Questions about this religion

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Questions about this religion

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:44 am

I am currently studying world religions and am interested in knowing how members of the Bahai faith would answer some or all of the following questions:

Question 1
How many manifestations have there been so far? I have seen various lists mostly including (Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Bahaullah). Further, wasn't the origin of the Bahai faith geared more directly toward uniting Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? When did these other religions start being emphasized as well?

Question 2
How does a member of the Bahai faith deal with the contradicting messages of the leaders listed above (polytheism, monotheism, dualism, humanism, unitarian, trinitarian)? Are all contradictions the result of curruption in that given religions religious texts? Are contradictions the result of the given manifestation speaking with relevance to his surrounding culture? A combination of both?

Question 3
Are the manifestations truly one person? Or do they just live with the same spirit from God? If they are one person, as Bahai literature sometimes seems to suggest, how does this work? Is it some form of specialized reincarnation?

Question 4
How do members of the Bahai faith deal with the documented evidence suggesting that the Bab believed the next manifestation would not arrive anywhere near as soon as Bahaullah did? How do you deal with the evidence that he appointed a leader who seems to have been Bahaullah's older, half-brother? Why was there such a short time between these two manifestations when the average timespan had been about 500 years prior to this?

Question 5
In terms of unifying mankind to one God, one religion, one government, one language, etc...What form of government would this be? What language is in mind, if any?

Thank-you for your time. I would appreciate any help on these topics.

Much appreciated,
Matthew

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:27 pm

Question 1
How many manifestations have there been so far? I have seen various lists mostly including (Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Bahaullah).


Bahá'u'lláh indicates that there have been countless Manifestations of God. We are trying to build a list of the Prophets explicitly mentioned in the Bahá'i Writings or Qur'án (and Bible) at http://bahai9.com/wiki/Prophets . We believe, however, that we cannot add to the names of those mentioned in these texts.

The Qur'án, which we also accept as Revelation, lists several of these. There is a public collaborative page for Islam on this topic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophets_of_Islam .

Further, wasn't the origin of the Bahai faith geared more directly toward uniting Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? When did these other religions start being emphasized as well?


Bahá'u'lláh makes clear that His Revelation was never intended to benefit one people only. Our institutions have explained that the reason there is more reference to Islám (and as a result to Judaism and Christianity) is simply due to the fact that each Revelation has its immediate context. Also, we believe that Islám was the most recent Revelation from God before the Bahá'í Revelation. I believe that it was His Son 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who first explicitly mentions Buddha and Krishna as Manifestations of God (and praised Confucius as a great moral reformer, though not a Manifestation).

We also believe that it was always the plan of God to send such Messengers to unite humanity (in progressive stages), and this is now the age where it is possible.

Question 2
How does a member of the Bahai faith deal with the contradicting messages of the leaders listed above (polytheism, monotheism, dualism, humanism, unitarian, trinitarian)? Are all contradictions the result of curruption in that given religions religious texts? Are contradictions the result of the given manifestation speaking with relevance to his surrounding culture? A combination of both?


Yes, a combination of both and also the corruption of man-made dogmatic accretions (this is emphasized more than a corruption of texts, although we also believe the exact texts are not present for earlier Revelations).


I'll try to get to your other questions when I have more time.

Best wishes,
Brett

Amalcas
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Postby Amalcas » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:17 pm

To answer question two, though only for Hinduism:
Within Hinduism, there is Aum, the unknowable essence, of which the Gods are reflections of the aspects thereof. In the Baha'i Faith, God is unknowable, and can then be associated wtih Aum. The Gods, which would then translate as Manifestations, also fit in, as each Manifestation focuses on a paticular aspect of God to instil in the people.
Hope that helps you understand how the interpretation (and translation between languages) of religions can severely affect their perceived images.

Darrick Evenson

Re: Questions about this religion

Postby Darrick Evenson » Thu Sep 16, 2004 5:17 pm

Anonymous wrote:I am currently studying world religions and am interested in knowing how members of the Bahai faith would answer some or all of the following questions:

Question 1
How many manifestations have there been so far? I have seen various lists mostly including (Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Bahaullah).


DARRICK: There isn't any "set" number. Baha'is usually use "9" out of convenience, but there is no set number. I like to think "99" since Manifestations are the manifestations of the Names/Attributes of God on earth, and ALLAH has 99 names, but this is personal opinion.

Further, wasn't the origin of the Bahai faith geared more directly toward uniting Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? When did these other religions start being emphasized as well?

DARRICK: When 'Abdu'l-Baha began to be asked about Buddha, etc.

Question 2
How does a member of the Bahai faith deal with the contradicting messages of the leaders listed above (polytheism, monotheism, dualism, humanism, unitarian, trinitarian)? Are all contradictions the result of curruption in that given religions religious texts? Are contradictions the result of the given manifestation speaking with relevance to his surrounding culture? A combination of both?

DARRICK: Buddha taught there was One God Whom He called BRAHMAN (Absolute Reality). Buddha denied the existence of the pagan Hindu gods and goddesses. Krishna was a monotheist, according to the Bhagavad Gita. Sometimes "Asuras" are translated as "gods" or "demi-gods" but this is not accurate, but mistranslations. Devas are angels, and Asuras are demons. Zoroaster taught the existence of Ahura Mazda; the Wise Lord. Other spirits were inferior to Him. I don't know any Prophets that Baha'is recognize that taught "humanism" etc.

Question 3
Are the manifestations truly one person? Or do they just live with the same spirit from God? If they are one person, as Bahai literature sometimes seems to suggest, how does this work? Is it some form of specialized reincarnation?

DARRICK: No reincarnation of souls (personalities), but rather the manifestation of the Names/Attributes of God Which are, in one Dimension, Lehoot, multiple, and in another dimension (Hehoot) ONE. The SUN is One, but reflected in 10,000 mirrors the Sun is 10,000.

Question 4
How do members of the Bahai faith deal with the documented evidence suggesting that the Bab believed the next manifestation would not arrive anywhere near as soon as Bahaullah did?



DARRICK: The early Christians also believed that Jesus would return in their own lifetimes, but He didn't. Doesn't matter what Babis thought, God has His own time-table.

How do you deal with the evidence that he appointed a leader who seems to have been Bahaullah's older, half-brother?

DARRICK: Subh-i-Azal was to lead the Babi Community; not be the next Manifestation.

Why was there such a short time between these two manifestations when the average timespan had been about 500 years prior to this?

DARRICK: Not all Manifestations of God have a long time-period in-between. John the Baptist and Jesus; for example (yes, Baha'u'llah wrote that John the Baptist was a Manifestation of God, not just a Prophet).


Question 5
In terms of unifying mankind to one God, one religion, one government, one language, etc...What form of government would this be? What language is in mind, if any?

DARRICK: Most Baha'is would say "Esperanto" is the language, and the UN is the government. I DOUBT IT! I'd say "English" is the language (perhaps a simplified English) and the European Union will grow outside of Europe and eventually be a World Union. The "One Religion" does not mean, I believe, that all will be "Baha'is" but that all will recognize Baha'u'lalh as the last Manifestation while at the same time worshipping their own Manifestation/Prophet.

Thank-you for your time. I would appreciate any help on these topics.

Much appreciated,
Matthew

mattrose
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Postby mattrose » Thu Sep 16, 2004 11:26 pm

Thanks very much for the reply :)

Regarding your answer to question #2....
Even if you can make a defensible case that all the religions acceptable to the Baha'i faith are monotheistic, doesn't that leave the equally important problem that these religions hold very different beliefs about that one true God ranging from personal, impersonal, trinitarian, unitarian, etc? What is the Baha'i response to such realities. Which positions about God are correct? And assuming trinitarianism is incorrect, aren't christians then excluded from Baha'ism?

Regarding youru answer to question #4
I didn't mean to emphasize the babis. I meant to emphasize the Bab himself. If he was a manifestation, how could he have been wrong in his prediction? Or was he just a fallible forerunner?

Amalcas
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Postby Amalcas » Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:07 pm

I'm fairly certain (translation: can't find document) that the Bab said at one point that He Whom God would make Manifest would come in nine years time. No, the Bab was considered infallible.

Darrick Evenson

Response to Matthew

Postby Darrick Evenson » Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:40 pm

mattrose wrote:Thanks very much for the reply :)

Regarding your answer to question #2....
Even if you can make a defensible case that all the religions acceptable to the Baha'i faith are monotheistic, doesn't that leave the equally important problem that these religions hold very different beliefs about that one true God ranging from personal, impersonal, trinitarian, unitarian, etc? What is the Baha'i response to such realities. Which positions about God are correct? And assuming trinitarianism is incorrect, aren't christians then excluded from Baha'ism?

DARRICK: The Baha'i view is that GOD is ABSOLUTE ONE in one Dimension, but in other Dimensions (i.e. in Lehoot--the dimension of Names and Attributes) the Names/Attributes of God became Divine Beings.
These Divine Beings incarnate as Manifestations of God. Regarding the Trinity...Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Baha'is would say these are the three STATIONS of the Manifestations. For example, God revealed Himself as FATHER (YHWH) to the Jews, as SON (JESUS) to the Christians, and as HOLY GHOST (ALLAH) to the Muslims. In the Qur'an ALLAH says, "He begets not nor has He been begotten". This title means ALLAH is the Holy Ghost, because the Syrian Christians used to say:
The FATHER is HE Who Begets
The SON is HE Who is Begotten
The HOLY SPIRIT is HE Who Begets Not, nor has been Begotten.

In other words....
Judism--revelation of the FATHER
Christianity--revelation of the SON
Islam--revelation of the HOLY GHOST

The Manifestations of God also have three Stations:
FATHER
SON
MESSENGER
This is explained in the Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard (Mark chapter 12):
FATHER (Lord of the Vineyard)
SON (Jesus)
SERVANTS (servants of the Lord of the Vineyard...the Prophets).
Jesus said in the Parable of the LORD of the Vineyard that sometime AFTER the Son was killed, the Father would come to the Vineyard (i.e. Israel) Himself. Baha'u'llah did.

Regarding youru answer to question #4
I didn't mean to emphasize the babis. I meant to emphasize the Bab himself. If he was a manifestation, how could he have been wrong in his prediction? Or was he just a fallible forerunner?


DARRICK: The Bab was infallible. He told His disciples to look to the year 9, the year 19,and to the year 2001, and other numbers. Baha'u'llah had His vision of the Maid of Heaven in the year 9 according to the Babi calendar. He made His declaration in the year 19 according to the Babi calendar. The other numbers refer to further Manifestations of God. The years are Babi years on the Babi calendar (which Baha'is still use); not Christian or Muslim years. I know of no statement (written or otherwise) by The Bab that said "He Whom God Would Make Manifest" would not come in 1000 years. Baha'u'llah wrote that about Himself, but not The Bab.
Darrick

hihellowhatsup
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Re: Response to Matthew

Postby hihellowhatsup » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:32 pm

The Manifestations of God also have three Stations:
FATHER
SON
MESSENGER
This is explained in the Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard (Mark chapter 12):
FATHER (Lord of the Vineyard)
SON (Jesus)
SERVANTS (servants of the Lord of the Vineyard...the Prophets).
Jesus said in the Parable of the LORD of the Vineyard that sometime AFTER the Son was killed, the Father would come to the Vineyard (i.e. Israel) Himself. Baha'u'llah did.

OK, I am sick and tired of people calling Baha'u'llah God the Father, since that is simply not true. Shoghi Effendi said the following:

"Baha'u'llah is nothing more, and nothing less than: The return of Jesus Christ "In the Glory of the Father", the Lord of Hosts awaited by the Jews, the Spirit of Allah (Jesus Christ) awaited by Muslims, Shah Bahram awaited by Zoroastrians, the 5th Buddha awaited by Buddhists, and the 10 Avatar awaited by Hindus,"

Looking at this, it means that Baha'u'llah is NOT the Father.

Tony

Postby Tony » Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:26 am

Hihellowhatsup

Baha'u'llah proclaims: "Lo, the Desire of the world is made manifest in His transcendent glory!" The Father hath come. That which ye were promised in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled.... "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" p 13

"The Father" refers to Baha'u'llah's station as supreme Manifestation.

"Briefly, we say a universal cycle in the world of existence signifies a long period of time, and innumerable and incalculable periods and epochs. In such a cycle the Manifestations appear with splendor in the realm of the visible until a great and supreme Manifestation makes the world the center of His radiance....Afterward, other Manifestations will arise under His shadow......We are in the cycle which began with Adam, and its supreme Manifestation is Baha'u'llah." "Some Answered Questions" p 161

As for the station of Baha'u'llah, cf two passages from "Gleanings": p 227 "Certain ones.....informed, observant" and p 166 "The essence....their belief".

If you meditate upon the meaning of "The Tablet of the Holy Mariner" you might understand the matter more clearly.


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