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Featured Problems with the Baha'i faith

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Kapalika, May 2, 2017.

  1. Kapalika

    Kapalika Well-Known Member
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    I've always found some issues with the main idea of the Baha'i faith, for a few different reasons.

    The first is that they equate Krishna to many other prophets, as if somehow Krishna in either case is the main god or spokesperson or prophet of Hinduism as a monolithic religion. Hinduism has had many prophets throughout the ages, not a single one can be tied to it's founding, but many known and unknown throughout the ages.

    He's not, he's the main figure for Viashnavas, which while the largest Hindu religion isn't the majority.

    This also brings up the second problem that I have with it, it seems to suggest that anyone who doesn't follow those religions somehow are the "main" or only "real" ones. Since they are not recognizing the legitimacy of other religions by naming their deities or prophets they are basically saying they are not "real" and don't have a connection to the same god. That, or it's like they don't acknowledge the other deities.

    Then my third issue is that it fails to recognize the inherent differences of the religions, their philosophies and theology. Some of the religions they say come from the same god are radically different enough to make such a claim highly suspect. Buddhism is very different from Islam, for example. Guatama Buddha is recorded as saying things that when compared to Islam clash very strongly. I am very sure many Muslim posters here can bring up texts contemporary to Muhammad that prove this, and Buddhists can bring up texts contemporary or close to Guatama as well. Guatama didn't even see god as relevant and was agnostic! So how could he be a prophet of a god?

    I can only say I've talked to people of the Baha'i faith once in person, but many times online. I always get this sense that they want to fit round pegs into square holes, and sometimes don't seem to totally understand the various religions. I can understand that there are similarities, some might even be compatible or in some ways almost the same, depending on sect or otherwise... but that doesn't make them the same, and it's rather wrong to act like they became 'changed' over time but were all originally very alike or revised when we have contemporary records proving otherwise.

    If God is so inept as to provide the truth the first time, why should we trust the newest Baha'i version either? On the surface it might seem like a nice way to "unite" all the different religions but it doesn't hold up after scrutiny. Even consider that religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are NOT monotheistic, why do people of the Baha'i faith try to act like they are?
     
    #1 Kapalika, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    As a former Baha'i myself, I think your points are basically correct but my heart still makes me like Baha'is although the religion is vulnerable for such criticism. And there is more strangeness than an outsider even realizes.

    My heart doesn't allow me to be so critical though.
     
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Baha'i Faith does not have a great deal to say about Hinduism. In regards to Krishna:

    Blessed souls — whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius or Muhammad — were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light?
    Abdu’l-Baha

    Baha'is believe that Krishna is a Manifestation of God along with Moses, Buddha, Christ and Muhammad.

    Revelation | What Bahá’ís Believe

    Manifestations of God | What Bahá’ís Believe

    There is nothing in the Baha'i writings that presents Hinduism as a monolithic religion or to say that it has not had other prophets other than Krishna.

    A fundamental Baha'i principle is independent investigation of reality. There is nothing in the Baha'i writings that criticises Viashnavas.

    There is nothing in the Baha'i writings that suggest those who do not follow Krishna are not the real ones or main ones.

    Of course the Baha'i Faith recognises that other religions have very different beliefs. The Baha'i faith is another belief system. We do believe that there is One God who is an unknowable essence.

    An Unknowable God | What Bahá’ís Believe

    We believe that unknowable essence God has revealed Himself through Great Teachers.

    We recognise that many Buddhists believe there is no God, many Hindus believe in many gods, and the Abrahamic Faiths belief in One God. Can all beliefs be correct? There is one reality but multiple understandings of that reality. The analogy of the blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, each believing to feeling a very different entity is useful. One has the tail and thinks it to be a snake, the other the leg believing it to be the truck of a tree. In truth it is the same elephant in the room.

    It is a challenge for us all to understand diverse cultures that we have not been brought up in or we are not familiar with. That's a challenge for Baha'is just like everyone else. I'm a Baha'i from a Western/Christian background. I acknowledge that I know next to nothing about Hinduism and RF is an opportunity for me to learn more.

    God is not inept but man does have a tendency to misunderstand and get the wrong idea. Besides we live in very different times now, than bygone ages.

    Here's what Baha'u'llah says about the Manifestations of God as Divine Physicians.

    The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

    Best Wishes
     
    #3 adrian009, May 3, 2017
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
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  4. CogentPhilosopher

    CogentPhilosopher Philosophy Student

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    When I first went out to college I met some Baha'i and they where really nice and invited me to one of their meetings. So I went and I had these same problems, when I tried to talk about it with one of them he just seemed so hurt I gave up on it.
     
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  5. Kapalika

    Kapalika Well-Known Member
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    That was just an example, the point is that it doesn't recognize many religions or their prophets so it's implying they don't have the 'true' god, so why only those few?
     
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  6. CogentPhilosopher

    CogentPhilosopher Philosophy Student

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    It is rather suspect that only the most popular religions at the time of it's founding where considered the "true" religions.

    How do they explain away the conflicting themes and goals in many of these religions?
     
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  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Baha'i Faith emerged out of Persia (now Iran) so its Founder Baha'u'llah explained His teachings to a predominantly Muslim audience. Then His eldest son Adbu'l-Baha was appointed successor and travelled to Europe and North America addressing a predominantly Christian audience. Therefore we have many writings that address Abrahamic themes. We have very few of our writings that refer specifically to the Dharmic Faiths. It is one thing to not mention a particular prophet or great spiritual teacher, but that omission does not imply that prophet or teacher is false or is not inspired by the True God.
     
  8. Kapalika

    Kapalika Well-Known Member
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    But what about the countless native religions such as in the Africas, Americas, or even the Norse gods or today the neo-pagan gods? There are an insane amount of religions are you saying all of them worship what is really the same god? What if their religion has no god, as many do? Even Confucianism is an example which is a philosophy. Yes it often incorporates traditional Chinese ancestor worship ect but it's not really a religion on it's own.
     
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  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    There are many great men that have been prophets, seers, wise men, or capable souls who have had a profound influence on peoples throughout the world. God is All-Powerful, Omnipotent, All-loving and Just. Even in the history of the Jewish peoples from Moses to Jesus, there were many prophets, wise men, and great Kings that were inspired by God. We can all manifest the perfections of God to some extent in our lives. Some have a greater capacity than others.

    In regards to ancient religions:

    "just as the rays of the natural sun have an influence which penetrates into the darkest and shadiest corners of the world, giving warmth and life even to creatures that have never seen the sun itself, so also, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Manifestation of God influences the lives of all, and inspires receptive minds even in places and among peoples where the name of the Prophet is quite unknown."

    (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 4)
     
  10. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Having had some personal contact with the Bahais of the place I used to live on, I largely agree with @George-ananda and @CogentPhilosopher above.

    It is definitely an all-meaning (edited to correct: well-meaning) religion, but we all should be prepared to accept that it is not doctrinarily too sound.

    In a sense, it is not meant to be doctrinarily sound. It attempts to teach people to know better than to worry too much about doctrinal coherence, and I praise it for that. By that alone it does enormous amounts of good.

    But the end result is still a doctrine that often contradicts itself and attempts to deemphasize and overlook those contradictions. But that may easily turn out to be a good thing, at least given the circunstances. Doctrinal coherence is over-rated, and often leads to inhuman behavior.

    Bahais are (from my personal experience) about as healthy a religion as one could expect if given the constraint of belief in the God of Abraham. It is not fully formed and I don't think it can actualize its full potential without eventually transcending its own god-view. But it has all the proper conditions to eventually take that leap of faith.
     
    #10 LuisDantas, May 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
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  11. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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  12. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    These are a few points that maybe gives a better understanding about what Bahais believe with regards to Religions of the World:

    1. Bahais believe that each of the Manifestations of God, had a different mission, thus, Their revelations are different, while Their reality is the same. Thus, in Bahai view, some of the differences between teachings of Manifestations, is related to their missions. In another words, Bahais believe in reality there is only One religion, but different Manifestations appeared with their own mission to build this One religion.

    2. With regards to Scriptures of the past Manifestations, Bahais believe only the Quran is completely preserved. Bahais do not believe that, for instance the original teachings of Buddha, or Krishna have been preserved Word for Word until our Time, as their teaching were not written down in their own life time, but were collected later on.
    Bahais attribute some of the differences between world religions to the fact that their original teachings are not preserved and that people have also added their own invented doctrines to the original teachings.

    3. Bahais believe that in the teachings and sayings of previous Manifestations, there has been many symbolic expressions. However people differed regarding interpretations of such symbolic language, and thus each sect made their own interpretations. Many of people, interpreted then literally. Bahais attribute the differences in interpretations, as yet another reason why today, people of different sects and religions have different beliefs.

    In another words, Bahais believe that fundamentally the teachings of all Manifestations agree with each other, had they been preserved perfectly today, and interpreted correctly.
     
    #12 InvestigateTruth, May 3, 2017
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  13. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    If I may, respectfully. Moses and Mohammed are never presented in Judaism or Islam, as a "manifestation" of God, only messengers of God. Am I misunderstanding?
     
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  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    But Baha'i's have never adder their own invented doctrines to the original teachings, right?
     
  15. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    On top of the issues listed the biggest problem I had with the Baha'i was the inclusion of Muhammad. The more I had looked into Muhammad's character I found it impossible to believe the man was a prophet. Then of course as far as I can tell Moses didn't exist and there was pretty much no evidence for their teachings being true. The idea of uniting the world in one language and religion seems pretty much silly.

    I made the two Baha'i folks that tried to convert me very angry.
     
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  16. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    Bahais believe that Bahaullah is the Manifestation for our Age. Now, in our age, due its relative advancement, it was possible for Bahaullah to write and seal His writings, and it was possible for Bahais to collect those writings, and analyze their authenticity. Also, Abdulbaha wrote the interpretations of the Scriptures. Thus, the Bahais cannot change anything, or add anything to it, as the original teachings of Bahaullah and Abdulbaha are all well documented. The original manuscripts are available and collected in Bahai World center. The hand writings are clear, and the seals on many documents make it clear, that those belong to Bahaullah. No body can add anything now.
     
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  17. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I though you meant reinterpreting ancient scriptures, like the Vedas. You said "people invented their own doctrines to add to the originals.' But when you say 'people', Baha'i are exempt from this ;inventing their own doctrines' stuff. That's what I meant. In other words the entire idea of progressive manifestations is there all along in the Vedas, the I Ching, the Torah, the Bible, etc., but the practitioners of those faiths just can't see it, right?
     
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  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    To their credit, nobody here representing Bahai has yet to seem to get really angry with me for pointing out all the false logic. But perhaps some have, because they no longer respond to me it seems.
     
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  19. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    Good point. You are correct. I think this is a worthy topic to consider. They did not Explicitly present Themselves as Manifestations of God, although They made allusions to it.

    Bahais believe They were Manifestations, however due to Their missions and the requirement of Their Revelation, They presented Themselves as Messengers only. Let me quote from Bahaullah, who explains the reason for this:

    "These attributes of God are not and have never been vouchsafed specially unto certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His well-favored, His holy, and chosen Messengers, are, without exception, the bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their
    light. Even as He hath revealed: “Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others.” It hath therefore become manifest and evident that within the tabernacles of these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite names and exalted attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some of these attributes may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous Temples to the eyes of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they Who are the Daysprings of God’s attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these beauteous Countenances have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty. To every discerning eye this is evident and manifest; it requireth neither proof nor evidence."

    With Regards to Revelation of Bahaullah, however, He states that it is the fulfilment of the Prophecies regarding Day of Resurrection, which in World Religions Scriptures, it is the Day, mankind meets with God, as fully represented for example in Quran, the Bible and others.
     
    #19 InvestigateTruth, May 3, 2017
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
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  20. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for your informative reply.
     
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