Was Baha’u’llah the Prince of this world?

Mar 2013
541
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#21
Umm...whoa...do you think you could quote that one for me? I believe that he may have said something to the effect of abrogation, but saying that the Bible should be "put on the bookshelf," as in ignored? Wow. That's an attitude that is sure to build walls. If you can't see the value in the supreme revelation of God that was valid for thousands of years, that attitude is going to ooze through everything you try to communicate, and shoot attempts at unity in the foot. I imagine it would be abject arrogance in the eyes of Christians.

Not sure what you're trying to accomplish, as your attitude sounds similar to a colonist missionary trying to extinguish the old faith of the natives they want to convert. It's kind of scary really, and seems utterly opposed to all attempts at spreading the Baha'i faith I've ever encountered....thank God! I might never have accepted Baha'u'llah if I ran into such an attitude among Baha'is.

Perhaps it is time to humbly study the teachings of the Bible, and begin to see value in what it has to offer. Find connections and build bridges, not invisible walls in your heart. There are many, many important spiritual lessons to be learned from the Bible that will be completely valid throughout the Baha'i era. As a former Christian, I almost feel pity for you that cannot seem to find value in the Bible. Do you have the same attitude toward the Qur'an, the teachings of the Buddha or Krishna, or, for that matter, the Bab? Really, even the religions of various native populations across the globe that don't stem from major Manifestations are given serious credibility among Baha'is. Their perspectives are highly valued and offer many contributions in the context of the Baha'i faith.

My advice: Back off from the "Baha'i supremacy" angle and try to build unity. You'll find that people of other faiths are far more receptive.

Other than that, good question in the original post. I've always wondered about the "Prince of this World" thing and I like the answers and perspectives that have been offered in this thread.
Hi!

In my experience, different Baha'is have different opinions about whether they should study the Bible, Qur'an or other scriptures, based on their own history with other faiths. That's normal because they may have had bad experiences or found it unproductive to study the Bible with certain Christians, or whatever. Abdu'l-Baha frequently quoted the Bible when speaking with Christians and had profound knowledge of its meaning. There are many Baha'is who are quite familiar with the Bible, study it frequently and are able to have productive discussions with Christians about it, provided they are at least somewhat open minded. Likewise, the Scriptures of other religions.

The point is, we need to meet each person where they are, whether Baha'i, Christian, or whatever.
 
Likes: Trailblazer
Jul 2017
341
Olympia, WA, USA
#22
The point is, we need to meet each person where they are, whether Baha'i, Christian, or whatever.
Well said. If we are unable to do this we will never be able to have unity. Unity does not mean we are all the same, it means that we can be different and still get along with one another in a spirit of fellowship.

i love how Abdu'l-Baha explained it.

“Consider the world of created beings, how varied and diverse they are in species, yet with one sole origin. All the differences that appear are those of outward form and colour. This diversity of type is apparent throughout the whole of nature.
Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth, in foliage—and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers, shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon them and the same clouds give them rain.....
Thus should it be among the children of men! The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.....
Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one.
Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts.
Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.”Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 51-53
Those are excerpts.... For the whole chapter: BEAUTY AND HARMONY IN DIVERSITY

We should treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve no matter what they believe or disbelieve.

Many people ask me why I still post to an atheist I have been posting to for five years, since nothing has changed and he still has the same arguments against the idea of Messengers of God. I tell them I do not keep posting to him to convince him, I post to him because I care about him as a human being. I do not know what God has in store for him, if anything, but it is not my job to know that.

There is also a Christian on that forum who has consistently lambasted Baha'u'llah and lambasted me with Bible verses, saying I am going to hell along with the atheists. Sometimes it is best not to respond, but if I do I only respond to what I feel might be beneficial and not cause disharmony. Now, after a very long time, he is asking me questions instead of preaching at me. Only now can there be any kind of fruitful dialogue. If one person insists they are right and the other is wrong, there is nowhere to go with that.

Indeed, we we need to meet each person where they are. If they choose to stay there it is not our place to change them, but sometimes people get curious enough to wonder about the Baha'i Faith and then we can explain what they are asking about.
 
Oct 2014
1,787
Stockholm
#23
The answer is simple: yes, He said so Himself:

Ye are but vassals, O kings of the earth! He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared, arrayed in His most wondrous glory, and is summoning you unto Himself, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Take heed lest pride deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation, lest the things of this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of heaven. Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations, Who hath created you through a word from Him, and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty.

Best,

from

gnat
 
Dec 2018
8
United States
#24
Hello,

First of all, I extend my apologies to Trailblazer for making so many assumptions. I was a bit too harsh, got caught up in my own trains of thought, and didn't take the time to step back from the situation that I should have. Trailblazer, much of the criticism you gave me was well deserved and I am sorry. However, there are still a few concerns that I will address, and hopefully I can do so without sounding like a jerk.

That is a straw man. I never said anything about eradication. Those are your words. I said that there can never be world unity as long as all the different religions are fighting with each other over which one is right.
I said: “The context in which I speak is that unless those are put on the bookshelf nobody will ever recognize Baha’u’llah, or at the very least only a few people will...” This is just a logical fact; it is not a personal opinion.
"The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions." And this is where I get confused about what you are saying. I want to be sure to get it right so I hope you will explain. The word "eradication" may be a straw man but what exactly are you suggesting? Human beings will never think exactly alike, and if they did they would cease to be human. There are very strong implications in what you are saying that world unity is impossible until all people are Baha'is. That sounds like the eradication of other religions to me. Perhaps you could explain what you meant, then?

Another straw man. I did not devalue ANY Manifestations of God or the wisdom their followers have accrued over most of recorded history.
I will concede to part of this. You never devalued any Manifestation, at least not directly. But you certainly did equate Christianity with being mentally unwell. That sounds like devaluation, at least from where I stand.

People who are Jews or Christians are not going to ALSO be Baha’is. As long as they cling to the past they are going to reject Baha’u’llah. Moreover, these religions as they are practiced and believed in are no longer the Truth from God, they are counterfeits and imitations.

As Abdu’l-Baha wrote:

“True religion is the source of love and agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of praiseworthy qualities; but the people are holding to the counterfeit and imitation, negligent of the reality which unifies; so they are bereft and deprived of the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited from their fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed that they have taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in the darkness of imitations and imaginations.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 71)
Okay, here's the thing. Having grown up almost entirely around Christians, I can tell you that not as many Christians take the Bible literally as you think. In certain circles, especially to be found on the internet, they do. But even as child in a Catholic private school I was explicitly told in classes about the Bible that many Bible stories, especially as told in the Old Testament, were not meant to be taken literally. They were stories told by the people of old to make sense of the universe, handed down by tradition. They still had spiritual meanings that could be deduced, however. Even the literal meaning of the miracles of Jesus were downplayed these classes, especially as I got older, and instead the focus was on the spiritual meanings that lay behind them.

I can acknowledge all of the quotes you posted on the matter, and even agree with them. They apply especially to the leaders of older religions, which I think is what these quotes were dealing with most directly.


I am not trying to make headway. I already said that. I just share the Baha’i Faith if the topic comes up on a forum. I have no tactics because I am not trying to convert anyone. Since you have no idea what I have encountered on forums you should not even be speaking about it as if you know.
On this matter, I will state you are absolutely right. I made assumptions and I do not know what you encountered on the forums. Still, I have never met anyone who taught the faith that didn't secretly harbor some motivation to lead others to Baha'i. Or else why even teach? Considering your earlier dismay about people not becoming Baha'i, I thought your motivation for teaching may also lead others to Baha'i. "Trying to convert" is probably too strong of a statement, though,


Another straw man. I never said that which is aged has no value. But you do not need to listen to anything I say. Just read what Abdu’l-Baha and Baha’u’llah wrote. Do you think you know more than they do?
When you suggested "putting them on bookshelf" when talking about older revelations, the implication that I understood was that they ceased to have value. I neglected to understand that many books on the bookshelf are meant to be used and revisited frequently. While I do not feel that you meant it that way, it is one way to look at it.

Another straw man. Who do you think you are to call me willfully blind? I have made many sincere attempts to connect with Christians and understand Christianity. The evidence is all on the forums I have frequented for six years. I have also read many parts of the Bible. I do not take anyone’s word for anything. Did you hear a single thing I said before: I find value in anything that is a teaching of Jesus, the wonderful parables, etc., but that is not what the Bible is about.
Not what the Bible is about? What is it about then? As a Christian the parables of Jesus were the very foundation and center of my beliefs in God. How you can say they are not what the Bible is about is entirely beyond me. It says to me that even if you made a sincere attempt to understand Christianity it was certainly an inefficient one.

What does it mean to be a true Christian? I'm willing to bet that your gut reaction to that question probably has something to do with spiritual teachings. Even ardent atheists, when using the words "true Christian" usually mean something to that effect. They unwittingly measure Christians in terms of their own teachings about kindness, understanding and humility, and appreciation for their fellow humans. And that, in a nutshell, is what Christianity is about.

And what about Jews? Not much different, really. Kindness, understanding, humility and appreciation for their fellow humans. And they don't even rely on the New Testament. It's all in the Old.

Now I have to ask you, who are the ones in this day an age focusing on the stories of violence and conquest in the Bible? Who are the ones saying that they are what the Bible is all about? Certainly not practicing Jews and Christians. With the exception of some nationalistic propaganda in more recent history, practitioners of Judaism and Christianity have entirely moved on from the idea of a Biblically supported holy war. Who hasn't moved on? Their worst critics. The ones who seek to find nothing but fault with them and undermine them. The ones who don't practice, who don't understand that the core of any religion is its spirituality.

Give me a spiritually devout Jew or Christian over a self-righteous atheist--or even Baha'i--any day.


Let’s look at a few little things Jesus said, that were posted to me on another forum:

Matthew 13:38-42 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

This is what Christians post to atheists when they threaten them. I do not make these things up. It is all on the forums. Apparently you are just unaware what goes on in real life. These are human beings with feelings and they are told they are going to hell constantly. I am also told I am going to hell because I do not believe in the same Jesus they believe in, the Jesus of Christianity that the Church created, which is not the real Jesus.
True, it's a bit harsh and visceral. And perhaps the Jesus of history was not the same as the versions of Christianity which have won out over the years. But even Baha'u'llah gave threats of punishment for unbelievers in God. Given your knowledge of the writings, you could probably find them more quickly and easily than I can. Unless of course you choose to ignore them.

A common theme in all Abrahamic religions is punishment for unbelievers. Baha'i is much more relaxed about it, and doesn't teach anything about a permanent suffering in hell. But the consequence of unbelief is still suffering in it's own special Baha'i way. Before you judge Christians too harshly, be sure to look at what Baha'u'llah actually wrote. It may lack the drama of angels and the end of the world, but it's really not different. Unbelievers will suffer in the afterlife, and God will allow it. The difference between Baha'i and Christianity (and perhaps Islam) is that Baha'is don't believe unbelievers are beyond redemption, even after death. We pat ourselves on the back for such tolerance, but that doesn't negate the actual teachings.

Another straw man. I do not even try to get anyone to agree with me -- ever. I just share what I believe and listen to what others believe or disbelieve.
Then what are you so upset about? If it was never your intention to persuade, at least a little, then why take it so personally?

I know other points of view and other religions because I have spent every waking hour when not at work on forums for the last six years on various forums listening to what other people believe and disbelieve.

I do not have time to study all the other religions. I have not even read all the Writings of the Baha’i Faith yet.
It's not a matter of time. It's a matter of priorities. If you really do spend every waking hour on forums then you actually have plenty of time to allocate. For example, I could have spent all of my spare time on forums this past week, but instead I chose to read some books about religion instead. One recent discovery I recommend for you, considering your perspectives on the criticism of the Bible, is called Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith by Barnabas Piper. Yes, it's Christian, but it speaks directly to many of the things you say atheists condemn, and how believers should handle it. 99% of anything in the book that references Jesus could also apply to Baha'u'llah, and attitudes toward the return of Christ could also be applied toward Baha'i prophecies of the Greater Peace. Right now the ebook is under a dollar on Amazon, though I don't know how long that will last.

In fact, I would like to formally challenge you to read the book. Just buy it and spend a half hour a day reading it, and you should be finished in a week or two. It's not long. The internet forums will go on with or without you, and the opinions of people on them aren't going to change while you're away. But I think Help My Unbelief will enhance your relationship with God. Don't let pride prevent you from taking advice from a Christian. You will probably find you have much in common.

How do you know what I have done in my life? How arrogant. You do not know me from Adam. Yet you speak for me as if you know my heart and mind. Do you ever listen to yourself? Self-reflection? I spent 20 years in counseling and 12-step programs before I even considered myself of being worthy to be a Baha’i.
Perhaps it was a good deal of arrogance. I apologize. I have had my own journey and it was wrong of me to minimize yours, which I know nothing about. But to say you do not have any walls? We all have walls. Saying a person has walls is like trying to hit a target you can't miss. So I still think it's true. And yes, I have my own, and plenty of them. Some I may not see, but others I will acknowledge and try to work on. I am not so naive as to believe I do not have any, however.

No, I do not think, and it is not your job to think for me. Calling me disingenuous, I expect this from an atheist but not from a Baha’i. Do you even know what is in the Baha'i Writings?
When I mentioned the disingenuous part, I was thinking of how your claim of "awe and respect" equated to calling believers of Christianity mentally unwell. That is all. It did not take into account the full level of nuances of your opinion, for which I apologize.

Another straw man. I do not continuously tell people how to start on their side of the river. I do not have time to study another religion. I do not need to read the spiritual teachings of older religions because I have the spiritual teachings of the Baha’i Faith.
You are right that I am making many assumptions from your post. It sounded to me like you were presenting the Baha'i Faith on internet forums to kindle interest in it, and possibly lead others to it. That is, after all, why we are called on to teach. It also seems inherently obvious to me that one should seek to find common ground in spiritual teachings, and that before teaching others of different religions we should be able to see followers of those religions through their own eyes--at least as much as it humanly possible. You made a few critical statements about Christianity which did not align with my experience of it, and I jumped to many conclusions. I apologize.

Do you know more than Baha’u’llah?
No. I do not claim to have full knowledge of the nuances of the Baha'i revelation, despite the decades of experience I have with it.
 
Jul 2017
341
Olympia, WA, USA
#25
First of all, I extend my apologies to Trailblazer for making so many assumptions. I was a bit too harsh, got caught up in my own trains of thought, and didn't take the time to step back from the situation that I should have. Trailblazer, much of the criticism you gave me was well deserved and I am sorry. However, there are still a few concerns that I will address, and hopefully I can do so without sounding like a jerk.
That’s okay and I accept your apology. I get so many people on forums making assumptions about my intentions that I was pretty sensitive to that. Sorry for all the straw men... I learned taht expression from all the atheists I post to and it stuck.
"The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions." And this is where I get confused about what you are saying. I want to be sure to get it right so I hope you will explain. The word "eradication" may be a straw man but what exactly are you suggesting? Human beings will never think exactly alike, and if they did they would cease to be human. There are very strong implications in what you are saying that world unity is impossible until all people are Baha'is. That sounds like the eradication of other religions to me. Perhaps you could explain what you meant, then?
To me, it is just a logical fact that as long as all the different religions are fighting with each other over which one is right there cannot be world unity. Is it possible that all the world religions could learn to live together and get along in a spirit of unity and harmony? Sure it is possible, but it is highly unlikely, because each one thinks it is the only true religion.

However, whether they can learn to get along or not, that is a moot point. I just believe what Baha’u’llah wrote and what He wrote is what I posted to you before in the quotes.

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

I just think logically. If they are devoid of truth why should people keep hanging onto them? I can get along with anyone, atheists, agnosticism and people of all different religions, but I cannot pretend that what they believe is the truth. Some of it is the truth, but it is not the truth for this age in history and it is missing what we need to know in this age.

So what I share with them is that I believe that all the scriptures as they were originally revealed are the truth from God, and the spiritual verities of all the major religions are the eternal truth from God, but man has tampered with the scriptures so much that much of scripture is no longer represent the Truth from God, and the older religions do not have the latest message from God or the social teachings and laws that are pertinent to this age in history. I only bring any of this up if it is related to a dialogue where we are comparing religions. I never bring it up out of the blue.
I will concede to part of this. You never devalued any Manifestation, at least not directly. But you certainly did equate Christianity with being mentally unwell. That sounds like devaluation, at least from where I stand.
I am not say any individuals as mentally unwell. A religion cannot be mentally unwell, but it can be wrong. That Christianity is wrong in most of its doctrines (from a Baha’i viewpoint) does not come from ME, so it is not a personal opinion. It is just a fact.
Okay, here's the thing. Having grown up almost entirely around Christians, I can tell you that not as many Christians take the Bible literally as you think. In certain circles, especially to be found on the internet, they do. But even as child in a Catholic private school I was explicitly told in classes about the Bible that many Bible stories, especially as told in the Old Testament, were not meant to be taken literally. They were stories told by the people of old to make sense of the universe, handed down by tradition. They still had spiritual meanings that could be deduced, however. Even the literal meaning of the miracles of Jesus were downplayed these classes, especially as I got older, and instead the focus was on the spiritual meanings that lay behind them.
That is news to me. I have met very few Christian s who do not interpret the Bible literally. I am not saying there are no Christians like that but that has not been my experience. But even if they do not interpret all the Bible stories literally, I do not know any Christians who do not believe that Adam and Eve were not real people who brought original sin into the world. Sure, there are some very liberal Christians who have gotten away from mainstream Christianity, but I do not consider them Christians any more than I would consider Baha’is who broke away to be Baha’is. What I mean to say is that a re certain core beliefs that Christians hold, such as original sin, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension and the return. Of all these beliefs Baha’is only believe in the crucifixion.
I can acknowledge all of the quotes you posted on the matter, and even agree with them. They apply especially to the leaders of older religions, which I think is what these quotes were dealing with most directly.
But the followers followed what the leaders taught them, so they both ended up with the same beliefs.
On this matter, I will state you are absolutely right. I made assumptions and I do not know what you encountered on the forums. Still, I have never met anyone who taught the faith that didn't secretly harbor some motivation to lead others to Baha'i. Or else why even teach? Considering your earlier dismay about people not becoming Baha'i, I thought your motivation for teaching may also lead others to Baha'i. "Trying to convert" is probably too strong of a statement, though.
About six years ago, when I first started posting on forums I got the idea in my head that I was going to teach the Faith and that people might become Baha’is but I soon realized that was not going to happen so I stopped even bringing it up. However, the subject usually comes up on its own, and then I do what I am supposed to be doing, according the Baha’u’llah:

“Consort with all men, O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If anyone should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding….”Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 289

I used to post to Christians but I hardly post to any anymore unless they post to me. I have posted to a few Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, but I normally post to agnostics and atheists and have been doing so for a long time. In my mind, their cup is empty so maybe they will at least come to believe in God by talking to me. Some actually have changed their positions to where they now say there might be a God or there probably is a God but that took years of posting to them and I have made them my friends over these years. In the beginning it was all insults coming from them to me about Messengers and God, but now that actually ask me questions and we joke around. I think this is what Baha’u’llah meant by “Consort with all men, O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” Baha’u’llah never said anything about converting people. He said that the faith of no man can be conditioned by anyone except himself. I tell everyone this, because some people are asking me to convince them and I tell them that is not my job. All Baha’u’llah ever said was to proclaim that He had come and teach if people are receptive. That makes it easy, except for all the time it takes.
When you suggested "putting them on bookshelf" when talking about older revelations, the implication that I understood was that they ceased to have value. I neglected to understand that many books on the bookshelf are meant to be used and revisited frequently. While I do not feel that you meant it that way, it is one way to look at it.
That is one way to look at it and probably the best way. Many books have value and we might want to refer to them so we keep them on the bookshelf, but the ones we really need and use will be on our desk or our book bag. I know my bookshelf comment sounded a bit derogatory but I had been going through a hard time on a forum when I wrote that so it kind of just leaped out. I now know I just need to stay off the religious threads because I get too upset, sometimes. I am better with nonbelievers.
Not what the Bible is about? What is it about then? As a Christian the parables of Jesus were the very foundation and center of my beliefs in God. How you can say they are not what the Bible is about is entirely beyond me. It says to me that even if you made a sincere attempt to understand Christianity it was certainly an inefficient one.
You said: “the parables of Jesus were the very foundation and center of my beliefs in God.” Maybe that explains why you became a Baha’I since those are no different from the spiritual teachings of Baha’u’llah. That IS what the New Testament is about, according to Jesus, but that is not what Christianity is about. This is what Christianity is about: Basic Christian Doctrine. Out of the 40 doctrines listed there, 20 of them Baha’is would consider false doctrines.

All I can say is what I have experienced. Maybe only one Christian I ever posted to mentioned the parables of Jesus; he is a very liberal Christian and very Baha’i-like in his views about living the life Jesus taught. All the other Christians I have ever posted to or known in real life, talk about the doctrines of the Church.
What does it mean to be a true Christian? I'm willing to bet that your gut reaction to that question probably has something to do with spiritual teachings. Even ardent atheists, when using the words "true Christian" usually mean something to that effect. They unwittingly measure Christians in terms of their own teachings about kindness, understanding and humility, and appreciation for their fellow humans. And that, in a nutshell, is what Christianity is about.
Granted, that is what Christianity should be about, but from what I have experienced – and I have seen a lot – that is not what it is about. It is about salvation, being saved and forgiven, the resurrection and the ascension and the return of Jesus. If it were only about kindness, understanding and humility, and appreciation for their fellow humans, those Christians would become Baha’is, since we have that in common. It is those 20 doctrine that we do not have in common that separate us, and it is near impossible to get get past 20 or 40. That is the main reason hardly any Christians become Baha’is. They love their personal relationship with Jesus and they are not about to give that up for social justice and the unity of mankind.
And what about Jews? Not much different, really. Kindness, understanding, humility and appreciation for their fellow humans. And they don't even rely on the New Testament. It's all in the Old.
I have found that to be very true of Jewish people and I do not run into the same problems I do with Christians unless we start talking about the Messiah, and then the same things happens. Baha’u’llah cannot be the Messiah because He did not do exactly what they expect Him to do according to their misinterpretation of their scriptures.
Now I have to ask you, who are the ones in this day and age focusing on the stories of violence and conquest in the Bible? Who are the ones saying that they are what the Bible is all about? Certainly not practicing Jews and Christians.
No, of course the practicing Jews and Christians are not focusing on those stories because they do not want to take responsibility for believing in them but it is IN their Bible, so how do you explain it away? The atheists and agnostics do focus on those stories and that is one big reason they cannot believe in God.
With the exception of some nationalistic propaganda in more recent history, practitioners of Judaism and Christianity have entirely moved on from the idea of a Biblically supported holy war. Who hasn't moved on?
How can they move on from what is IN their scriptures? That would be like saying that Baha’is can move on and abdicate responsibility for what Baha’u’llah wrote.
Give me a spiritually devout Jew or Christian over a self-righteous atheist--or even Baha'i--any day.
I am with you regarding the spiritually devout. Unfortunately the devoutness includes the Christian that are false and old OT laws that no longer apply to this modern age.
True, it's a bit harsh and visceral. And perhaps the Jesus of history was not the same as the versions of Christianity which have won out over the years. But even Baha'u'llah gave threats of punishment for unbelievers in God. Given your knowledge of the writings, you could probably find them more quickly and easily than I can. Unless of course you choose to ignore them.
To my knowledge Baha’u’llah has said no such thing, but maybe some other Baha’is would know about them. This is the closest I have seen:

“They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the deniers!” Gleanings, pp, 284-285
However, Baha’u’llah made it perfectly clear that those who turn away from Him are all in the same boat, spiritually dead, and that includes Christians and those of all other religions, if you take these quotes at face value...

“Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.” Gleanings, p. 213
“He is indeed as one dead who, at the wondrous dawn of this Revelation, hath failed to be quickened by its soul-stirring breeze. He is indeed a captive who hath not recognized the Supreme Redeemer, but hath suffered his soul to be bound, distressed and helpless, in the fetters of his desires.
O My servants! Whoso hath tasted of this Fountain hath attained unto everlasting Life, and whoso hath refused to drink therefrom is even as the dead. Say: O ye workers of iniquity! Covetousness hath hindered you from giving a hearing ear unto the sweet voice of Him Who is the All-Sufficing. Wash it away from your hearts, that His Divine secret may be made known unto you. Behold Him manifest and resplendent as the sun in all its glory.” Gleanings, p. 169

Then we have this quote:

“The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, or to become the instruments for its promotion. These few have been endued with the Divine Elixir that can, alone, transmute into purest gold the dross of the world, and have been empowered to administer the infallible remedy for all the ills that afflict the children of men. No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.” Gleanings, p. 183
A common theme in all Abrahamic religions is punishment for unbelievers. Baha'i is much more relaxed about it, and doesn't teach anything about a permanent suffering in hell. But the consequence of unbelief is still suffering in it's own special Baha'i way. Before you judge Christians too harshly, be sure to look at what Baha'u'llah actually wrote. It may lack the drama of angels and the end of the world, but it's really not different. Unbelievers will suffer in the afterlife, and God will allow it. The difference between Baha'i and Christianity (and perhaps Islam) is that Baha'is don't believe unbelievers are beyond redemption, even after death. We pat ourselves on the back for such tolerance, but that doesn't negate the actual teachings.
I would love to see these teachings you are referring to. I know of no such teachings. As far as I know, the Baha’i teaching is that heaven is nearness to God and hell is distance from God. There is no lake of fire involved.

Show me where it says that God will allow nonbelievers to suffer. Here is what the Guardian write about heaven:

"To 'get to heaven' as you say is dependent on two things--faith in the Manifestation of God in His Day, in other words in this age in Bahá'u'lláh; and good deeds, in other words living to the best of our ability a noble life and doing unto others as we would be done by. But we must always remember that our existence and everything we have or ever will have is dependent upon the mercy of God and His bounty, and therefore He can accept into His heaven, which is really nearness to Him, even the lowliest if He pleases. We always have the hope of receiving His mercy if we reach out for it."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 12, 1957)
Then what are you so upset about? If it was never your intention to persuade, at least a little, then why take it so personally?
I was not upset over that. I was only upset because my position was misrepresented.
It's not a matter of time. It's a matter of priorities. If you really do spend every waking hour on forums then you actually have plenty of time to allocate. For example, I could have spent all of my spare time on forums this past week, but instead I chose to read some books about religion instead. One recent discovery I recommend for you, considering your perspectives on the criticism of the Bible, is called Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith by Barnabas Piper. Yes, it's Christian, but it speaks directly to many of the things you say atheists condemn, and how believers should handle it. 99% of anything in the book that references Jesus could also apply to Baha'u'llah, and attitudes toward the return of Christ could also be applied toward Baha'i prophecies of the Greater Peace. Right now the ebook is under a dollar on Amazon, though I don't know how long that will last.

In fact, I would like to formally challenge you to read the book. Just buy it and spend a half hour a day reading it, and you should be finished in a week or two. It's not long. The internet forums will go on with or without you, and the opinions of people on them aren't going to change while you're away. But I think Help My Unbelief will enhance your relationship with God. Don't let pride prevent you from taking advice from a Christian. You will probably find you have much in common.
I have my own issues with God and that is probably why a book like that might be helpful for me personally, but I do not consider myself important because I am already a Baha’i and I believe in God. There are many other people who are in need and they are a priority. I am not tech-savvy so I have no way of reading an eBook so I would have to order the book.

FYI, I am not only on forums for religious purposes. I have other personal reasons I spend so much time on them.
Perhaps it was a good deal of arrogance. I apologize. I have had my own journey and it was wrong of me to minimize yours, which I know nothing about. But to say you do not have any walls? We all have walls. Saying a person has walls is like trying to hit a target you can't miss. So I still think it's true. And yes, I have my own, and plenty of them. Some I may not see, but others I will acknowledge and try to work on. I am not so naive as to believe I do not have any,
I did not say that I do not have any walls in my mind, but I strive diligently to tear down any walls in my heart.
When I mentioned the disingenuous part, I was thinking of how your claim of "awe and respect" equated to calling believers of Christianity mentally unwell. That is all. It did not take into account the full level of nuances of your opinion, for which I apologize.
I never called Christian believers mentally unwell. But I do consider Christianity as it is normally practiced (and I mean the church doctrines) to be patently false. That does not mean those who follow the teachings of Jesus are mentally unwell, they are just hapless victims of the church.
You are right that I am making many assumptions from your post. It sounded to me like you were presenting the Baha'i Faith on internet forums to kindle interest in it, and possibly lead others to it. That is, after all, why we are called on to teach. It also seems inherently obvious to me that one should seek to find common ground in spiritual teachings, and that before teaching others of different religions we should be able to see followers of those religions through their own eyes--at least as much as it humanly possible. You made a few critical statements about Christianity which did not align with my experience of it, and I jumped to many conclusions. I apologize.
Apology accepted. I spent many years trying to understand Christians and even Jews through their own eyes but most are not receptive to Baha’is so I decided my time was better spent posting to nonbelievers. I seek common ground in the spiritual teachings, but hardly any Christians talk about those. They talk about the Church doctrines and I cannot get past those.
No. I do not claim to have full knowledge of the nuances of the Baha'i revelation, despite the decades of experience I have with it.
Nor do I. I have been a Baha’i for 48 years but I only began to take it seriously six years ago. Since then I have immersed myself in certain Baha’i Writings but there are many I have not even read.
 

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