richard wrote:BW: But what is really "independent spiritual faith & investigation"? Is it to investigate the world religions, and not pick one?
Sometimes yes & sometimes no! It depends upon the investigator’s level of spiritual faith & comprehension of spiritual truth in the interpersonal, social, and personal relationships & processes of spiritual progress in their movement through the imperfections and partialities in “real” time and space. After all, the unity of all religions suggested by Argos, recognizes their hold on a part of universal truth, particularly if they see the truth that all religions should be unified spiritually more than they are divided by differing theological views!
So are you saying that if the investigator has a high "level of spiritual faith and comprehension of spiritual truth," he will realize that "all religions should be unified spiritually" and thus the only enlightened choice that he could make is to not identify himself with any creed, but rather distance himself from a any formal religious affiliation? Am I understanding you correctly? I want to know for certain where you stand on this issue; this information will help with the discussion.
richard wrote:[i]Surely we know that the spirit of the law brings life, but the letter of the law brings division and death. Are religions meant to compete with each other over membership recruitment, or cooperate in spiritual transcendence over such sectarian conflicts?
Who is "we" if I may ask? You say that the "letter of the law brings division and death," but I submit rather that the "letter of the law brings unification
." Where do Laws come from? God, of course (man-made ones aside). So are you saying that God's laws bring about "division and death"? What?!
An All-Knowing, All-loving God would do such a thing? I highly doubt it, as that would go contrary to the very definition of a benevolent God!
The truth is, Laws unite. However, one may contend, saying, "Look at the news today: the divided churches, the thousands of sects, the sectarian violence, etc. It is apparent that Laws only divide!" Well, there is more than one responses that could be given, but one Baha'i response would be that the old world order (whose arrangement has been thrown into disequilibrium by the advent of the Baha'i Faith we believe) is in disarray, and the old religions are a part of it. Has not the promise been made in all the world religions of an end of days, for instance when the dead shall be quickened and all shall be Judged? Has not this day come? Well, if it has, it is no surprise that only few (spiritual) eyes on Earth witnessed (recognized) it. So, is the "letter of the law" always the same, or is it evolving? The answer is, it is evolving, just as religion is evolving. Old laws and old ways are just that: old
. So when God abrogates a law, but people are unaware and practice their old law, how can you say correctly that "laws divide"? For what used to be a law and unify now divides because it is ... no longer a law!
It is not an ego thing Richard. Unless you think that the previous Prophets all had ego problems by being the Founders of their Religions?
richard wrote:BW: Why wouldn't you pick one?
For one reason it would be somewhat “spiritually” elitist to presume to choose; and even if any given religion is truly better than all other religions, “spiritual” ego & pride could be one’s “real” motive. And, since all religions are a group of men’s best responses to their urge to find, know, and do the will of God, how could we choose among them in the sense of: “and the winner is______?” It’s sort of like a family with several sons and daughters who go to their father and mother and ask them to pick the one best child that the parents love best!
It is not "'spiritually' elitist to presume to choose" a religion, as I have shown above. In fact, quite the opposite. When you declare your faith, you are humbling yourself before God and His Truth; you become his full-fledged servant. You are bound by His laws, by His teachings, etc. However, when you don't pick a religion, you are not constrained by laws and thus you can do whatever you want to: drink, be promiscous, be dishonest. But when you become a member of a Faith (especially the more recent ones), your life is constrained, and you have to make certain sacrifices in the path of God. Not surprisingly this is a great inspiration for people to come up with all sorts of reasons for not joining a religion, and being "free thinkers." You have to make a lot more sacrifices when you make a contract with God. You follow His laws and teachings, and He will repay you. You don't, and you'll be subject to His justice.
richard wrote:His Perfect, Unchanged, Unchangeable, Spiritual Truth, Love, Goodness, and Wisdom has always been and always will be, It may become new to us as we hopefully ever increasingly know and understand it, but we will probably need a future in eternity to get any sort of grasp of the fullness of His Perfect Truth. Indeed, we do well to be humble in His Perfect Presence rather than flatter ourselves that we are anywhere near a full understanding. Thousands of years of men’s learning and spiritual progress are as nothing compared to the Total Eternal Perfection of our Heavenly Father’s Truth, Love, Goodness, Wisdom, and Knowledge.
You say that "we will probably need a future in eternity to get any sort of grasp of the fullness of His Perfect Truth," but do you realize that God has chosen to make Himself known to us in this life rather than just make us wait for the next (though we are much more spiritually limited in this life), and that that is the sole reason for Him "creating" religion? And further, do you realize that our knowledge of God evolves as He sends us new Messengers who bring with them their Religions, laws, and "updated" concepts, and that this is a cycle that doesn't end? Of a certainty, had it not been specifically for religion, your concept of God would have not been so advanced, or as advanced as it is. And trust me, people wouldn't have received revelations about God while doing yoga.
richard wrote:Indeed, the fact is, all men's understandings are imperfect and evolving, hopefully progressing, and we need to sort them out in terms of the best of the old and new in line with Jesus’ warning and advice given below:
Jesus proceeded to warn his hearers against entertaining the notion that all olden teaching should be replaced entirely by new doctrines. Said Jesus: "That which is old and also true must abide. Likewise, that which is new but false must be rejected. BUT THAT WHICH IS NEW AND ALSO TRUE, HAVE THE FAITH AND COURAGE TO ACCEPT.
I did not say anything that would contradict this. That statement by Jesus is in conformity with Baha'i teachings.
richard wrote:[i]Remember it is written: `Forsake not an old friend, for the new is not comparable to him. As new wine, so is a new friend; if it becomes old, you shall drink it with gladness.'"
And remember, which Religion embraces all old world religions because it sees them as a continuation of God's revelation to man?
richard wrote:And note, in some people’s minds, particularly Christian fanatics, the term Neo-Christian truth is as bad as New Age truth, or many of the other things they presume to judge and criticize in their narrow and dogmatic ways… And, it is impossible to communicate with them, for it has been rightly said that, "you cannot reason a person out of a belief they have not reasoned themselves into... richard
I know you think of what I post as being fanatical or borderline fanatical. But what I am saying I believe to be totally logical (as it is based on the Baha'i writings), and if you think I am being completely (or somewhat) illogical, please clearly state exactly what you think to be illogical or fanatical statements.