i as "silliness."

Then a different Buddhist posts a highly offensive and disrespectful comment about Muhammad. (The comment, which obviously was intended to provoke, is still visible after 5 years.) While some of the Buddhists (including tiltbillings) point out that the comment is inappropriate, what follows is a discussion about the merits of Islam. Some people come to the defense of Islam. When this occurs, the thread is locked, not because of offensive comments, but to prevent any further defense of Islam. (tiltbillings writes, in part: "this is really no place .. to defend Islam from criticisms.")

Apparently this particular Buddhist religious forum is a place where other faiths can be treated disrespectfully, but not a place where coming to the defense of other faiths is welcome. And it appears not much has changed in five years. How sad that these "proselytizers," for lack of a better term, have made their beliefs so much a part of their identity that they apparently have little capacity for treating other faith traditions with respect. I doubt they comprehend how damaging this is to their own agenda of promoting their particular faith.
Mar 2013
I have mostly given up on trying to discuss things of interest on the internet, apart from motor scooters and space travel, which both seem to have more logical adherents. If you walk around internet discussion forums with a new balloon you are happy with, you will find lots of otherwise decent seeming people ready to pop said balloon. And some of them will seem the most righteous, lovely souls and truly believe they are, whether they call themselves Baha'i, Buddhist, Baptist, or Pastafarian. Religion is like underwear. You probably have it, but I am becoming more interested in not hearing about everyone else's or discussing my own, all the time. It's sad, but only marginally.
Mar 2015
Bend area, Oregon
A hammer?
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?
I will offer some words of Shoghi Effendi on this topic for consideration by those participating in and/or reading this thread. LR

“The successive Founders of all past Religions Who, from time immemorial, have shed, with ever-increasing intensity, the splendor of one common Revelation at the various stages which have marked the advance of mankind towards maturity may thus, in a sense, be regarded as preliminary Manifestations, anticipating and paving the way for the advent of that Day of Days when the whole earth will have fructified and the tree of humanity will have yielded its destined fruit.

"Incontrovertible as is this truth, its challenging character should never be allowed to obscure the purpose, or distort the principle, underlying the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh--utterances that have established for all time the absolute oneness of all the Prophets, Himself included, whether belonging to the past or to the future. Though the mission of the Prophets preceding Bahá'u'lláh may be viewed in that light, though the measure of Divine Revelation with which each has been entrusted must, as a result of this process of evolution, necessarily differ, their common origin, their essential unity, their identity of purpose, should at no time and under no circumstances be misapprehended or denied. That all the Messengers of God should be regarded as "abiding in the same Tabernacle, soaring in the same Heaven, seated upon the same Throne, uttering the same Speech, and proclaiming the same Faith" must, however much we may extol the measure of Divine Revelation vouchsafed to mankind at this crowning stage of its evolution, remain the unalterable foundation and central tenet of Bahá'í belief. Any variations in the splendor which each of these Manifestations of the Light of God has shed upon the world should be ascribed not to any inherent superiority involved in the essential character of any one of them, but rather to the progressive capacity, the ever-increasing spiritual receptiveness, which mankind, in its progress towards maturity, has invariably manifested.

"Only those who are willing to associate the Revelation proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh with the consummation of so stupendous an evolution in the collective life of the whole human race can grasp the significance of the words which He, while alluding to the glories of this promised Day and to the duration of the Bahá'í Era, has deemed fit to utter. "This is the King of Days," He exclaims, "the Day that hath seen the coming of the Best-Beloved, Him Who, through all eternity, hath been acclaimed the Desire of the World." "The Scriptures of past Dispensations," He further asserts, "celebrate the great jubilee that must needs greet this most great Day of God. Well is it with him that hath lived to see this Day and hath recognized its station." "It is evident," He, in another passage explains, "that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath lived is divinely-ordained, and may, in a sense, be characterized as God's appointed Day. This Day, however, is unique, and is to be distinguished from those that have preceded it. The designation `Seal of the Prophets' fully revealeth its high station. The Prophetic Cycle hath verily ended. The Eternal Truth is now come. He hath lifted up the ensign of power, and is now shedding upon the world the unclouded splendor of His Revelation." "In this most mighty Revelation," He, in categorical language, declares, "all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation. That which hath been made manifest in this preeminent, this most exalted Revelation, standeth unparalleled in the annals of the past, nor will future ages witness its like. ‘ "

-- Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 166 -167
Jul 2017
Olympia, WA, USA
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?
I have encountered this a lot on forums and I have finally lost my patience... My answer is usually a little longer but it goes something like this... "God has spoken again. Get over it. There is nothing you can do about that because God is omnipotent." :eek:

“This is the Day when the loved ones of God should keep their eyes directed towards His Manifestation, and fasten them upon whatsoever that Manifestation may be pleased to reveal. Certain traditions of bygone ages rest on no foundations whatever, while the notions entertained by past generations, and which they have recorded in their books, have, for the most part, been influenced by the desires of a corrupt inclination. Thou dost witness how most of the commentaries and interpretations of the words of God, now current amongst men, are devoid of truth. Their falsity hath, in some cases, been exposed when the intervening veils were rent asunder. They themselves have acknowledged their failure in apprehending the meaning of any of the words of God.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 171-172