What does this hidden word mean

Sep 2010
4,486
Normanton Far North Queensland
#11
But there is no guarantee that God will do it for us... God might choose to help us or not, just like in this world.
If we could understand how precious the gift of faith is, humility would then dictate an immediate and strenuous life of service to all humanity, yet freeing ourselves from this world can be very time consuming, a lifetime journey.

Regards Tony
 
Likes: Trailblazer
Sep 2017
357
Earth
#12
I assume the piece in question is "Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more."??

I think the "chance" referred to in the above verse would correspond to event described in the verse "And if, by the help of God, he findeth on this journey a trace of the traceless Friend, and inhaleth the fragrance of the long-lost Joseph from the heavenly messenger" from the Seven Valleys.

I don't think this line would apply to being alive versus being dead. My thinking is that Seven Valleys mentions that in the Valley of Search one can pontentially seek for "a hundred thousand years" without finding even a trace of God, so when I see the line "Seize thy chance" I don't think that the chance in question is something that can only come in this lifetime, as according to Valleys one can seek for one hundred thousand years before coming across that chance, and obviously one would be dead if they were seeking that long.

Also obviously that "chance" for someone who dies in infancy would not be an event that happens in their lifetime. So I'd state that it must be a certainty, even, that while some of us will encounter this chance when we are living, some of us will also encounter this chance only when we are dead.



This seems slightly off-topic, so perhaps we should move this particular discussion to a thread of its own.

To address this issue, I'd first have to begin by asking the question: why is suffering bad??



I understand that you don't like the answer that suffering may be necessity, but the idea that suffering or pain is a necessary step for personal development across all religious traditions and most of the psychological disciplines that I am aware of. I'm not 100% sure why this is the case, as of yet, but I see it argued as an important part of human development cross-culturally by a wide variety of people, from religious leaders, to atheist psychologists.

My question in response to this particular question would be: Have you ever met someone before who "hardly suffers at all??" How often have you encountered such a person who lives such a privileged life who you would describe as a good or moral person??

To my eyes it seems like those raised in positions of privilege are the ones disadvantaged to those more accustomed to suffering, often found with an air of entitlement and presumed self-importance and deservedness merely for their self-existence.

I have an example that I will try to give without straying into the territory of fault-finding, and if I accidentally overstep this boundary please feel free to call me on it...

When growing up my parents were close friends with two other couples, each with children of their own. As it happened, of these three families, one was lower class, one was middle class, and one was upper class.

Of the lower and middle class families, all children save for one (who is the youngest) are now either gainfully employed or finishing up schooling. A majority of these either are now homeowners or are making great progress in saving up money to buy a house.

Of the upper class families, the children are still struggling through schooling, taking frequent breaks with schooling and even taking whole years off of education, and neither of which has held a real career, this all despite being among the oldest of all the children of all three families.

With that in mind, I must wonder who of the children was truly born into a more advantageous position??



I have not yet seen apologetics providing a coherent argument for why "suffering is bad" that doesn't collapse upon further scrutiny. Almost always I see arguments built upon the assumption that suffering is a bad thing and undesirable without offering any proof or foundational logic to build up to that conclusion.

Which is not unreasonable, since it seems intuitive to us as humans that suffering is bad and so we often assume this is true without questioning what logic proves that claim. But in order to truly establish whether or not something is true, we need to cast aside assumptions and intuition and try to logically analyze the truth or falsity of the claim.

So to be of best use for this discussion, I will need you to present your argument for why suffering is a bad thing in the first place. Without knowing if this is just an asserted truth or if it is a sound argument on its own, it is hard to address any logical argument built upon the "suffering is bad" axiom.



When we cannot see the perfection of the world, Baha'u'llah tells us to refer to this verse from the Quran: "Repeat the gaze: Seest thou a single flaw?" (67:3) ("Repeat the gaze" being sort of an archaic way of saying "Look again")

You believe you have identified a flaw in the existence of suffering, and so I invite you to look again, and explain why it is you believe suffering to be a flaw in the first place. Why is it that suffering is bad??



Well I think he's incorrect. Even if you disagree with God on the topic of suffering's existence, why should that have any bearing on your belief in the existence of God?? I'm sure you acknowledge the existence of plenty of other people who you disagree with on some topic or other.

Like I think it evident that you and I probably disagree on the topic of whether or not suffering is necessary, does that mean you must become an awalrusist and cease believing in my existence?? :p
So if some are given the chance and dont take it, what is meant by it will come to thee no more?
 
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#13
If we could understand how precious the gift of faith is, humility would then dictate an immediate and strenuous life of service to all humanity, yet freeing ourselves from this world can be very time consuming, a lifetime journey.
And to realize how precious the gift of the Baha'i Faith is, all one has to do is spend a few hours posting on a Christian forum.
Sorry, I could not help myself. :oops:

And that is enough to want to free ourselves from everything in the world and dedicate our life to service to the Cause...
My, my, just when I thought I had lost faith..... God sure works in mysterious ways. :)
It is time-consuming but it is worth it. :D
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#14
I assume the piece in question is "Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more."??

I think the "chance" referred to in the above verse would correspond to event described in the verse "And if, by the help of God, he findeth on this journey a trace of the traceless Friend, and inhaleth the fragrance of the long-lost Joseph from the heavenly messenger" from the Seven Valleys.

I don't think this line would apply to being alive versus being dead. My thinking is that Seven Valleys mentions that in the Valley of Search one can pontentially seek for "a hundred thousand years" without finding even a trace of God, so when I see the line "Seize thy chance" I don't think that the chance in question is something that can only come in this lifetime, as according to Valleys one can seek for one hundred thousand years before coming across that chance, and obviously one would be dead if they were seeking that long.

Also obviously that "chance" for someone who dies in infancy would not be an event that happens in their lifetime. So I'd state that it must be a certainty, even, that while some of us will encounter this chance when we are living, some of us will also encounter this chance only when we are dead.



This seems slightly off-topic, so perhaps we should move this particular discussion to a thread of its own.

To address this issue, I'd first have to begin by asking the question: why is suffering bad??



I understand that you don't like the answer that suffering may be necessity, but the idea that suffering or pain is a necessary step for personal development across all religious traditions and most of the psychological disciplines that I am aware of. I'm not 100% sure why this is the case, as of yet, but I see it argued as an important part of human development cross-culturally by a wide variety of people, from religious leaders, to atheist psychologists.

My question in response to this particular question would be: Have you ever met someone before who "hardly suffers at all??" How often have you encountered such a person who lives such a privileged life who you would describe as a good or moral person??

To my eyes it seems like those raised in positions of privilege are the ones disadvantaged to those more accustomed to suffering, often found with an air of entitlement and presumed self-importance and deservedness merely for their self-existence.

I have an example that I will try to give without straying into the territory of fault-finding, and if I accidentally overstep this boundary please feel free to call me on it...

When growing up my parents were close friends with two other couples, each with children of their own. As it happened, of these three families, one was lower class, one was middle class, and one was upper class.

Of the lower and middle class families, all children save for one (who is the youngest) are now either gainfully employed or finishing up schooling. A majority of these either are now homeowners or are making great progress in saving up money to buy a house.

Of the upper class families, the children are still struggling through schooling, taking frequent breaks with schooling and even taking whole years off of education, and neither of which has held a real career, this all despite being among the oldest of all the children of all three families.

With that in mind, I must wonder who of the children was truly born into a more advantageous position??

I have not yet seen apologetics providing a coherent argument for why "suffering is bad" that doesn't collapse upon further scrutiny. Almost always I see arguments built upon the assumption that suffering is a bad thing and undesirable without offering any proof or foundational logic to build up to that conclusion.

Which is not unreasonable, since it seems intuitive to us as humans that suffering is bad and so we often assume this is true without questioning what logic proves that claim. But in order to truly establish whether or not something is true, we need to cast aside assumptions and intuition and try to logically analyze the truth or falsity of the claim.

So to be of best use for this discussion, I will need you to present your argument for why suffering is a bad thing in the first place. Without knowing if this is just an asserted truth or if it is a sound argument on its own, it is hard to address any logical argument built upon the "suffering is bad" axiom.

When we cannot see the perfection of the world, Baha'u'llah tells us to refer to this verse from the Quran: "Repeat the gaze: Seest thou a single flaw?" (67:3) ("Repeat the gaze" being sort of an archaic way of saying "Look again")

You believe you have identified a flaw in the existence of suffering, and so I invite you to look again, and explain why it is you believe suffering to be a flaw in the first place. Why is it that suffering is bad??

Well I think he's incorrect. Even if you disagree with God on the topic of suffering's existence, why should that have any bearing on your belief in the existence of God?? I'm sure you acknowledge the existence of plenty of other people who you disagree with on some topic or other.

Like I think it evident that you and I probably disagree on the topic of whether or not suffering is necessary, does that mean you must become an awalrusist and cease believing in my existence?? :p
Thanks Walrus, I will surely respond in depth later...
Right now I am bucking a headwind on two Christian forums I joined recently... what was I thinking? :upsidedown:
 
Mar 2013
547
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#15
So if some are given the chance and dont take it, what is meant by it will come to thee no more?
We may be given other chances in the future, but if we miss one now, it will be gone forever. That is still a loss, because if we seize the current chance and also future ones that is better than only the future ones. Does that make sense?
 
Jun 2014
1,071
Wisconsin
#16
We may be given other chances in the future, but if we miss one now, it will be gone forever. That is still a loss, because if we seize the current chance and also future ones that is better than only the future ones. Does that make sense?
^ This.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#17
Trailblazer said: So, if God is SO merciful, why doesn't he help people who are struggling to do good while they are still living in THIS world?

This seems slightly off-topic, so perhaps we should move this particular discussion to a thread of its own.

To address this issue, I'd first have to begin by asking the question: why is suffering bad??
I did not say that suffering is bad. I asked why God does not help good people who are struggling in this world. That is a different question.
Trailblazer said: Why do some people suffer so much more than others through no fault of their own while other people hardly suffer at all?

I understand that you don't like the answer that suffering may be necessity, but the idea that suffering or pain is a necessary step for personal development across all religious traditions and most of the psychological disciplines that I am aware of. I'm not 100% sure why this is the case, as of yet, but I see it argued as an important part of human development cross-culturally by a wide variety of people, from religious leaders, to atheist psychologists.
No, I do not question that suffering is necessary for progress of the human soul, although that is more of a religious teaching than it is a psychological concept. Most psychologists focus on how to reduce suffering whereas the Baha’i Faith says we should hope and pray for it, which is to be honest over the top. There is already enough suffering in this world, so we don’t need to go looking for it, at least I never had to. YMMV. One might say suffering is all about an attitude but that is much too simplistic. And to say that suffering is all a perception is to negate the suffering of the Prophets as well as Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi who admitted they suffered.
My question in response to this particular question would be: Have you ever met someone before who "hardly suffers at all??" How often have you encountered such a person who lives such a privileged life who you would describe as a good or moral person??
Of course I do not know everyone’s private lives but I do talk to people, like at work. There are many people who have suffered hardly at all, I mean psychic suffering, not suffering because they had a car accident or their plumbing went out at home or they did not get into Harvard when they applied. So my next question to you is this: Do you think these people are less good or less moral simply because it was not fated that they would suffer as much as others? For example, maybe they had good genetics and a good upbringing with parents who really loved them and paid attention to them.
To my eyes it seems like those raised in positions of privilege are the ones disadvantaged to those more accustomed to suffering, often found with an air of entitlement and presumed self-importance and deservedness merely for their self-existence.
I can agree with that but that is not what I was referring to. This has nothing to do with financial status.
I have an example that I will try to give without straying into the territory of fault-finding, and if I accidentally overstep this boundary please feel free to call me on it...

When growing up my parents were close friends with two other couples, each with children of their own. As it happened, of these three families, one was lower class, one was middle class, and one was upper class.

Of the lower and middle class families, all children save for one (who is the youngest) are now either gainfully employed or finishing up schooling. A majority of these either are now homeowners or are making great progress in saving up money to buy a house.

Of the upper class families, the children are still struggling through schooling, taking frequent breaks with schooling and even taking whole years off of education, and neither of which has held a real career, this all despite being among the oldest of all the children of all three families.

With that in mind, I must wonder who of the children was truly born into a more advantageous position??
Like I said, this has nothing to do with how much money someone has. My dad had a PhD in English Literature and my mom was a housewife but we did not have much money so we did not have very much growing up, like clothes or cars or a nice house to live in. I lived most of my childhood in the downstairs of an old rented house near the campus in Indiana and college students lived upstairs. Then we moved to Wisconsin because my dad got a promotion at a university there but he died of a heart attack six months later.

I do not mind that we did not have much money and I see that as an advantage because I never wanted material things and I think this of part of the reason, along with what Baha’u’llah wrote about the material world not being what we should pursue.

When I referred to suffering I meant psychic suffering or physical suffering if it causes psychic suffering. That can be cause by so many factors so I do not consider anyone blameworthy for it unless they are living an immoral life that brings that suffering upon themselves.

There is nothing wrong with some suffering but when suffering makes it impossible for a person to live a normal life, such as socializing with people, or going places and doing things, then I think it is problematic. As a Baha’i, how can one do all that Baha’u’llah enjoins us to do if we are depressed and/or anxious? Counseling and psychotropic medications are not a panacea either; been there, done that.

I know I bring on some of my own suffering for example, but that does not mean I can prevent it. Self-awareness is only half the battle, and just because we have free will does not mean we can just change because we want to. We have so much money and financial assets that I could retire right now and live in the lap of luxury so if money bought happiness by all rights I should be really happy. A counselor once even told me that if other people had what I do they would be happy. I could hardly believe she was that dense. I have an MA in Counseling Psychology and I would never say that to a client.

But according to Baha’u’llah we should not be chasing after worldly things....

“Say: Doth it beseem a man while claiming to be a follower of his Lord, the All-Merciful, he should yet in his heart do the very deeds of the Evil One? Nay, it ill beseemeth him, and to this He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious will bear Me witness. Would that ye could comprehend it!
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.
Say: Should your conduct, O people, contradict your professions, how think ye, then, to be able to distinguish yourselves from them who, though professing their faith in the Lord their God, have, as soon as He came unto them in the cloud of holiness, refused to acknowledge Him, and repudiated His truth? Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 275-276

Of course, this is only one passage of many. If He did not mean it He should not have written it. Some of us are going to take that seriously.

So that is one reason I never use my money to partake of worldly things. The other reason is that I am disinterested in the worldly things now that I am involved in spiritual things, primarily learning about the Faith and other religions, proclaiming and teaching the Faith and talking about God with atheists. It can be grueling and stressful at times but nothing makes me happier.
Trailblazer said: If you answer suffering is for their own perfection, I already heard that and I consider it religious apologetics.

I have not yet seen apologetics providing a coherent argument for why "suffering is bad" that doesn't collapse upon further scrutiny. Almost always I see arguments built upon the assumption that suffering is a bad thing and undesirable without offering any proof or foundational logic to build up to that conclusion.

Which is not unreasonable, since it seems intuitive to us as humans that suffering is bad and so we often assume this is true without questioning what logic proves that claim. But in order to truly establish whether or not something is true, we need to cast aside assumptions and intuition and try to logically analyze the truth or falsity of the claim.

So to be of best use for this discussion, I will need you to present your argument for why suffering is a bad thing in the first place. Without knowing if this is just an asserted truth or if it is a sound argument on its own, it is hard to address any logical argument built upon the "suffering is bad" axiom.
As I said above, you won’t catch me saying suffering is bad as atheists often do. I know from experience what its benefits are. However, I cannot even attend any Baha’i activities because of my emotional state. That is just the way it is. I cannot be around happy people any more than I have to, like at work, because it only makes me unhappier. No doubt that is because I compare, but if you saw my house and yard you would know why. It looks like a demolition zone. Then if I go to the home of some Baha’i who has a pristine house and yard, how am I supposed to feel? I am just being honest as I can be no other way.

Let me put it this way: If I lived in a nice small house or apartment somewhere and did not have three houses I think that would remove the reason for much of my suffering, but I cannot live that way because we have 10 cats, which are the main reason for most of my joy, aside from teaching the Faith. I guess you could call that a catch-22. I am not complaining, I am just describing the lay of the land. I am also not very good with self-care. I need an eye exam and new glasses and I need to go to the dentist, but I neglect myself because I cannot take the stress of possibly finding out things I am afraid of knowing. It is called anxiety and in many ways it is more paralyzing than depression. To top it off, my husband, who is also a Baha’i, also has anxiety, but it is over different things than mine.
Trailblazer said: I am sorry but I cannot believe God is All-Loving because it does not correlate with what I SEE in the world. Sure, I accept that there things that we cannot understand but how is that Justice to expect us to believe what we cannot SEE or understand simply because it says it in a book?

When we cannot see the perfection of the world, Baha'u'llah tells us to refer to this verse from the Quran: "Repeat the gaze: Seest thou a single flaw?" (67:3) ("Repeat the gaze" being sort of an archaic way of saying "Look again")
Like I said, the Book does not cut it for me, no matter what Book it is. You must realize I have spent the last five years with atheists on forums listening to them tell me that Messengers of God are nothing but ordinary men at best and con-men at worst. Some of them say that God should communicate directly to everyone, and I have probably explained at least 100 times why God does not do that, not that it ever makes any difference... They want what they want and so God should do what they want. They call me illogical and they don’t understand why it is illogical to expect an omnipotent God to do what they want Him to do. I have explained that about 100 times too.
You believe you have identified a flaw in the existence of suffering, and so I invite you to look again, and explain why it is you believe suffering to be a flaw in the first place. Why is it that suffering is bad??
I think I explained that above. Now, if it does not matter if I never see another Baha’i in my life and only post to Baha’is on forums, and if it doesn’t matter whether I ever have any enjoyment in life, I guess it is not that bad. That is precisely the attitude I have adopted.

I have told all so why not top it off with this: My husband and I have not had a kitchen sink that works for over three years so he has been doing dishes in the bathtub. Then the bathtub was getting clogged but I fixed that with a plunger... Then about two months ago we discovered our septic has problem so we cannot let any water go down any drains. So now he dumps all dishwater outside, we use a bucket for a toilet and dump it outside, and I use the shower at work. But I spent my childhood summers on a very remote lake in Canada and we had an outhouse, no electricity or running water, and only a wood stove for heat and a lake for bathing, so this is a walk in the park for me.

And there are so many other things that need to be done on our property, I would not know where to even begin. Now that might sound ridiculous that I do not at least get the plumbing and septic fixed given we have so much money, but I cannot take the stress of calling someone over to look at it and finding out what needs to be done, it is easier to adjust.

I might add that if we only had one house our residence probably would not have gone downhill like this, but we have two rental house I consider a higher priority because we have tenants in them, and they also need repairs.... My life was sooooooooo much easier when we had one old rustic house but I cannot turn the clock back now, and besides..... Suffering is good for me, right? If I tell people that who are not Baha’is they just look at me cross-ways...
Trailblazer said: That does not work for me anymore. My husband says that if I cannot believe God is loving I am not really a Baha'i and I should become an atheist but I still believe in Baha'u'llah so I am kind of stuck.

Well I think he's incorrect. Even if you disagree with God on the topic of suffering's existence, why should that have any bearing on your belief in the existence of God?? I'm sure you acknowledge the existence of plenty of other people who you disagree with on some topic or other.
I know you are right because that is logical. But on top of all my other problems I have husband who is not logical, but rather emotional. We are kind of the reverse of what they say men and women usually are. I am pure logic, he is pure emotion. Sure, I get angry at God sometime and I give Him marching orders, but that is usually the only way I can get His attention.... and if it works why not do it? And if God did not want to help me He wouldn’t so I am not forcing Him.
Like I think it evident that you and I probably disagree on the topic of whether or not suffering is necessary, does that mean you must become an awalrusist and cease believing in my existence??
I like that you are logical, now go talk to my husband. He says I cannot believe in a God that is not loving and still be a Baha’i because Baha’u’llah said God is loving. He also says I have to like the idea of the afterlife because that is the reality; well, I don’t like the idea of living forever, and I am certainly not alone in this. On the religious forum I mostly post on, only one other person on a thread even believed in an afterlife and the others all said they would never want to live forever... Just my luck to end up being a Baha’i... but I am supposed to be grateful, right?

Sorry for the rambling, that tends to happen because I usually only get four or five hours of sleep during the week and I get pretty loopy by Thursday. :eek: :rolleyes:
 
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#19
ask your husband
if love is an attribute, and god is exalted above all names and attributes.
then how can god be loving?
Yet Baha'u'llah also says that we can know the attributes of God because they are revealed by the Manifestations of God...

“Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: “I am God,” He, verily, speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His names and His attributes, are made manifest in the world. Thus, He hath revealed: “Those shafts were God’s, not Thine.” And also He saith: “In truth, they who plighted fealty unto Thee, really plighted that fealty unto God.”” Gleanings, p. 54

There sure is more than one way of looking at things, isn't there? :)
My husband just walked in and said that "exalted above all attributes" means that God is a mystery, so we cannot ever understand God, but that does not mean that God cannot be loving.
 

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