The Cleveland Freethinkers Message Board › Why Baha'i

Why Baha'i

A former member
Post #: 6
Thought I'd put this out for those of you who may not know that a religion exists that is compatible with scientific inquiry and free thought: Why Baha'i

I am totally cool with all of you who do not believe in God. Just know that not all religious folks are judgemental zealots!

Peace,

Jan
A former member
Post #: 3
Hi Jan,

Thanks so much for posting. I read the link with great interest. What I would welcome in addition is some basic tenants/guidelines of the Bahai faith. I know zip about it and would like to learn more. And I literally mean "basic" as in where did it originate, what country, what person or group of people, under what circumstances, and when.

I am in your camp as far as not thinking all people who believe in god are religious zealots. I was raised catholic, went to Jesuit schools through college, and have no huge problem with the mainstream catholic church at all (I was never molested, believe it or not), I just, from a pretty early age, decided that the notion of god was a bit far reaching and therefore, the notion that Jesus was his son was even more far reaching. And I rejected it.

I have never, since childhood, felt a need for a religion. As it happened, through reading for literary purposes, I happened upon eastern thought, and latched on to Taoism, Janism, and Buddhism and the latter stuck, somewhat. And of course, Buddhism doesn't require a belief in god, but, if you happen to believe in god, buddhism still works. Much like the link you posted states-what really works in society today. So I would be most interested in some basic info on your beliefs-you know, the fundamentals.

And, not everyone in the CFT are hard core anti-god/religion zealots either. I have respect for what anyone wants to believe even if they cannot seem to comprehend the scientific evidence thwarting their beliefs. I am not interested in changing anyone's belief at all. I do however, not want religious beliefs of ANY kind, influencing the legislation in the country in which I live. So that's where I come from.

Maude
A former member
Post #: 7
"Thanks so much for posting. I read the link with great interest. What I would welcome in addition is some basic tenants/guidelines of the Bahai faith. I know zip about it and would like to learn more. And I literally mean "basic" as in where did it originate, what country, what person or group of people, under what circumstances, and when.

Maude

Hello, Maude, and thanks for your thoughtful reply smile

Here's some basics on the Baha'i Faith from the Baha'i International Community website:

Baha'is Believe:

  • All humanity is one family
  • Women and Men are equal
  • All predjudice - racial, religious, national or econmic - is destructive and must be overcome
  • We must investigate truth for ourselves, without preconceptions
  • Science and religion are in harmony
  • Our economic problems are linked to spiritual problems
  • The family and its unity are very important
  • There is one God
  • All the major religions come from God
  • World Peace is the crying need of our time


Throughout history, there have been a series of divine Messengers, whose teachings guide and educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society. These Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

Bahá?u?lláh, the latest of these Messengers, brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential message is of unity. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of the human family, and the oneness of religion.

Founded more than a century and a half ago in Persia (now Iran), the Bahá'í Faith has spread around the globe. Members of the Bahá'í Faith live in more than 100,000 localities and come from nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background.

The Bahá'í teachings stress the fundamental harmony of science and religion. Bahá'ís consider that it is the same unique God who is both the Author of revelation and the Creator of the reality which science investigates.

If indeed there is only one truth (reality), it is not possible for something to be scientifically false and religiously true; contradictions are attributed to human fallibility and arrogance.


Bahá'ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Baha'u'llah
?The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.?

Isn't this a great country where we have the freedom to have a forum like this, disagree openly with each other if we wish, and share new ideas? My husband fled almost 30 years ago from Iran, where even today Baha'is are still persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed for their beliefs. To have the privilage to participate in a group like the FreeThinkers is never something I take for granted!

Greetings to all,

Jan

A former member
Post #: 4
If indeed there is only one truth (reality), it is not possible for something to be scientifically false and religiously true; contradictions are attributed to human fallibility and arrogance.

Now that is a fantastic way of putting it!!!!! Very succinct. Thanks Jan!!!!
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 21
'Our economic problems are linked to spiritual problems'

Jan, could you elaborate on this one?

Does it insinuate rampant materialism as replacement for true happiness or spirituality, = lots of debt?

Or the greedy accumulating wealth on the backs of the downtrodden, while making sure they remain downtrodden?
A former member
Post #: 8
'Our economic problems are linked to spiritual problems'

Jan, could you elaborate on this one?

Does it insinuate rampant materialism as replacement for true happiness or spirituality, = lots of debt?

Or the greedy accumulating wealth on the backs of the downtrodden, while making sure they remain downtrodden?

Hey, Mark! Thanks for asking.....

The Baha'i Faith advocates the abolishment of extremes of wealth and poverty. For instance, today a very small percentage of humankind has immense wealth, while the majority of the world's population lives in terrible poverty and misery.

From the Bahá'í perspective, the prevailing materialistic assumptions about economic development reflect a profound error of conception about human nature itself.`Abdu'l-Bahá wrote that "The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit..." "The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of love and absence of altruism..."

Bahá'u'lláh asserted that economic injustice is a moral evil and as such is condemned by God. Consider this verse from The Hidden Words (a well-known Baha'i text):

O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH!
The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.


There is more detailed information in the document The Prosperity of Humankind

~ Jan
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 22
"The Baha'i Faith advocates the abolishment of extremes of wealth and poverty."

Hmmm... somewhat socialistic, ay? I can relate- I lean that way myself. shock

In fact, I can relate to most of the 10 Baha'i principles you listed a few messages back- except, of course, the ones that mention a Deity! wink

Jan, how does the rest of the animal kingdom fit in the Baha'i scheme of things?
A former member
Post #: 33
What are the most common criticisms of the Baha'i faith? Which ones do you think have the most merit, and what do you think your faith can positively take away from those criticisms?
A former member
Post #: 9
Animals are considered a perfect part of the natural world, though of a lower kingdom than Humans. Kindness to animals is emphasized; since they lack the power to express themselves as to suffering we may cause them, we are urged to take care to do them no harm:

Unless ye must,
Bruise not the serpant in the the dust,
How much less wound a man,
And if ye can,
No ant should ye alarm,
Much less a brother harm.

~A poem of 'Abdu'l-Baha

A former member
Post #: 10
What are the most common criticisms of the Baha'i faith? Which ones do you think have the most merit, and what do you think your faith can positively take away from those criticisms?

Sorry, I have been neglecting this discussion.....

Most common negative responses I get when I tell someone I am a Baha'i here in the U.S:

  • Irrational: Well, you know you are going to hell because Jesus is the only way. Oh, and stay away from my children!
  • Rational: World Peace upheld by a democratically elected administrative order? Unity of all religions? These ideas are never going to work. You've got your head in the clouds!

For someone liviing in a Muslim country, being as a Baha'i can be tantamount to risking your life. Check out this link to a funny but real cartoon about several Baha'i recently arrested in Iran. The last time these sorts of arrests happened was in the 80's, and often those who disappeared were later found to have been shot or hung after a summary "trial".

As to what I can positively take away from those critisisms, I am grateful that I live in a nation where freedom of speech and religion are built into the Constitution. I am really bothered when I see these basic freedoms erode such as they did shortly after 9/11, but I am hopeful that Americans not allow these to fall away from our society.

Baha'is are not threatened by criticism, but will keep quietly working towards Baha'u'llah's ideals for a world society where the human spirit can develop to its highest potential (see Baha'i principles with bullet points quoted above) As to whether these ideas are "to good to be true", time will tell!
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