Comforter and Prince of Truth

Jul 2017
483
Olympia, WA, USA
Both concepts have an inner logic.
The Christian concept carries the risk, at least theoretically, of remaining on a status quo.
It carries a much bigger risk than that. It carried the risk that Christians will miss everything Baha’u’llah revealed that was not contained in the New Testament, all the new social teachings and laws that Baha’u’llah revealed as well as everything Baha’u’llah wrote about the New World Order which would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.

“This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember, and blessed are those men whose names, by virtue of Our inscrutable decree, We have preferred to conceal.

Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 6-7


The goal of the Baha’i Faith is the betterment of the world and the tranquility of its peoples, but that will not be fully realized until the unity of mankind is firmly established, which requires that humanity heed the counsels of Baha’u’llah, not the counsels of Jesus Christ.

“The One true God beareth Me witness, and His creatures will testify, that not for a moment did I allow Myself to be hidden from the eyes of men, nor did I consent to shield My person from their injury. Before the face of all men I have arisen, and bidden them fulfil My pleasure. My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquillity of its peoples.The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 286

The Baha'i recipe adopted from Islam carries the risk that there will no longer be an ethical standard because it is only a matter of following the current prophet.
Are you saying that Baha’u’llah did not teach ethical standards, that only Jesus taught those? Most of The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah sets ethical standards, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Any ethical standards found in the New Testament can also be found in the Writings of Baha’u’llah.

If you think that Jesus set the ethical standard I think Jews would argue that they also have ethical standards, and they do not recognize the New Testament as scripture.
The basic problem is that we need a central moral standard by which we can measure all prophets and teaching systems. Only then will we be able to separate good from bad.
I think that all the prophets have set the same moral standards, so I do not see any problem with following the moral standards of any one of them. As Abdu’l-Baha said:

“the Law of God is divided into two parts. One is the fundamental basis which comprises all spiritual things—that is to say, it refers to the spiritual virtues and divine qualities; this does not change nor alter: it is the Holy of Holies, which is the essence of the Law of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh, and which lasts and is established in all the prophetic cycles. It will never be abrogated, for it is spiritual and not material truth; it is faith, knowledge, certitude, justice, piety, righteousness, trustworthiness, love of God, benevolence, purity, detachment, humility, meekness, patience and constancy. It shows mercy to the poor, defends the oppressed, gives to the wretched and uplifts the fallen......

These divine qualities, these eternal commandments, will never be abolished; nay, they will last and remain established for ever and ever. These virtues of humanity will be renewed in each of the different cycles; for at the end of every cycle the spiritual Law of God—that is to say, the human virtues—disappears, and only the form subsists.” Some Answered Questions, p. 47

Christianity has solved this question through the revelation of Jesus Christ. I do not see the solution to this problem in Baha'i faith, because it is only about progressiveness and not about a timeless, eternal, ethical truth.
Why do you think that? The Baha’i Faith is about much more than progressiveness. Progressive revelation is simply the underpinning theology of the Baha’i Faith.

There is no ethical truth in the New Testament that cannot also be found in the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Moreover, Jesus said that we should love our brother as ourselves, but Baha’u’llah changed that ethical truth when He said we should prefer our brother to ourselves.

Humanity has progressed spiritually since the days when Jesus walked the earth, so the ethical standard is much higher now.

“At the heart of this system was what Bahá’u’lláh termed a “new Covenant” between God and humankind. The distinguishing feature of humanity’s coming of age is that, for the first time in its history, the entire human race is consciously involved, however dimly, in the awareness of its own oneness and of the earth as a single homeland. This awakening opens the way to a new relationship between God and humankind. As the peoples of the world embrace the spiritual authority inherent in the guidance of the Revelation of God for this age, Bahá’u’lláh said, they will find in themselves a moral empowerment which human effort alone has proven incapable of generating. “A new race of men” will emerge as the result of this relationship, and the work of building a global civilization will begin.” (Bahá’í International Community, 1992 May 29, Statement on Bahá’u’lláh, p. 26)
“In this age humanity has strayed far from the path of truth, and the call of Bahá’u’lláh to recognize Him as the viceregent of God on earth has fallen on deaf ears. But a careful study of His writings leads us to believe that His Revelation, being the culmination of past Revelations and one which has ushered in the Day of God Himself, will exert such a potent influence upon mankind as a whole that eventually all the peoples of the world will recognize His station of their own free will and embrace His cause of their own volition. And this in turn will bring about, in the distant future, the appearance of a new race of men whose noble character and spiritual virtues we, in this age, are unable to visualize.” (AdibTaherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 3, p. 3)
“With the establishment of the Most Great Peace and the spiritualization of the peoples of the world, man will become a noble being adorned with divine virtues and perfections. This is one of the fruits of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, promised by Him. The nobility of man and his spiritual development will lead him in the future to such a position that no individual could enjoy eating his food or resting at home while knowing that there was one person somewhere in the world without food or shelter. It is Bahá’u’lláh’s mission to create such a new race of men.” (AdibTaherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 3, p. 126)
 
Jul 2017
483
Olympia, WA, USA
Hi Certitude,
You have written several times that you feel it is a problem if Christians do not acknowledge Baha'u'llah or, to put it somewhat casually, they stand in their own way. At the same time you wrote that you are not interested in missionizing Christians. For me both statements do not fit together.
Yes, I think that Christians stand in their own way but I do not blame them for that because I listen to them and I understand where they are coming from and I respect their right to have their own beliefs. From my perspective many of their beliefs are based upon the false doctrines of the Church so unless I can get them to understand this is not what Jesus taught I do not think I can make any progress, since those doctrines cannot be reconciled to Baha’i beliefs. I have the definite advantage because of all the Baha’is who have come before me and paved the way by explaining what the Bible really means -- George Townshend, William Sears, and of course Abdu’l-Baha.

I never go out of my way to talk to Christians about the Baha’i Faith in real life and not even on forums, but if I do talk to them it is almost exclusively on forums. I believe that God guides whomsoever He willeth, so if they are posting to me first, there might be a reason, and I always answer them directly but never with any intent to convince them, because I believe what Baha’u’llah said, that the faith of no man can be conditioned by anyone except himself. I also believe that everyone has to make their own decisions and that is why God gave us all free will.
I have tried to show you how the Christian understanding of revelation differs from the Baha'i understanding of revelation. If Christians are to acknowledge Baha'u'llah, then they would have to give up their entire Christian faith if we did not build them a bridge that cannot be based on our faith, but must start with the self-understanding of Christianity.
Of course that is true, so we have to know a lot about Christian beliefs, and I do. But it is also very important to understand Baha’i beliefs so they can be presented accurately.

Every Christian is different so I listen and I meet them where they are at, not where I am at, but I am always honest about what Baha’is believe about Jesus being a Manifestation of God and that Baha’u’llah claimed to be the return of Christ. Of course I explain what I mean by that.
It is precisely the view that Baha'u'llah confirms the revelation of Christ that says in the end that the revelation of Christ is still valid and not cancelled.
Religious dispensations are abrogated by the coming of a new Manifestation of God, but no revelation is ever abrogated and no scriptures are ever invalidated. That is why Jesus said:

Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Sincerely, Trailblazer
 
Oct 2019
33
Vrindavan
It carries a much bigger risk than that. It carried the risk that Christians will miss everything Baha’u’llah revealed that was not contained in the New Testament, all the new social teachings and laws that Baha’u’llah revealed as well as everything Baha’u’llah wrote about the New World Order which would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth
You mean such "achievements" as a theocratically constituted world unit state, the death penalty and the burning of a brand in case of repeated theft?

These are things that are completely contrary to the Christian message. And it is good that Christians do not participate in every innovation just because it brings a new prophet, but test it.

This aspect has already been discussed here. According to Scripture, Christians are urged to heed prophetic discourses, test them, and keep the good. Can you read in the Letter to the Thessalonians, 5:20-21.

The good thing for Christians is that they can keep the good things of Baha'u'llah, but the regressive approaches like the above have no relevance to them.

Are you saying that Baha’u’llah did not teach ethical standards, that only Jesus taught those?
No, not at all, it's about the theological model itself. Already to the above quote I had pointed out that in the Revelation of Baha'u'llah there are aspects which are not justifiable from a Christian view of man. Christians have the freedom to reject these unethical things ("Test everything and only keep the good").

If a prophet were to come after Baha'u'llah now and introduce further ethical regressions, these would have to be accepted, because he would be the current revelation of God. This can only be prevented if, beyond the pure sequence of the prophets, there is a knowledge of an ethics that is timeless because it is directly related to the essence of God and the essence of man.
 
Jul 2017
483
Olympia, WA, USA
You mean such "achievements" as a theocratically constituted world unit state, the death penalty and the burning of a brand in case of repeated theft?

These are things that are completely contrary to the Christian message. And it is good that Christians do not participate in every innovation just because it brings a new prophet, but test it.

This aspect has already been discussed here. According to Scripture, Christians are urged to heed prophetic discourses, test them, and keep the good. Can you read in the Letter to the Thessalonians, 5:20-21.

The good thing for Christians is that they can keep the good things of Baha'u'llah, but the regressive approaches like the above have no relevance to them.
I am fine with the death penalty when it is warranted. In fact, I think some heinous murderers are getting off too easy because Baha’u’llah wrote that a second penalty will not be applied.

The Baha’i Faith does not envision any such thing as a theocratically constituted world unit stateunder Baha’i governance since we are disallowed from ever participating in politics except to vote. If there is a world state it will be run by the governments of the countries who choose to be a part of it.

If one accepts that Baha’u’llah was a Manifestation of God, they accept everything He revealed, they do not just “keep” what they want according to their own opinions of what is “good” which is very fallible. Obviously, Christians do not have to keep anything because they are not Baha’is.

I do not think it is “a good thing” for Christians to reject Baha’u’llah but that is because I am a Baha’i and I believe everything that Baha’u’llah revealed is identical to the Will of God.

“The essence of belief in Divine unity consisteth in regarding Him Who is the Manifestation of God and Him Who is the invisible, the inaccessible, the unknowable Essence as one and the same. By this is meant that whatever pertaineth to the former, all His acts and doings, whatever He ordaineth or forbiddeth, should be considered, in all their aspects, and under all circumstances, and without any reservation, as identical with the Will of God Himself. This is the loftiest station to which a true believer in the unity of God can ever hope to attain. Blessed is the man that reacheth this station, and is of them that are steadfast in their belief.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 167

No, not at all, it's about the theological model itself. Already to the above quote I had pointed out that in the Revelation of Baha'u'llah there are aspects which are not justifiable from a Christian view of man. Christians have the freedom to reject these unethical things ("Test everything and only keep the good").
Christians do not determine what is ethical, God determines that, so IF Baha’u’llah was the Manifestation of God for this age, He determined that. If He was not a Manifestation of God, we can all take our toys and go home, and there is no need for a Baha’i forum or any further discussion. Baha’u’llah claimed to be the Manifestation of God for this age. Logically speaking, this is a true/false proposition, there is no “gray area.
If a prophet were to come after Baha'u'llah now and introduce further ethical regressions, these would have to be accepted, because he would be the current revelation of God.
Who do you think determines what is regressive, you or God? If Bahaullah was a Manifestation of God nothing He wrote was regressive, unless you think that the Will of God is regressive. If Baha’u’llah was not a Manifestation of God, we can all take our toys and go home. What to believe is a decision everyone has to make for themselves.
This can only be prevented if, beyond the pure sequence of the prophets, there is a knowledge of an ethics that is timeless because it is directly related to the essence of God and the essence of man.
Ethics might be timeless but God’s Laws are not timeless as they change with every new Prophet.

It is not a Baha’i belief that Jesus Christ was the Essence of God.

“Know thou of a certainty that the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His Essence and reveal it unto men. He is, and hath ever been, immensely exalted beyond all that can either be recounted or perceived. From His retreat of glory His voice is ever proclaiming: “Verily, I am God; there is none other God besides Me, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. I have manifested Myself unto men, and have sent down Him Who is the Day Spring of the signs of My Revelation. Through Him I have caused all creation to testify that there is none other God except Him, the Incomparable, the All-Informed, the All-Wise.” He Who is everlastingly hidden from the eyes of men can never be known except through His Manifestation, and His Manifestation can adduce no greater proof of the truth of His Mission than the proof of His own Person.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 49


The belief that Jesus is God incarnate is not supported by any New Testament scripture. Jesus never claimed to be God incarnate and He disclaimed it in many scriptures. That Jesus is God is a false doctrine of the Church that came about because of a misinterpretation of verses in the New Testament.From a psychological standpoint, Christians wanted Jesus to be God, so they decided He was God, but that does not mean Jesus was God.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
 
Aug 2019
73
Berlin
These are things that are completely contrary to the Christian message. And it is good that Christians do not participate in every innovation just because it brings a new prophet, but test it.
This is very interesting because it says that there will be prophetic qualities among men and prophetic speakers. Most Baha'i recognize these prophetic qualities in Baha'u'llah and in all Manifestations of God before. What recurs are the qualities of the Revealer. This is also written in the Bible when Christians are encouraged to listen to prophetic speaker and test their message. Baha'u'llah says that people should test his claim. No blind discipleship. Thus the Baha'i faith agrees with what is written in the Bible. When Christians say that there can be no revelation beyond Jesus, they mean that there can be no revelation that contradicts the unchanging part of revelation.

If a prophet were to come after Baha'u'llah now and introduce further ethical regressions, these would have to be accepted, because he would be the current revelation of God. This can only be prevented if, beyond the pure sequence of the prophets, there is a knowledge of an ethics that is timeless because it is directly related to the essence of God and the essence of man.
The eternal part of revelations is unchangeable. The ethical aspects, the image of man, the position of man before God, etc., cannot be changed. When Christians say that Jesus is God, they proclaim to recognize God in Jesus. Through the manifestation of Jesus they recognize the divine, eternal reality. Some of the social rules that Jesus established were just right at that time. Jesus even revised within his own statements. First the disciples should spread his teachings only in the northern and southern kingdom of Israel, later they should go into the whole world and proclaim the one God. Mohammad also took up and spread this message. The controversy between Islam and Christianity is not the rejection of the Sermon on the Mount by Mohammad or the belief in the one God. The controversies between Islam and Christianity relate rather to the fact that most theological concepts of Christianity are not directly derived from Scripture.
 
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Jcc

Mar 2013
577
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
The reality of God and the Universe, and mankind is far beyond what can be captured in any particular theology or worldview. Every religion is complete and whole, and a channel for God’s grace, as long as it recognizes that the Reality of God is more that what can be captured in a particular religious teaching, even if perfectly understood. Since every person is on their own path of learning, no follower of any religion completely understands the teachings of their own religion, much less others. That is because the true teachings of religion are not man made, they are from God, are transcendent.

So, as a Baha’i, I try to understand the Teachings of Baha’u’llah and follow them, and try to show others, but will never be perfect. If I appear to be misunderstood, I have to check my own explanations, there is probably something missing, either in terms of fact, or context, or most importantly, I may be lacking in empathy and love. Love is the answer!

We are up to 11 pages of discussion on this thread, and I am going to resist the temptation to point out any particular things I disagree with. There is a time for such things, but it has to be done in the right spirit, which is to be as humble as the soil that gives life.
 
Jul 2017
483
Olympia, WA, USA
The reality of God and the Universe, and mankind is far beyond what can be captured in any particular theology or worldview. Every religion is complete and whole, and a channel for God’s grace, as long as it recognizes that the Reality of God is more that what can be captured in a particular religious teaching, even if perfectly understood.
Every religion is unique and special just as every person is unique and special. There are some things about Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam that I do not find in the Baha'i Faith so I can learn a lot from talking to people of these other faiths...

But overall, I am a Baha'i because there is nothing else I could ever be. There is something very special about Baha'is, so even when we disagree, there is a common bond that cannot be broken. :)
 
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Sep 2010
4,589
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Every religion is unique and special just as every person is unique and special. There are some things about Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam that I do not find in the Baha'i Faith so I can learn a lot from talking to people of these other faiths...

But overall, I am a Baha'i because there is nothing else I could ever be. There is something very special about Baha'is, so even when we disagree, there is a common bond that cannot be broken. :)
Would that common virtue be Love!

Thus this common virtue might only need to be seen in a new frame of reference, then all Faiths can find they all Love.

Regards Tony
 
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