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Bahaism is a Persian delusion, whose headman Baha Ullah in Acre claimed to be
an incarnation of God. Abbas Effendi succeeded him and is running the
"incarnation" fraud for all it is worth, and it is worth a good deal, as
pilgrims constantly come from Persia and bring their offerings in money with
great liberality. Such men . . . as the Babites of Persia turn up now and then
in the East, "go up like a rocket and down like a stick." -- H. H. Jessup,
"Fifty-three Years in Syria," p. 637.
I cannot understand how a Christian can possibly exchange the clear consistent
plan of salvation through Christ for the misty and mystical platitudes of
Bahaism. -- Ibid., p. 687. [page 63]
ITS SPECIFIC CLAIMS
BAHAISM makes various claims of a practical nature. Some of these will require
detailed treatment. Several of them I will group in this chapter. Additional
light is thrown on the question of their validity by facts subsequently brought
forward, for many facts have a bearing on several subjects.
Among the specific claims put forth by Bahaism is that of being specially
adapted to promote the unification of mankind, and of accomplishing that end.
Bahaism reiterates the Christian ideas that God hath made of one blood all
nations and that all shall be united in God's spiritual kingdom. It repeats as
a slogan, "the brotherhood of man." C. M. Remey  says: "The Bahai
cause stands for the unity of all religions, political unity of nations, the
social unity of all classes, peoples and races." "Its aim," says Harold
Johnson, "is to knit all the faiths and all the peoples into one." 
"The essential principle of the teachings of Bahalsm is the unification of the
religious. systems of the world," says MacNutt.  This is a high
ideal, which interpreted in their several ways is
1. "The Bahai Movement," p. 73.
2. Contemporary Review, March, 1912. 3. In "Unity Through Love."
the aim of Christianity, Islam, Socialism, etc. And Bahai writers mean what all
the other systems have meant, namely, unity by all accepting their beliefs, for
Remey  says: "Baha Ullah's mission is to unite those now following
many systems into one brotherhood and one universal faith. . . . May God speed
the day when all of us may become true Bahais."
But the claim of Bahaism is presented in another form. It asserts that it is
actually bringing about this unification. "Abdul Baha is harmonizing
Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus in the one and
true faith."  Dreyfus says: "It is uniting all men in the great
universal religion of the future." At Oakland, Cal.,  Abdul Baha
said, "The revelation of Baha Ullah is the cause of the oneness of the world of
humanity. It is a unity which welds together all the races." In illustration of
this alleged result, the pilgrims to Acca express their gratification and
amazement that at Acca several races meet together in love and unity. So in
Rangoon, says Mr. Sprague,  "I attended a Bahai meeting at which six
of the great world religions were represented united in the wonderful bond of
friendship and unity." In like manner Mr. Harold Johnson says, "What
Christianity has failed to accomplish, Bahaism has accomplished in uniting men
of different races and religions." If these assertions
1. "The Bahai Movement," p. 39.
2. Ibid., p. 27.
3. S.W, Oct. 1912, p. 190.
4. "Story of the Bahai Movement," p. 4.
mean external association, it may be said that Christians have had their
Parliaments of Religions and Congresses of all faiths, examples of polite
toleration and laboratories of the science of religion. If it means that
Christianity refuses to put itself on a level with other religions and consort
with them as equals, this is true, for Christianity is an exclusive religion.
It has entered the world, as it entered the Roman empire, to displace all
others. It refuses to have Christ occupy a niche in the Pantheon. But Bahai
writers mean rather that Bahaism is to be the bond of unity by all races and
religions accepting Baha. In this sense their claim is based on very meagre
premises. A few thousand only, outside of Persia, have embraced Bahaism. Harold
Johnson says: "The NonMohammedans do not number probably very many thousands."
But do we not see myriads gathering into the Christian brotherhood out of every
race and religion of Asia, including even thousands from Islam. Thirty thousand
Moslems have become Christians in Malayasia in Abdul Baha's lifetime. In Asia
how many races and religions, forgetting their former antagonisms, are united
in the faith and baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ. As an example of the living
power of the Christian faith to unite the races of men, take the Conference of
the International Christian Students Federation, held at Lake Mohonk, N.Y.
There Hindus and British, Japanese and Koreans, Russians and Chinese, Greeks
and Armenians, French and Germans, Canadians and Brazilians, Americans and
represented the wide world. Mutual esteem, love and spiritual fellowship united
members of the various Protestant Churches with representatives of the Oriental
Churches. The unity in Bahai Assemblies is on so small a scale as to be not
worthy of mention. How little Abdul Baha knows of or appreciates the reality
and power of Christian spiritual fellowship is shown in his remarks at West
Englewood, N. Y.  "This gathering (of Bahais) has no peer or likeness
upon the surface of the earth, for all other gatherings and assemblages are due
to some physical basis or material interests. Bahai meetings are mirrors of the
kingdom." When Abdul Baha speaks about the results of Bahaism in bringing about
unification in Persia, his claims seem utterly extravagant. To one who knows
that country from long residence they are explicable only on the supposition
that he has been misinformed or deceived by his own followers, for it must be
borne in rind that Abdul Baha left Persia when a child of six or eight and has
never returned. Hear these words which Abdul Baha addressed to Rev. J. T.
Bixley, who was writing on the Sect in the North American Review: "The
fundamental question is the unification of religious belief. In Persia, during
the last fifty years  . the various religionists have united in the
utmost love and fellowship. No traces of discord or difference remain: the
utmost love, kindness and unity are apparent. They live together like a single
1. June 29, 1912.
2. S. W., Sept. 27, 1912.[page 67]
harmony and accord. Discord and strife have passed away. Love and fellowship
now prevail instead. Whether they be Moslems, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians,
Buddhists, Nestorians, Shiites, Sunnis or others--no discord exists among
them." In an address at New York,  he said:
"In the Orient different races were at constant warfare until about sixty
years ago Baha Ullah appeared and caused love and unity to exist among these
various peoples. Their former animosities have passed away entirely. It was a
dark world, it became radiant. . . . You now see the same people who were
formerly at enmity and strife in far-off Persia, people of various religions
and denominations living in the utmost peace." "His Highness, Baha Ullah,
established such unity and peace between the various communities." What does
such language mean? At their face value these words are erroneous in a high
degree. All know indeed that in Persia bigotry and religious and racial hatred
have been modified. In bringing this result about, Bahaism has had a share
along with Western civilization and education, the Nationalist movement,
medical missions, and even Pan-Islamism, for the latter has tended to bring
Shiahs and Sunnis nearer to each other. But it is notorious how great the
enmity and hatred is yet; how the Kurds have raided the Shiahs and massacred or
plundered the Nestorians and the Armenians: how the Moslems oppress the
Armenians in Karadagh: how Sheikhis have
1. S W., Sept. 8, 1912.
suffered from Mutasharis; and Ali Allahis continued the practice of tagiya for
fear of them both. If Parsees enjoy more ease, it is through the efforts of
their co-religionists in India; if Christians are safer, it is through the
favour of the Shahs and the power of Christian governments: in neither case is
it due to Bahaism. The union with the Bahais of possibly a dozen Armenians, a
few score Zoroastrians and several hundred Jews cannot be the basis for such
extravagance of language: neither can the rejection by Baha of the Shiah notion
that other religions are "unclean," for Sunnis all along held the "peoples of
the Book" to be "clean" and Christians of old learned to "call no man common or
As to unification, how is it? Babis were divided off from Sheikhis, and Bahais
from Babis, and Behais from Bahais and the flames of hate and vindictiveness
burn hotter between them than between the older sects and races, while the
Shiahs curse and at times persecute Babis and Bahais. Instead of unity the
Babi-Bahais have brought a greater division of sects: instead of love renewed
fires of animosity and fanatical hate. In view of these conditions, how
unreasonable for Abdul Baha to say that "through the power of Baha Ullah, such
affection and love is produced among the various religions of Persia that they
now associate with each other in the utmost love and concord."
1. Professor Browne, in the Ency. of Ethics and Religion, article "Bab,"
writes: "The Bahais are strongly antagonistic alike to the Sufis and the
Mohammedans, but for quite different reasons. In the case of the Sufis they
object to their latitudinarianism, their Pantheism, their individualism and
their doctrine of the inner light. With the Mohammedan they resent the
persecutions they have suffered. The Bahais detest the Azalis, the followers of
Abbas Effendi dislike and despise the followers of his brother Mehemet
Passing now to another phase of this subject, let us inquire what means are
prescribed for religious unification. The chief means seems to be the
forbidding of the right of private interpretation or opinion. Abdul Baha writes
 that he is "the Interpreter of all the works and books of the
Blessed Perfection. Were this not the case, every one would give an
interpretation according to his own inclination--this would lead to great
differences." This point is more plainly stated by M. Abul Fazl: 
"One of the explicit commands of Baha Ullah is the ordinance abrogating
differences which separate men. . . If those having two points of view, engage
in strife in expressing their views, both will be delivered to the fire. . . .
Bahai law prohibits the interpretation of God's word and exposition of personal
opinion . . . lest different sects arise." "You must ask him (Abdul Baha)
regarding the meaning of the texts of the verses. Whatsoever he says is
correct. Without his will, not a word shall any one utter."  Baha
Ullah "made provision against all kinds of differences, so that no man shall be
able to create a new sect . . . indicating the Interpreter so that no man
should be able to say that he explains a certain teaching in this way and
1. S. W, Aug. 20, 1914.
2. "Brilliant Proof," pp. 26--28.
3. S. W., Nov. 23, 1913, p. 238. [page 70]
create a new sect."  After Abdul Baha whenever the House of Justice
is organized, it will ward off differences. But though the right of private
judgment was denied, yet a new sect arose and bitter disunion occurred over the
question of the Infallible Interpreter.
Another Bahai scheme to promote unity is the adoption of one language to be a
universal language; another is the amalgamation of all the races by the
marriage of blacks and whites, and all indiscriminately; another is the
discouragement of patriotism or any special love for one's country or people,
teaching an internationalism in the words, "Let not him glory who loves his
country, but let him glory who loves his kind." These points need not detain
us, nor need we stop to enlarge on the fact that the new calendar, feasts,
rites, laws, weights and measures, etc., tend to disunlon.
The claims of Bahaism in regard to its relation to the movement for peace
and arbitration require consideration. Abdul Baha at Boston 
said: "Baha UlIah spread the teaching of Universal Peace sixty years ago, when
it was not even thought of by the people. He sent tablets to kings advising
this." He wrote to Mr. Smiley of Lake Mohonk, "The matter of International
Peace was instituted by His Highness, Baha Ullah, sixty years ago in Persia."
Dreyfus  says: "Long before these ideas, i. e., peace, brotherhood
and arbitration, had taken form among
1. S.W., April 9, 1914
2. S.W., July 13, 1923, p. 122.
3. "The Universal Religion."
us, at a time when the Bab himself had sometimes excused the use of arms for
the propagation of religion, Baha Ullah had made these high principles the one
basis of his religion." Remey  states this claim yet more strongly,
saying: "Peace, arbitration, in fact universal civilization were unthought of
when over half a century ago these teachers (Baha Ullah and Abdul Baha)
announced their message." Again, "Christ states that His dispensation is to be
a militant one, which would be followed by another of peace. Baha Ullah has now
brought that peace to the world. He is the Prince of Peace who has established
the foundations of peace on earth." 
Now as to the facts. Bahaism certainly does advocate peace and arbitration, in
common with Tolstoism, socialism and many schools of thought. Baha said to
Professor Browne at Acca, in 1886: "This fruitless strife these ruinous wars
shall pass away and the Most Great Peace shall come. These strifes and this
bloodshed and discord must cease and all men be as one kindred and one family."
In accordance with this, Abdul Baha declares  universal peace and an
international Court of Arbitration to be fundamental principles of Bahaism. The
Court will be called the House of Justice and will be composed entirely of
Bahais. "Disputes will find a final sentence of absolute justice . . .
1. Bahai Movement," p. 75.
2. Page 54. In Dealy's "Dawn of Knowledge," the chapter on Baha Ullah is
entitled "Prince of Peace."
3. S.W, vol. IV, pp. 6, 8 and 254.
the Bahai House of Justice. War will be suppressed." **
It is good to have such a programme approved by one raised in a Moslem
environment. Yet it is evident that the claim to priority and originality
regarding it, constitute a grave anachronism and betray ignorance of or
perversion of history. Both the ideals and the programme were in existence and
in partial operation long before the time of Baha Ullah. In the first place,
Bahai teachings on peace are but an echo of Christian hopes and doctrines of
"peace on earth: good will to men." Baha has but thrown on the screen again the
vision of the seers of Israel who foretold the age when "men shall learn war no
more." The hopes of the prophets, the longings of saints, the anthems of the
worshipping church found voice through the Christian centuries, with a faith
never dimmed, a desire never quenched, anticipating that
"Then shall wars and tumults cease,
Then be banished grief and pain,
Righteousness and joy and peace
Undisturbed shall ever reign."
Baha's teaching, though growing up in Islam, is transplanted from Christian
soil. He repudiates the teaching of Mohammed regarding "holy wars." "The first
Glad Tidings is the abolition of religious warfare from the Book," i. e., the
Koran. What Bahais would do in case of provocation,
"Answered Questions," p. 74;" Tablet of the World," p. 28. **
[** Wilson has conflated the Universal House of Justice and the
International Tribunal. 'Abdu'l-Baha' views on the election of the
International Tribunal are set out in his 1919 'Tablet to the Hague' (i.e. to
the Committee at The Hague in relation to the International Peace Conference).
'Abdu'l-Baha writes: "[Baha'u'llah's] plan is this: that the national
assemblies of each country and nation--that is to say parliaments--should elect
two or three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well
informed concerning international laws ... The number of these representatives
should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. ... From
among these people the members of the Supreme Tribunal will be elected..." The
Tribunal is therefore a civil, not a religious body, made up of legal
The reference in note 1 to Some Answered Questions can be found on p 64 of
the 1994 edition. 'Abdu'l-Baha here refers to a tribunal of national
representatives, not to the Universal House of Justice.
With regard to the Tablet of the World, Wilson uses a translation by 'Ali
Kuli Khan (Baha'i Publishing Society, 1917). The passage he refers to
corresponds to page 89 in Tablets of Baha'u'llah U.S., 1988 pocket-size ed. The
1988 translation has "It is incumbent upon the ministers of the House of
Justice to promote the Lesser Peace so that the people of the earth may be
relieved from the burden of exorbitant expenditures." The 1917 translation
reads 'Most Great Peace' rather than 'lesser Peace'. Using the current
translation, and bearing in mind Baha'u'llah's Tablet to Queen Victoria and
Shoghi Effendi's interpretations in 'Messages to the Baha'i World', pages
74-75, 'The Promised Day is Come', pages 26 and 123, and especially 'World
Order of Baha'u'llah', pages 162-163, it is clear that the House of Justice
referred to here is a civil government and certainly not one of the Baha'i
religious institutions -- which are specifically barred from taking
responsibility for establishing the lesser peace and do not in any case have
ministers. Wilson's misreading here -- and above, where he assigns functions to
religious institutions which in Baha'i teachings belong to civil governments --
may well be an honest mistake, given the mistake in 'Ali Kuli Khan's
translation. But Wilson should have known that 'house of justice' was one of
the terms used in Persia in the late 19th century to refer to a national
Parliament, and recognized the possibility of ambiguities resulting - S. McG.]
accompanied by reasonable opportunity of success, is not evident. The Babis
were fierce warriors (1848--1850) and the Bab expected that wars would
continue. In the "Bayan" he makes provision for the distribution of the spoils.
 Baha, together with Azal, started for and tried to join the army at
Tabarsi,  and was absent from participation in its sanguinary
conflict, solely because his arrest by the Persian authorities at Amul
prevented him from reaching the fort. After his release he fell under suspicion
because  he "not improbably harboured designs of setting up a
standard of revolt on his own account." He was, therefore, rearrested and sent
to the capital. But during his exile in Turkey, he tried to be reconciled to
the Shah of Persia. Following this change of policy, he was able to claim later
 that "for nigh upon thirty-five years no action opposed to the
government or prejudicial to the nation has emanated from this sect." The
Bahais did not join in the effort to establish constitutional government in
1908-- 1911.  They have never had an even chance to fight for their
own cause and it remains to be seen what they would do in such a case. There is
no assurance that they would act like Quakers or Dukhobors, for even Abdul Baha
at times identifies himself and his cause with the fighting Babis and
appropriates their martial glory. He said to Mr. Anton Hadad:  "When
in Persia we were very few but owing to
1. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 287.
2. "New Hist.," pp. 378, 379.
3. ibid., p. 380.
4. "Trav.'s Narr.," pp. 65-67.
5. See Chapter VI.
6. A Message from Acca," p. 9.
animosity we stood before our numerous enemies, fought and defeated them and
gained the victory." He wrote a prayer on behalf of the American army for the
use of Bahais: "0 God! Strengthen its soldiers and its flag."  In his
teachings, he leaves several pretexts for the prosecution of war. He says :
 "War is sometimes the foundation of peace. If, for example, a
sovereign should wage war against a threatening foe or for the unification of
the people, this war may be attuned to peace: this fury is kindness; this war
is a source of reconciliation." In his scheme for arbitration, one is reminded
of the old saw, "we must have peace even if we have to fight for it." For he
says: "If any nation dares to refuse to abide by the decision of the
international court, all the other nations must arise and put down this
rebellion, . . . they must rise up and destroy it, . . . band together
and exterminate it." 
As to the claim that Baha originated the movement for universal peace and
international arbitration, it only deserves consideration because it is
apparently put forth in sincerity. It absolutely contradicts history. In fact
the movement for "peace on earth" has long been an active one in Christian
lands, and arbitration has long been recognized and employed as a method for
promoting peace." "Under the influence of religious and feudal ideas," says
Professor Moore,  "arbitrations were very frequent
1. 'Tablet "9," p. 8, published by the New York Bahai Council.
2. "Principles of the Bahai Movement," pp. 43, 47, Washington, 1912.
3. Ibid., pp. 43 45.
4. International Arbitrations," pp. 4826-4833.
in the Middle Ages, which offered the remarkable spectacle of conciliation and
peace making way." Treaties were made which provided for arbitration. In Italy
there were one hundred arbitrations in the thirteenth century. In the following
centuries they were frequent in Europe; Sometimes a king acted as arbitrator
between kings or between king and people. At other times a city, as for example
the Republic of Hamburg, or a great juristconsult or a Professor of a
University acted in this capacity. More often "the predominance of the popes
constituted them natural judges of international cases." Projects for universal
peace were put forward. One of the most celebrated was formed by Sully, the
minister of Henry IV. The Abbe de St. Pierre in 1713 published a scheme for the
federation of Christian States, with a central council to decide all disputes.
Grotius strongly advocated arbitration as a means of avoiding war and the
placing of nations under obligations to settle disputes peaceably. Bentham in
the eighteenth century proposed a plan for a common tribunal to maintain
universal and permanent peace. Fox, Penn and the Quakers, from Christian
principles, strenuously opposed war. There were nine principal arbitrations
between the United States and Great Britain, France and Spain from 1794 to
In 1815, before Baha's day, the Massachusetts Peace Society was formed and in
the following year the American Peace Society "to promote universal
1. New International Ency., Art. "Arbitration," p. 713.
permanent peace through arbitration and disarmament."  For this
purpose World Congresses were held at London 1843, Brussels 1848, Paris 1849,
Frankfort 1850, London 1851, etc., and with great enthusiasm. Men like Elihu
Burritt, Victor Hugo, Richard Cobden, John Bright and Charles Sumner led in
advocacy of the cause. Tennyson, too, saw the vision of peace,
"In the Parliament of men1 the Federation of the World,"
and the Scottish bard declared,
"It's coming yet for a' that
When man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be and a' that."
We can easily conceive how these ideas would penetrate the Near East and how
Baha Ullah in Turkey caught an echo of them and was happily influenced to
become himself an advocate of peace.
But what becomes of the claims of Abdul Baha and other Bahais, mentioned
above, that Baha, in 1863--1867, "instituted the movement for peace and
arbitration" that he advised it to kings "when it had not even been thought
of," "before the attention of Western thinkers had to any degree been directed
towards universal peace." They are like so many claims made by Bahaists,
utterly groundless. Such statements, when made by Abdul Baha, we may attribute
to ignorance of the history. of the Occident,
1. Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XCIV, p. 358.
but this does not excuse American advocates of Bahaism for endorsing such
I need not discuss the assertion of Bahais that the Millennium began in 1844
 or at latest in 1892, nor the announcement that the Most Great Peace
will be inaugurated in 1917, which they declare to be the end of the 1335 days
of Dan. xii. 12. 
Another claim made for Bahaism is that it is a rational and undogmatic
religion. Remeys  says: "It does not put forth doctrine or dogma.
It is a religion free from dogma." It is " logical and reasonable." Dreyfus
denounces "dogmatic religions," and claims that Bahaism has pared the way for
the harmony of religion with free thought."  With these accord the
words of Abdul Baha to Pastor Monnier in Paris.  "Our aim is to free
religion from dogmas. Dogmas are the cause of strife. We must give up dogmas."
Now it is evident that Bahaism has not a fixed body of doctrines: that it has
not a definite and clear system of theology. But it is very dogmatic in the
common usages of that word. Webster defines it as (1) positive, authoritative,
and (2) as asserting or disposed to assert with authority or with overbearing
and arrogance. Is not Bahaism a mass of assertions? For example, Baha declares
that "the universe hath neither beginning
1. S. W., March 21, 1914, p. 8.
2. Dealy's "Dawn of Knowledge," p. 44; Kheiralla's "Beha Ullah," pp. 480,
3. Tract "Peace," pp. 8 and 14; "Bahai Movement," p. 89.
4. "The Universal Religion," pp. 21, 44.
5. S. W, April 28, 1913, p. 55.
nor ending." Abdul Baha adds the comment:  "By this simple statement
he has set aside elaborate theories and exhaustive labours of scientists and
philosophers." Similarly he is said to have settled by a single word all
discussions about divine sovereignty and free agency. Abdul Baha might be
called the Lord of dogmas, for from his dicta none must vary by a hair's
breadth. Remey himself dogmatizes as follows: "The religion, of Baha is the
cause of God, outside of which there is no truth in the world." Much in Bahaism
must be taken on faith, without logical proof. Prof essor Browne 
puts it mildly when he says: "The system appears to me to contain enough of the
mysterious and the transcendental to make its intellectual acceptance at least
as difficult as the theology of most Christian churches to the sceptic."
Elsewhere he says:  "It must be clearly understood that Babism (or
Bahaism) is in no sense latitudinarian or eclectic, and stands therefore in the
sharpest antagonism to Sufism. However vague Babi doctrine may be on certain
points, it is essentially dogmatic, and every utterance or command uttered by
the Manifestation of the Period, i. e., Bab or Baha Ullah or Abbas Effendi must
be accepted without reserve."  Similarly Dr. G. W. Holmes's writes:
"Baha's appeal is only to his own word and to his own arbitrary and
1. S.W., June 5, 1913, p. 90.
2. Phelps, p. xviii.
3. Ency. of Religion and Ethics, Art. "Bab."
4. See also his "Literary History of Persia," p. 422.
5. "Missions and Modern History," by Robert E. Speer, p. 171.
forced interpretation of the Word of God, which interpretations, as he states,
find their sanction solely in his own authority." There are other claims of
Bahaism of a specific nature which might be considered. They would be found
equally assertive and equally groundless. Bahaism reminds me of a horse which
was offered for sale in Persia. It appeared like a fat and well fed animal. But
the would-be purchaser was warned that its skin had been puffed up with air
which would soon leak out, and he would have on his hands a lean, lank, bony
yabi scrub [sic]. Bahaism does not even stop short of claiming that the
civilization of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is due to it. Its
braggart attitude may be fittingly symbolized by Rostand's "Chanticler,"
standing in the barnyard, flapping its wings in vain exultation, imagining that
it, by its crowing, has caused the sun to rise.