Disheartened

Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
I am very disheartened right now by recent forum activities I have been engaged in on other forums. Over the years I have posted more to atheists and agnostics than to religious people, and I prefer posting to them because I think they are more rational than religious people, other than Baha’is. I cannot see rationality in any religion other than the Baha’i Faith. All I see are outdated religious traditions people cling to for dear life just because they are comfortable with them, as if religion is a pair of shoes you pick out according to what fits. Does anyone care about the Truth from God, or even what might be the Truth?

It seems as if every time I start posting to Christians I get frustrated about teaching the Faith at all because I feel utterly hopeless. It is not that I am trying to convert anyone, quite the contrary, but there does not seem to be any common ground at all. It is all about their Church doctrines they accept without question and this is because of how they interpret the Bible. They say “the Bible says” but the Bible does not say anything; they interpret the Bible to mean what they think it means and then they say it means what they think it means. Yet they cannot understand this is what they are doing when I point it out.

Their interpretations of their scriptures make it utterly impossible for them to ever see the claims of Baha’u’llah as being true. This is also the case with Jews and Muslims, but I do not post to them much since there are not many of them on forums and I do not know their scriptures as well as I know the Bible. I do not know the Bible that well, but I know what it doesn’t mean because I believe the Baha’i Writings are the Truth. It is very frustrating to be in this position and difficult to not come across as arrogant, whenever I say the Baha’i Faith is the newest religion from God and I believe the older religions are outdated. I do not think I am arrogant just because I believe the older religions are not pertinent to this new age; I just wonder why more people cannot understand that. I guess I am just fortunate that I was able to find the Baha’i Faith and recognize it as the Truth immediately. I think that was because I was not be blinded by another religion since I had no religious beliefs before I became a Baha’i.

I am finally at the point of tears after hours writing to a Christian I have been posting to for five years. I feel like just taking my toys and going home but then I remember what Baha’u’llah wrote about teaching the Faith being the most meritorious of all deeds.
 
Sep 2010
4,550
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
It is never an easy path trailblazer. Teaching also helps us learn the wisdom of what Baha'u'llah has taught.

One quote springs to mind and it is a hard one to follow when all that Baha'u'llah taught wants to gush out of you.

"O SON OF DUST! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved. Wherefore sow the seeds of wisdom and knowledge in the pure soil of the heart, and keep them hidden, till the hyacinths of divine wisdom spring from the heart and not from mire and clay."

I see a lot of posts on forums where we meet, that we tend to give to much of our heart to those that do not want to hear. It takes much personal reflection.

I have found on some forums, saying less, sometimes says more.

Regards Tony
 
Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
It is never an easy path trailblazer. Teaching also helps us learn the wisdom of what Baha'u'llah has taught.

One quote springs to mind and it is a hard one to follow when all that Baha'u'llah taught wants to gush out of you.

"O SON OF DUST! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved. Wherefore sow the seeds of wisdom and knowledge in the pure soil of the heart, and keep them hidden, till the hyacinths of divine wisdom spring from the heart and not from mire and clay."

I see a lot of posts on forums where we meet, that we tend to give to much of our heart to those that do not want to hear. It takes much personal reflection.

I have found on some forums, saying less, sometimes says more.

Regards Tony
I am learning more and more each day. I would never have learned what I know now, about the Faith or about how to interact with other people or about myself, if I had not been an avid poster on forums for the last seven years. I can safely say most of my spiritual growth has come from my forum activities, that and all the tests and difficulties I have endured by virtue of my life situation with all the struggles I have had and still have.

That reminds me of a sign I saw on the First Baptist Church: "The struggle is real, but so is God." I copied that down and posted it in my cubicle at work and my Christian coworker said she wanted to compliment me on it, after which time I told her where I got it. As you might know me and God are not bosom buddies so I need all the help I can get in "trying" to love God.

Owing to personal circumstances, I have been forced to cut back on posting on forums, and I am also careful what I respond to because I just do not have the time to keep going on the way I was going on. So now I am very selective in what I respond to, although I will normally respond to any posts that are written to me, unless the poster is very rude, in which case I either ignore that poster or report him.

Yes, sometimes saying less says more, and I have learned that too. I think what is most important is that we learn to get along with everyone in a spirit of unity and harmony, which often requires that we put our egos aside. That does not mean we have to agree with people who have different beliefs, it is how we disagree that matters.

“Through each and every one of the verses which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed, the doors of love and unity have been unlocked and flung open to the face of men. We have erewhile declared—and Our Word is the truth—: “Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished. From the heaven of God’s Will, and for the purpose of ennobling the world of being and of elevating the minds and souls of men, hath been sent down that which is the most effective instrument for the education of the whole human race.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 95
 
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Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
Trailblazer,

Remember that we can teach more by what we do than by what we say. It may seem that rules out teaching in a forum, but not really. But keep in mind, that most people in a forum (including us) are often not listening at all and are only competing to be heard, to try and convince. Teaching and learning never occur under conditions like that. Therefore, do not put too much energy into it when conditions are like that. Instead, become the empathetic listener, the good friend. That is probably all the teaching that can be done until they too become a listener.

Cheers
 
Sep 2019
2
United States
As for the Bible, it seems to me the only book in it Baha'is take seriously is the Book of Revelation. Why? Because the Baha'i interpretations (which are among thousands of others, if not more) "prove" the Baha'i position. Baha'is disregard almost the entire rest of the Bible, selectively adopting its teachings and disregarding everything that's inconvenient. Why is the Book of Revelation right and all others wrong? Convenience, of course. The miracles, the Resurrection--the very foundations of Christian faith--all those can be ignored not based on any convincing evidence, but rather because the founding figures of the Baha'i faith said so.

And that's all Baha'i is really. Circular reasoning, no different from Christianity. What's the difference between, "Because the Bible said so" and "Because Baha'u'llah said so"? When you have two opposing groups, each dead-set on the truth of their position due to circular reasoning, of course you're never going to agree. You can provide all sorts of reasonable doubt that God exists, but when it comes to proving the truth of any set of scripture--Christian or Baha'i--circular reasoning is all you've got. At best you can take highly speculative, contradictory and controversial claims of previous religions and cobble together a narrative as to why your messiah/manifestation is the right one.

In all of that circular reasoning, the best you can hope for is internal consistency, not proof. And when it comes to "proof" from past religions, internal consistency in the Baha'i faith is sorely lacking. Without being selective about what sources you listen to, there isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a Manifestation that Baha'u'llah meets. Not even within the religions of one other Manifestation, much less all of them. Sure, Baha'u'llah was an exceptional individual, but if you could provide one iota of evidence that he actually heard from God (assuming there is one) I would be happy to hear it.
 
Sep 2019
2
United States
Trailblazer,

Remember that we can teach more by what we do than by what we say. It may seem that rules out teaching in a forum, but not really. But keep in mind, that most people in a forum (including us) are often not listening at all and are only competing to be heard, to try and convince. Teaching and learning never occur under conditions like that. Therefore, do not put too much energy into it when conditions are like that. Instead, become the empathetic listener, the good friend. That is probably all the teaching that can be done until they too become a listener.

Cheers
So true. Religion is an emotional thing. If it leaves you feeling miserable and tormented, then all of the self-righteous misery in the world isn't going to help. It certainly could hurt, however, even to the point of being toxic to the cause.
 
Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
As for the Bible, it seems to me the only book in it Baha'is take seriously is the Book of Revelation. Why? Because the Baha'i interpretations (which are among thousands of others, if not more) "prove" the Baha'i position. Baha'is disregard almost the entire rest of the Bible, selectively adopting its teachings and disregarding everything that's inconvenient. Why is the Book of Revelation right and all others wrong? Convenience, of course. The miracles, the Resurrection--the very foundations of Christian faith--all those can be ignored not based on any convincing evidence, but rather because the founding figures of the Baha'i faith said so.

And that's all Baha'i is really. Circular reasoning, no different from Christianity. What's the difference between, "Because the Bible said so" and "Because Baha'u'llah said so"? When you have two opposing groups, each dead-set on the truth of their position due to circular reasoning, of course you're never going to agree. You can provide all sorts of reasonable doubt that God exists, but when it comes to proving the truth of any set of scripture--Christian or Baha'i--circular reasoning is all you've got. At best you can take highly speculative, contradictory and controversial claims of previous religions and cobble together a narrative as to why your messiah/manifestation is the right one.

In all of that circular reasoning, the best you can hope for is internal consistency, not proof. And when it comes to "proof" from past religions, internal consistency in the Baha'i faith is sorely lacking. Without being selective about what sources you listen to, there isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a Manifestation that Baha'u'llah meets. Not even within the religions of one other Manifestation, much less all of them. Sure, Baha'u'llah was an exceptional individual, but if you could provide one iota of evidence that he actually heard from God (assuming there is one) I would be happy to hear it.

I hope that Baha'is do take all of the Bible seriously. I know some may not, however, a study of the Iqan will give you sufficient reason to, as well as by taking to heart the example of 'Abdu'l-Baha when he wrote upon a copy of a Bible:

"This book is the Holy Book of God, of celestial Inspiration. It is the Bible of Salvation, the Noble Gospel. It is the mystery of the Kingdom and its light. It is the Divine Bounty, the sign of the guidance of God."

Cheers
 
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Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
What's the difference between, "Because the Bible said so" and "Because Baha'u'llah said so"?
Here is the difference. If Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God and He said so, whatever He wrote is the Truth from God. If the Bible says so it is nothing more than what the authors of the Bible said, not what Jesus said, not even what the disciples said, since the Gospels were not authored by the disciples. So it would be literally impossible for the authors of the Gospels to know what Jesus said, let alone write it down decades later.

If we had original writings of Jesus as we have for Baha'u'llah, then the Baha'i Faith would be neck-in-neck with Christianity. Instead, what we have is oral tradition and unverifiable stories about what Jesus did.
 
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Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
'Abdu'l-Baha when he wrote upon a copy of a Bible:

"This book is the Holy Book of God, of celestial Inspiration. It is the Bible of Salvation, the Noble Gospel. It is the mystery of the Kingdom and its light. It is the Divine Bounty, the sign of the guidance of God."
So does that mean Baha'is should believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus? It is written in the Bible that Jesus rose from the grave.

From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

The Four Gospels were written after Him [Christ]. John, Luke, Mark and Matthew - these four wrote after Christ what they remembered of His utterances.
(From a previously untranslated Tablet)

From Letters Written on Behalf of the Guardian:

...The Bible is not wholly authentic, and in this respect is not to be compared with the Qur'an, and should be wholly subordinated to the authentic writings of Bahá'u'lláh
. (28 July 1936 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

...we cannot be sure how much or how little of the four Gospels are accurate and include the words of Christ and His undiluted teachings, all we can be sure of, as Bahá'ís, is that what has been quoted by Bahá'u'lláh and the Master must be absolutely authentic. As many times passages in the Gospel of St. John are quoted we may assume that it is his Gospel and much of it accurate.
(23 January 1944 to an individual believer)

When 'Abdu'l-Bahá states we believe what is in the Bible, He means in substance. Not that we believe every word of it to be taken literally or that every word is the authentic saying of the Prophet.
(11 February 1944 to an individual believer)

We cannot be sure of the authenticity of any of the phrases in the Old or the New Testament. What we can be sure of is when such references or words are cited or quoted in either the Quran or the Bahá'í writings.
(4 July 1947 to an individual believer)

From letters written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice:

In studying the Bible Bahá'ís must bear two principles in mind. The first is that many passages in Sacred Scriptures are intended to be taken metaphorically, not literally, and some of the paradoxes and apparent contradictions which appear are intended to indicate this. The second is the fact that the text of the early Scriptures, such as the Bible, is not wholly authentic.
(28 May 1984 to an individual believer)

The Bahá'ís believe that God's Revelation is under His care and protection and that the essence, or essential elements, of what His Manifestations intended to convey has been recorded and preserved in Their Holy Books. However, as the sayings of the ancient Prophets were written down some time later, we cannot categorically state, as we do in the case of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, that the words and phrases attributed to Them are Their exact words
(9 August 1984 to an individual believer)

The Bible
 
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Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
there isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a Manifestation that Baha'u'llah meets. Not even within the religions of one other Manifestation, much less all of them. Sure, Baha'u'llah was an exceptional individual, but if you could provide one iota of evidence that he actually heard from God (assuming there is one) I would be happy to hear it.
There isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a Manifestation that any Manifestation of God meets. It is all about faith and evidence. There is a lot of evidence that indicates that Baha'u'llah was who He claimed to be, but there is no proof.

There isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a 'Son of God' that Jesus meets. Not even within the religions of one other Manifestation, much less all of them. Sure, Jesus was an exceptional individual, but if you could provide one iota of evidence that he actually heard from God (assuming there is one) I would be happy to hear it.