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Posted by Vincent ( on May 25, 2002 at 18:40:59:

In Reply to: Re: No certainty here, but... posted by Nick Stone on May 25, 2002 at 11:08:55:

1. Come now. From the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed: We believe "in One Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God..." The vast mainstream of Christianity affirms this. Baha'is believe nothing of the sort. For them Jesus is one of many, and superseded to boot. Whatever elements you may have taken from Christianity, these cannot represent its essence.

I suppose I should have simply suggested that our young seeker ask himself whether he believes that Baha'u'llah is really the prophet of God, or that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God. Or perhaps he is not sure, which would suggest waiting.

2. Cultism is relative. I propose we should establish a scale based on the amount of freedom of belief for individual members, vs. authority and control from the top. Baha'is are more cultic than most Christian churches, but less so than those comet people who killed themselves. (Of course even fully democratic and egalitarian churches can also make terrible mistakes.)

3. Baha'is believe it is a mistake, though not a terrible one, to leave the faith for another. But to leave your denomination of Baha'is for another group, or try to start a new group which doesn't obey the same leaders, is the worst sort of sin imaginable to them--"covenant breaking." I don't doubt that you have never met them, because Baha'is *shun* (refuse to talk to or have dealings with) others not of their lineage. Some Christian churches (such as the Roman Catholics) believe they are the only true church, but shunning is practiced only be a few extreme sects such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Most Protestants believe that if you think another denomination is better, it's fine to switch.

4. On this I defer to your greater experience.

5. Again, I defer to your greater experience. It is hard for outsiders to know about dissent within the Baha'i faith, let alone to measure it. But, I firmly believe our seeker should hear them out before deciding. And I would say the same of Baha'is contemplating a conversion to Christianity.

I first heard of the faith when one of your dance troupes came to my local school board proposing to act out certain lessons of a liberal multicultural slant. I of course opposed, on academic as well as political grounds, but this led me to investigate the faith. In the past I have also investigated the Moonies, Hare Krishna, and other then-popular groups for an anti-cult project. Perhaps I should write a little booklet summarizing your errors.

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