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@adrian009 and ManSinha - the attraction of the Baha'i faith

Discussion in 'Invitation Only Debates' started by ManSinha, May 24, 2020.

  1. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    @adrian009

    Please help me understand what is "new and revolutionary" about this faith / religion

    Thanks

    --M
     
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  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the post. When I consider the circumstances of the emergence of the Baha’i Faith in nineteenth century Persia the words new and revolutionary certainty apply. I personally wouldn’t use the words ‘new and revolutionary’ as it applies to the Baha’i Faith today.

    The Babi movement as it was called in 1844 emerged at a time of intense Messianic expectation amidst Persia that was dominated by conservative and fanatical clergy. Tens of thousands of Persians recognised in the Bab or Siyyid Ali Muhammad the Promised Qa’im. In a similar manner to John the Baptist in Christianity, the Bab’s main mission was to prepare His followers for Bahá’u’lláh whose religious mission He considered greater than his own.

    Báb - Wikipedia

    Bahá’u’lláh was one of the early Babis and organised the conference of Badasht. This brought together the leading Babis and signalled a definitive break from Sharia law which was truly revolutionary.

    Conference of Badasht - Wikipedia

    One of the attendees was Tahirih, a renowned poet and a distinguished women who was one of the first to recognised the Bab. The Bab was not present due to being imprisoned. Tahirih with the encouragement of Bahá’u’lláh and Quddus removed her veil and presented herself to the conference. This was so disturbing for one participant who tried to cut his throat. It was incomprehensible that this new movement he had dedicated himself to could mean such a radical break from the past.

    Táhirih - Wikipedia

    Tahirih was eventually martyred along with thousands of other Babis including most of the leaders as the Persian government and clergy did all in its power to eradicate this new movement. The Bab was publicly executed by several hundred of his countrymen in 1850.

    Bahá’u’lláh was tortured and imprisoned and eventually exiled from Persia for the last 40 years of His life. Exile included imprisonment in Akka for nine years. Akka was the great fortress city of the Ottoman Empire on the coast of Palestine and the sewerage system was of such quality it was rumoured if a bird flew overhead it would be overcome and plummet to its death.

    Baháʼu'lláh - Wikipedia

    Bahá’u’lláh eventually passed away aged 75 on the outskirts of Akka in 1892. As well as the religious claims, both the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh brought Teachings that were new and revolutionary in comparison and stark contrast to the milieu of nineteenth century Islam throughout Persia and the Ottoman Empire from 1844 to 1892. The Baha’is remain persecuted in a number of Islamic countries today including Iran (formerly Persia). It would be interesting to compare and contrast religious and social teachings between the Baha’i Faith and modern Persia/Iran from where it emerged. The words revolutionary and new probably wouldn’t apply as the did when the Babi/ Baha’i Faith first emerged on the scene 176 years ago. However the word progressive may do depending on your perspective.

    It would be interesting to contrast the Baha’i Faith and the USA in 1912 when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited and then 2020. The principles of Baha’i administration and governance to me has some features that appear progressive compared to the government of the world’s most influential, affluent and powerful nation. There would be a useful comparison between Christianity in the USA and the Baha’i Faith now and back in 1912. However I accept the words ‘new and revolutionary’ while possibly applicable in 1912 may not be the first words that come to mind today.
     
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  3. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for replying

    So it offers a more tolerant and accepting alternative to Islam and Christianity - but with roots still in Shia Islamic traditions?

    New movements typically cannot be eradicated or stopped

    Wadda Ghalughara

    I feel that the Sikh philosophy that developed largely in North India and spread outward from there has many of the same principles that you allude to except its founders were 10 in number serially assuming position as the head of the movement from the 15th through early 18th centuries CE
     
    #3 ManSinha, May 25, 2020
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  4. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That is correct. The Baha'i Faith has spread into Asia and India with significant communities across the Asian continent. The recognition of Hinduism and Buddhism as having Divine origins contrasts with how some Muslims and Christians view the Dharmic faiths.

    I wasn't aware of the holocaust of up 30,000 Sikhs killed. There was an estimated 20,000 of the early Babi's killed in Persia. That is another strong parallel between our two faiths.

    Sikhism is very interesting Faith from a Baha'i perspective given many similarities between the Teachings of the two Faiths. Both of our faiths have struggled at some point to be recognised as independent religions.

    Whereas Baha'is view Gautama Buddha and Krishna as Manifestations of God, there is no clear reference to the Sikhs or your Gurus in the Bahá'í Writings, (although it is believed that Ábdu'l-Baha made reference to the Sikhs when He was talking about the existence of a physically strong people who neither smoke nor drink). Bahá'í's might view Guru Nanak as better understood as one of sainthood, rather than independent prophethood. In a letter from the Universal House of Justice, it is stated that Guru Nanak was endowed with a "saintly character". In the same letter, the Universal House of Justice states that he was

    "inspired to reconcile the religions of Hinduism and Islam, the followers of which religions had been in violent conflict.... The Bahá'ís thus view Guru Nanak as a 'saint of the highest order' ".

    Common principles might include:

    - Sikhs believe in One God (Satnam, Waheguru)
    - Men and women are equal
    - Rejection of any system of class or caste
    - Deeds are more important than membership of any particular religion
    - A high standard of conduct and morals
    - The importance of service to others
     
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  5. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    I personally am a huge fan / follower / believer in the 10th Master Guru Gobind Singh

    To me he was the ultimate saint philosopher warrior - he sacrificed his entire family and life for the defense of religious choice (not just for his followers) - the only religious figure I know who humbled himself before his followers and raised them to his own exalted status

    I would gladly worship him if not for what he wrote in one of his innumerable works

    Also he was a bit of a polyglot - he composed in six languages so that the masses would understand the message

    Legend has it that he would compose while on horseback headed off to war

    I have asked Christians and Muslims both in real life and RF to reconcile John 14:6 and Surah 3:85
    with their "religious freedom" view and they either fall silent or run away from the debate - which is why I feel that the time for these IMO intolerant religions has passed us by
     
    #5 ManSinha, May 25, 2020
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  6. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for sharing that with me. I read a little about Guru Gobind Singh and the Mughal Empire. He reminds me somewhat of Muhammad and King David in the Hebrew Bible. They were all warriors and spiritual leaders.

    I wonder about your ancestors @ManSinha . Were they Sikhs and Hindus? Wherever I consider my ancestors they were all Christians. I grew up Christian and became a Christian before I decided to become a Baha’i thirty years ago. The majority of people I have discussions with about religion are Christians. My boss in one of my workplaces is Christian, I do volunteer work at a Christian Medical Centre and consider myself Christian first and then Baha’i. I’m very comfortable with Christianity and still consider myself a Christian.

    Before I became a Baha’i I studied both Hinduism and Buddhism briefly. It was already clear both these religions reflected a deep spirituality amongst the peoples of the Asian continent that paralleled the influence of Christianity in the West. The Baha’i Faith enabled me to be a better Christian and yet accept these other faiths.

    Although Sikhism has common elements with both Islam and Hinduism, it is clear from the history the relationship and connection with Hinduism is much stronger than with Islam.

    A great strength of Hinduism has been the capacity to accept religious diversity and practice ahisma in contrast to both Islam and Christianity. The tolerance extended to both Islam and Christianity has of course been sorely tested throughout much of the last 1200 years as successive Empires have come and gone. Talking to some Hindus on this forum gives me a sense of genuine people who are at their wits end with both religions, particularly Islam.

    So when a Christian or Muslim presents a verse from the Bible or Quran that promotes the exclusive “I’m right, your wrong” attitude we both know so well, how do you respond? As a Sikh what is your view of both Jesus and Muhammad and the Teachings They brought?
     
  7. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    We traced our ancestral line to Sikhs from the time of Banda Bahadur - before that it starts to get murky but there is reference to lineage from the North - (I am as fair skinned as you are and have light eyes to boot - just for your reference - I have M4 skin that can tan in a matter of hours in the sunshine or the beach)

    There are verses from Shaykh Fareed in the SGGS - Salok Shaykh Fareed so the bent is towards both - there is reference in the SGGS to both the Torah and the Bible -

    In fact Guru Gobind Singh - during his period of struggle - was helped by two Muslims Gani Khan and Nabi Khan

    A muslim war lord Sher Muhammad Khan - tried to intercede on behalf of the younger sons of the 10th Master but failed - his territory wasn't harmed when the Sikhs extracted retribution later

    The bent towards Hinduism is because
    1. The Guru's wanted to abolish the caste system prevalent at the time - and even now in smaller villages in India
    2. I believe they regarded the wide umbrella of Sanatan Dharma as more inclusive than the somewhat intolerant Islam - my belief and Aup's is that the Sikh Guru's leaned towards Adwaita - non duality - there are a number of compositions in the SGGS where this is borne out

    Finally Guru Gobind Singh said this - which directly contravene some of the statements I have heard made on RF and in life from people from other faiths - I was especially harsh on Amanaki at my start on RF given his absolute non violence attitude - some thing I also oppose in Gandhi's philosophy

    After his father's and sons' sacrifice - he wrote the following - it is in Persian - I told you he was a polyglot

    Chu kar az hameh heelate dar guzshat, Halal ast burdan bi-shamsheer dast.
    When all other ways of redress have failed It is righteous to pick up the sword.

    Of course he emphasized that this is okay only after negotiations - to the extent of loss of life on one side - have failed - meaning the opposer does not want to listen to reason

    And the reason I do not worship the guy - in case you were interested

    Jo Hum Ko Parmeshwar Uchar Hai
    Tay Sabh Narak Kund Mah Par Hai
    Mo Ko Daas Tavan Kaa Jaano
    Yaa Mai Bhed Na Runch Pachhaano
    Mai Ho Param Purkh Ko Daasa
    Dekhan Aayo Jagat Tamaasa


    translates to

    Those who address me as God
    Shall fall into the pit of hell.

    Treat me as a servant of the Lord
    And entertain no doubt about it.
    I am only a slave of the Lord. I have
    only come to witness the Lord's play (Lila).

    Personally I see a lot of parallels between the exhortations of the 10th Master and Lord Krishna's message to his devotee to take up arms even against his own relatives in the cause of justice

    Gita 2:27

    jātasya hi dhruvo mṛityur dhruvaṁ janma mṛitasya cha
    tasmād aparihārye ’rthe na tvaṁ śhochitum arhasi

    Death is certain for one who has been born, and rebirth is inevitable for one who has died. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.

    GIta 2:38

    sukha-duḥkhe same kṛitvā lābhālābhau jayājayau
    tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi

    Fight for the sake of duty, treating alike happiness and distress, loss and gain, victory and defeat. Fulfilling your responsibility in this way, you will never incur sin.




    If you have not - you should take a read of the Gita - I was completely enthralled as I read it - much different than God speaking to Moses IMHO
     
    #7 ManSinha, May 26, 2020
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  8. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    There is a well known passage from the Hebrew Bible book Ecclesiastes attributable to King Solomon that reads:

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
    A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    So I agree there is a time for war. However in our current age the consequences of war could be unimaginable horrors. Baha’is believe there is a spiritual and moral imperative for the nations to be reconciled and to resolve conflict amicably without recourse to violence or war.

    In October 1985, the Universal House of Justice announced the publication of a letter addressed to the generality of humankind on the subject of universal peace, titled “The Promise of World Peace”. Explaining the reasons underlying the Bahá’í community’s confidence in the advent of international peace as the next stage in the evolution of society, it stated plainly:

    The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable.


    I have a copy of the Bhagavad Gita at home and so am acquainted with the story of Krishna counselling Arjuna as he wrestles with the moral dilemma of fighting against his relatives in the Kurukshetra war. I agree the dialogue is very personable and contrasts starkly from that which unfolds between Moses and Yahweh in the Torah. There may be greater similarities with Jesus interacting with His disciples in the Gospel accounts. Interestingly in the Torah Yahweh prepares the Israelites for war and the conquest of Canaan. However in the Gospels, although the Jews were expecting their Messiah to take arms against the Romans, Jesus clearly rejects this. Some would argue Jesus was a pacifist but it is much more likely He was a pragmatist. It was not the time to take on the might of the militarily superior Romans. The Jews were inevitably crushed when they did so under the direction of the Warrior Messiah Simon Bar Kokhba in 132 AD.

    Simon bar Kokhba - Wikipedia

    Parallels between Krishna and Jesus are also seen with both figures being regarded as an incarnation of the Divine on one hand and a mere human and servant of the Lord on the other.

    My hero is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh who wanted to be known only as a servant to His Lord. He was always loving with high ideals but practical. Despite spending much of his life as a prisoner and exile he was never bitter and responded to hate and prejudice with forbearance, kindness and wisdom.

    ʻAbdu'l-Bahá - Wikipedia

    I like that Sikhism is influenced by both Hinduism and Islam. There are important similarities and differences between the two religions.

    Islam and Sikhism - Wikipedia
     
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  9. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the reply

    I have heard it said that the Bahai's do not want to be part of the government - do not want to rule
    If that is true - bringing about change from the "outside" may be a lot harder - people in power usually do not listen to sage advice from outsiders unless they are beholden to them through contributions or help as the worker unions and democrats in the US

    So what is the plan to bring about change?

    Sikhs have no qualms about setting up a government when they are in power as evidenced by the Sikh empires and the rule in Punjab and the 10 year reign of PM Manmohan Singh in India
     
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  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That is an excellent question. For Baha'is to contribute meaningfully to the change we wish to see in the world we must first embody those changes within ourselves, our communities and our institutions.

    Shoghi Effendi, the leader of the Baha'i Faith, best made the point in Baha'i Administration, a series of letters to the Baha'is of Canada and the USA between 1922 and 1932.

    Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part surely others will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world.

    Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching—no matter how worldwide and elaborate in its character—not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abhá Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh.


    Bahá'í Reference Library - Bahá’í Administration, Page 66

    This letter would have been published between the two world wars and in the lead up to the Great Depression.

    For example, 'Abdu'l-Baha the leader of the Baha'i Faith from 1892 to 1921 taught:

    Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness, that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Bahá, that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they keep aloof from you attract them to yourself, should they show their enmity be friendly towards them, should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls, should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful.

    So what does that look like?

    Let's go back to the reason we started this thread in the first place.

    Supersessionism and beyond - Can Christianity meaningfully address religious pluralism?

    So are the Baha'is on this forum including myself interacting with you with 'utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness?' I suspect not.

    There are many nations in the world with corrupt governments acting in a manner that suits the self interested agenda of a few at the expense of many. Baha'is are not in the business of getting involved in the political machinery of corrupt institutions and governments to directly correct this. We must and should do better when engaging with peoples of diverse backgrounds and faiths including Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. If we can't do that first, we have no business trying to run towns, cities or nations.

    The only way a Baha'i government will be ever be established for a locality or country is if the majority of the population choose it. We're a long way off that.
     
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  11. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    As you had wanted me to address some specific points, I will now go ahead. My responses here are not designed to convince you of the truth of the Baha'i Faith or why it is any better than any other religion. It is simply my point of view.

    I have not followed Trailblazer's threads. Every now and then I may drop in and contribute but that is infrequently.

    You highlight a specific contradiction in the Baha'i writings that our purpose is to know and love God on one hand and then on the other God is an unknowable essence. That is true and is stressed in one of Baha'u'llah's prayers that states:

    O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!

    Bahá'í Reference Library - Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, Page 248

    According to Baha'i theology, man requires a mediator or Messenger to properly approach God and to know Him. Examples of those mediators are Christ, Krishna and Muhammad. God is exalted above the comprehension of man and we are not capable of sufficiently knowing God without the assistance of a much more enlightened soul. So through the Messengers of God, knowledge of God is readily available. Without such a Messenger He is hidden.

    Perhaps it is through the 10 Gurus of Sikhism that a Sikh can gain greater access to God?

    The Baha'i writings forbid proselytizing in the sense of trying to convert people to the Baha'i Faith. We are asked to teach others about the Baha'i Faith when the opportunity arises.

    We've discussed the words 'revolutionary and new'.

    The dowry laws have never been applicable to Baha'is in the West. It is a payment from the Bridegroom to the Bride. According the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

    NO MARRIAGE MAY BE CONTRACTED WITHOUT PAYMENT OF A DOWRY # 66

    The Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.1.j.i.-v., summarizes the main provisions concerning the dowry. These provisions have their antecedents in the Bayán. 208

    The dowry is to be paid by the bridegroom to the bride. It is fixed at 19 mithqáls of pure gold for city-dwellers, and 19 mithqáls of silver for village-dwellers (see note 94). Bahá’u’lláh indicates that, if, at the time of the wedding, the bridegroom is unable to pay the dowry in full, it is permissible for him to issue a promissory note to the bride (Q and A 39).

    With the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh many familiar concepts, customs and institutions are redefined and take on new meaning. One of these is the dowry. The institution of dowry is a very ancient practice in many cultures and takes many forms. In some countries it is a payment made by the parents of the bride to the bridegroom; in others it is a payment made by the bridegroom to the parents of the bride, called a “bride-price”. In both such cases the amount is often quite considerable. The law of Bahá’u’lláh abolishes all such variants and converts the dowry into a symbolic act whereby the bridegroom presents a gift of a certain limited value to the bride.


    Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 207-208

    So Trailblazer would not have been paid a cent when she married her Baha'i husband. My wife is a nominal Buddhist and didn't receive and payment from myself or my non-Baha'i parents and siblings.:)

    I have no practical experience with the Baha'i dowry law and as you will appreciate payment of dowries is not a significant part of Western culture.

    The composition of the Universal House of Justice being men only is based on the writings of Baha'u'llah and affirmed by 'Abdu'l-Baha. There is no reason specified but 'Abdu'l-Baha has said the reason will become clear in the future. One hundred years on and the reason is not clear. There are some Baha'is who believe this body should be composed of both men and women.

    It is worth noting the Baha'i Faith is very much a grass root movement and so most decision making happens at the local and national level. Local and National Assembly's through out the world (over 20,000 in number) are well represented by a balance of men and women. Currently there are four women and five men on the local assembly I serve on. We elect nine members from our community each year.

    In addition to the elected arm of the Baha'i administration there is the institution of the Counsellors that are well represented by women.

    So in our local and national elected and appointed bodies there is excellent representation of women.

    How are the Sikhs represented and how is the gender balance in key roles?

    I tend to avoid comment on a comparison between the Dharmic Faiths, particularly from India, and the Baha'i Faith. My knowledge is limited. I see clear advantages of the Baha'i Faith in comparison to Christianity and Islam from a personal perspective.

    What do you see as being the advantages of Indian based Dharmic Faiths?

    Every Faith has its dissidents and critics. The Baha'i Faith certainly has its share both from within and outside. I'm aware there are plenty of critics on the internet from diverse sources.

    The Baha'i Faith is widely recognised as an independent religion with a distinct theology based on Baha'u'llah's Teachings. We are not considered a sect within Islam.

    I would presume there are a variety of approaches to the Vedas as there are to the Gospel and Torah. A Baha'i approach would fit comfortably within the spectrum of scholarly and traditional approaches to interpreting the Bible.

    A Baha'i approach would see many of the stories as allegorical and not to be taken literally. Many Christians also take this approach but the fundamentalists attract a disproportionate amount of attention. An approach to the Bible is a vast area that I have considered a great deal over the years. I grew up Christian.

    There is a useful paper that examines a Baha'i approach to the Bible and how that would fit between the conservative Christians on one hand and the liberals on the other.

    A Bahá'í View of the Bible

    That is a bold statement to make. The Baha'is have an estimated worldwide membership of over 5 million adherents although it is difficult to reliably estimate numbers.

    Growth of religion - Wikipedia

    Christianity makes claims that Jesus fulfilled prophecies in the Hebrew Bible that most Jews reject. Should we reject Christianity on that basis?

    FWIW I believe Baha'is should largely avoid discussions about prophecies unless specifically asked. However there are certainly prophecies within both Christianity and Islam the Baha'is believe have been fulfilled through the advent of the Twin Prophets of the Baha'i Faith. Whether or not any of that is true is another question. However the Baha'is are sincere in their beliefs and not trying to fool anyone. The Bab clear believed Himself to be the Promised Qa'im and was executed after his six year ministry. Baha'u'llah was tortured, imprisoned and exiled for forty years. So both men who made Prophetic claims made great sacrifices for what They believed in. Whether or not They really were Who They believed Themselves to be is another story.

    Once again, I'm sorry to hear that. Please feel free to use this thread to ask me any questions that arise about the Baha'i faith and I will do my best to answer. If you want to drop it for now that is fine too. Thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns with me.
     
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  12. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    Not really - the Masters included poems and teachings from those of other faiths and beliefs - in fact IMO the only religious text that does that - there is as you know Kabir and Fareed and a bunch of others whose writings were included in the SGGS

    At his deathbed - the 10th Master made it plain - Guru Manyeo Granth - follow the content in the SGGS - unfortunately you will see some make it a ritual and worship the physical book - that is getting slowly torn down as content becomes available on devices - you want me to bow down to my iPhone every morning? What about my MacBook? - is the question I ask to no good answer

    When opportunity arises or when you are asked - to me that is a material difference - I would consider the former as close to if not actually proselytizing - not the latter

    I admit it is easy for the Khalsa Sikh - we are so different that people come right out and ask :)

    As you know all the Guru's were male - the current situation is completely reversed - there are ladies on the governing boards of the temples, there are lady singers of the holy hymns and they participate equally in activities such as legal defense and community organizing

    The dharmic faiths IMO look inward - and again IMO that is the best place to start - you have the Gita - it is completely between the lord and the devotee - no compulsion to "go out and preach" which to me is smug and arrogant and inherently believing that you have a better way - there is no proof of such IMO

    And yet I have seen Tony make repeated references to Allah this and Allah that - so in your view it may not be but Mirza Husyn Al-Nuri was a Shia Muslim and IMO again did not move very far away from the original - in fact some individuals call Baha'ism "Islam Lite" - back to my point when Tony goes on and on - it gets some people (especially me) confused and I tend to link the two closely.

    So has Sikhism - you can search RF - I have never claimed it was perfect or the only way

    My opinion Adrian - there are some critics out there who say that Abdul'Baha subtly altered some Baha'i sayings and practices to make it more palatable to western audiences - you are welcome of course to do your own research and decide - I do not know if you can read original Persian
     
    #12 ManSinha, May 28, 2020
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  13. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Christian Bible includes the Hebrew Bible that has multiple non-Christian authors (all Jewish of course). Naturally, the Christians have been accused with cultural misappropriation.

    It has been interesting to consider the content of the SGGS.

    Guru Granth Sahib - Wikipedia

    Obviously the are some Hindu sources but a couple of Muslim sources too. It would be a fascinating study as to what has been included and why.

    The Baha’i sacred scriptures are all ours.

    Baháʼís believe that the founders of the religion, The Báb and Baháʼu'lláh, received revelation directly from God. As such their works are considered divinely inspired. These works are considered to be "revealed text" or revelation.

    ʻAbdu'l-Bahá was appointed by Baháʼu'lláh to be his successor and was authorized by him to interpret the religion's "revealed text." The works of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá are therefore considered authoritative directives and interpretation, as well as part of Baháʼí scripture. He, along with The Báb and Baháʼu'lláh, are considered one of the "Central Figures" of the religion.

    Likewise Shoghi Effendi's interpretations and directives are considered authoritative, but are not considered to expand upon the "revealed text", or to be scripture.

    In the Baháʼí view, the Universal House of Justice does not have the position to interpret the founders' works, nor those of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá or Shoghi Effendi. However, it is charged with addressing any question not addressed in those works. As such its directives are considered authoritative, as long as they are in force (the Universal House of Justice may alter or revoke its own earlier decisions as needed), and are often collected into compilations or folios.

    The works of the Central Figures, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice taken together are the canonical texts of the Baha'i Faith.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baháʼí_literature#Scripture,_inspiration_and_interpretation

    So we don't include other works as part of our sacred writings as do the Christians and Sikhs. However we do regard the Torah, Gospel and the Quran as representing Revelations from God from Moses, Christ, and Muhammad respectively as we consider the Writings from the Bab and Baha'u'llah to be independent Revelations from God. As we also consider Krishna, Buddha and Zoroaster as Manifestations of God then there is discussion as to what extent some the Vedas, Pali Canon and Avesta represent what these great historic figures taught.

    Having mutually agreed scriptures and beliefs are a useful startng point for interfaith dialogue.

    The Muslims have great respect and reverence for the actual book of the Quran itself. Christians similarly revere the Bible. It was an interesting move from Guru Gobind Singh to name the SGGS as the next Guru. Its much more Abrahamic to turn towards the book for guidance rather than a living guru.

    Baha’is have a sacred duty to teach our faith to others. So every Baha’i if asked about their faith should make an effort to convey something of the substance of the faith as well as its spirit. However Baha’is should not proselytise. We should be clear about the difference between teaching and proselytising. The Universal House of Justice in a letter addressing this point has stated:

    It is true that Bahá’u’lláh lays on every Bahá’í the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all the believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization.

    Pioneer - Bahaipedia, an encyclopedia about the Bahá’í Faith

    That is the best. We should become the embodiments of the high standards of our faith that others are naturally interested.

    For Baha’is, our standard is the example set by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá who taught us:

    O ye Cohorts of God! Through the protection and help of the Blessed Perfection—may my life be a sacrifice to His beloved ones! —you must conduct and deport yourselves in such a manner that you may stand out among other souls distinguished by a brilliancy like unto the sun. If any one of you enters a city he must become the center of attraction because of the sincerity, faithfulness, love, honesty, fidelity, truthfulness and loving-kindness of his disposition and nature toward all the inhabitants of the world, that the people of the city may all cry out: “This person is unquestionably a Bahá’í; for his manners, his behavior, his conduct, his morals, his nature and his disposition are of the attributes of the Bahá’ís.” Until you do attain to this station, you have not fulfilled the Covenant and the Testament of God.

    Bahá'í Reference Library - Bahá’í World Faith—Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Section Only), Pages 400-401

    I readily admit I’m far from such lofty standards.

    That is good to hear. The only institution or body in the Baha’i Faith that does not admit women to membership is the Universal House of Justice. Does Sikhism have an international or national governing bodies?

    It is clear there are people of outstanding virtue in all the major religions and all religions are agreed about what constitutes good character and conduct.

    Are the Dharmic faiths really more mystical than their Abrahamic cousins? Its hard to measure objectively. Maybe it just how practitioners of Dharmic Faiths consider themselves. Clearly there are mystical sects of both Islam and Christianity.

    Man’s capacity to meditate is considered an essential attribute of human beings in the Baha’i writings.

    Bahá'í Reference Library - Paris Talks, Pages 173-176
     
  14. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I’m not too sure what Tony has said to you. Baha’is do regard Muhammad as a Messenger of God, along with Moses, Christ, Krishna and Buddha. We believe the Quran constitutes divine Revelation, along with Revelations brought by other Messengers. Baha’is believe in One God and the Arabic name for God is Allah. Clearly the Twin Prophets of the Baha’i Faith grew up in Shi’a Islamic Persia.

    As we believe the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh brought a new Revelation from God then their Teachings are the basis for our Faith. Muhammad taught a disparate collection of nomadic tribesmen on the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century. After over 1200 years the world has changed a great deal. There are major differences between Islam and the Baha’i Faith, especially in regards the social teachings.

    What are some of the Teachings of Islam you believe have been carried forward into the Baha’i Faith you see as being unsuited to this modern age?

    I often come across a strong aversion to both Islam and Christianity amongst Hindus I speak to on the forum, especially Islam. Just an observation.

    I did look up criticisms of Sikhism.

    Criticism of Sikhism - Wikipedia

    The equivalent for the Baha’i Faith is this page.

    Criticism of the Baháʼí Faith - Wikipedia

    I’m comfortable with criticism of my religion. I feel positive about Hinduism and Sikhism and have no interest in analysing them so I can exaggerate their shortcomings, perceived or otherwise.

    I will offer an observation though. Both Hinduism and Sikhism though open to peoples of all backgrounds remain overwhelmingly dominated by ethnic groups that originated in India. Baha’i communities on the other hand are much more diverse. The Baha’i communities in New Zealand reflect strongly the ethnic make up of our population. To be fair about 10-20% of Baha’is may be Persian.

    My experience with Sikhism in New Zealand is their membership all have ethnic origins from India. Same deal with most Hindu sects. The exception is ISHKON which is ironic, if you know what I mean. For example I recently spoke to a Hare Krishna devotee who explains that Krishna definitely had blue skin because the Bhagavad Gita is an inerrant text of Divine origins. The reasoning sounded similar to arguments from Christian fundamentalists as to why Jesus literally rose from the dead or there really was a world wide flood.

    I can not read or speak either Persian or Arabic. Most of the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh’s communications were to Muslims. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travelled to both America and Europe during the seventh decade of his life and nurtured these communities. Shoghi Effendi married a Canadian woman. The elected Universal House of Justice despite having no women is ethnically diverse.

    It was certainly during ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s leadership the Baha’i Faith was strongly established in the West. Shoghi Effendi consolidated that position and enabled its spread throughout most of the planet by carrying out ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s directives in Tablets of the Divine Plan.

    Tablets of the Divine Plan - Wikipedia

    In regards Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings, Bahá’u’lláh appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as leader and authorised interpreter of the Baha’i Faith. The criticism that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá changed Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings to be more palatable for a Western audience I’ve heard from Muslims. They use unauthorised translations and in same cases writings never authored by Bahá’u’lláh to make their point. There is a large body of Bahá’u’lláh’s works translated into English so the argument is the Universal House of Justice is deliberately not translating the ‘nasty’ stuff. Its ironic as Christian apologists have misrepresented Quranic verses for centuries. Now the Muslims are using familiar arguments against the Baha’is.
     
  15. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    No the governance is decentralized - every area has its own governance

    I do not know about more mystical - the Sufi faith is very mystical and some of the mysticism in the Sikh faith comes from there -

    I strongly disagree - I believe I have mentioned my reasons - for god or Allah to recognize the prevalent Abrahamic faiths and leave out others is proof enough to me that this is human with no divine behind it - also Surah 3:85 - and the intolerance implied sticks in my craw

    Because over 60 million of the indigenous people were killed at the hands of the Muslims invaders - I gave you one Ghalughara example - there are numerous others - horrendous ones - I am not surprised there is animosity towards the faith
     
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  16. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I have been considering Surah 3:85 from the Quran. It reads:

    And whoever seeks a way other than this way a submission (Islam), will find that it will not be accepted from him and in the Life to come he will be among the losers.

    It is important to consider the context and the preceding verse reads.

    Say: 'We believe in Allah and what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and to Issac and Jacob and his descendents, and the teachings which Allah gave to Moses and Jesus and to other Prophets. We make no distinction between any of them and to Him do we submit.


    So it is not sufficient for one who follows Allah to believe in Muhammad alone but all the Prophets without distinction.

    Islam emerged out of the Arabian Peninsula during the 7th century. Because of its close proximity to Jewish and Christian communities there is extensive mention of Jesus, Moses, the Gospel and Torah.

    Hinduism is a religious tradition that was quite geographically isolated from the Arabian Peninsula and I’m not aware of any specific reference Muhammad makes to Hinduism if any. However He does say say that for every community or nation there is a Messenger.

    And for every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a Messenger; when their Messenger comes, the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. (Qur'ân 10:47)

    And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e., do not worship Taghut besides Allah)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). (Qur'ân 16:36)

    Some of these Messengers are mentioned in the Qur'ân by Allah and some of them are not as the Qur'ân says:

    And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad(P)); of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story, and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the Leave of Allah. So, when comes the Commandment of Allah, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost. (Qur'ân 40:78)


    Every Nation Was Sent A Messenger...

    Some Muslim scholars are clear that Hinduism would therefore be a religion that has had Messengers that have guided Their people. Other Muslims would reject Hinduism outright despite these clear verses in the Quran.

    The Baha’i position is clear. Hinduism is a religion of Divine origins. Krishna and Buddha brought a Divine Revelation as did the Abrahamic Founders of religion. There have been other Messengers or Avatars beyond Krishna and Buddha.

    Both our faiths have history of being persecuted by Islam and experience ongoing problems with some Muslims throughout the world.

    Sorry to take a while to respond. Although we will not agree on the Divine origins of the Quran its important to realise Surah 3:85 isn’t a rejection of all religions other than Islam. Islam means submitting to God so both Sikhism and the Baha’i Faith are in this sense ‘Islam’ as well.
     
  17. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    And that is exactly the point Adrian - the Guru's mention the Vedas and the Qu'ran as well as the Bible and Torah in their writings - the latter two are referred to as "Kateb" - the books so to speak

    So for Muhammad to leave out any mention of the Hindu pantheon reinforces my belief that the Qu'ran is as man-made as any other text out there. There is nothing divine about it - IMO angels do not come and talk to anyone and purport to convey god's message with plagiarism aplenty conveniently from those that Muhammad was exposed to - Jews and Christians. IMO any one that claims such is either willfully being evasive or somewhat deluded. Also remember that the Qur'an was first compiled into a book format by Zayd ibn Thabit and other scribes under the first caliph Abu Bakr Siddiq and then recompiled at the time of the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan for standardization - so who is to say what was lost in the translation. Plus some sources say the Abu Siddiq had some copies of the Qu'ran burnt as they deviated from the anointed text.

    That is reminiscent of the Nicean Council deciding what went in the Bible - on a smaller scale

    Remember also that the text changes from the relatively peaceful first part (Meccan part) to the more warlike second part (Medina) - there are those that suggest that as Muhammad's circumstances changed - so did the Qu'ran - to me that smacks of opportunism with no involvement of any god - but a very human trait.

    And yet history is replete with Muslims in power insisting that the Sikhs and Hindus convert or face unimaginable tortures to their death. I have repeatedly provided examples of this. You may say it was those individuals - but where did they get their inspiration from? So Allah dictated a book that caused inspiration for some people to commit unspeakable atrocities on other innocents simply on account of their professed faith. What does that say about Allah? Did he not know what was going to happen? or could he not stop it? the Epicurus dilemma comes to mind.

    And where was Allah when they committing those atrocities in his holy name? Proof that he is either weak or does not exist, period. He could have changed minds or hardened hearts but nothing of the sort happened. To me, proof that the all powerful deity who "knows best" is as morally vile as the god of the OT per Blu2 for permitting atrocities in his name. Would you allow a person to extort the vulnerable using Dr. Adrian's name? if you as a human can have those values - why not your god?

    Finally most humans (like myself) are poorly read when it comes to religious issues - why on earth would any god put in mutashabihat verses which are regarded as ambiguous to this day? In a book purportedly designed for the masses? It makes zero sense to me.

    So enough matters in there for reasonable doubt that what you revere and worship may not be the original as your fellow religious person Trailblazer likes to say about the Bible

    Finally Sikhism is more closely aligned IMHO with Advaita Vedanta rather than Islam - Allah is considered (correct me if I am wrong) as an external entity in Islam - someone sitting up in the sky or in his Jannat - not so in Sikhism where the pervading wisdom is that the lord is in everything and everything is in the lord. You missed that one big time -
    Thanks for the conversation - it has been enlightening to say the least
     
    #17 ManSinha, Jun 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
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