Re: No certainty here, but...

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Posted by Nick Stone ( on May 25, 2002 at 11:08:55:

In Reply to: No certainty here, but... posted by Vincent on May 24, 2002 at 21:29:23:

1. "As you know there are many differences between Baha'i and Christianity. Baha'is recognize Jesus as one of many equal prophets, whereas Christians say that he is much more than a prophet."

Where do Christians say that Jesus is much more than a Prophet? In the Gospel it states that Jesus referred to Himself as a Prophet, and was regarded by others as either being one, or claiming to be one. (Matthew 13:57 or Luke 7:16)

If you mean that Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, Baha'is also believe this:

"As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted..." (Shoghi Effendi.)

2. "Baha'is have a strict hierarchy of elected leaders, whose word must be obeyed."

This is true, though should not be misread into thinking Baha'is are cultists.

3. "According to Protestantism, God is holy, but the institutions of the church are not. Thus it is permissible to leave one church and join (or start) another, if you disagree with it. Among Baha'is, such a thing is called "covenant-breaking" and is the worst sort of evil they can imagine."

This is not true. Baha'is are free to leave the Faith if they so wish, and will not be labelled as Covenant Breakers. Covenant breakers are those who attempt who initiate schism within the Faith, equivalent to a Catholic declaring him or herself to being the Pope. Very few individuals have ever been expelled from the Faith as Covenant Breakers. I have never met any.

4. "There is nothing like Sufi meditation among Baha'i groups, only a kind of ritual prayer where they recite aloud selected passages from books."

That depends on where you are in the world. The Baha'i community represents a true cross-section of humanity. If you go to visit Baha'i communities in India, you may find more mysticism than you do in a western secular state such as France or America. Baha'i communities vary greatly from region to region. You cannot take an experience from a Western country (which represents only a very small proportion of the total number of Baha'is) and generalise it to include the Baha'i communities who live in the Amazon jungle or in the Himalayas for example.

5. "Also, there is much dissent within the Baha'i religion which you should be aware of. (For example look up Prof. Juan Cole's articles on the internet, or subscribe to the Talisman9 list.)"

Correction: there is much (arguably not "much" but "some") dissension which comes from a *very small and limited number* of individuals. Perhaps we may compare this to another religion, such as Christianity, where there exist more than 1000 sects due to internal disagreements.

Thank you for your thoughts though Vincent. I may disagree with you on the subject of the oneness of mankind (if you are indeed that Vincent) but as Baha'is we are encouraged to find points of agreement as opposed to contention. May I ask where you discovered the Faith and what interests you in it to stimulate your frequent visits to this notice board?

Best wishes,


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