Disheartened

Aug 2019
48
Berlin
So that is why I take issue with Christians who believe in the false doctrines...
For me it is the case that I have no interest in dissuading people from their faith, because in all synagogues, temples and churches God is worshipped, as Abdul-Baha said.
If I as Baha'i have the freedom to explore theological subtleties and to hold them true, regardless of whether they agree with the teachings of Baha'u'llah, then the followers of other manifestations of God also have this right. And just as I have the right to express my opinion in a devotion as an expression of my own position, but not as an authoritative statement, so the followers of all other religions have this right.
Baha'u'llah spoke to the people who accepted him as manifestation. To do this is the freedom of every human being. But one can only come to this if one searches for the truth oneself.
 
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Jul 2017
461
Olympia, WA, USA
For me it is the case that I have no interest in dissuading people from their faith.
Maybe you misunderstand me. I would NEVER tell anyone what to believe or try to talk them out of what they believe. I am a firm believer in free will. I am totally against trying to control other people for any reason. As you are probably aware of, Baha'u'llah wrote that the faith of no man can be conditioned by anyone except himself... But in that passage He said more than that:

“Suffer not yourselves to be wrapt in the dense veils of your selfish desires, inasmuch as I have perfected in every one of you My creation, so that the excellence of My handiwork may be fully revealed unto men. It follows, therefore, that every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified. Had he not been endowed with such a capacity, how could he be called to account for his failure? If, in the Day when all the peoples of the earth will be gathered together, any man should, whilst standing in the presence of God, be asked: “Wherefore hast thou disbelieved in My Beauty and turned away from My Self,” and if such a man should reply and say: “Inasmuch as all men have erred, and none hath been found willing to turn his face to the Truth, I, too, following their example, have grievously failed to recognize the Beauty of the Eternal,” such a plea will, assuredly, be rejected. For the faith of no man can be conditioned by any one except himself.Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 143

What do you think Baha'u'llah is saying in that passage? Is He saying that we are called to account to believe in God, or that we are called to account to recognize the Manifestation of God for this day?
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
What do you think Baha'u'llah says in this section? Does he say that we are called to account to believe in God, or that we are called to account to recognize the manifestation of God for this day?
The latter. Because we can know God in a personal understanding only through the manifestation. No one would know the perfection of God if it were not for the manifestations that are far advanced in perfection. Conversely, people who cannot see the beauty of the world will not see the beauty of God. If we recognize God only in nature or in the universe, then we tend to have an impersonal understanding of God. Through the manifestation that we encounter in persona, God becomes personal. Therefore, the Scriptures say that the manifestation of God said that it is God, so that it would be right. Because through them the encounter takes place.
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
572
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Everyone is called to account for their responsibility to recognize the Manifestation of God, but we don’t know what being called to account actually involves for each person, even for ourselves, or the extent of God’s mercy. For those who sincerely follow a past religion, I believe God will show great mercy.
 
Jul 2018
91
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh
Maybe you misunderstand me. I would NEVER tell anyone what to believe or try to talk them out of what they believe. I am a firm believer in free will. I am totally against trying to control other people for any reason. As you are probably aware of, Baha'u'llah wrote that the faith of no man can be conditioned by anyone except himself... But in that passage He said more than that:

“Suffer not yourselves to be wrapt in the dense veils of your selfish desires, inasmuch as I have perfected in every one of you My creation, so that the excellence of My handiwork may be fully revealed unto men. It follows, therefore, that every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified. Had he not been endowed with such a capacity, how could he be called to account for his failure? If, in the Day when all the peoples of the earth will be gathered together, any man should, whilst standing in the presence of God, be asked: “Wherefore hast thou disbelieved in My Beauty and turned away from My Self,” and if such a man should reply and say: “Inasmuch as all men have erred, and none hath been found willing to turn his face to the Truth, I, too, following their example, have grievously failed to recognize the Beauty of the Eternal,” such a plea will, assuredly, be rejected. For the faith of no man can be conditioned by any one except himself.Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 143

What do you think Baha'u'llah is saying in that passage? Is He saying that we are called to account to believe in God, or that we are called to account to recognize the Manifestation of God for this day?
Trailblazer,

I would say that " [being] called to account to believe in God" or "[being] called to account to recognize the Manifestation of God" are actually the same thing.

Cheers
 
Jun 2014
1,086
Wisconsin
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.
Can I suggest a different strategy?

Instead of talking to them about your faith, try talking to them about their faith. If you have a certain Baha'i principle you wish to communicate, try doing so through the language of their own religion or scriptures. As an example I've had long discussions with Mormons on the concept of progressive revelation--a concept which their religion shares with us.

According to 'Abdu'l-Baha “To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood” and has said "The man who lives the life according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is already a Bahá’í." So why focus on Baha'u'llah and station, when you could alternately talk principles?? If through talking to you a person begins to apply Baha'i principles to their life while still practicing Christianity or Islam or any other faith, then that person is, according to 'Abdu'l-Baha, our brother or sister in religion regardless of outward forms.

The fact of the matter is that humans are tribal. If someone thinks you are trying to get them to reject their tribal group, then natural human instinct will give them a negative emotional response to what you are saying, regardless of how rational it might be. Heck, I've even seen some atheists out there who are so attached to the concept of atheism as a tribal identity that they become far more dogmatic and close-minded than many theists.

But as Baha'is we're to strive for unity, so I feel we should be trying to work past tribal identities. If someone adopts Baha'i principles but rejects identifying with the Baha'i tribe, so be it. Difference in names are not true differences.

If you need help identifying Christian scriptures that cover Baha'i concepts, I can probably point you to something.

There isn't a single universally accepted standard for the status of a 'Son of God' that Jesus meets.
I mean, you're right of course, :p but I've never understood why there are so many ideas on what "Son of God" means by Christian sects when their text spells it out rather plainly. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Sons of God." or "I said you are gods, you are all Sons of the Most High."

but if we are to be faithful to the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, we cannot believe that the body of Jesus rose from the grave, since Abdu'l-Baha clearly stated that it did not.
I don't think that is necessarily true. Certainly, 'Abdu'l-Baha gives a symbolic meaning to the meaning of the Resurrection. But can a thing not be both literal and symbolic at the same time?? Certainly we can see a lot of symbolic meaning within the life of the Bab, but we are certain these events happened nonetheless, even with the Bab's life's symbolic parallels to, say, Jesus or Husayn.

My own position on the nature of the resurrection is that it is definitely symbolic, and I have no idea if it was literal, as I wasn't there. I think it is possible that it could have happened, but I'd say the symbolism is more important then the question of whether-or-not a thing literally occurred.
 
Aug 2019
48
Berlin
I remember the following about discussions with members of Christianity: There are many statements by theologians that although Jesus Christ is the highest revelation of God (because one could recognize God's nature in Jesus Christ), after Jesus there can also be other prophets. These do not bring any other message, but deepen the message of Jesus according to time, place and circumstances. Baha'u'llah deepens the message of Jesus in accordance with the needs of time, but he does not contradict the Christian message. Therefore he is not a false prophet. This could be an approach for discussion with Christians.
It is worth thinking about what Baha'u'llah meant when he said that all prophets are a truth. From this position, discussion with a Christian cannot mean presenting Baha'u'llah as an alternative, but Baha'u'llah as a prophet who confirms the message of the historical Jesus. One could also try to explain that one is interested in the historical Jesus and what Christianity knows about him, not so much the Christ of faith.
If christians research what they really know about the historical Jesus and the Gospels, they have a good point to develop their own point of view. You could also argue that the Baha'i faith finds this search for truth important.
 
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