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  #1  
Old Jun 19, '04, 6:23 pm
Mateo Mateo is offline
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Arrow "The Baha'i Faith"

I pray this email finds you all in good health.

I was wondering if anyone has had any encounters with a non-catholic religion called the "Baha'i Faith"? I am currently a student at a university and have encountered and dialogued with many different types of religions. This one in particular has given me a little more of a headache and is tougher to break down due to my lack of biblical and doctrinal knowledge within the Catholic Chruch. They claim to have 6.5 million members and say they have been growing fast. I was just wondering if anyone else has had encounters with this "Baha'i Faith" and if so how has it gone?

Paz de Christo,

Mateo
  #2  
Old Jun 19, '04, 6:51 pm
agname agname is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

They believe in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892). He allegedly "received a vision of God's will for humanity." He is proclaimed by his followers as being a messenger of God. The faith is similar to Buddhism...but with elements of Islam...Christianity, etc. Jesus is merely a "messenger" to them...as are Muhammad, Moses, and Buddha.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%E1'u'll%E1h

http://www.uga.edu/bahai/bahaullah.html
  #3  
Old Jun 19, '04, 10:56 pm
Becky Becky is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

http://www.religioustolerance.org/bahai.htm

I met a Baha'i person one time in community college. She gave me a list of their beliefs and stressed that they were good people. I remember thinking that being good is not going to get you into Heaven.

Her parents converted to that faith from RC.
  #4  
Old Jun 20, '04, 2:30 am
Mateo Mateo is offline
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Post Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

Thank you for your responses.



I have only talked to one person from their religion and he is pretty knowledgeable about their beliefs. He gets a lot of his information from his parents who seem to be scholars of their religion, writing books and doing mission work.



So far I have had 3 separate conversations with him, two five hour conversations and one eight hour conversation. From what I got out of the enduring dialogue they believe that the second coming of Christ has already taken place under the name and person of Bahá'u'lláh which supposedly means "Glory of God." They reference Rev. 3:12 "'"The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name." And they claim that this new name is Bahá'u'lláh whose ministry was started in 1863 and was previously "made way" or "proclaimed" by the Bab.



During Bahá'u'lláh's life he wrote a number of books which describe to the people of the Baha'i religion how they are to worship God and how certain major religions of the history of the world are progressive revelations from God, each designed for its specific historical era. "The Baha'i religion teaches that Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Bab (the Persian founder of a nineteenth-century religious movement which laid the foundation for Baha'ism) were all prophets or manifestations of God for their time." And from each "manifestation" sprung followers who eventually distorted God's revelation by trying to interpret scripture for themselves and claiming to have authority of interpretation.



Jack, the guy I am dialoguing with, references Daniel 12:4 which says "As fro you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall fall away and evil shall increase." Jack says that all interpretation of scriptures (Quran, Bible, ect.), which he claims is "the book", cannot be totally true until "the book" is opened by the second coming of Christ which he claims is Bahá'u'lláh. He then goes on to try and show me that since 1863 their has been many that have fallen away (his example, Church clergy) and evil has increased (his example, distortion of marriage, abortion, AIDS, ect.). The Baha'i religion believes that the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'u'lláh's son Abdul Baha'i, and the Bab are those that are divine and inerrant and explain "the message", having the authority of interpretation.



Bahá'u'lláh's main emphasis in teaching is world unity, Bringing all the people of the world under one faith, the Baha'i faith. The Baha'i religion claims though the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh that God's plan was to reach many different people of the world through progressive revelation then bring it all together with the Baha'i faith.



All of these are the general beliefs of the Baha'i faith.

(rest of post continues on next post)
  #5  
Old Jun 20, '04, 2:33 am
Mateo Mateo is offline
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Post Re: "The Baha'i Faith" Part 2

(continued from above post)

During my first talk I tried showing Jack how his religion doesn't even logically fit with Christianity and Christ's teachings for an immediate evangelization and construction of His church. His argument against this was "look at the division of Christianity and how many churches there are within Christianity", which he claims explained the distortion of God's revelation. And I immediately told him I was in agreement with him, and that there is supposed to be only one true church of Christ which is the Catholic Church. He tried working around this explanation by explaining how the Baha'i religion is set up. He told me that the Baha'i religion has an International House of Justice that protects the religion from any false religions. He claims that there is no possible way that another could claim to have the true version of the Baha'i religion like the protestants have. In discussing this topic it was extremely hard to get anywhere due to his complete indifference to look at it from my point of view.


The second dialogue with Jack was quite similar to the first, but with the addition of the topic of contraception which his religion excepts as fine. The third talk we had I scheduled and organized with him ahead of time asking if we could talk only about the Eucharist and Christ's commandment to partake in him by eating his flesh as commanded in John 6 and other scriptural references. He brought to the discussion a writing from Bahá'u'lláh's son, Abdul Baha'i, who wrote the book Some Unanswered Questions which is almost like a apologetic narrative for their religion with they claim is inerrant. In this book there is a section titled "The symbolism of the bread and wine." (All Baha'i writings can be found in a their reference program called Ocean found at www.bahai_education.org) I read this section and we had a very heated discussion over my belief in the Eucharist. I have had previous experience in doing this with Protestants bringing them through John 6 and paying particular attention to the disciples reaction in verse 66 to Christ's calling to eat His flesh. Again like the previous discussions he was greatly indifferent to the Church's teaching which he claimed was just an interpretation and then went on to argue that the Church didn't have the authority to interpret "the book" (Daniel 12:4) since it is closed until the second coming of Christ. So from here we then went in circles trying to prove who had the authority. In doing this he referenced many of the "end time" prophecies in Daniel, Matthew, and Revelations which made it hard for me because of my lack of knowledge of these prophecies and the Church's interpretation.



At the end of the discussion he asked if he could show me something from the Bible. In wanting to be patient and fair, I said sure. He went straight to Daniel Chapter 12 (again) and pulled out many of the numbers like in verse 7 " ..that it should be for a year, two years, a half year;..." which he added to be 3.5 years. He then would take numbers like "3.5 years", do simple conversions, compare the numbers to the Muslim calendar which starts at Mohammad's birth, and then gets specific dates that are, what he claims to be, dates of prophecy of his Baha'i religion. For example this process of calculation would produce the date 1863 which he claims was when Bahá'u'lláh declared his ministry. I know it sounds really far fetched from my explanation, but the calculations he showed me seemed to make logical sense at the time, but there was no holiness in them, no portion of faith. It just seemed like he was trying to show me a mathematical proof for his religion which I think denounces God's plan for us to be people of faith, not just merely scholars of information.

(heh, sorry for the length, the last part is on the next post)
  #6  
Old Jun 20, '04, 2:34 am
Mateo Mateo is offline
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Post Re: "The Baha'i Faith" Part 3

(continued from above post)

SO MY REASON FOR WRITING ALL OF THIS:
- first, to inform other people, who have encountered or will encounter this religion.

- second, to make this thread an area of digging into and appropriately exposing the falsehood of the Baha'i faith.

- third, to pose a few questions of my own:



1) Concerning my discussion with Jack on the topic of "Authority": what is the best way to show a Baha'i (person of the Baha'i faith) that the Catholic Church has the only true authority?



2) Concerning Jack's attempt at proving his religion with numbers: hasn't their been many other religions throughout history that have tried to do the same type of reasoning with numbers?



3) Concerning the Baha'i faith in general: what do you all think about religion (even though my explanation is probably a little confusing) and how should I go about further dialogue with Jack?



Phhew! That was a long post! Thank you to who ever has reached this far and thank you for your input on this matter. It's been a grueling dialogue for me and I think opening it up to other fellow Catholics will help. Thanks again for your time.



Paz de Christo,



Mateo
  #7  
Old Jun 20, '04, 10:11 am
Calvin Calvin is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith" Part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mateo
He tried working around this explanation by explaining how the Baha'i religion is set up. He told me that the Baha'i religion has an International House of Justice that protects the religion from any false religions. He claims that there is no possible way that another could claim to have the true version of the Baha'i religion like the protestants have.
Google "Orthodox Bahai" and you will see there are divisions in Bahai just like in any other religion.

-C
  #8  
Old Jun 20, '04, 1:57 pm
TOmNossor TOmNossor is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith" Part 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mateo

1) Concerning my discussion with Jack on the topic of "Authority": what is the best way to show a Baha'i (person of the Baha'i faith) that the Catholic Church has the only true authority?




This is the big questions in my opinion. I have recently recognized an interesting Catholic apologetic. For those of us who accept Jesus Christ as God, we need to understand were the authority of God resides.

The Catholic Church claims that the authority went from Jesus Christ to the Apostles to the Bishops (and that Peter’s authority went to the Bishop of Rome).

The ProtestantChurch says that there is not such thing as authority.

The CoJCoLDS claims that the authority went from Jesus Christ to the Apostles. And that the authority of Peter went to Joseph Smith and the Latter day apostles.

The Bahai faith claims that the authority always exists with God and the Universal Manifestations of God. Thus Jesus Christ is a manifestation of God. So is Mohammad.
All of the above claim to have the authority to interpret scripture (except for Protestants). So again, what the scripture says is a product of what the person with true authority says it says. As a Catholic you cannot lean on the position that scripture interprets itself, but I think you can ask you Bahai friend for his interpretation of Matthew 16:18 and “wherever 2-3 are gathered in my name” and “I will be with you always,” and references to the Holy Spirit as the comforter to come when Jesus Christ ascends.


Anyway, the latest Catholic apologetic I have been contemplating goes like this. If Jesus Christ had authority and Protestants, Bahai, and LDS all believe the authority is not present in the church that can link itself to Jesus Christ (for surely Jesus choose apostles and apostle ordained Bishops), how can we know which of these three is correct. Would God leave us in such confusion for so many years? Does it not make so much more sense that the authority of Jesus Christ was passed and protected than that it would vanish and then all the contenders would come out of the woodwork?



The above apologetic may have little effect on someone who as little respect for Protestants or LDS (you can tell your Bahai friend that Joseph Smith has been credited by Bahai as pointing to the coming of Bahá'u'lláh) but since I have some respect for Protestants and a good amount for the Bahai, I think it is worth turning over in my mind some. Perhaps it will be something to turn over in the mind of your Bahai friend.

Continued next post.
Charity, TOm
  #9  
Old Jun 20, '04, 1:58 pm
TOmNossor TOmNossor is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mateo

2) Concerning Jack's attempt at proving his religion with numbers: hasn't their been many other religions throughout history that have tried to do the same type of reasoning with numbers?


The Bahai are very intellectual. My first encounter with them came from a guy whose only claim to fame I had previously known was his extraordinary IQ (no kidding actually). You will find a great deal to involve your mind as you discuss the Bahai religion.

Specifically associated with numbers you can look at this:

http://www.whyprophets.com/prophets/intro.htm



I will not defend these number arguments. I find them interesting at best. The fact that Bahai and LDS use the same things I think might be useful in you apologetics.

I hope that this will help you have a reasonable dialogue with your Bahai friend. I ask that you follow the three rules of Lutheran Bishop Krister Stendahl:

-If you want to learn about a religion, you should use their sources, and talk to their adherents. After all, you wouldn’t ask a Nazi to explain Judaism to you (a question of bias). You also wouldn't question a Bible-thumping southerner about Islam, for the same reason you wouldn’t ask an art historian about mechanical engineering (a question of expertise). Go to the source and its native interpretations. (Of course, the average John Doe, Eliezer Cohen, or Mohammed Abdullah may not be the most knowledgeable, literate spokesperson for his religious tradition.

-Compare best to best. We (Stendahl says, speaking in general) are often too guilty of comparing our bests to their worsts.
-Allow room for “holy envy.” For me, I have holy envy of the Catholic doctrine of the real presence. I could see myself in a spiritual ecstasy after partaking of the literal presence.

Charity, TOm
  #10  
Old Jul 16, '09, 7:33 pm
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DavidMark DavidMark is offline
 
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

Concerning the so called Orthodox Baha'i division. It is true Baha'is believe that this is the Day or Dispensation when the unity of the tribes and nations will be slowly forged out of suffering, and the conciousness of the deep oneness of God's creation will dawn, and global problems will finally be approached globally...but there is a matter of the Covenants made by each divine Messenger. In this Day, Baha'u'llah's "greatest Favour" to us is His Son 'Abdu'l-Baha, born the same night the Bab declared his mission as Fore-runner in May of 1844 (one month before the death of Joseph Smith).
The Covenant becomes very pertinent when you consider Baha'u'llah's claim to be the "Everlasting Father" promised by Isaiah, or the return of the spirit of Christ "in the Glory of the Father". Through the inter-action between Baha'u'llah's spirit, after His passing, and Abdu'l-Baha, the Administrative Order developed, which included the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, the Seat of which one must ascend Mount Carmel to reach. These two operate together, even though The House was not elected in the Guardian's lifetime. There are other embryonic institutions such as the "Dawning-Place of the Mention of God" which are the nine-sided Houses of Worship appearing on all continents, containing no clergy, no rituals, no icons and no confessionals.
For Baha'is, firmness in the Covenant means reciting the Writings morning and evening, and following the Universal House of Justice, which can adjudicate on matters not directly referred to in the Writings.
  #11  
Old Jul 16, '09, 7:42 pm
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slyboots slyboots is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

My ex-husband is Ba'hai.
It has changed his life for the better.
I do not agree with the teachings. But I see he is happier and cares more for others because of it.
__________________
“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.” G. K. Chesterton
  #12  
Old Jul 16, '09, 7:57 pm
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DavidMark DavidMark is offline
 
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Default Mateo's three questions

Dear Mateo, I want to thank you for your carefully worded description and sincerity.
1) But the Authority issue will not be solved as you hope. A new direction has begun for the Baha'i community in which a new law, a new heaven and a new earth will develop. By this I mean that, whether the Popes recognize it or not, new Scripture has been revealed, containing new laws, even more "catholic" institutions, as well as rewards and punishments which will be gradually applied, within the Baha'i Community, which will grow and grow over the coming centuries. If you think of religions as having their own heaven, which is cleft by the appearance of the new one, and new cultures like new earths, which supercede each other, it becomes evident that, if the martyrdom of thousands could not stop the spread of the Baha'i Faith, attempts by devoted Catholics to regather people under the Papacy will have meager results. Still, Baha'is pray for all, including gentle Popes that get shot, and fiendish mullahs who cling to power with horrible avidity.

2) Sealed numerical prophecies, like dreams and visions, can only be interpreted fully by the Manifestations of God. "Whosoever desireth, let him turn aside from this counsel and whosoever desireth let him choose the path to his Lord" Baha'u'llah said. Maybe this is why Jack seemed adamant. For instance, when Jesus appeared in the synagogue and read from Isaiah, and said 'It is fulfilled this day' He should know. His was the pre-existent authority of 'Before Abraham I am'. Only now through the explanations of 'Abdu'l-Baha do we understand that the 3.5 "times" equal the 42 "months" which equal the 1260 "days" which are half of the 2520 "days" which are the Seven Times of the Gentiles, and expired in 1844 CE/1260 AH. Likewise eyes of fire, brass feet and becoming a pillar in the Temple.

3) It is excellent advice to study the Writings of Baha'u'llah if you want to understand Baha'u'llah's Writings! Once you immerse yourself in them, you come face to face with a certainty, the like of which cannot be pretended by charlatans. So, either He was a liar, and lunatic or the Lord. Those proofs Christ gave for determination are adequate:
a) Does He testify to Christ? b)You SHALL know them by their fruits
c) Do His prophecies come true? Apply these to Baha'u'llah. "Test the Spirits" .
  #13  
Old Jul 16, '09, 8:35 pm
pipper pipper is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

The way I understand Bahai is that it seeks to unify all religions into one. They have a temple near Chicago.

Interestly enough I went to college pre-Shah days when there were a lot of Persians (Iranians) still here. And amoung the Persians there was one Bahai, and several Muslims.

It seems the Muslims Persians treated the Bahai like a pariah, they actually hated him, he had to make freinds with us Americans.
  #14  
Old Jul 17, '09, 4:29 am
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DavidMark DavidMark is offline
 
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

This has been true that the minds of Iranians were swayed by the mullahs ...but things could change in the future. In fact, a benevolent ruler could invite back those who left as refugees and the balance could shift.

I have always felt comfortable having fellowship with my Catholic friends when visiting their churches. We have no idea in this country what it is like to have a death warrant on your head because of what you believe. I'm praying that this love/hate drama yields a spiritual fruit for the emancipation of the meek.

Some the issues upon which Baha'is and Catholics agree are the primacy of the Apostle Peter, the immaculacy of the Virgin Mary, and this:
...none knoweth what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner, at the hour of death, attained to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the celestial Concourse. And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul's ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 194)
  #15  
Old Jul 17, '09, 5:44 am
Mickey Mickey is offline
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Default Re: "The Baha'i Faith"

The Baha'is do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. They are an almalgamation of Christianity mixed with buddhism, Islam, hinduism, etc....a universilist melting pot of truth mixed with lies.

In my opinion...they are a cult.
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