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Featured How have your religious beliefs benefited you?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Sgt. Pepper, Aug 2, 2022.

  1. Wildswanderer

    Wildswanderer Well-Known Member

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    God, nature, and my dog keep me sane.
    Otherwise who knows what I'd be?
    I'm convinced it would not be pretty.
     
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  2. Clara Tea

    Clara Tea Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if fighting myself is worth the black eyes. I question my religion, then say, "how dare I question my religion" then I have to beat myself up, and defend myself. It's hard to believe that I have a religion of peace. Is there a member of the Religious Right here (I need to borrow their gun. . . this argument with myself has escalated)?
     
  3. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    “If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?”

    This says to me God doesn't give us nearness to God automatically, and since we to some extent earn that, we value that nearness more, and we are enlightened by knowledge because we have to earn our way. We can appreciate then our closeness to God and His beauty.

    Not a very eloquent answer admittedly. My understanding of this has my limitations!
     
  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Yes, but why all the trials?
    "If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me,"

    Why, if there were no trials, would not still long to meet God?
    Why do we have to endure trials to get near God? I think there are people who have few trials, nothing like what I have, and are nearer to God than I am. Are you saying that they did not earn their way?
     
  5. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    I only quoted part of that Hidden Word. Here is what it says in my
    file:

    O Son of Man!
    If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?
    , “The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh” , a50

    We wouldn't really possess the virtue of contentment if we weren't tested by adversity. This adversity benefits us especially if it is encountered in the path of God, which is living the teachings of God.

    It is clear, then, that tests and trials are, for sanctified souls, but God's bounty and grace, while to the weak, they are a calamity, unexpected and sudden.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 182)

    What does the word “weak” mean in context? “Weak” is supposed to be the opposite of “sanctified”.

    Sanctify: to free from sin : PURIFY . Being sancified means to me we are in the process of freeing our self from sin and becoming pure. “Weak” to me, then means weak in virtues, or not trying to be virtuous. The test then doesn't benefit the person because he is not striving to learn from the test. Those who are trying to improve themselves will learn from the test, so there is a benefit there.

    17. O SON OF MAN!
    Be thou content with Me and seek no other helper. For none but Me can ever suffice thee.
    (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

    He pairs being content with God with seeking no other helper. He means in the context with the preceding Hidden Words that only God can help bring us close to God. No one else can do this. He then re-emphasizes this point by saying that only being close to God can ever suffice me.

    Going back to Arabic #50, being content with His pleasure after being tested by adversity means depending only on God to get us through, and get close to Him as a result of this adversity, and improving our character, and move us away from dependence on the world.

    “If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?”

    The second sentence says to me God doesn't give us nearness to God, and since we to some extent earn that, we value that nearness more, and we are enlightened by knowledge because we have to earn our way. We can appreciate then our closeness to God and His beauty.

    The first question is a different kind of situation than the second question, in my opinion. I hope this helps.
     
  6. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Four quotes in one post. You should be designated as "Quote Master" at RF.
    My religious belief has given me perfect calm (that I am not disturbed by the "Quote Masters" at RF). :)
     
  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I can understand why adversity in the path of service to God is beneficial but adversity just for adversity's sake is just adversity and I see no reason why people who have much adversity are better off than those who have little. Am I supposed to think I am more spiritual than other Baha'is in my community who have little adversity? This does not compute.
    Sanctified souls vs. weak souls. What Abdu'l-Baha said is judgmental so I want no part of it..
    Just try enduring the tests I have endured and then tell me they are God's bounty and grace.
    It is easy to believe that if you have no walked a mile in my moccasins. It is just words on a page.

    I am sorry Duane but I do not believe that tests are necessary. The reason do not believe it is because I see people who have few tests who are spiritual nonetheless.
     
  8. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    When we are tested it is an occasion when we can pass or fail it. When we fail it, that tells us when we need to do some work on ourselves. Yes, I agree that there are those who with fewer tests that are more advanced than those with a lot of tests. I don't remember offhand where a person with more tests will automatically be more advanced. I quoted above that for sanctified souls they are a bounty, but obviously if you don't learn from the test to do better next time the test won't help you but the trial or test then is just an occasion for feeling bad. You need to get over your understanding of what "weak souls" means and listen to Baha'u'llah when He says that all the Names of God revolve around 'Abdu'l-Baha so He is incapable of being judgemental. 'Abdu'l-Baha is also speaking to someone on this occasion whom He is not hurting because this person He is talking to is not someone He considers a weak soul. All of the Writings have to be evaluated to undertand what is being said. You can't judge 'Abdu'l-Baha on your understanding of this one passage taken in isolation. You are the one being judgemental on this occasion.

    When does God send us tests is another question. People have free will given to them by God, though it is constrained by circumstances in their life, and tests given to us by people probably are not sent by God to us. However, God can cause people to test us if He wants to, so I don't really know if those kind of tests are always not from God, or if some are, which ones are sent by God.
     
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    That makes a difference that this person He is talking to is not someone He considers a weak soul.
    However, the problem that I see is that it s in the Writings so other people read it, and if they read it out of context it could be hurtful.

    I am not judging Abdu'l-Baha, I am feeling for those who might feel judged, including myself.
     
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I don't really know either and I do not think anyone knows what God is 'doing' and that is why I have a problem with this:

    “God alone ordereth all things and is all-powerful. Why then does He send trials to His servants?

    The trials of man are of two kinds. (a) The consequences of his own actions. If a man eats too much, he ruins his digestion; if he takes poison he becomes ill or dies. If a person gambles he will lose his money; if he drinks too much he will lose his equilibrium. All these sufferings are caused by the man himself, it is quite clear therefore that certain sorrows are the result of our own deeds. (b) Other sufferings there are, which come upon the Faithful of God. Consider the great sorrows endured by Christ and by His apostles!”
    Paris Talks, pp. 49-50

    Of course there are more than two kinds of tests. There are the tests that come to everyone, not just the faithful of God, like when a loved one dies. That is not like the sorrow endured in service to God. I don't mind that or even consider it sorrow.
     
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  11. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    It could be hurtful out of context. I hope the person will investigate further if that happens. That in itself could be a test for them, one they would have to overcome.
     
  12. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    That's a good question you ask. One perspective I have, one possibilty is that Paris Talks was someone writing down an on-the-spot translation that he/she remembered that may or may not be accurate. Paris Talks in that way is not as authoritative as Selections From the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha or Some Answered Questions which were verbal recollections, but for which 'Abdu'l-Baha later made corrections to the manuscript. In my online copy of Paris Talks I can't see any indication of who recorded this talk or what the circumstances were. In Promulgation of Universal Peace there is an indication of who is taking the notes and what kind of notes. In some there were Stenographic notes which are more accurate than regular notes, I understand, or two people combined to take notes, one of which was Persian, which would proabably be more accurate. I just don't know the quality of Paris Talks in terms of word-for-word accuracy. I don't know the accuracy of the first sentence above. I believe we should hunt for more authoritive Writings to resolve this. The only one I know of is this:

    18. O SON OF SPIRIT!
    Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself.
    (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

    This leaves unanswered with what He had ordained for us. In contrast, in your above quote, Abdu'l-Baha is quoted as saying "God alone ordereth all things and is all-powerful.". I don't think we really know that. because of the possible inaccuracy. It also seems to be a contradiction to free will. 'Abdu'l-Baha says in Some Answered Questions which is authoritive:

    Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 247)

    That's a stab I make to answer to this. That my present understanding.
     
  13. EthanReilly

    EthanReilly We Create God by Our Exaltation

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    I have connected with other syntheists online. I have a sort-of online community with them. It's not traditional by any means and we don't have physical spaces to meet, but finding other people with similar positions as my own is possible and I've connected with a few of them. I get traffic on my website in the name of a few hundred people per month. And when I visit a church or a congregation it helps me even more to discover more about my own beliefs, because rejecting other beliefs actually strengthens my own views. I do have to bite my tongue a lot though.
     
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  14. DNB

    DNB Christian

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    After reading a few of the comments below, and even yours Sgt Pepper, your beliefs appear to be nothing but a bunch of placeboes for you all. You all talk about your feelings and emotions, without any mention of either the plausibility or veracity of the convictions that you hold?
    I am a Christian for no other reason than I think that the Gospel of Jesus is accurate and true, and surpasses all other belief systems in wisdom, sublimity and imminent manifestation. Whether or not I agree with it or how it makes me feel - I can expect to be persecuted and even condemned for it, and have to give up countless acts that appear to be pleasurable in life. Truth is about abiding by what's real and ultimately inevitable, not what gives me peace for the short term - not to mention the absolute subjectivity of happiness and peace.
     
  15. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    So why don’t you stop fighting, and make peace with yourself? Accept yourself as God or the Universe made you, and accept your creator’s love for you as a gift freely given?
     
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  16. Sgt. Pepper

    Sgt. Pepper RF's resident Beatlemaniac. ☮ and ❤

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    My decision to renounce my Christian faith and belief in God was not solely motivated by my negative interactions with Christians, but it undoubtedly played a role. But it was the years of abuse, bullying, and trauma I suffered while growing up that mainly contributed to my decision to renounce my Christian faith. There is one other reason that later contributed to my decision to completely ditch my faith and belief in God, but I won't post it in my thread because I'm sure it would incite a debate, and my thread isn't intended to be a debate thread, and it's posted in a non-debate forum. If you're interested in knowing what this other reason is, then you can PM me.
     
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  17. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    I don't want a debate anywhere if I can help myself from doing that.
     
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  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I did not used to be able to help myself but I can help myself now. ;)
    I simply do not care what others choose to believe or disbelieve. That is entirely their own business.
     
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  19. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    The word "religion" has too much baggage for me now, but my spiritual beliefs - learning from those like the Vietnamese exile Thich Nhat Hanh who though rejected by his country for refusing to take sides refused to become bitter through the cruelest wars and instead rebuilt war-torn villages and brought peace to the boat people. Learning minimalism, mindfulness, being present in the now, clearing mind of clutter - still learning, but finding freedom after previous oppressive racist, homophobic, abusive, male-heirarchy group.
     
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  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Bahai Chaucer English translations always amuse me greatly.
     
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