The Baha'i Faith does not teach that everything believed by Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, etc. is from God. What Baha'is believe is that all of these world religions began with the appearance of a Manifestation of God who taught the people of that day according to their needs and capacities, just like a school teacher teaches children on their developmental level. No one knows Who the Manifestation of God was Who originated Hinduism, much less what His teachings were. The followers of each religion are not united in their understanding of their own Faith, even when they read a common book. Baha'u'llah asserted that all of the revealed religions were inspired by the same Divine Source, not that the followers of these Prophets are accurate in their beliefs. Superstitions and ancestoral beliefs have always had a way of influencing men. Baha'is do not need to unravel all the historical problems of past religions. We believe that Baha'u'llah's Teachings are specifically for this present age and He, unlike the Manifestations of the past, has written these teachings down Himself and provided for the authorized interpretation of these teachings.
Anonymous;Thank you for the comments.True, since it attempts syncretism, Bahá'ísm does not teach that “everything” believed by world religions is from God. Indeed, they could not logically do so since these religions contradict each other.Thus, Bahá'ísm waters down syncretism and without any evidence whatsoever, they claim that “these world religions began with the appearance of a Manifestation of God who taught the people of that day according to their needs and capacities.”This is convenient in that it still appeals to syncretism but does not have to bother with evidence or logic—they can simply make a dogmatic assertion to the likes of we do not know who they were nor what they taught and their teachings have been corrupted and lost, but we know that they were manifestations because that is what we were told to believe.“Baha'is do not need to unravel all the historical problems of past religions.”Indeed, they cannot and do not because it does not matter to them to deal with the difficulties of the real world of religious differences.As for the “authorized interpretation” who is it? That depends on which denomination of Bahá'ísm you ask.aDios,Mariano
One of the unique features of the Faith of Baha'u'llah is that the succession of authority was put into writing by Baha'u'llah, by His Successor Abdu'l-Baha and by His successor Shoghi Effendi. Even this did not stop a few people at each stage from attempting to grab power for themselves. Most of these Covenant Breakers gradually faded away with time. There were never large numbers of these people, for the overwhelming majority of Baha'is were obedient and submissive to Baha'u'llah and His Successors. It would be like Jesus leaving a written Will in which He appointed Peter to be the spiritual Head of Christianity. Would a true Christian go against the will of his Lord? No. But a few inevitably would be tempted to grab leadership on their own. Today there are very few Covenant Breakers left, but through the internet they appear to be more than they are. The Baha'i Faith is very organized and united as it grows in virtually every nation. The "real world" of religious differences is a hopeless entanglement of interpretations and egos. This is especially true within Christianity. If people are interested in something new and refreshing where people are not haggling about the meaning of this or that verse of the scripture, or about this or that doctrine, then they should take a look at the Baha'i Faith and the increasing number of wonderful people who are attracted to it.
Harlan;Thank you so much for your comments.The fact that Shoghi Effendi died suddenly and left no succession of authority in writing, no last will and testament, is what lead to what you now call “covenant breaking.”You really do not think that Baha'is haggle about the meaning of this or that verse of the scripture, or about this or that doctrine—have you not read Baha'i scholarship or for that matter the writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi?Now, note very carefully what the result is of you being involved in the Baha'is:You claim that “The ‘real world’ of religious differences is a hopeless entanglement of interpretations and egos.”But what is your response to it all? You single out and put down Christianity. Thus, you are behaving in the very same manner as those whom you judge.Although, you certainly do represent the Baha'is very well and for that I appreciate your comments: you call for converts which is the true Baha'is concept of unity and tolerance—convert to Baha'ism and only then will we have unity.This is not surprising from a religion whose goal is one world religion and who claims that salvation comes by following Baha'u'llah.aDios,Mariano
Mariano,I'm sorry that I appear to single out Christianity, but Christianity is my background and my experience. My family is from Arkansas where religion is taken seriously and my childhood memories contain family arguments concerning which church is right and what is meant by this verse or that. My teens were spent in a small farming town in California where there was a different church on every corner. Again, there was conflict and aversion between churches. I'm sure the same condition exists in Islam, Buddhism and others, but that's not part of my experience. This is not a condemnation of Christianity or any religion, but rather the result of human ambition, lust for leadership and ego in my opinion. This is what Baha'u'llah was well aware of and all of His teaching center around the unity of humanity and how that can be achieved. Baha'u'llah put into writing what was to happen after His death to continue the unity of the Baha'is. He appointed His son Abdu'l-Baha to be the Head of the Faith and Interpretor after His passing in 1892. A few Baha'is "broke the Covenant" of Baha'u'llah by not accepting Abdu'l-Baha. They eventually faded away after they had been a spiritual test for Abdu'l-Baha and the Baha'is. Abdu'l-Baha in turn appointed Shoghi Effendi to be the Guardian of the Faith after His passing in 1921. Again, a few Baha'is didn't accept this and caused "tests" for the Baha'is but eventually faded away. Shoghi Effendi left no Will upon his death which was a great test in 1957. There could be no Guardian because there was no one qualified. One qualification was to be a descendant of Baha'u'llah and none existed in the Faith. 27 individuals had been appointed as Hands of the Cause and referred to by the Guardian as the Chief Stewards of the Faith. This group unanimously agreed that there was no Will left by the Guardian and they called for the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. This is an institution created by Baha'u'llah but had not yet been elected. Its functions included deciding on matters not expressly mentioned in the Sacred Writings, and the absence of a Will by Shoghi Effendi fell into that catagory. Baha'u'llah stated that the decisions of the Universal House of Justice would be the Will of God. Again, a few Baha'is tried to create their own version of the Baha'i Faith and "tested" the Baha'is one more time. This test was not nearly as painful or dangerous for the Faith as the ones of the past. These tests always make the Faith stronger and the faith of the Baha'is stronger. Every generation seems to have a few large egos, a few ambitious people. Large egos don't do well in the Baha'i Faith. Arguing about religion is not a Baha'i attribute. I've been a Baha'i for 48 years and I have yet to experience Baha'is haggling about scripture. If Baha'is haggle on-line and call it scholorship, you won't find me present. It's antithetical to the Baha'i spirit and counter-productive. When Baha'u'llah became aware that the early Baha'is were arguing about His station, he told them that if they argued about it, then they were both wrong.Concerning the Bab's and Baha'u'llah's words of condemnation for certain individuals for their actions, this is called divine judgement. Isn't it true that when Christ returns He will judge the nations and each individual? You probably already know that Baha'u'llah claims to be the return of Christ, the Lord of Hosts. Abdu'l-baha and Shoghi Effendi were an extension of this authority for divine judgement. Baha'u'llah even wrote letters to the leading Kings and rulers of His day announcing Who He was and admonishing them for their misdeeds. The letter to Pope Pius is very interesting. This is the Pope who lost his kingdom and ended up with just the Vatican. These are all on-line at www.bahai.org in case you're interested. I never mentioned anyone converting to the Baha'i Faith. I just suggested that people take a look at it. What they decide to do with the knowledge of the Baha'i Teachings is up to them. The majority of people who learn of Baha'i don't convert and I wouldn't want them to if they weren't convinced of Who Baha'u'llah is. The last thing the Baha'i Faith, or any faith, needs are members who don't really believe. This was the mistake of the Emporer Constantine and other kings who forced or coerced people to convert. I belong to a Multi-Faith group composed of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarians and Baha'is. We've been meeting together for 12 years to learn of each other's beliefs. We've never had an argument and we have a remarkable feeling of unity and tolerance. This just proves to me that unity and tolerance is not dependent on the world becoming Baha'i, even though Baha'is believe that this will eventually happen, that there will be "one shepherd and one flock." Harlan
Harlan;Thanks for writing back and elucidating. I appreciate your perspective. Also, interesting background you have.Having been raised 100% secular I had no such experiences with any religion whatsoever.I hope that you will not mind further criticism: you think that Baha'ism is in unity. Clearly it has never been from day one, even from before day one actually.The Bab appointed Mirza Yahya aka Subh-i-Azal (or Ezel) to head the Babi Faith until the Manifestation came. Then when Baha'u'llah declared himself to be the manifestation (along with quite a few other people) some followed him and became Baha'is and some rejected him and continued following Azal/Ezel and thus became, or continued being, Azalis/Ezelis —the first sectarians of Babism/Baha'ism.In fact, the Turkish government banished both Babis and Baha'is from Adrianople due to their contentious and violent clashes. As Shoghi Effendi wrote, “the history of the first hundred years of its [the Baha'i Faith’s] evolution resolves itself into a series of internal and external crises, of varying severity, devastating in their immediate effects…”Then, as you rightly point out, some accepted Abdu'l-Baha’s leadership and some did not—more sectarianism.Then, as you rightly point out, some accepted Shoghi Effendi’s leadership and some did not—further sectarianism.You had previously stated that “succession of authority was put into writing by…Shoghi Effendi” and I pointed out that this was not the case. Now you right note what I had pointed out which is that “Shoghi Effendi left no Will.” Yet, you state that “There could be no Guardian because there was no one qualified.” This would appear to mean that Shoghi Effendi could not find anyone qualified but the point is that Shoghi Effendi simply did not appoint anyone as the next Guardian, for whatever reason (namely, his sudden death). From this came various claims by various people to have been appointed as the Guardian—even more sectarianism.When the Hands of the Cause elected the (all male) Universal House of Justice some rejected the UHJ—more sectarianism.Thus, let us consider the sects, and these are the ones that I can think of:Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant (who have organized a series of International Baha'i Councils and have a main Baha'i Center).The Faith of God (aka House of Mankind and Universal Palace of Order).The Orthodox Baha'i Faith (aka Mother Baha'i Council and Baha'is Under the Hereditary Guardianship).The Orthodox Baha'i Faith Under the Regency.The Charles Mason Remey Society.The New History SocietyThe Baha'i World Union (aka World Union of Universal Religion and Universal Peace).The Baha'i World Federation (founded by Amin Effendi, the last surviving grandson of Baha'u'llah).This is well in keeping with Baha'ism spiritual genealogy, a long history of sectarianism, since:The Baha'i Faith developed as a sect of the Babi Faith, which developed as a sect of Shaykhism, which developed as a sect of Ithna-'Ashariyyih, which developed as a sect of Sufism, which developed as a sect of Shi'ite, which developed as a denomination of Islam.You may dismiss them as covenant breakers and few in number. Yet, the bottom line being that when Baha'ism claims unity this is what they mean: if you claim to be a Baha'i but do not believe like the UHJ Baha'is do, if you are a sect of Baha'ism, the UHJ Baha'is call you a covenant breaker claims that you are no longer part of the Baha'i Faith and thus, claim unity.Of course, this is not unity: this is excommunication which merely ignores the various sects.Also, I am very surprised that you are dismissive and or unaware of the very, very long Babi/Baha'i history of haggling about scripture. Even if you just consider Shoghi Effendi, he was constantly asked to elucidate this or that text from this or that holy book. The claims that Baha'u'llah fulfilled various texts of various holy books are saturated with haggling about scripture.Yet, I completely understand the appeal and ease that a religion such as UHJ Baha'ism offers you. In the sense that I am about to mention it is likewise to the appeal and ease of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholicism, etc. You do not want to haggle about scripture and so when the UHJ tells you what some scripture means you simply believe it without further question, without wrestling with the text, without all of the hard work that may come from researching the history, culture, language, etc. that comes with. At least this has been my experience in dealing with groups who have infallible authoritarian systems.You will pardon me at this point since I will be dismissing the very center of you faith but Bab's and Baha'u'llah's words of condemnation were not divine judgment because while it is true that Baha'u'llah claims to be the return of Christ I have conducted an independent investigation and have found that he is not.You may not have straight out mentioned anyone converting to the Baha'i Faith but you are aware that the Baha'i Faith is a proselytizing religion (even though they find different words to us for the same meaning).Your 12 years of interfaith conversations are truly to be praised—no doubt here. But the Baha'i Faith teaches that your Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Unitarians friends cannot be saved unless they follow Baha'u'llah.Ultimately, by the Baha'i reasoning every single religion can claim the very same unity as Baha'ism since they could state, “We are completely unified. What about those sects of ours? They are few in number and, simply stated: if they do not believe as we do they are not of our faith and thus; we are completely unified.”Incidentally, I would advise that you do not attempt to argue for the validity of a one world religion from the Bible because that will take you down a road the end of which you will most certainly not like.Thanks for the dialogue and aDios,Mariano
Mariano,Thanks for your lengthy reply. I am well aware of the history of the Baha'i Faith, but I'll have to admit that I am not familiar with some of the Baha'i sects you mention. They really have no relevance to me. The fact is that anyone can claim to be a Baha'i with whatever set of beliefs they choose, just as anyone can do the same with Christianity or any other religion. I suppose you could call this the fruit of free will. It is also a fact that if a so-called Baha'i group really thinks that they are the true Baha'is, they can file a law suit to take posession of Baha'i properties in Israel or other coutries. This actually happened in the 1970's when such a law suit was filed in Illinois to take control of the House of Worship in Wilmette. This Covenant Breaker goup failed to show up in court after they filed the suit. My point is that if such a group could produce the legal evidence to back their claims, they would do it. In the end, sincere people who are seeking the truth have to investigate for themselves and come to their own decisions. I have to stop here for now.Harlan
Mario,I have more time today. Of course I am speaking from a Baha'i perspective when I speak of Divine Judgement. I don't expect a non-Baha'i to see it that way. I just want to make clear the Baha'i understanding. This goes for anything I say. I am speaking as a Baha'i and not with any authority to speak for the Baha'i Faith. Baha'is are like everybody else in that we are at various levels of knowledge and understanding of our own Faith. So one has to be careful not to assume that what a Baha'i says about the Baha'i Faith is necessarily completely accurate. To find the definitive Baha'i position on any subject you have to refer to the writings of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice. Of course you do not believe that Baha'u'llah is the return of Christ or the Lord of Hosts. But I would like to address the reasoning involved when sincere Christians do become Baha'is. History is always a good teacher. We know that the Jewish establishment and people in general did not at the time of Jesus and still do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. The question is why? A year ago I attended a presentation on the Jewish Faith at a nearby Temple. The first words out of the Rabbi's mouth were that Jews do not accept Jesus as their Messiah because "He did not fill the job description." Jesus did not come in the manner they were expecting from their scriptures: the Messiah will bring world peace, He will be preceded by the prophet Elijah, "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord."(Malachy 4:5)The Messiah will come from an unknown place (John 1:46)and everyone knows that Jesus came from Nazareth; Jesus was not of the lineage of David as expected (Psalms 132:11); the Messiah was to live forever (John 12:33-34); Messiah's name was to be Emmanuel, not Jesus (Matt 1:23), Messiah was to sit on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7); Messiah was to carry a sword and defeat enemies of God's Chosen People (Isaiah 66:16). These prophecies were not fulfilled literally, but any Christian or Baha'i could tell you that the meanings were spiritual. Jesus Himself explained that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matt 17:10-13). Elijah had been taken into heaven in a whirlwind and the Jews expected hem to fly down from heaven. Jesus said that wasn't so. My point is that all of these prophecies had hidden spiritual meanings for those "who had eyes to see." Baha'u'llah explains the meaning of the "Return" as the reappearance of the same spiritual qualities and perfection in another human vessel. John the Baptist was the return of Isaiah's qualities, not his human personality. It's like we might say that last years roses have reappeared on the rose bush. The beauty, color, shape and smell are identical, but the physical elements of the roses are not the same. In His letter to Pope Pius IX in 1870 Baha'u'llah says, "O followers of the Son! We have once again sent John unto you, and He, verily, hath cried out in the wilderness of the Bayan: O peoples of the world! Cleanse your eyes! The Day whereon ye can behold the Promised One and attain unto Him hath drawn nigh! O followers of the Gospel! Prepare the way! The Day of the advent of the Glorious Lord is at hand! Make ready to enter the Kingdom. Thus hath it been ordained by God, He Who causeth the dawn to break.Baha'u'llah is referring to the Bab as John and the Bayan is the Bab's Book. One last quote from the letter to Pope Pius IX: We behold you, O children of the Kingdom, in darkness. This, verily, beseemeth you not. Are ye, in the face of the Light, fearful because of your deeds? Direct yourselves towards Him. Your All-Glorious Lord hath blessed His lands with His footsteps. Thus do We make plain unto you the path of Him Whom the Spirit (Jesus) prophesied. I, verily, bear witness unto Him, even as He hath borne witness unto Me. Verily, He said: "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." In this day, however, We say: "Come ye after Me, that We may make you to become the quickeners of mankind." Thus hath the decree been inscribed in this Tablet by the Pen of Revelation.So sincere Christians who become Baha'is are not abandoning their faith, no more than a sincere Jew abandons his faith to become a Christian. In both cases they see themselves as fulfilling their faith. My case was different. By the time I encountered the Baha'i Faith I had already lost faith in God and Christ. I came to faith in God and Christ through my investigation of and ultimate faith in Baha'u'llah. And I came to realize that faith is primarily a matter of the heart.I hope, Mariano, that I haven't been to lengthy. You're a good man for spending so much of your time with spiritual matters and serving your Lord so faithfully.Harlan
Harlan;Thanks for checking in again. I should state that I have studied, written about and later this year will post on Jewish objections to Christianity. One big problem with the information you got from the lecture is that Jewish interpretations (note: not the text of scripture but the interpretation) has been massaged to the point that today Jews will say, “We have always believed…” or “We never believed…” with utter disregard to the rich and varied Jewish history of speculative doctrine. For example, ask any Jew today to whom Isaiah 53 is referring and they will say, “Israel; the Jews as a nation,” yet I could provide (and will do so when I post) about a dozen pages worth of authoritative Jewish writings, the writing of individual Rabbis and Jewish scholars who say that it is the Messiah. Another simple example should suffice to answer most of the text to which you alluded. By the way: if you do not want to haggle about scripture, please do not being up any scripture because when you do I will respond and thus we are smack-dab in the midst of haggling :o) The Old Testament painted two discernable pictures of what the Messiah would be like and what he would do:Would the Messiah be a conquering king who brings world peace or a suffering servant who would be killed?Thus, the question became; will one Messiah come twice; once to suffer and die and the other to rule? Or would two Messiah’s come one time each; one, the Messiah ben Joseph, to suffer and die and the other, Messiah ben David, to rule.Another example is the fact that the Talmud itself envisages the Messiah as a leper who suffers and awaits his time to appear. I could go on and on and on but will leave it to the posts to come. Let us consider even just one of the texts to which you allude “The Messiah will come from an unknown place (John 1:46) and everyone knows that Jesus came from Nazareth”:I would assume that you were told that Jews believe that “The Messiah will come from an unknown place” but that the New Testament claims otherwise in John 1:46—Jesus came from Nazareth.This is not a good text to cite since “The Messiah will come from an unknown place” is not to say that no one will know where he is from but that no one will know from whence he is to come before he appears. Thus, John 1:46 is telling us from whence Jesus came and is not about speculation about the birth place of the Messiah before he comes.In any regard the whole point is fallacious: Micah 5:2 was Rabbinically interpreted as referring to the Messiah,“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”This was the answer given to Herod when he enquired of the chief priests and scribes. Yet, overall I must state that I discern that the Baha'i tenancy to constantly claim that scripture is not literal but spiritual and that only Baha'ism has the true understanding is in order to explain away scriptures which are not convenient to Baha'ism. Thus, you can claim that the prophecies had hidden spiritual meanings for those ‘who had eyes to see’ and your leadership can offer explanations, haggling, that completely disregards grammatical context, historical context, cultural context, interpretive history, etc., and thus, do not need to be contextual or logical but mere serve the Baha'i cause. Baha'u'llah (if I may be as bold as to say) haggled over the meaning of “Return” and yet based on his explanations Baha'ism draws a fallacious correlation between Jesus/Baha'u'llah and John/Elijah.We may simplify this to simply state that:1) John denied actually being Elijah “‘Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not’” (see John 1:19-23).2) John came in the “the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).3) Note that Elisha asked Elijah “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me…’…when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests upon Elisha’” (see 2nd Kings 2:9, 15).4) And of course, Elijah did appear during the time of Jesus along with a proclamation to the effect of; Jesus is the Son of God and holds divine authority, Jesus “was transfigured before them…and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him…” (see Matthew 17:2-3, 5).Obviously, spirit refers to station, office or ability.Yet, in the case of Baha'u'llah, he did not deny being Jesus as John denied being Elijah. He did not come in “the spirit and power of” Jesus but claimed to be Jesus Himself returned in the flesh. He did not receive a “portion of” Jesus’ “spirit” but claimed to be Jesus. I understand that the Baha'i claim that there is a spirit that incarnates itself under various names such as Jesus, Baha'u'llah, various unknown manifestations, etc. Yet, the correlations are fallacious since Baha'ism means completely different by the term spirit than that to which the Bible was referring in this case. The John/Bab correlation is likewise fallacious: the Bab was a primary prophet-a manifestation of God while John was a secondary prophet. Moreover, John specifically pointed to Jesus and identified Him as the Messiah while the Bab had been dead for 13 years when Baha'u'llah proclaimed himself to be the one spoken of by the Bab. Recall also that beyond John Baha'is claim that the Bab was Emmanuel which does not make sense any way you look at it.Also, to which Bayan are you referring; the Persian Bayan or the Arabic Bayan? I also appreciate you, your time, and your sharing with me. I hope that I do not come across as too blunt but I have 4 kids (6 yr and under) including a three week old and am attempting to be succinct—“attempting” being the operative term :o). aDios,Mariano
Mariano,I understand how busy you are! But these are good days for you. You won't understand this until your kids are grown up and you look back on these days.I am certainly not a Biblical or any other kind of scholar. I do believe that Jesus' words and teachings would override any Jewish scholer's thinking. Who best to explain the Messianic scriptures than the Messiah? I feel the same concerning the words of Baha'u'llah as compared to Christian or Muslim scholars. The comparison of the Bab with John is one of function or mission as the harbingers of Ones greater than themselves, not spiritual stations. My understanding is that Baha'u'llah did not claim to be the return of Jesus in the flesh, but rather the return of that Christ spirit mentioned in John 1:1 Who existed before all else and was God. The flesh is of this world and doesn't return. In fact, Baha'u'llah refers to Himself as the "Father", not the "Son."My personal take on scholarly haggling is that it is only important to the scholars. 99% of the people go with their heart. Christianity would have succeeded even if all Jewish scholars dedicated their entire lives over the past 2,000 to the defeat of the Cause of Christ. In fact Christianity would have grown faster if they had done so. The same is true today with Baha'i. Opposition to the Cause of God stimulates its growth. Harlan
Harlan, Thank for your kind words about family life.I would state that since the words of Baha'u'llah, his claims, are premised upon the Bible, Qur'an, etc. they are best elucidated by, or dissected by, Christian, Muslim, etc. scholars. They, at least, ought not be shunned. Otherwise, you get what you have today which is that Baha'is claiming that even when Baha'u'llah contradicts, mis-defines, misinterprets or misapplies various scriptures and concepts he is right and the millennias old texts are wrong. And which also is that we should not haggle with Baha'ism which sought to establish its claims by haggling with every main religion and every holy book.And also which is that those who oppose Baha'ism, on whatever level, would do well to just ignore them since opposition stimulates its growth. So, if I understand correctly, my response to the Baha'i claim to offer the one and only true, accurate and infallible explanation of the Bible is to remain silent. Yet, I accept the invitation to conduct an independent investigation and will continue to investigate—an “the unfettered search after truth.” The Baha'i faith actually grows via, at least, two sources of sustenance.Indeed, people love the underdog and victim-hood status, whether real or imagined, is quite the motivator.And also the sort of concept that you are putting forth—just believe and do not haggle with people who disagree but just believe. For example, and please pardon me for being rather pointed, when Baha'u'llah refers to his teachings as a “new gospel” he is asking for trouble since, for Christians, this sends up red flags big enough to sail Noah’s ark.When Shoghi Effendi refers to Baha'u'llah as the “Prince of this world” I can only wonder if he ever read the text which he is quoting to that effect. Just for clarity; let us ensure that in referencing John 1:1 and making reference to the “Christ spirit” we understand that we are referring to, as you rightly noted, God. Not to the spirit which comes to earth as a “Manifestation.”“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:1-5, 14-15).The word was God, the creator of all things. Herein is also demonstrated why the Bab/John correlation does not work: John actually and personally identified Jesus while the Bab did not actually and personally identify Baha'u'llah. Thus, it is with regards to function or mission that the correlation is not valid. According to Baha'ism a spirit comes to earth a “Manifestation of God.” Yet, the spirit is not God and that it comes as a Manifestation of God does not mean that God manifests.According to the Bible the word/God incarnated upon coming to Earth as a literal Manifestation of God whereby God actually took human form/flesh. As a Baha'i you say “The flesh is of this world and doesn't return.”Yet, the Bible says that “The flesh is of this world and does return.” Indeed, I am aware that Baha'u'llah refers to Himself, on occasion, as the “Father” but cannot agree that “not” as “the ‘Son.’” Yet, “The Father” is not in the, current, list of Manifestations; “Christ” is (Jesus, the Son).Baha'u'llah wrote,“Again I was crucified.”[Bahá'í World Faith - Selected Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá (Wilmette, IL.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 31]The Son was crucified and not the Father. Also, this is all but an offence to Christianity since upon the cross Jesus said, “It is finished/paid in full” and claiming that another crucifixion was required, however symbolic, is contrary to Jesus’ words. Shoghi Effendi wrote of Baha'u'llah,“that His body ‘yearneth for the cross’ and His head is ‘eager for the spear in the path of the All-Merciful.’”[Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, IL.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1944, 6th ed. 1970), p. 210]The Son was on the cross and was speared and not the Father. Shoghi Effendi wrote,“In accepting Bahá'u'lláh you have accepted Christ in His appearance as the Father, as He Himself so clearly foretold.”[Shoghi Effendi, Directives From the Guardian (Wilmette, IL.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1973), p. 10. Section 29 BAHÁ'U'LLÁH (In accepting)]He seems rather confused at this point as he is mixing up concepts, in quite an unbiblical way, and claiming that Jesus foretold something which He never did foretell. He also wrote,“To Israel He [Bahá'u'lláh] was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the ‘Everlasting Father,’ the ‘Lord of Hosts’ come down ‘with ten thousands of saints’; to Christendom Christ returned ‘in the glory of the Father.’”[Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, IL.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1908, reprinted 1944), p. 94]Again a Father/Son mixture but clearly identifying Bahá'u'lláh as the return of Christ. He also wrote,“in several passages addressed to the entire body of the followers of Jesus Christ He [Bahá'u'lláh] identified Himself with the ‘Father’ spoken of by Isaiah, with the ‘Comforter’ Whose Covenant He Who is the Spirit (Jesus) had Himself established, and with the ‘Spirit of Truth’ Who guides them ‘into all truth’; proclaims His Day to be the Day of God.”[Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, IL.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1944, 6th ed. 1970), p. 210]Here he is further mixing up his concepts and personages as Bahá'u'lláh is, taking all of the texts into consideration: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Consider any term related to the Bible that Baha'is employ in attempting to appeal to Jews or Christians and I can show you how they may be employing the same word but that they give it completely different meaning so that there is no agreement at all but only authoritative/infallible redefinition. aDios,Mariano
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