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Featured How are these Great Beings explained?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by loverofhumanity, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    I quote Abdulbaha on that:


    Question.—It is said in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 3, verses 13, 14, 15: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.”
    What is the wisdom of this: since Christ possessed all essential perfection, why did He need baptism?
    Answer.—The principle of baptism is purification by repentance. John admonished and exhorted the people, and caused them to repent; then he baptized them. Therefore, it is apparent that this baptism is a symbol of repentance from all sin: its meaning is expressed in these words: “O God! as my body has become purified and cleansed from physical impurities, in the same way purify and sanctify my spirit from the impurities of the world of nature, which are not worthy of the Threshold of Thy Unity!” Repentance is the return from disobedience to obedience. Man, after remoteness and deprivation from God, repents and undergoes purification: and this is a symbol signifying “O God! make my heart good and pure, freed and sanctified from all save Thy love.”
    As Christ desired that this institution of John should be used at that time by all, He Himself conformed to it in order to awaken the people and to complete the law of the former religion. Although the ablution of repentance was the institution of John, it was in reality formerly practiced 92 in the religion of God.
    Christ was not in need of baptism; but as at that time it was an acceptable and praiseworthy action, and a sign of the glad tidings of the Kingdom, therefore, He confirmed it. However, afterward He said the true baptism is not with material water, but it must be with spirit and with water. In this case water does not signify material water, for elsewhere it is explicitly said baptism is with spirit and with fire, from which it is clear that the reference is not to material fire and material water, for baptism with fire is impossible.
    Therefore, the spirit is the bounty of God, the water is knowledge and life, and the fire is the love of God. For material water does not purify the heart of man; no, it cleanses his body. But the heavenly water and spirit, which are knowledge and life, make the human heart good and pure; the heart which receives a portion of the bounty of the Spirit becomes sanctified, good and pure—that is to say, the reality of man becomes purified and sanctified from the impurities of the world of nature. These natural impurities are evil qualities: anger, lust, worldliness, pride, lying, hypocrisy, fraud, self-love, etc.
    Man cannot free himself from the rage of the carnal passions except by the help of the Holy Spirit. That is why He says baptism with the spirit, with water and with fire is necessary, and that it is essential—that is to say, the spirit of divine bounty, the water of knowledge and life, and the fire of the love of God. Man must be baptized with this spirit, this water and this fire so as to become filled with the eternal bounty. Otherwise, what is the use of baptizing with material water? No, this baptism with water was a symbol of repentance, and of seeking forgiveness of sins.
    But in the cycle of Bahá’u’lláh there is no longer need of this symbol; for its reality, which is to be baptized with the spirit and love of God, is understood and established.

    Bahá'í Reference Library - Some Answered Questions, Pages 91-92

    So, i think the point is, to understand these rituals as symbols, not that at the moment it is done actually something happens (ex. Holy spirit enters the body). I guess the point is, it is important to understand the meaning of symbolic rituals, and their actual purpose, so, they do not become superstitious.
     
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  2. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Siri I think that 2,000 years ago meanings have been lost. For example. Baha’u’llah commands Baha’is to teach the Cause of God which is exactly what Christ commanded of His followers except He used the word Baptism.

    We should get stuck in semantics but look for the concept, idea and principle involved which was Christ wanted His followers to confirm new believers in His Cause and just because it’s called Baptism doesn’t make it any different in principle to Baha’is being commanded to teach their Faith.

    Can you try and see where this is coming from? Old terminologies were used to convey identical principles. We should not let the outward word deter us from understanding the inner truth of all religions is identical.
     
  3. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Siri I like the fact you question a lot. But so do I. To me Baptism was always associated with spreading or teaching or preaching the Christian Faith so it is an axiomatic fact to me that Baptism just means teaching the Cause of Christ. That there needed to be a ritual at the time is unimportant.

    Bahais have ‘Declaration cards’ they must sign if they want to become Members a form of Baptism if you like to call it that. But it’s not a compulsory ritual which neither was Baptism with water just a way of impressing upon the new believers that they were ‘washing away’ their old ways to embrace the new but it was unnecessary to become a ritual and had no bearing whatsoever on whether a person believes in Christ in his heart or not.

    Today it’s used only as a ritual in the church like the Bahá’í identity card to identify and register a new believer but all the water in the world won’t change you or anyone into a Bahá’í or a Christian if the belief is not in your heart right???

    And also how do we have Baptism with fire or the Holy Spirit? It just means that it has to come from the heart not just physical for if the belief is just based on outward water or fire then it is useless for belief must come from within right? Therefore the emphasis on fire and the Holy Spirit which are symbolising esoteric not material things.

    But today people are carried away by the outward form of religion when the basic essence of religion is to do one thing and do it well and that is to -love everybody and love all religionists and love all people even atheists but today we don’t see that so all these ceremonies and rituals what use are they if they can’t bring about world peace and harmony amongst us?
     
  4. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Hi Carlita. Why is it that whenever I look forward to a delicious coffee I think of you? Do you even drink coffee?

    Anyway yes the Catholic Church is not the Bahai Faith. But the return of Christ is not a teaching of the Bahai Faith but of Christianity and the Bible and Christ Himself.

    The Bible holds Chistians everywhere to account for accepting Christ when He returns. As a former devout Catholic I’m just saying that Catholics are so distracted by rituals and ceremonies that although I didn’t, they all missed the return of their Saviour and Messiah.

    I didn’t miss His Coming because my heart was wedded to Jesus alone not the outward forms of religion so when He did return I recognised Him immediately by His same humility, love, meekness and sacrifice in Baha’u’llah Who had all the same qualities of Jesus and so it was easy to identify Him as Jesus returned.

    I believe things like the sacraments have prevented Christians from beholding the return of their Beloved but there is still time to turn things around so I hope they do discover Who Baha’u’llah really is and we are told that they will one day awaken from their slumber.

    I’m really sorry but there are so many posts I’m not sure which question if you could repeat it, if not please forgive me. It was 45 degrees here and been 40 everyday and sometimes it’s been hard to focus.

    We went to a Baha’i Meeting the other day and when I tried to get into the car I almost burnt my hand it was that hot.

    But I love your open mindedness and that you question everything and don’t blindly accept anything. I learn a lot about how good you are and sometimes how I do need a good kick to focus sometimes as I do lose focus often.

    But my next coffee I dedicate to you.
     
  5. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    My main point is you are making a generalization of The Body of Christ based on what did not work for you. It doesn't show nor give an unity example when the generalizations separate you from the body of believers.

    I'm not a right/wrong believer. No one misguided. No one on the wrong path.

    My only question is how do you relate a ritual to display the love for Christ to someone else who uses rituals in a way not taught by the apostles?

    How does something physical void the truth of its spiritual twin?
     
  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    @loverofhumanity

    I was a Roman Catholic. I practiced rituals daily. Mass everyday. Read the full bible. Went to a catholic weekend retreat. Got to read scripture from the podium. Had wonderful friends. Very encouraging spiritual environment.

    All of this to know Christ and his father. To you,I was misguided, not at all spiritual, misinterpret the bible, and basically wasting my time.

    It is a Huge generalization. The Church is the body of Christ. The people who repented, made a verbal conviction in faith, commune, and was baptized into gods grace. These individual people in varying degrees see rituals differently.

    It also Hugely, and I mean hugely depends on your age and which Church you attended. The CCC does not say pray to statues. SOME catholics do. The CCC doesn't say literal wine IS blood. That's silly. Priest laughed. I just shrugged. That's what they think, I told him. Some catholics dont pray to saints. I did and it helped me know Christ better: via his family, friends, and followers. A lot of catholics, especially those born before say 80s give or take a decade, were told not to read their bibles. Our parish has a full library and bible study classes.

    The culture behind most religions cannot, cannot be separated from the religion.

    You are talking about people not isolated set of rituals.

    You cannot build world peace by stripping spirituality and symbolizing it. Fighting for own community is fine. The whole threads issue is...you want world peace and you support diversity in unity but....

    Generalizing is a total contradiction to your goal. Christ rising has nothing to do with it.
     
    #17106 Unveiled Artist, Jan 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  7. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    As you know, the main commandments Christ gave was to love one another. So that’s something that relates to all Christians or it should doesn’t it? And it’s something I can relate to also as Love is common to all humanity and we all know about love.

    So to love God or Christ is to love each other. If Jesus wishes us to love one another and we wish to show our love for Him we will love one another right?

    Jesus’s wishes He made very clear to us to love each other. So my understanding is that this is the essence of what He taught and is all about.

    If Christians read their Bible and reflect on what Jesus taught they couldn’t miss that He was all about loving others and that’s what Jesus always related His message most to.
     
  8. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Yes it’s a generalisation but a warranted one. The message of Jesus was and remains about love. Chrustianity if it remained faithful to Him would never have had wars, the inquisition, opposed science or split into 40,000 sects but all been one brotherhood and sisterhood united in their love for Jesus and each other.

    I’m not saying every Christian is not loving. Christians are some of the most beautiful people to grace the world of humanity and in service to the poor and lonely and downtrodden.

    But the Cause of Christendom has become embroiled in politics involving Christians in wars and bloodshed between each other.

    The focus always should be love not politics nor sacraments nor priests as it is only love that can ever hope to heal humanity’s wounds and bring us together as one human family.

    Baha’u’llah came to try and bring back the emphasis and focus on loving each other and the world needs all the love it can get. Not one person in the world does not need to be loved but so many are forgotten and ignored.

    We are trying to turn the focus back towards love. That’s all.
     
  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    It is coming up to the two year anniversary of my mother's passing. I had looked after her for the previous four years and arranged the funeral. I know about difficult families and how such times can bring out the best and the worst in people. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

    Any religion that is worthwhile needs to have the capacity to adapt to different cultures. Part of the experience of Buddhism in the West is the synthesis of Asian cultural traditions interwoven with Buddhism. Cultural traditions can both accentuate and obscure Buddha's Teachings. How Buddhism is lived in Japan will be entirely different from Vietnamese Buddhism established in the USA.

    The Buddhism that is part of the traditions of Japanese people isn't established in my hometown. SGI maybe, but its not well regarded by mainstream Japanese immigrants.

    The parables of Christ and the stories of Buddha have similarities in that they can have many meanings depending on where we are in life. Both sets of Teachings are comprehensible to those that make an effort to study and practice them. If the Teachings of Jesus were too difficult His religion would not have spread throughout the entire world.

    The Japanese worship Buddha in their homes and in temples. He is not seen as just a teacher. He is revered beyond that. This probably reflects the difference in traditions and beliefs between those of Mahayana and Theravedic traditions.

    The Buddha and His Teachings.

    The impermance is about this mortal life. Buddha often declined to elaborate on metaphysics and instead emphasised practical living. There was a wisdom in His silence and I don't believe His silence is a proof that Buddha was an atheist.

    To Baha'is God is an unknowable Essence. As the feeble spider can not snare the mighty phoenix within its web, so too the intellect of man can not grasp the Transcendant One. God is beyond the comprehension of man.
     
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  10. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Yeah. We plan to meet at my grandma cemetery then go to restaurant to eat with my aunt. Thank you.

    The main teachings don't change because they are inherent in life. The Buddha isn't the author or creator of The Dharma.

    SGI like Bahai are small. They are world wide and have similar goals. If I compared Buddhism to Bahai they are the closest.

    They are difficult due to language and culture. Spirituality is depended on the "cookie cutter" that shapes the doe. The doe isn't considered a cookie without the cutter.

    The Dharma sees him as a teacher like a guru. If going by sutras he is a teacher. Cultures adore the teacher. Its not a mundane word. He taught The Dharma he realized. He didn't create it.

    Without The Buddha, what is The Dharma specific to Buddhism?

    I said he was not an atheist. He is a polytheist.

    He disagreed that any god(s) are needed for enlightenment not proof they don't exist. I put many sutras on this.


    What's an essense? I'm not atheist because I deny god but because I don't know What it is. The Buddha was a Hindu. We see differently on god. But he said asking about what's eternal and what's not is not important. Bahai says it is.
     
  11. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    More deflection. OK here's what I agree with:

    Baptism is a ritual that serves as an outward symbol of repentance and a request made to God for a "cleansed heart" (in the same way that a wedding ceremony is a ritual that serves as an outward symbol that two people have committed themselves to each other in an intimate relationship that they intend to honor).

    Here's what I do not agree with: your statement that Jesus said nothing about rituals. He did say something about rituals - baptism for one - he participated in rituals - baptism for one - he encouraged his disciples to participate in and perform rituals - baptism for one. You can wriggle and squirm around it all you like but the fact is you are wrong about Jesus not promoting ritual forms of worship - that's it - just wrong. Christ, the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the Protestant Reformers and almost all Christians today all approved of and participated in some forms of ritual worship and continue to do so with the backing of scriptural authority and the words of Christ himself. To say that this is not so is to deny the validity of Christian worship. Is that how you promote unity? Is that how you show your obedience to the divine command to "love one another"? Is that how you commit to the Cause of Christ or Baha'u'llah?
     
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  12. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    The key here is that Baha'u'llah has said he has approved what was done as worship in the past that brought rememberance and service to God.

    It is not approved if it blinds man to finding God in this day.

    That was my words, I will find some quotes.

    "Say: O concourse of monks! Seclude not yourselves in your churches and cloisters. Come ye out of them by My leave and busy, then, yourselves with what will profit you and others. Thus commandeth you He Who is the Lord of the Day of Reckoning".

    Regards Tony
     
    #17112 Tony Bristow-Stagg, Jan 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  13. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    I think your words were clearer - if Baha'u'llah agreed with it it was OK if he didn't it wasn't - and you just follow that without even thinking about it carefully.

    The quote is completely unrelated to the topic under discussion - but that's probably just another deflection technique - Baha'is are certainly not the only group to employ that tactic. Some evangelical Christians can go from Genesis to Revelation without finding an in-context scripture in order to avoid facing up to the glaring inconsistencies of their statements of faith. You do at least have that in common with the Christian brothers and sisters you purport to seek unity and harmony with.
     
  14. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    To me when practices in the worship of God become veils, they have lost the potency of intent.

    In the case of the Monks he has approved them to finish with past practices. To me that is up to now they were your practices, we approve you now to do these practices in their stead.

    Sorry no time at the moment to look for more.

    Regards Tony
     
  15. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    Another thought


    "A Catholic background is an excellent introduction to the Faith, and one that Mrs. ... should feel gratified for having had. Though doctrines of the church today are no longer needed -- as the Father Himself has come, and thus fulfilled the mission of Christ the Son yet the foundation they lay of spiritual discipline, and their emphasis on spiritual values and adherence to moral laws, is very important and very close to our own beliefs." (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to two believers, August 17, 1941; Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 491)

    Regards Tony

    Another


    "The day after His arrival in Montreal 'Abdu'l-Bahá went for a drive, and sighting the magnificent Roman Catholic Church of Notre Dame, He went in. When He came out, standing in the porch, He turned to those who were in His company and told them to take a lesson from that very church. It was the total self-abnegation of the apostles of Christ which had raised that splendorous edifice in a land far, far from the scene of their labours. Those disciples, said 'Abdu'l-Bahá, made a pact to go out into the wide world, preach the Gospel, and accept every tribulation for the sake of their Master. They stood by their pledge, and not a single one of them ever returned. And there beside them, He told that company, stood the concrete evidence of the selfless efforts of the disciples of Christ. Some years before, when perils surrounded Him on all sides, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had written in His Will and Testament:"

    (H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 259)

    Regards Tony
     
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  16. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    @Tony Bristow-Stagg - none of these quotes say anything about the value (or otherwise) of ritual forms of worship, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, the eucharist etc. or whether or not Jesus mentioned these in his teachings. Once again, this is just more deflection.

    The point that was being argued was @loverofhumanity 's false contention that Christ did not mention anything about rituals. Can we please stick to the point. Did Jesus mention the ritual of baptism in his teachings or not? Did he participate in that ritual personally (and the baptism with holy spirit and fire at Pentecost, and the sacrament of the holy eucharist/memorial of his death - on the night of the ritual eating of the passover meal that he shared with his disciples, and weddings and public prayers and observance of the weekly sabbath...and probably many other ritual aspects of worship) or not? Did he recommend that his followers participate in the rituals of baptism, confirmation (spirit baptism) and communion or not?
     
  17. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    That part of the quote, again quoted, said it all I think.

    I guess I read all these passages looking for Spiritual intent. This world is but dust and very annoying. It rules me way too often.

    Regard Tony
     
  18. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    But this is still a very different argument. The letter written on behalf of "the Guardian" says that "the doctrines of the Church" (presumably including those regarding rituals and sacraments like baptism etc.) are, In the Baha'i view, "no longer needed". That is not the same as saying, as @loverofhumanity did, that Jesus never said anything about them.

    But the bigger point about this is that to have "unity" (or better "harmony") in the diversity of religious beliefs, one would have to acknowledge that adherence to the Christian doctrines (including ritual aspects of worship such as baptism) is equally valid as rejecting them in favour of a Baha'i view. Otherwise, all you are doing is replacing one with another and declaring the latest "the truth". Its just another part of the divisive process that is the history of religion. And there is nothing new or unifying in that. What @loverofhumanity 's approach does is to attack to original validity of the other faiths. There is nothing new or unifying in that either. It is rather an attempt to justify an insistence on uniformity. On the other hand, "the Lord" of the Baha'i faith does indeed seem to be pretty much the same as that of Moses "a jealous God" who will tolerate no rivalry or deviation from the religious precepts his human "mouthpieces" have propounded (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24).
     
    #17118 siti, Jan 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  19. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    Yes, but it is not equal, as it retricts them to consider fellowship with other Faiths and that is the entire history of religion.

    Change is brought with each Messenger, and as already said change is never easy.

    Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek.

    Each Messenger says, this was the practice, now I tell you.

    Regards Tony
     
  20. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Rituals in and of themselves dont cause wars. The rituals I did gave me more understanding of christ love and defining god through christ since I have no idea what a god is without the physical person and thing to interact with it.

    Some show their love through christ via ritual. Its part of their culture. Displace the ritual you displace he person and his love for christ.

    Has nothing to do with using rituals to be close to god. Youre mixing politics with christianity (not christiandom). They are not the same.

    Sacraments are built off of love.

    Priests are christians just as Joe Smoe and Bob Doe practitioners. I wanted to be a priest. Would my devotion and vocation make my love for christ misplaced as opposed to being a layman?

    Same goal but you are displacing other peoples preference towards that goal.

    Christians love each other. Youre missing the point of rituals.

    Youre missing the point how culture cannot be separated from love.

    Politics have Nothing to do with it.
     
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