Are we worthy? A spiritual perspective...

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Baha'i Warrior
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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:40 am

We are not worthy (it was not our right to be created), but we can make ourselves less unworthy if we follow God's divine instructions, via the Baha'i teachings.

curt
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Are we worthy? A spiritual perspective...

Postby curt » Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:16 pm

Are we worthy? Probably not.

Can we make ourselves less unworthy? Probably not. But maybe God will if He so chooses.

Badge of transcendent distinction? Huh?

Spiritual faith conquests? Say what?

Cosmic insight? Hm.

It all sounds so New Age, Richard. Chaff without a seed. A tree that bears no fruit but only flowers.

Man's merit lies in service and virtue.. says Baha'u'llah in the Tablet of Hikmat. I have always found that that service is pretty mundane and that virtue beyond my grasp. Still, I keep trying as I know you do, too.

Curt

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:15 pm

richard wrote:via the Baha'i teachings.

OK!!! But not via any other of the world's religions, not even by the supreme and ultimate religion of Universal Spiritual Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Love???


There are many sources of truth, including those of previous worlds religions and philosophy. But as Baha'u'llah states in the Tablet of Ahmad:

"O people, if ye deny these verses, by what proof hath ye believed in God? Produce it, O assemblage of false ones."

All I meant was, as illustrated in this verse, the Baha'i Faith is a continuation of previous world religions and also the newest one. So it has the "new" teachings as opposed to the "old" ones. I am not saying that the "old" ones are bad at all, how could they be? I'm just saying that the "new" ones are better because they provide more up-to-date guidance, relevant for today. Old teachings can be supplemented with the new ones, and in fact should be. But just as you should take a multivitamin, it is more important to get your vitamins first from their real source—food, and not rely solely on the multi. The multi is just to cover all bases, not meant to be a substitute for the superior source which is food.

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:16 pm

richard wrote:via the Baha'i teachings.

OK!!! But not via any other of the world's religions, not even by the supreme and ultimate religion of Universal Spiritual Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Love???


There are many sources of truth, including those of previous world religions and philosophy. But as Baha'u'llah states in the Tablet of Ahmad:

"O people, if ye deny these verses, by what proof hath ye believed in God? Produce it, O assemblage of false ones."

All I meant was, as illustrated in this verse, the Baha'i Faith is a continuation of previous world religions and also the newest one. So it has the "new" teachings as opposed to the "old" ones. I am not saying that the "old" ones are bad at all, how could they be? I'm just saying that the "new" ones are better because they provide more up-to-date guidance, relevant for today. Old teachings can be supplemented with the new ones, and in fact should be. But just as you should take a multivitamin, it is more important to get your vitamins first from their real source—food, and not rely solely on the multi. The multi is just to cover all nutritional bases, and not meant to be a substitute for the superior source which is food.

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:47 pm

richard wrote:I hear what you are saying theologically, but my concern, as always, is spiritual.


As is mine.

richard wrote:As imperfect humans we are often more attracted to religions formally & intellectually in our minds, rather than spiritually, in the spiritual truth of our One and Only God of All in all of our hearts and souls.


This is certainly a flaw of many, yes.

richard wrote:This emphasis on intellectual facts rather than spiritual truths leads us to ego concerns and conflicts as in "my God or religion is better than your God or religion," when in fact there is only One God of All.


Would you quote me saying that other religions are inferior to the Baha'i Faith? Haven't I acknowledged that all religions are from God? I fail to see any "ego concerns" in stating a truth: the Baha'i Faith is the newest world religion, and therefore it has the newest teachings. Does God send us new teachings just so we can shop around both the new ones and the old ones to see which fits each one of us best, take what we like and reject what we don't like? That is, each man build his own customized religion? That's not what God intends.

richard wrote:Indeed, as i suggested in my response to Curt, it is a problem of "intellectualized" thoughts and language displacing spiritualized thoughts and language. For example, i see evidence of Baha'i teachings with great spiritual import interpreted so literally, theologically, and intellectually that the spirit, truth, & goodness of the teachings are lost in argumentative contentions.


Perhaps you might share some examples of what you are talking about? That would be helpful.

richard wrote:As an example of spiritual wisdom & truth that may step on our toes and human egos, but should be well considered, I conclude with the following thoughts...

Surely there is not a world religion that could not profitably study and assimilate the best of the truths contained in every other faith, for all contain truth.


That is in harmony with my previous posts.

richard wrote:And furthermore, religionists would do better to borrow the best in their neighbors' living spiritual faith rather than to denounce the worst in their lingering superstitions and outworn rituals.


Again, I talked out "supplements"...

richard wrote:Indeed, it very much seems a fallacy for any group of religionists to conceive of their creed as THE TRUTH; and surely, such unspiritual attitudes bespeak more of their theological ego & arrogance than of a certainty of spiritual faith experience.


I never said that the Baha'i Faith is "the truth" to the exclusion of other truths, Mr. Richard.

richard wrote:richard, in the spirit, of the truth, love, goodness, and unity of the One and Only God of all persons, places, things, and religions in His Infinite Universe of universes…


You know Richard, there are many "goodnesses" out there, and man needs direction. Religion, sent to man by God, provides clear guidance to anyone who may seek it. Humans can try to come to some conclusion themselves, can take their own little spiritual quest, or they can open their hearts up to what God says because whatever He says is indeed Truth—something which is and was always found first and foremost in Religion. Religion in its pure form is not man-made; indeed, it is the Institution that God has designated for man to come to know his Creator—and in the process himself. As I have stated before, there is a very specific reason why we have the world religions that we do. I know you are familiar with this pattern yourself, "progressive revelation." If religion was the cause of advance for man, then it will continue to be so. I believe the newest world religion to be the Baha'i Faith, and that has nothing to do with "ego"—but it has a lot to do with open-mindedness and spiritual investigation.

curt
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Are we worthy? A spiritual perspective...

Postby curt » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:01 pm

Hi Richard,

25+ years ago I told a friend about the Baha'i Faith. He listened but concluded it had to do with the AnitChrist and he was too clever to fall for that. 25 years later he showed up at my door to tell me he had attended Baha'i Firesides and agreed with everything EXCEPT the inconveniences of no alcohol and fasting. We had a wonderful visit. I continue down this path and he continues wandering in circles looking for Truth, Goodness, Beauty, God in a world that is going down the tubes, as he put it. Despite my efforts to point out that Baha'u'llah reflects the One and Only God of All for us in this day and age, that Baha'u'llah has paved a beautiful path of spiritual living, discipline, and freedom, my friend was not taken in by the inconvenience of organized religion and all its perceived problematic limitations and its egotistical claims to Truth.

My friend had the wrong end of stick! His ego was getting in the way. Not mine. My friend was wandering down pathes of delusion, bereft of discernment to see God with his own eyes or hear His melody with his own ears. If he couldn't see God reflected in Baha'u'llah, then he won't see Him anywhere. How can he? He wasn't really looking at all. He wasn't even scratching the surface of who Baha'u'llah is.

BW has done a superb job of pointing out that the path is over here , Richard. Isn't it just remotely possible that the One and Only God of All is trying to tell you the same thing, that the path is over here? Whose ego is getting in the way of humility here? It isn't BW's. It isn't mine.

Just a little food for thought. Nobody is twisting your arm or boxing you into a corner. In any case, your posts are always interesting, entertaining and welcome.

Curt

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Re: Are we worthy? A spiritual perspective...

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:53 pm

Richard,

Try to see the wisdom in Curt's post. (Sometimes my posts I suppose come across as being too "hardcore" to some, so it's nice when a Baha'i like Curt can say the same thing in a different way.) Truly (and sadly), there are too many people out there who won't join the Baha'i Faith because they can't have their glass of wine, or for whatever other trivial reason. They trade the chance of everlasting life for mere wine! They'd rather kill their brain cells and their chances for everlasting bliss than submit to God's Will.

No one is forcing you to become a Baha'i, Richard, or even to believe what we believe so no need to feel threatened. But you have stated that you do believe in the truth of the Baha'i claim, and given that the intention of a religion is to have members (otherwise it dies), it'd logically follow for you to become a Baha'i, especially given that the Baha'i Faith does not discourage you to pursue other interests related to spirituality while being a member of the Baha'i Faith; indeed, the same can't be said about other world religions. We are indeed far from being closed-minded!

God led you to the Baha'i Faith, something you now say you believe in. But if you think I'm closed-minded and on some "ego trip" then I'm afraid you'd think the same about most of my coreligionists. Either we have to adjust our way of thinking, or you do. Just a thought.

Again, like Curt said, we like your posts Richard, even when the word "ego" is used. :nackt:

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:53 am

richard wrote:Hello Curt & BW,

I do appreciate your many good insights and comments and think you are good, decent, and even spiritually aware Baha'i Faith members. That said, human ego, even onto human spiritual pride, can be very subtle in even our sincere attempts at verbal communications, whereas spiritual truth is a living experience we have in close personal, in person, relationships with others.


Like Curt suggests, those who think others' egos are getting in the way of the search for God may actually be projecting (as a self-defense mechanism) their own ego onto those who they see problems with, such as Baha'is.

richard wrote:Thus, i think internet correspondence has built in spiritual limitations that can only be overcome with in person socialization and interpersonal contact, particularly if there has never been any in person contacts with those engaged in dialogue. And, that said, i still remain interested in exchanges from time to time for the sake of additional spiritual perspectives from what i have already acknowledged as one of the, imho, very best religions on earth.


Yes, internet correspondence (and e-mail correspondence even more so) tends to be very impersonal. That is one huge disadvantage to this technology.

richard wrote:For me, dialogue looses its specific spiritual goodness and flavor if it is diluted by certain digressions, which themselves can be very subtle, and not always easily recognized.


What "digressions"? Any specific examples? You mean us responding to your ego thing?

richard wrote:I think for at least a short while i must seek to spiritually refresh myself and just close with the thoughts that you will find in my newest spiritual thoughts about, and need for, confession, which you will find as a new topic for discussion.


I think during that time, you might consider reading some more of Baha'u'llah's writings, so that you may gain more understanding of God's goodness and discover spiritual truths hidden in the Gems called the Baha'i writings.

richard wrote:I do thank you both, as well as others on this site, for your good, gracious, and tolerant ways... richard, in the spirit of our One & Only God, as much as possible, by the Grace of God...


Thank you also for your tolerance for our beliefs. Maybe we might have you, Mr. Richard, as a spiritual brother some day. :ai8

curt
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Are we worthy? A spiritual perspective...

Postby curt » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:45 pm

Hi Richard,

I hope you don't mind if I jump in here and make a few points. I'll be brief.

When you refer to our Heavenly Father do you realize that Baha'u'llah is that Heavenly Father? Do you understand that the Jehovah who spoke from the Burning Bush to Moses is Baha'u'llah? In a tablet to an early believer of Christian background, Baha'u'llah says the following:

O followers of the Son (Christ)! Have ye shut out yourselves from Me by reason of My Name? ... The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom (Revelation of Jesus) is fulfilled! This is the Word which the Son concealed, when to those around Him He said: 'Ye cannot bear it now.' ... The Lord is come in His great glory!

You wrote the following: They (religions) can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals -- these are intellectual; but they can, and some day will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true...

Bingo! That is exactly what the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is!

I'll take my leave now and let you digest this, Richard.

Your brother in spirit,

Curt

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:42 pm

richard wrote:Well, BW, you may not agree, but I think all of us in this world are brothers and sisters in the Spirit of our One & Only God, our Heavenly Father, but we are not necessarily mindful of that fact. If we are born of the same mother, we are blood brothers and sister; and, since we were all created by God, our Heavenly Father, we are all His children in the Spirit, His sons & daughters, all sisters & brothers whether we realize and act accordingly, or not. Indeed, our minds can hide, or fail to sense the Father’s Spirit in us.


I also agree that we are all "brothers and sisters in the Spirit of our One & Only God." But just as blood brothers feel closer to each other than two strangers do, so is the same with faiths. Notwithstanding, both Baha'u'llah and 'Abu'l-Baha do stress the importance of preferring others over oneself, so as a Baha'i if one refers to someone as his Baha'i brother, it doesn't automatically mean that he don't also consider strangers to be his brothers too.

richard wrote:All religions have arisen as a result of man's variable intellectual response to his identical spiritual leading. They can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals--these are intellectual; but they can, and some day will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in the spirit all men are equal.


As you yourself state, "all religions have arisen as a result of man's variable intellectual response to his identical spiritual leading." Therefore, we must not abandon religion thinking that we have a good enough intellect to let go of it and spiritually be on our own. Through the Baha'i Faith, I believe, everyone will eventually "realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in the spirit all men are equal."

richard wrote:So then, our hope for unity and brotherhood is primarily spiritual, not through our "intellectual" thoughts of the divisive details of man made differences of interpretations of God's Perfect Intelligence.


Specifically, though, the Baha'i Faith has its divinely appointed Interpreters of the Baha'i texts. Therefore, unlike all other worlds religions, the Baha'i Faith has taken care of this problem, guarding itself against "man made differences of interpretations of God's Perfect Intelligence."

richard wrote:Indeed, we have heard that the Spirit gives us life, while the letter of the law of life divides, and even brings conflict and disunity.


Religion per se doesn't create "conflict and disunity." "The letter of the law" is meant to unite people, on the contrary. Unity in belief. Unity of what is moral versus not moral. For example, how can you have unity when there is still inequality in the world? "The letter of the law" of the Baha'i Faith is unity. Unity doesn't divide. And we need the unifying teaching of the Baha'i Faith for the world to get better. We can't just sit around hoping that people will all believe in the One True God. Even if that did happen, men need guidance. If there isn't one religion that is sought after for ultimate guidance, then men will pick their own teachings and ideas from different religions, philosophies, etc., that suit their own fancies, and there we have it: disunity. Truly, the disunity we see in religion today stems from the fact that old religions are "expired," not from the fact that disunity is inherently associated with religion; if that were the case, then God wouldn't have/wouldn't send man religion. When milk has gone sour, that doesn't mean that the milk at one point wasn't perfectly drinkable. It means that you have to go to the store and buy new milk, because the spoiled milk doesn't provide the benefits that new milk does. In fact, the old milk tastes bad and upsets the stomach.

The newest religion always in the past has been the "least" disunited one. The Baha'i Faith is unique in that it doesn't have fallible interpreters preaching their fallible and misguided interpretations, and it does have divinely appointed institutions that will guard it against sectarianism, something that has plagued all other world religions.

richard wrote:Finally, we know that it is difficult to see and live according to the Spiritual Truth, Love, and Goodness of our One & Only God, and even what i have written here will surely distance some from me if they are prone to unspiritualized thinking.


Richard, I know you think you've got it all right as we all do. We all have the tendency to think we are right and others are wrong (or "prone to unspiritualized thinking") if they disagree with our views, myself included. Much of your thinking is correct, but the major element that is missing I think is recognizing the importance of religion. You are pretty good at seeing what is wrong with religion gone awry, but I think religion is a lot more important than what you ascribe to it.

richard wrote:Thanks for being there, BW, keep the spiritual faith as much or more than the problems we all tend to have with "intellectual" theological dogmas. Better for us to love one another in the spirit than to presume final judgements on one another in our minds. Surely judgements are best left to our One & Only God.


This is what the Baha'i Faith teaches, and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

richard wrote:Your spiritual brother from my perspective, but you have free will in your heart, mind, and soul to decide whom you want to consider your sisters and brothers.


When did I say I didn't consider you a "brother"? Maybe even a grandfather, given your age versus mine. :smile:

richard wrote:Do we spiritually desert the so called black sheep in the family of God. Indeed, God the Father suffered with Lucifer for over 200,000 years before Lucifer essentially destroyed himself with intellectual pride and arrogance... Indeed, our Heavenly Father gives us long ropes and time to spiritually hang ourselves if we persist in our pride and arrogance...


Yep. Well, we don't believe in a Lucifer, but the moral of the story is important.

richard wrote:May God bless you. BW, and all your loved ones, today and forever... richard


May He bless you and your loved ones forever also.


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