Faith

Jul 2017
421
Olympia, WA, USA
#51
In matters of religion what works for one person does not work for another person because people have different mentalities and personalities. Which is why there is need for many religions or spiritual paths to God.
That we need all the different religions because some people like some better than others contradicts what the Baha’i Faith teaches, which is that humanity will eventually unite under one religion.

“One of the great events,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has, in His “Some Answered Questions,” affirmed, “which is to occur in the Day of the manifestation of that Incomparable Branch [Bahá’u’lláh] is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations. By this is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race, and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself.” The Promised Day Is Come, pp. 119-121

And as I said in my previous post:
God is not a tailor who tailors religions to suit people with different personalities and mentalities. If they do not like the Baha’i Faith they can choose to reject it because we all have free will.

God’s religion is not revealed for meeting YOUR needs or the needs of any particular person or group of people. It is revealed for ALL of humanity.
Scriptures contain spiritual truths whose authenticity can be verified through personal experience.
I disagree with that because that personal experience is only valid for the “person” who experiences it.
You don't have to if you are not interested but then you should not be commenting on religions and scriptures you have never studied.
Show me where I ever did that. I just quoted what Baha’u’llah wrote about the older scriptures.
Your experiences with Hindus should not be equated with spiritual truths in the Hindu scriptures. Baha’u’llah's teachings while being a true revelation are not the latest revelation from God. There have been other manifestations of God in India that were born among Hindus who gave their own revelations. You dismissing them as false prophets without even studying their teachings is just like a Muslims calling Baha’u’llah a fake prophet only because Mohammed supposedly claimed that he was the last prophet.
I am going to say this one more time. I believe that Baha’ullah was a Manifestation of God so I believe that whatever He wrote is identical with 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

There is no wiggle room for me so because Baha’u’llah wrote that there will be no more Manifestations of God for 1000 years that is what I believe. YMMV but I do not want to discuss it anymore because Baha’u’llah wrote that if two people argue they are both wrong.

I am just very sad for anyone who claimed to be a Manifestation of God after Baha’u’llah because God’s wrath will be upon them unless they retract their false claims.
Becoming one with God does not mean the soul losing individuality. Becoming one with God means realizing that we are part of God and God is in us as Baha’u’llah said in Mathnavi-i-Mubarak and the Hidden Words. Right now we feel we are separate from God but when we overcome that separation through spiritual effort we realize we are part of God while retaining our individuality. A rose petal does not have to lose it's individuality to realize it is part of the whole rose.

Explain to me what Baha’u’llah means by "Then in yourself, my sweet, seek union with Him and you'll no longer feel the Friend's absence"
What does reunion in reunion mean
And then why does he say both reunion and absence are blasphemy.

If reunion is blasphemy why does Baha’u’llah say reunion with God is our heavenly home. If God is not within us, why does Baha’u’llah says that God's house resides in hearts. If you understand Baha’u’llah, explain what he is saying in these words below.

O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion. - Hidden Words
These passages do not mean we are part of God and God is in us. An essential teaching or Baha’u’llah is that we can NEVER be a partner with God because God is one and alone:

“And now concerning thy reference to the existence of two Gods. Beware, beware, lest thou be led to join partners with the Lord, thy God. He is, and hath from everlasting been, one and alone, without peer or equal, eternal in the past, eternal in the future, detached from all things, ever-abiding, unchangeable, and self-subsisting. He hath assigned no associate unto Himself in His Kingdom, no counsellor to counsel Him, none to compare unto Him, none to rival His glory. To this every atom of the universe beareth witness, and beyond it the inmates of the realms on high, they that occupy the most exalted seats, and whose names are remembered before the Throne of Glory.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 192

As I understand the word “heart” in all these passages, our hearts are symbolic for that part of our soul which feels Love. God wants us to love Him alone, not because God needs our Love, but because we need God’s Love, and God’s Love cannot reach us unless we love Him.

5: O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovestMe not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 4

59: O SON OF BEING! Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation
.
The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 17

“Cleanse from your hearts the love of worldly things, from your tongues every remembrance except His remembrance, from your entire being whatsoever may deter you from beholding His face, or may tempt you to follow the promptings of your evil and corrupt inclinations. Let God be your fear, O people, and be ye of them that tread the path of righteousness.......

Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men—hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue. Thus hath it been ordained by the Fingers of Bahá, upon the Tablet of God’s irrevocable decree, by the behest of Him Who is the Supreme Ordainer, the All-Knowing.”

Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 275, 279

“Meditate on what the poet hath written: “Wonder not, if my Best-Beloved be closer to me than mine own self; wonder at this, that I, despite such nearness, should still be so far from Him.”… Considering what God hath revealed, that “We are closer to man than his life-vein,” the poet hath, in allusion to this verse, stated that, though the revelation of my Best-Beloved hath so permeated my being that He is closer to me than my life-vein, yet, notwithstanding my certitude of its reality and my recognition of my station, I am still so far removed from Him. By this he meaneth that his heart, which is the seat of the All-Merciful and the throne wherein abideth the splendor of His revelation, is forgetful of its Creator, hath strayed from His path, hath shut out itself from His glory, and is stained with the defilement of earthly desires.

It should be remembered in this connection that the one true God is in Himself exalted beyond and above proximity and remoteness. His reality transcendeth such limitations. His relationship to His creatures knoweth no degrees. That some are near and others are far is to be ascribed to the manifestations themselves.

That the heart is the throne, in which the Revelation of God the All-Merciful is centered, is attested by the holy utterances which We have formerly revealed.

Among them is this saying: “Earth and heaven cannot contain Me; what can alone contain Me is the heart of him that believeth in Me, and is faithful to My Cause.” How often hath the human heart, which is the recipient of the light of God and the seat of the revelation of the All-Merciful, erred from Him Who is the Source of that light and the Well Spring of that revelation. It is the waywardness of the heart that removeth it far from God, and condemneth it to remoteness from Him. Those hearts, however, that are aware of His Presence, are close to Him, and are to be regarded as having drawn nigh unto His throne.


Consider, moreover, how frequently doth man become forgetful of his own self, whilst God remaineth, through His all-encompassing knowledge, aware of His creature, and continueth to shed upon him the manifest radiance of His glory. It is evident, therefore, that, in such circumstances, He is closer to him than his own self. He will, indeed, so remain for ever, for, whereas the one true God knoweth all things, perceiveth all things, and comprehendeth all things, mortal man is prone to err, and is ignorant of the mysteries that lie enfolded within him….” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 185-186
How are we supposed to understand the Houri? The truth is, you have no clue because your are only interested in dogma and trashing other religions while ignoring the mysticism of Baha’u’llah which is the core of the Bahai religion.
I do not need to understand the Houri because it was never translated by the UHJ so I do not believe that we have a translation that is authoritative. Moreover, Baha’u’llah did not want us to have that Tablet, He told his companion to thrown it into the Tigris River. That order was disobeyed.

You WANT to make the Baha’i Faith in your own image because you LIKE mystical religions so you trash everything else about the religion, but the Baha’i Faith is a package deal; it is not only mystical but it is also practical. By ignoring everything except the mystical teachings you are cherry picking and thereby rejecting everything else Baha’u’llah wrote. If you want a “designer religion” that is not the Baha’i Faith.

The primary message of Baha’u’llah was the unity of mankind. That can never be accomplished as long as people cling to their older religions for dear life. The evidence that this is true is all the dissension and disunity caused by people who disagree. It is right here on this forum between you and me.
You have given a lot of evidence that you do not understand Baha’u’llah’s teachings. Your comment that Muslims do not have the revelations or teachings of Mohammed because he was illiterate just trashes the great reverence that Baha’u’llah had for Quran which contains Mohammed's revelations. All I hear from you is the Bahai dogma. I just hope the majority of the Bahai are not like you.
I never said that Muslims do not have the revelations or teachings of Muhammad because Muhammad was illiterate.
The authoritative Baha’i position on the Qur’an is as follows:

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 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)​
Mysticism is the core of any true religion. It is just that people like you are not ready for it and so Baha’u’llah ordered many of his mystical writings to be destroyed. The original Ode of the Dove was actually over 2000 verses long but most of them were destroyed and only a small portion retained at Baha’u’llah's wish and you can't even understand the tiny portion that he left us with.
Your putting me down to raise yourself up to a higher spiritual stature is duly noted and it demonstrates a lack of spirituality. It is not really necessary to act superior to me in order tomake your point about mysticism.

People like me? Do you think you are superior to me because you are ready and I am not? Anyone who thinks they are superior to anyone else is going against the very spirit of the Faith of Baha’u’llah:

68. O Children of Men!
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

5. O Son of Dust!
Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say: O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.

The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah

If Baha’u’llah ordered His Writings to be destroyed He did so for a good reason. Do you think you know more than a Manifestation of God?
That only shows you are not even familiar with the Obligatory Prayers of the Bahai. It is difficult to believe you have been Bahai for over 48 years. The very first line of the short obligatory prayer says the purpose of human life is to know God, not unity of mankind. Please read it carefully.
You are condescending. Of course I know what the Obligatory Prayers say and what they mean.

The Obligatory prayers because they address the purpose for the life of the individual, knowing and worshiping God. But the Baha’i Faith is about more than the individual spiritual path to God. It is about the salvation of all of humanity, and the security and peace of all who dwell in the world.This is the Cause of God for this new age, it is not individual salvation. Individual salvation was the mission of Jesus Christ.

“Considering this most mighty enterprise, it beseemeth them that love Him to gird up the loins of their endeavor, and to fix their thoughts on whatever will ensure the victory of the cause of God, rather than commit vile and contemptible deeds. Wert thou to consider, for but a little while, the outward works and doings of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, thou wouldst fall down upon the ground, and exclaim: O Thou Who art the Lord of Lords! I testify that Thou art the Lord of all creation, and the Educator of all beings, visible and invisible. I bear witness that Thy power hath encompassed the entire universe, and that the hosts of the earth can never dismay Thee, nor can the dominion of all peoples and nations deter Thee from executing Thy purpose. I confess that Thou hast no desire except the regeneration of the whole world, and the establishment of the unity of its peoples, and the salvation of all them that dwell therein.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 243

“Every unbiased observer will readily admit that, ever since the dawn of His Revelation, this wronged One hath invited all mankind to turn their faces towards the Day Spring of Glory, and hath forbidden corruption, hatred, oppression, and wickedness. And yet, behold what the hand of the oppressor hath wrought! No pen dare describe his tyranny. Though the purpose of Him Who is the Eternal Truth hath been to confer everlasting life upon all men, and ensure their security and peace, yet witness how they have arisen to shed the blood of His loved ones, and have pronounced on Him the sentence of death.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 115-116

The primary message of Baha’u’llah was the Unity of Mankind and you cannot change that. That is the main reason Baha’u’llah came. If all we needed were mystical teachings we would not have needed a “new religion” because all the older religions have mystical teachings. Apparently, all you can think about is your individual spiritual path. If that is all you care about then the Baha’i Faith is not for you.

“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
 
Jul 2017
421
Olympia, WA, USA
#52
Yes, Bahaullah also said elsewhere that creation is "not delimited". Of all the religions, only Hinduism teaches that creation goes on endlessly without any beginning or end in a cyclic way. That is each cycle is marked by creation and destruction. Creation is followed by destruction which is followed by another period of creation. This cyclic process goes on without end. There is some information on Hindu Cosmology here Hindu cosmology - Wikipedia with lot of references. But you may wonder how creation had no beginning. That's because creation exists in time-space continuum. Both time and space are mere ideas in Consciousness (Spirit) and everything happens within that Consciousness. So creation is nothing but a set of ideas in Consciousness which is why creation is said to be illusory and it will vanish for you when your third eye or the spiritual eye opens and everything is seen as a set of ideas in Consciousness.
That is very interesting. I do not doubt that the Hindu prophets knew some of the same things that Baha’u’llah knew. Everything Baha’u’llah revealed was not new, much of it was a renewal or reiteration of what was revealed in previous religions.
By Creation he is referring to all of God's creation not just the earth which just like a tiny speck of dust in the entire creation. Everyday many new stars and planets are born in Creation and many die. So if the earth came in to existence at a particular point in time, it does not mean the rest of the Creation did not exist before earth. According to Hinduism, there are many planets like earth.
Yes, that is what I believe. Baha’u’llah also wrote about other worlds and planets.

“Absolute existence is strictly confined to God, exalted be His glory. Well is it with them that apprehend this truth. Wert thou to ponder in thine heart the behavior of the Prophets of God thou wouldst assuredly and readily testify that there must needs be other worlds besides this world.” Gleanings, pp. 157-158

“As to thy question concerning the worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range.None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.’” Gleanings, pp. 151-152

“O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes.You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.” Gleanings, p. 329

“Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the nature of the celestial spheres. To comprehend their nature, it would be necessary to inquire into the meaning of the allusions that have been made in the Books of old to the celestial spheres and the heavens, and to discover the character of their relationship to this physical world, and the influence which they exert upon it. Every heart is filled with wonder at so bewildering a theme, and every mind is perplexed by its mystery. God, alone, can fathom its import. The learned men, that have fixed at several thousand years the life of this earth, have failed, throughout the long period of their observation, to consider either the number or the age of the other planets. Consider, moreover, the manifold divergencies that have resulted from the theories propounded by these men. Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.” Gleanings, pp. 162-163

That may be your belief but when you meditate on the esoteric truths found in the gospels, you will intuitively realize that they can come only from spiritually advanced souls like the apostles. But your agenda is to trash them. Traditionally Christians believe the gospels were written by apostles. For texts that are about 2000 years old you will never find "official records".
It is common knowledge that the gospels were not written by the apostles but I am not trashing them because I believe they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Here are some authoritative Baha’i positions on the Bible, there are more on that link below:

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: Extracts on the Old and New Testaments
If the gospels are no proof, then by the same standards, it can also be argued that the revelations of Bahaullah are no proof that he was a manifestation of God. Your faith collapses like a pack of cards if we measure your faith by your own standards. You are practicing double standards like all religious fanatics do.
The gospels are just stories and there is no reason to believe they were meant to convey literal truth. Obviously you want to believe that Jesus rose from the dead so have at it. I am not going to try to talk you out of it.

You are correct. The revelations of Baha’u’llah are not proof that He was a Manifestation of God. I have been saying that to atheists for years. But I do not need proof because I know who Baha’u’llah was without proof, so my faith is not going to come crashing down at all. Inner certitude is something that cannot be taken away.

I am not a religious fanatic just because I do not believe Jesus rose from the dead, which is utterly ridiculous because nobody comes back to life after being dead for three days. I am not a religious fanatic because I believe that Baha’u’llah was a Manifestation of God either. How I know that with absolute certainty is not something most people can understand.
There have been Hindu prophets who rose from the dead. Read the lives of Kabir, LahiriMahasaya and Swami Sri Yukteshwar and you will know that resurrection of Jesus is not a unique event. You say you go with what is reasonable, rational, and congruent with science but the birth of Jesus to a virgin which was acknowledged as true by Shoghi Effendi is not a rational belief that is congruent with science. Are you willing to proclaim that Shoghi Effendi was wrong? See what he says about the birth of Jesus to Virgin Mary.

Shoghi Effendi on birth of Jesus

“With regard to your question concerning the Virgin Birth of Jesus; on this point, as on several others, the Bahá’í teachings are in full agreement with the doctrines of the Catholic Church. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán (Book of Certitude) page 56, and in a few other Tablets still unpublished, Bahá’u’lláh confirms, however indirectly, the Catholic conception of the Virgin Birth. Also ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Some Answered Questions’, Chap. 12, page 73, explicitly states that Christ found existence through the spirit of God which statement necessarily implies, when reviewed in the light of the text, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.”

“We believe that Christ only was conceived immaculately. His brothers and sisters would have been born in the natural way and conceived naturally.”

Bahá'í Reference Library - Directives from the Guardian, Page 40
Believe whatever you want to and I will believe what I want to. I do not believe stories just because they are written in books. I believe in the Virgin birth because it was confirmed by Baha’u’llah, and Shoghi Effendi later reiterated it.
So your beliefs are facts to you and other people's beliefs cannot be facts to them? Tell me how you convert a belief in to a fact. What evidence or proof has Shoghi Effendi, Abdul Baha or Bahaullah produced to assert that Jesus was born to a virgin. The truth is that they have produced is no verifiable evidence. We only have their word to go by and that's not considered proof or evidence by any standards of law or science. You just assert your beliefs to be facts and dismiss other peoples beliefs to be stories. That's a gross double standard quite common among religious fanatics.
I said that Jesus existed is accepted as a fact because scholars all agree that Jesus existed.

I never claimed that my beliefs are facts. The virgin birth is a belief, not a fact, because it cannot be proven.

I never said that other people do not have a right to consider their beliefs facts. We all have free will to decide what to believe and we all have a right to believe whatever we want to believe.

I have a right to dismiss what other people believe as stories and they have a right to dismiss what I believe, that Baha’u’llah was a Manifestation of God.

Apparently you do not know much about psychology. The reason you are upset about what I believe is because you have no boundaries between yourself and me. Moreover you call me a religious fanatic just because I do not agree with you. This kind of negative labeling is unbecoming of a person who considers himself to be spiritual.

IF you had any boundaries it would not bother you one iota what I believe because you would be secure in what you believe and what I believe would be like water off a duck’s back. I post to Christians day in, day out, and their Christian doctrines have no effect upon me because I know they are false. They say the same thing about my Baha’i beliefs. I am not threatened by their Christian beliefs, so they can say whatever they want to, but as soon as I share my Baha’i beliefs I am usually banned or asked to leave the Christian forums. I don’t wonder why. This is psych 101 stuff.
 
Jul 2017
421
Olympia, WA, USA
#53
Trailblazer,
Bahá’u’lláh himself has testified that the original Message of Jesus has not been lost. I just wanted to share it with you since you seemed to have missed it despite being a Bahai for over 48 years. Here are Bahaullah words

"We have also heard a number of the foolish of the earth assert that the genuine text of the heavenly Gospel doth not exist amongst the Christians, that it hath ascended unto heaven. How grievously they have erred! How oblivious of the fact that such a statement imputeth the gravest injustice and tyranny to a gracious and living Providence! How could God, when once the daystar of the beauty of Jesus had disappeared from the sight of His people, and ascended unto the fourth heaven, cause His holy Book, His most great testimony amongst His creatures, to disappear also? What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the daystar of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation?" - Bahaullah in Kitáb-i-Íqán, page 89
I know that quote well. It does not mean that the message of Jesus had not been lost at the time that was written, it does not even SAY that. It says What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the daystar of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation?” which clearly means that the Christians needed the Gospel message until the rise of the Muhammadan Dispensation.
The disciples of Christ taught His Faith with the language of the Kingdom. That language conformeth to all languages, for it consisteth of celestial meanings and divine mysteries. For the one who becometh conversant with that language the realities and secrets of creation stand unveiled before him. Divine truths are common to all languages. The Holy Spirit, therefore, taught the disciples the language of the Kingdom, and they thus were able to converse with the people of all nations. Whenever they spoke to those of other nations of the world, it was as if they conversed in their tongues. The well-known and outstanding languages of the world number about a thousand. It was necessary for the disciples to have written the Gospels in at least one of the languages of other nations. Thus, as it is known, the Gospels were written only in Hebrew and Greek, and not even in the language of the Romans, although it was at the time the official language. As the disciples were not well-versed in it, the Gospels were not written in that language. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a previously untranslated Tablet, Extracts From The Bahá’í Writings And From Letters Of The Guardian And The Universal House Of Justice On The Old And New Testaments)
I can agree with all of that regarding “The disciples of Christ taught His Faith with the language of the Kingdom. That language conformeth to all languages, for it consisteth of celestial meanings and divine mysteries.”

I do not know why Abdu’l-Baha is saying that the disciples wrote the Gospels. Most scholars do not assert that the disciples wrote the Gospels. Perhaps this research came after Abdu’l-Baha wrote what he did.

Apologetics: How Do We Know Who Wrote the Gospels?

Who Wrote the Four Gospels of the New Testament? An Introduction to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
"The Holy Gospels alone contain teachings which can be regarded as the true Words of God; and these teachings do not exceed the contents of a few pages." - Mirza 'Abdu'l-Fad'l, Apostle of Bahá'u'lláh
Note that he says that these teachings do not exceed the contents of “a few pages.” I think he means that most of the Gospels are not the true Words of God.
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#54
Venu,

In the above quotes you have well summarized many aspects regarding the truth of the Holy Scriptures. Baha’u’llah made clear that the “Gospel” was not corrupted, contrary to what most Muslim scholars asserted. As I related in an earlier post, “Gospel” can refer to the whole New Testament, not just the four Gospels.

What Mirza Abu-Fadl said was making a very different point, which is that the actual words of Jesus quoted in the Gospels are few. The implication is that the directly quoted words of Jesus have far greater spiritual weight than the words of the Apostles, and I agree with that assessment. That doesn’t mean that the words of the Apostles are not the Word of God, I believe God inspired them, and that the whole Bible is inspired, even though many parts are from multiple sources that were edited together. Biblical scholars spend their whole careers trying to figure out what material was used as sources. The whole Bible is inspired by God, but how it came to its current form is a mystery that no one can answer precisely. I believe this is true for Hindu scriptures also.

In the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, we have a great bounty that all of the original sources exist, many in the handwriting of Baha’u’llah Himself, or a known scribe who can be identified by handwriting. Therefore, this is the standard for “authentic” writings. There is such an abundance of writings with original manuscripts that sayings and second hand accounts are not considered Scripture. This would not be possible for older Revelations, where the originals no longer exist.
Jcc,

The word "Gospel" originally referred to Christian message but now it refers to teaching, revelation or a record of Jesus' life as contained in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But I have no issues if people want to refer to the whole New Testament as the Gospel.

Spiritual truths have a divine vibration associated with them. Those who meditate and commune with God can feel a resonance of that vibration within their consciousness when they come across those truths no matter what religion they are found in. The best way to verify the truth of any teaching is to meditate upon it and intuitively validate it. If that is not easy or possible, we may have to rely on the credibility of the author and take his word.

The Christian Bible is actually a collection of many books and it is not clear as to who the authors were. Also, we do not know if all the authors were manifestations of God. Scriptures tend to get corrupted by people for various reasons. There are many passages in the Bible that are questionable. For example those that promote slavery cannot possibly have come from God.

Sometimes, the scriptures and teachings of different religions seems to contradict each other over historical facts. For example, the gospels have recorded that Jesus was crucified and after three days he resurrected himself both physically and spiritually. However, the Quran says that Jesus was not crucified and so his resurrection is ruled out. Check out this verse from the Quran:

And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself (Quran 4:157–158)

Some of the Bahai members on this forum are saying that the Quran is the protected word of God. Does that mean the Bahai consider the Quran to be more credible than the four gospels on the life of Jesus. If so, how is it that Bahaullah, Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have acknowledged the crucifixion of Jesus and contradicted the Quran in this regard.

Know thou that when the Son of Man [Jesus] yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. - Bahaullah

In order to understand the reality of sacrifice let us consider the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is true that He sacrificed Himself for our sake. What is the meaning of this? When Christ appeared, He knew that He must proclaim Himself in opposition to all the nations and peoples of the earth. He knew that mankind would arise against Him and inflict upon Him all manner of tribulations. There is no doubt that one who put forth such a claim as Christ announced would arouse the hostility of the world and be subjected to personal abuse. He realized that His blood would be shed and His body rent by violence. Notwithstanding His knowledge of what would befall Him, He arose to proclaim His message, suffered all tribulation and hardships from the people and finally offered His life as a sacrifice in order to illumine humanity—gave His blood in order to guide the world of mankind. He accepted every calamity and suffering in order to guide men to the truth. Had He desired to save His own life, and were He without wish to offer Himself in sacrifice, He would not have been able to guide a single soul. There was no doubt that His blessed blood would be shed and His body broken. Nevertheless, that Holy Soul accepted calamity and death in His love for mankind. This is one of the meanings of sacrifice. - Abdul Baha

It is interesting that Bahaullah seems to be silent on the issue of Jesus's resurrection but Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have stated that the resurrection is not physical but only spiritual. Hindu manifestations of God like Paramahansa Yogananda who communed with Jesus have taught that the resurrection was both physical and spiritual as stated in the gospels.

-Venu
 
Likes: Trailblazer
Jul 2017
421
Olympia, WA, USA
#55
Sometimes, the scriptures and teachings of different religions seems to contradict each other over historical facts. For example, the gospels have recorded that Jesus was crucified and after three days he resurrected himself both physically and spiritually. However, the Quran says that Jesus was not crucified and so his resurrection is ruled out. Check out this verse from the Quran:

And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself (Quran 4:157–158)

Some of the Bahai members on this forum are saying that the Quran is the protected word of God. Does that mean the Bahai consider the Quran to be more credible than the four gospels on the life of Jesus. If so, how is it that Bahaullah, Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have acknowledged the crucifixion of Jesus and contradicted the Quran in this regard.

Know thou that when the Son of Man [Jesus] yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. - Bahaullah
That is a very good question. It seems to me that only three logical possibilities exist: (1) that the Quran is in error, or (3) the Qur'an was mistranslated, or (3) that this verse has another meaning that is not obvious. The problem is that Shoghi Effendi is saying we can be sure of what is quoted in the Qur'an, so it seems to me that either (2) or (3) are the most likely.

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 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)
It is interesting that Bahaullah seems to be silent on the issue of Jesus's resurrection but Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have stated that the resurrection is not physical but only spiritual. Hindu manifestations of God like Paramahansa Yogananda who communed with Jesus have taught that the resurrection was both physical and spiritual as stated in the gospels.
Although Baha'u'llah did not address the bodily resurrection of Jesus, Baha'u'llah was not silent on the meaning of resurrection .

“The fifth question concerneth the Bridge of Ṣiráṭ, Paradise, and Hell. The Prophets of God have come in truth and have spoken the truth. Whatsoever the Messenger of God hath announced hath been and will be made manifest. The world is established upon the foundations of reward and punishment. Knowledge and understanding have ever affirmed and will continue to affirm the reality of Paradise and Hell, for reward and punishment require their existence. Paradise signifieth first and foremost the good-pleasure of God. Whosoever attaineth His good-pleasure is reckoned and recorded among the inhabitants of the most exalted paradise and will attain, after the ascension of his soul, that which pen and ink are powerless to describe. For them that are endued with insight and have fixed their gaze upon the Most Sublime Vision, the Bridge, the Balance, Paradise, Hellfire, and all that hath been mentioned and recorded in the Sacred Scriptures are clear and manifest. At the time of the appearance and manifestation of the rays of the Daystar of Truth, all occupy the same station. God then proclaimeth that which He willeth, and whoso heareth His call and acknowledgeth His truth is accounted among the inhabitants of Paradise. Such a soul hath traversed the Bridge, the Balance, and all that hath been recorded regarding the Day of Resurrection, and hath reached his destination. The Day of God’s Revelation is the Day of the most great Resurrection. We cherish the hope that, quaffing from the choice wine of divine inspiration and the pure waters of heavenly grace, thou mayest attain the station of discovery and witnessing, and behold, both outwardly and inwardly, all that which thou hast mentioned.” The Tabernacle of Unity, Tablet of the Seven Questions, pp. 62- 63

“How strange! These people with one hand cling to those verses of the Qur’án and those traditions of the people of certitude which they have found to accord with their inclinations and interests, and with the other reject those which are contrary to their selfish desires. “Believe ye then part of the Book, and deny part?” 4 …….. And yet, through the mystery of the former verse, they have turned away from the grace promised by the latter, despite the fact that “attainment unto the divine Presence” in the “Day of Resurrection” is explicitly stated in the Book. It hath been demonstrated and definitely established, through clear evidences, that by “Resurrection” is meant the rise of the Manifestation of God to proclaim His Cause, and by “attainment unto the divine Presence” is meant attainment unto the presence of His Beauty in the person of His Manifestation.” The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 169-170

“Strive, therefore, O my brother, to grasp the meaning of “Resurrection,” and cleanse thine ears from the idle sayings of these rejected people. Shouldst thou step into the realm of complete detachment, thou wilt readily testify that no day is mightier than this Day, and that no resurrection more awful than this Resurrection can ever be conceived. One righteous work performed in this Day, equalleth all the virtuous acts which for myriads of centuries men have practised—nay, We ask forgiveness of God for such a comparison! For verily the reward which such a deed deserveth is immensely beyond and above the estimate of men. Inasmuch as these undiscerning and wretched souls have failed to apprehend the true meaning of “Resurrection” and of the “attainment unto the divine Presence,” they therefore have remained utterly deprived of the grace thereof. The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 144-145


It seems to me that if the bodily resurrection of Jesus had been important enough to address, Baha'u'llah would have addressed it, as He did address the crucifixion. That does not mean that Jesus did not rise from the grave, but it seems to me that it does not really matter that much. One has to ask themselves why it would matter if the physical body of Jesus rose from the grave? Obviously it matters to Christians because they beleive that the physical body of Jesus ascended to heaven and that the same Jesus will return to earth someday. However, this is not a Baha'i belief and it is in direct contradiction to the Baha'i belief that Baha'u'llah was the second coming, the return of the Spirit of Christ, that which Baha'u'llah Himself claimed to be.
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#56
That is a very good question. It seems to me that only three logical possibilities exist: (1) that the Quran is in error, or (3) the Qur'an was mistranslated, or (3) that this verse has another meaning that is not obvious. The problem is that Shoghi Effendi is saying we can be sure of what is quoted in the Qur'an, so it seems to me that either (2) or (3) are the most likely.
If this Quran verse was mistranslated from Arabic in to English, is it not strange that native Arabic speakers are not correcting it. Truth is that even native Arabic speakers who can understand the Quran in Arabic assert that Jesus was not crucified. You can find YouTube videos of such Islamic preachers. There are many Arabs whose native language is Arabic and they also speak English. How is it that they are not able to translate the Quran correctly?

If this Quran verse has another meaning, how are we supposed to understand the Quran's assertion that another person was placed in Jesus' place and that Jesus was never killed. Who was the other person?

This is not the only verse in the Quran I have a problem accepting as a divine revelation. For example Quran 2:65 and 7:166 say that Jews were turned or cursed to become apes for breaking the Sabbath. I know many Muslims who do not pray 5 times a day as required by Islam but God has not turned them in to apes. However God according to the Quran was so displeased with Jews that broke Sabbath that they were cursed to become apes. And Quran 5:60 says some Jews were turned to swine. There is at least one Hadith that says Jews were turned in to rats. Quran 33:50 allows Muslims to take women as prisoners of war and have have sex with them. Yes, Quran promotes sex slavery of women and muslims have used verses like Quran 33:50 to rape women even in this day and age. Ask the Yazidi women taken captive by ISIS. I cannot agree that God after giving us freedom would teach men to violate the freedom and basic rights of women and sexually abuse them. This is just a tribal custom of the Arabs that was incorporated in to the Quran. It cannot be a divine revelation. There is nothing divine about taking helpless women captive, trading them as commodities and then forcing them in to sexual acts. I can give examples of other questionable verses in the Quran but I think I have made my point. I realize there are great spiritual truths in the Quran but that does not mean parts of the Quran are not corrupted as evidenced by the verses I referenced.

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 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)
We cannot be sure of the authenticity of all the verses in the Quran either. I gave some examples above. There is an entire chapter in the Quran dedicated to looting the property of the infidels during the time of war because it is considered booty of the war. A war must be fought to uphold principles of righteousness and the war is fought only between two armies. Civilians and their property must never be touched because the war is not fought for women, children or civilian wealth. If you ever read the life stories of Hindu avatars like Krishna and Rama, you will notice they never touched civilians or their property when they fought their enemies. Taking women captive and having sex with them was considered a crime. You will never see Jesus or Buddha teaching their followers to loot civilian property, sell children and women in slave market as commodities, take women captive and have sex with them even during the time of war. How did these tribal traditions and practices get in to the Quran if it is the protected word of God?

Although Baha'u'llah did not address the bodily resurrection of Jesus, Baha'u'llah was not silent on the meaning of resurrection .
I am not sure how Bahauallah's teachings on Resurrection deny the possibility of physical resurrection. The gospels (John 11:1-44) tell us that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life 4 days after he died which was clearly a physical resurrection of Lazarus. If Jesus had the ability to physically resurrect Lazarus, why should it be surprising that Jesus could physically resurrect himself.

It seems to me that if the bodily resurrection of Jesus had been important enough to address, Baha'u'llah would have addressed it, as He did address the crucifixion. That does not mean that Jesus did not rise from the grave, but it seems to me that it does not really matter that much.
Miracles don't help us realize the spiritual truths in the teachings of prophets. Miracles do not purify the human heart. Miracles do not increase our attunement with Divine will. Miracles don't take us closer to God. But when a prophet finds himself amidst sceptical people who reject his teachings and question his spiritual stature and mission, God sometimes prompts the prophet to perform some miracles so he can win over the sceptics and to enable his teachings to start taking root. I personally don't care much about miracles. It makes no difference to me if Bahaullah was not born to a virgin or if he did not resurrect himself after death. His teachings carry the same spiritual vibration and vitality as those of Jesus. Christians make a big deal of the miracles of Jesus. Buddha did not have a human father either but the Buddhists hardly ever talk about it. Buddha performed many miracles but the Buddhists don't care. They are busy cleaning their hearts, making their minds strong and resurrecting their souls in Spirit that are now imprisoned in the physical bodies and that's the best way of following a religion.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2013
565
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#57
Jcc,

Spiritual truths have a divine vibration associated with them. Those who meditate and commune with God can feel a resonance of that vibration within their consciousness when they come across those truths no matter what religion they are found in. The best way to verify the truth of any teaching is to meditate upon it and intuitively validate it. If that is not easy or possible, we may have to rely on the credibility of the author and take his word.
I agree completely with you here. The whole purpose of Holy Scripture is to stimulate that vibration within the consciousness of humanity, causing us to have a spiritual connection with God and also change our behavior over time. As you say, it is not easy for everyone to have that instant recognition of the Word of God, but they may feel an attraction to God's Messenger (Manifestation, Prophet), and through our love for Him, our spiritual capacities grow and we begin to see glimmerings of the great truth of the Universe. Jesus said "he who has eyes to see, let him see". These are spiritual eyes.

The Christian Bible is actually a collection of many books and it is not clear as to who the authors were. Also, we do not know if all the authors were manifestations of God. Scriptures tend to get corrupted by people for various reasons. There are many passages in the Bible that are questionable. For example those that promote slavery cannot possibly have come from God.
I don't think anything in the Bible promotes slavery, but it does permit slavery, and that is not due to anyone corrupting the scriptures. To me there is no question that for thousands of years all the religious systems permitted the enslavement of other humans, or said nothing against it. This includes the Caste system, which is virtual enslavement of the lower castes. It is only when Baha'u'llah came that He explicitly forbade the practice of slavery. It is interesting that in the decades leading up to the Revelation of the Bab in 1844 and of Baha'u'llah in 1853, there was a movement in the West to abolish slavery, mainly led by a minority of Christians who felt that true Christian teachings were against it. But the fact is that for 1800 years of Christianity the practice of slavery was never questioned, and for how many thousands of years the Caste system was never questioned.

So, what should we understand from this? To me it highlights the Baha'i concept that religion is progressive, and it is according to God's Will that religious teachings change and develop over time, in accordance with the state of development of humanity. In fact it is the Word of God that is causing humanity to develop, just as the Word is the original Creator, it continues to recreate us.

Sometimes, the scriptures and teachings of different religions seems to contradict each other over historical facts. For example, the gospels have recorded that Jesus was crucified and after three days he resurrected himself both physically and spiritually. However, the Quran says that Jesus was not crucified and so his resurrection is ruled out. Check out this verse from the Quran:

And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself (Quran 4:157–158)

Some of the Bahai members on this forum are saying that the Quran is the protected word of God. Does that mean the Bahai consider the Quran to be more credible than the four gospels on the life of Jesus. If so, how is it that Bahaullah, Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have acknowledged the crucifixion of Jesus and contradicted the Quran in this regard.
I don't think the Baha'i Teachings say the Quran is the "protected" Word of God any more than the other Scriptures are protected. What Shoghi Effendi said is that the Quran contains the actual words of the Prophet Muhammad, and this is due to the fact it was a bit more recent and could be preserved in writing shortly after Muhammad's ascension.

Understanding the meaning of the Quran or other Scriptures is a totally different question. The "corruption of the scriptures" that Muhammad said the Jews were guilty of was not altering the text, but rather misrepresenting what it means. Muslims are just as guilty of that now as the Jews were. There is a strong tendency in Islam to be very literal in interpretation of the Quran, and that is mostly inappropriate and misleading. There are many layers of meaning in Scripture, but if you just hold onto a superficial meaning you lose the whole purpose. There are many things in Scripture which if you take at face value would lead to contradiction or paradox. This requires us to see the deeper meaning, and the implications behind it. To me, the key to understanding the paradox of the above quote from the Quran is the last phrase: "Rather, Allah raised him to Himself". Think about it, if Jesus were not physically killed then He would not have been "raised up", and the Quran is confirming that Jesus was raised up. It also says "[another] was made to resemble him to them". That is because the people did not see the true reality of Jesus, they had an image in their minds of who Jesus was.

Know thou that when the Son of Man [Jesus] yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things.
- Bahaullah

In order to understand the reality of sacrifice let us consider the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is true that He sacrificed Himself for our sake. What is the meaning of this? When Christ appeared, He knew that He must proclaim Himself in opposition to all the nations and peoples of the earth. He knew that mankind would arise against Him and inflict upon Him all manner of tribulations. There is no doubt that one who put forth such a claim as Christ announced would arouse the hostility of the world and be subjected to personal abuse. He realized that His blood would be shed and His body rent by violence. Notwithstanding His knowledge of what would befall Him, He arose to proclaim His message, suffered all tribulation and hardships from the people and finally offered His life as a sacrifice in order to illumine humanity—gave His blood in order to guide the world of mankind. He accepted every calamity and suffering in order to guide men to the truth. Had He desired to save His own life, and were He without wish to offer Himself in sacrifice, He would not have been able to guide a single soul. There was no doubt that His blessed blood would be shed and His body broken. Nevertheless, that Holy Soul accepted calamity and death in His love for mankind. This is one of the meanings of sacrifice. - Abdul Baha

It is interesting that Bahaullah seems to be silent on the issue of Jesus's resurrection but Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi have stated that the resurrection is not physical but only spiritual. Hindu manifestations of God like Paramahansa Yogananda who communed with Jesus have taught that the resurrection was both physical and spiritual as stated in the gospels.

-Venu
Yes, as far as I can tell you are correct that Baha'u'llah did not address the physical resurrection of Jesus after He was crucified, at least not in anything that has as yet been translated into English. He spoke about the Resurrection very frequently, but that is referring to what is usually understood as the raising of all dead at the end of the world, and Baha'u'llah made it clear that this not to be interpreted literally. Baha'u'llah explains that the "end of the world" really means the end of a religious dispensation, when a new Messenger comes, the "old world" passes away and a new one is created, in fact both a "new heaven" and a "new earth".

In the two quotes from Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha above there is no contradiction, rather, Abdu'l-Baha is teaching about the meaning sacrifice using the example of Christ. I would suggest to you that there is never any contradiction between the Writings of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha, but if something appears that way, it means we have to look deeper, and if we do, we understand a greater truth.

I do think about why Baha'u'llah or any Messenger would choose to talk about some things and not others. For example, He refers explicitly to certain Prophets of the past, mostly those which are mentioned in the Quran, but to some others as well, depending on who He was addressing. There is a very interesting tablet written to a Parsi (Zoroastrian from India), Manikji Sahib, where He answers many questions dealing with Zoroastrian, Hindu and Muslim concepts.

Jesus said "I have many sheep that are not of this fold". To me that clearly says that other religions are also also His "sheep", but according to God's wisdom, He is not choosing to talk about them at the moment. Christians see it another way, that the other sheep must be other Christians, they can't possibly be Buddhists, Hindus or Zoroastrians.
 
Jul 2017
295
Kettering, Ohio USA
#58
"...Though we cannot imagine exactly what the Manifestations of the remote past were like, we can be sure of two things have been able to reach their fellow-men in a normal manner- as Bahá'u'lláh reached His generation, and They were sent from God and thus Divine Beings. The crucifixion as recounted in the New Testament is correct. The meaning of the Qur'ánic version is that the spirit of Christ was not Crucified. There is no conflict between the two.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 14, 1943)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 491)
 
Mar 2015
225
Bend area, Oregon
#59
Venu:

How elementary and over simplified, at this point in time, is our concept of the great Principle of what we as Bahá'ís promote as “Progressive Revelation”. Given that, I will offer some words from Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God related to the overall subject.

“The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, the followers of His Faith firmly believe, is that Religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the non-essential aspects of their doctrines and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society.” (Shoghi Effendi, Summary Statement – 1947, Special UN Committee on Palestine)

Perhaps because of the investigative work of others outside the Faith, like yourself, and the challenging questions asked of the Bahá'ís, will those of us within the Bahá'í community then be motivated to look beyond our over simplified version of the “fundamental principle” of the relativity of religious truth and the progressive process of Divine Revelation and advance toward fuller understandings.

Thank you Venu for providing that challenge. Throughout this process, may you grow in your appreciation of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh as well.

LR
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Sep 2010
4,521
Earth
#60
I don't think anything in the Bible promotes slavery, but it does permit slavery, and that is not due to anyone corrupting the scriptures. To me there is no question that for thousands of years all the religious systems permitted the enslavement of other humans, or said nothing against it. This includes the Caste system, which is virtual enslavement of the lower castes. It is only when Baha'u'llah came that He explicitly forbade the practice of slavery. It is interesting that in the decades leading up to the Revelation of the Bab in 1844 and of Baha'u'llah in 1853, there was a movement in the West to abolish slavery, mainly led by a minority of Christians who felt that true Christian teachings were against it. But the fact is that for 1800 years of Christianity the practice of slavery was never questioned, and for how many thousands of years the Caste system was never questioned.
Abdul'baha has now shown us that true life is now as a willing servant to all humanity. We can choose to be the servant.

Regards Tony
 

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