Posted by PatK (220.127.116.11) on May 26, 2002 at 23:36:35:
In Reply to: Responses posted by Vincent on May 25, 2002 at 18:40:59:
:VG: 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and superseded to boot.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.
PK: Do you really suppose that God begot Jesus? This is contrary to the text of the Gospel which says that Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. I had the impression that most Christians agreed with the Gospel. The Catholics even say that Mary was a virgin, which she would not be if Jesus had been begotten, rather than conceived supernaturally.
:VG: 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
PK: Do you believe Jesus when He says He will return when the Gospel is preached to the nations?
:VG: 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
PK: Perhaps Christian churches were more cultic when heretics were being burnt at the stake? Did the churches become less cultic, or less influential in your country?
:VG: 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.
PK: That sounds accurate. Baha'is see 'unity' as an important theme in the revelation of Baha'u'llah. To accept the revelation of Baha'u'llah on one hand, and to try to divide the community on the other hand, seems like a contradiction of Baha'u'llah's purpose. I thik that is why Baha'is have such a strong reaction to those few who do try to split into distinct groups.
:VG: 4. On this I defer to your greater experience.
:VG: 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.
:VG: 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.
PK: That may be an interesting reading. Had you read Francis Beckwith's? It is not that I recommend it, rather I think it could be improved upon.
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