Why are you a Bahá'i?
Maybe it’s because of my affinity with truth, David.
When I first read about the Bahá’í Faith, my reflex was a feeling of wonderment never experienced before. I immediately saw the grandeur of reason, a religiosity without dogmatic allegations, sacred externals and original sin. In a blink of an eye I knew that this was the road to eternity, as they say. Later I felt God’s nearness when reading one of the “Hidden Words” of Bahá’u’lláh. I also learned that man is God’s jewel in all the creations, and I (still) feel that I need to answer the Creator’s expectations by nursing the wondrous attributes embedded in every one of us. So, David, I think that I am a follower of Bahá’u’lláh because it is my firm belief that He is the Manifestation of God man should follow in this age, in which mankind evolves from twilight to the brightness of a New Day.
What can the Bahá'í Faith offer me that the other Faiths cannot?
It offers me a universe full of established wonders; an awareness of worlds in the extensions of knowledge; an overall happiness of consciously being part of God’s creation.
I experience the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh as a source of understanding, as if I were enrolled in God’s Plan.
Religion, He makes clear, is so much wider, brighter and more amenable to reason than ever revealed to man before. While living in the 21st century I can already look into the future, when mankind will enjoy a world civilization of unprecedented splendor. So, David, the Bahá’í Faith offers me an understanding of the gloomy time we live in, the certitude of being an eternal, conscious individual and the privilege to serve in the dawn of mankind’s New World Order.
Can there ever be such a thing as unity of faiths, when even like faiths have disputes?
Disunity among men does not originate in men. It is caused by habitual learning from peer groups and other effects of the cultural environment of an individual. When we start thinking independently from others (which we should), and look at religion as a means to humanize mankind, we may realize that in fact all faiths come from one and the same fountain, and that it might be priests, ministers or learned in writings who create the interreligious troubles of the world.
In your own head, dear David, you can decide to unify mankind just by reason. Many, many people have done so. In their hearts people probably are much more closely related to each other’s fundaments than their respective religious systems who seem to rule the hearts and minds while they only rule their own imaginations.
So how can the Bahá'í Faith alter the apparent headlong race towards global extermination?”
Baha’is have propagated a new world order since the 19th century. We keep up doing so and observe the changes in thinking on the Planet. All Bahá’í principles of peace, social justice and globalization of standards,rules, laws and organization have already been promoted from Utopia to the supranational theatre of the United Nations as the cradle of a better world order.
Global issues can only be solved if the nations of the world are determined to cooperate. But at the moment there are still strong forces of national, ideological, material or political self-interest that in the present endangers mankind. Only Heaven might create moments of an existential shivering on Earth in such a way that change will happen without causing major disaster.
So, David, despite God’s command for peace in this millennium, human behavior travels on a hazardous road. However, as Bahá’ís we know that in the end there will not be a “global extermination” but a grand world civilization.
Since there have been many messengers of God, say every 2000 years, do you think there will be another new messenger in about the year 4000, and if so, will the Bahá’í Faith prove to be “the final faith” to last for eternity?
Not one day lasts an eternity in this Universe, David. The sun rises, the sun sets. Really nothing comes to eternally remain. We know that man has evolved from lower stages to our present state. Also, in terms of cognition and society, man has developed immensely from prehistoric simplicity to the present complexities of society. This inner process, we learn from Bahá’u’lláh, has always been powered by Revelation.
The very heart of this Revelation has always been and will always be the one eternal God who communicates with man by means of an interface between two incompatible systems – the Absolute and man’s relativeness. We also learn that all the Messengers have transmitted the same, absolute truths - for instance: the existence of God, the creation of man, the meaning of life, the eternal character of the soul.
At the same time, in addition to their basic teachings, the prophets and Manifestations of God have ordained rules and laws relative to their time, addressing the condition of the peoples in their physical realms. The Manifestations are one in essence, and although they all were different persons, they all shine with the Light of the one and only Sun.
For the first time, Bahá’u’lláh, as the Manifestation of God for this millennium, speaks of a planetary reality and a mankind now maturing from adolescence. He also speaks of a divine world order of at least a thousand years. Not before this new era has passed will God manifest Himself again, in the dawn of another day, when mankind will have shaped the unity of men on this wonderful blue planet in the galaxies.
So, David, Bahá’ís do not see Bahá’u’lláh as the last Prophet, but they learn that He opens a new cosmic cycle of fulfillment, with numerous revelations to come in hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. And, perhaps, man then also will encounter beings from outer space. But they would likewise be children of the same Creator of a Universe that is full of life.
What, if anything, could the only God do, in order to make mankind see its erroneous ways? Should God allow the ruling issue of free will to reign supreme in a much beleaguered world?
As we know, all the numerous creations within Creation obey the laws of nature. As a consequence, the universe is a cosmos rather than a chaos. Man is the only life form or object known to us that in its behavior is able to deviate from its divine purpose.
Although man is created to be man (and not just another primate), he can decide – in his self-realization – to opt for a lower perception of himself. He can only keep up with his higher level of being by controlling his instincts and impulses, by using reason, good manners, and his knowledge of good and evil. This means that man must continue to live up to what he ethically, emotionally and intellectually was meant to be when he was created. He is his co-creator in fact. That’s how this world is intended to be.
Our plane of existence is in contrast to the world of divine perfections – it is meant to be inherently imperfect, it cannot be otherwise. Nevertheless, man overwhelmingly makes fair use of his free will. If moral choices were to be taken away, humans would just be another herd of animals, puppets on the strings of the DNA. Apparently that is not God’s intention. Therefore, since ten thousand years or so God has let us know through the revelations of His Messengers how we should respond to our call as the paramount being of the physical Universe: living on a plane where spirit and matter intersect.
Often we think we know better and then act worse as a result. Learning comes from listening with an open heart, or from bitter experiences. Bahá’u’lláh speaks of mankind as a creation that is ruled by the universal law of punishment and reward. In the end, mankind will awake in the dawn of a world ridden of war, on a higher plane of understanding the divine dominion in the Universe. Until then, David, let’s try to live up to the golden standard of the oneness of mankind.
(David's question a few days later)
When the good Lord made his creation I believe he created everything in pairs, i.e. good and evil, darkness and light. For every disease known to man there will be a cure (although probably not yet known). In engineering there is always an equal and opposite force. All this brings me to the question just for you.
All the previous questions allowed you to answer in the positive, the way we always like to answer questions. This time you will have to really think and assess your belief in the Bahá’í Faith to the full. Good Luck! -
What five reasons would you give, that would make you reject being a Bahá’í?
You ask me to think the unthinkable, David - perfidious but clarifying!
Here are my five answers to your question about reasons to reject the
1 – If Bahá’u’lláh would not manifest God.
2 – If I would be expected to abide by obvious nonsense.
3 – If I would be forced into outward appearances.
4 – If any teachings would be inhumane.
5 – If anything in the Writings would defile the apparent wisdom and beauty of God.
Further, you made me search for some befitting words, also regarding your appreciation of simplicity, the essential. For the moment I found this:
THE HIDDEN WORDS OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH.
HE IS THE GLORY OF GLORIES - This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue.
O SON OF SPIRIT!
My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.
O SON OF SPIRIT!
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
Then David asked:
I would believe that the majority of logically thinking people on this planet (and who knows elsewhere in the universe) believes in some kind of God. Which leads me to my question. Approximately 15 billion years ago, the "Big Bang" took place. At that time no one thought of the existence of God. In fact there was no one to think of anything at that time. From that point Evolution began. And so at what stage of Evolution did our power of thinking develop sufficiently for us to think of God? And why would we create something that we could not see, touch, hear or smell? It is not only a difficult question to answer but it is also difficult to explain?
You know, David, we usually delimit evolution to the appearance of species while ignoring the evolution of the mind, which in fact this is more distinctive for Homo sapiens. Although born to be the only creature that could be aware of his creator, it took millions of years until the mind of man reached the state of awareness and communication necessary to ask any question regarding the existence of a Godhead besides all there is in the natural world.
Archeological findings give evidence to the inner awakening some ten thousand years ago of man as a cultural being that played the flute, painted the walls of his sacred places and buried his dead under flowerbeds. And although the history of the holy begins early in the evolution of perception (as developing civilizations even today illustrate), man depends on a rather highly developed speech if he is to ask metaphysical questions. A more intellectual vocabulary became available before or during the Neolithic revolution, 10-15,000 years ago in the highlands of the Taurus Mountains of Anatolia, in the first rural settlements. The legend of Adam and Eve seems to refer to this rather sudden change in mankind.
(More thought on Genesis, in Dutch: www.bahaiquest.nl/eden
You may also agree to the fact, David, that man is the only creature being able to ask questions about the nature of nature – questions such as how and why? to start with. Only when man puts these questions on the still rather empty table of his deeper curiosity, he can expect to receive an inner answer. The God of Truth cannot reveal Himself to an undeveloped mind, nor to anybody who turns away from Him.
In the Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, God makes this very clear:
“If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee.” In my understanding, this means David, that the individual encountered God as from the moment when he or she really longed to know Him. This rule still seems to be a precondition for any individual to experience God: “If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant!”
Regarding the verb “to love”:
Bahá'u'lláh taught that God created humans due to his love for them, and thus humans should in turn love God. `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's eldest son, wrote that love is the greatest power in the world of existence and the true source of eternal happiness. The Bahá'í teachings state that all genuine love is divine, and that love proceeds from God and from humans. God's love is taught to be part of his own essence, and his love for his creatures gives them their material existence, divine grace and eternal life. The Bahá'í teachings state that human love is directed towards both God and other humans; that the love of God attracts the individual toward God, by purifying the human heart and preparing it for the revelation of divine grace. Thus through the love of God, humans become transformed and become self-sacrificing. It is also stated that true love for other humans occurs when people see the beauty of God in other people's souls. The Bahá'í teachings state that Bahá'ís should love all humans regardless of religion, race or community, and also should love their enemies. – Source: Wikipedia
David’s second question of that day:
“We as humans have been raised with the belief that everything has a beginning and an end. But what about Space and Eternity where the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end? Between the beginning and the end, must lie God, or is God the beginning and the end and everything in between. - I await your inspirational thoughts, my friend, to a question that may have no answer.”
Well, David, I think that the “Big Bang Theory” of the beginning of our universe is a widespread misunderstanding since science cannot seriously suggest that utter nothingness would detonate into all there is – dead or alive - in space and time. How could that be? In more recent years, Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfvén, and other students of astrophysical plasma have challenged the Big Bang Theory with an alternative conception called Plasma Universe. In this cosmology, the universe has always existed and has never been concentrated in a point; galaxies and clusters of galaxies are shaped not only by gravity, but by electrical and magnetic fields over longer times than available in the Big Bang model.
From its birth in the 1930's, the Big Bang theory has been a subject of controversy. Indeed, our view of the universe must always be open to consideration and reconsideration. * At the moment, cosmology considers the alternative that our astrophysical reality may have been in a non-spatial, timeless state of electromagnetic energy that turns into matter according to Einstein’s equity: E = mc².
The “Large Hadron” experiment of CERN has been designed for billions of Euros also to reconstruct this cosmological jump from eternity (energy) to transience (matter).
It should not be surprising, David, that - when Bahá’u’lláh reveals the eternity of the universe nearly one and a half century ago - astrophysics was far behind the clarity of His divine insights. Today, however, science considers, if reluctantly, that the universe has neither a beginning nor an end, and this might hardly be conducive to a definite answer. Therefore it might be an alternative to confront oneself with the unified cosmology revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in the “Gleanings” of His Writings under LXXXII, at this weblink
“As to thy question whether the physical world is subject to any limitations, know thou that the comprehension of this matter dependeth upon the observer himself. In one sense, it is limited; in another, it is exalted beyond all limitations. The one true God hath everlastingly existed, and will everlastingly continue to exist. His creation, likewise, hath had no beginning, and will have no end. All that is created, however, is preceded by a cause. This fact, in itself, establisheth, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the unity of the Creator.”