Baha'i Returns Thread: Ask Any of Many Baha'i

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Okay: I have one. Do the Baha’i have any insight on the Sikh faith, one of which I have limited knowledge and which frankly only occurred to me at all because of a new “Ask A . . . .” Thread?

Great question… there’s nothing formally about Sikhism in the Baha’i writings…

It is believed Abdul-Baha may have been referring to Sikhs:

*O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people [1] who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.
*
[1 Possibly 'Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs; the description appears to apply to them.]

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 149)

There was mention of a Professor Pitram Singh who became a Baha’i and was nearly killed…

Khudadad Hakimiyan recalls how the younger generation of Bahá’ís in India lovingly called him “Pritam Kaka”, Uncle Pritam, and how, by his simplicity, his kindness and his loving and helpful nature, he had endeared himself to everyone to such an extent that even enemies of the Bahá’í Faith showed regard for him. At one time, after the partition of Punjab, when Hindus and Sikhs on one side, and the Muslims on the other, were mercilessly massacring each other, some Muslim neighbours saved his life at the risk of their own by taking him inside their family quarters.

(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Indian Subcontinent, p. 442)

I met a couple who were Baha’i - Sikh and they got along well…

:slight_smile:

THANKYOU for starting this thread Flame. It seems there is much to discuss still :slight_smile:

In regards to Sikhism, what arthra provided was indeed referring to Sikhism from my understanding.

The reality of the Bahai teachings revolves around the light of God, not the Lantern from which it shines.

It must be noted therefore that when deeds are done which embrace the current model of “let your vision be world embracing” it is very much indeed worthy of praise and goodwill.

The Sikh religion does have many practices which are within the spirit and paradigm of being world embracing. I am not familiar with any institutional principles which they may adhere to to embrace global unity like the Bahai Faith has.

Creating functional institutions with a world embracing, all-empowering foundation is, the Bahai Faith is very confident, what the world is currently in desperate need of at this present time…

Institutions which are composed of individuals who are ACTIVELY engaged in processes that bring them closer and closer towards moral perfection, will be the hallmark of the Divine Civilization founded on Baha’u’llahs Revelation.

To my understanding, the Sikh religion and the Bahai Faith differ predominantly in this institutional capacity. Otherwise the spiritual verities for individual conduct are very much similar :slight_smile:

Flame My thanks to you for the new thread

In the other thread Porknpie stated

But God is Truth and can not contradict himself. Jesus Christ can not be both the Son of God incarnate (Christianity) and just a prophet and/or man (non-Christians). So yes, I can deny that God has spoken through Muhammed, Bab and Baha’u’llah and that is not placing limitations on God.

I would like to state categorically that the Bahai Faith acknowledges that Jesus was the Son of God incarnate, and although the term “Prophet” (a term that Jesus used to describe Himself btw) is used in several places to broadly describe these Unique Individuals, it is not intended to diminish the Sonship of Jesus, or the Friendship of Muhammad, or the station of any of the Founders of Global Religions.

So to base an argument of “contradiction” upon the use of a term used by Jesus itself,seems very unfair to deny Baha’u’llah as being a Voice of God for this Day:)

In yet another post in the other thread Porknpie wrote

He appeared to all his apostles with a glorified body upon his return to earth after his death. That’s why he could move through walls and why people did not immediately recognize him. Good article here.

May I ask, if a human being is composed of two aspects (the physical body and the soul) what is a glorified body? And why has there been no evidence of a “glorified body” in any form except from the Words of the NT?

Hi Servant.

We believe that our body will become super-natural (above-nature) and will no longer suffer decay or corruption. It will no longer be subject to the laws of nature or physics. It will be a spiritual body:

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1Cor 15:42-44)

In human terms, Christ gave us the example of the body of a seed which has been sown, and then dies. The seed is no longer a seed, but is raised to be a giant oak tree, for example.

The reason we have no experience with a glorified body except in Jesus Christ is because no one has a glorified body while still in this life. We are all seeds. Christ returned to us with his glorified body after his resurrection. His glorified body, blood, soul and divinity remain with us sacramentally in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. When Christ gave the bread of life discourse he said “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

Christ was speaking in the future tense. He would give us his glorified body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine and was, therefore, not asking the five thousand to take one of his arms and start gnawing on it (the charge of cannibalism). I realize that you were not thinking of the Eucharist when you asked your question but it is through his glorified body that we have this greatest of gifts. It is through eating the glorified body and blood of Jesus, not bloody human flesh, that we gain eternal life and a glorified body of our own.

When pondering some of these things I think it would be appropo to share this prayer:
*

I now assure thee, O servant of God, that, if thy mind become empty and pure from every mention and thought and thy heart attracted wholly to the Kingdom of God, forget all else besides God and come in communion with the Spirit of God, then the Holy Spirit will assist thee with a power which will enable thee to penetrate all things, and a Dazzling Spark which enlightens all sides, a Brilliant Flame in the zenith of the heavens, will teach thee that which thou dost not know of the facts of the universe and of the divine doctrine.*

~ Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith - Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 369

:slight_smile:

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

Christ was speaking in the future tense. He would give us his glorified body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine and was, therefore, not asking the five thousand to take one of his arms and start gnawing on it (the charge of cannibalism). I realize that you were not thinking of the Eucharist when you asked your question but it is through his glorified body that we have this greatest of gifts. It is through eating the glorified body and blood of Jesus, not bloody human flesh, that we gain eternal life and a glorified body of our own.

Steve, Good commentary here. As we need to have some kind of sense of the state of the resurrected Christ, this is helpful.

I have a question, however. In light of what you have stated, what do we do with the idea that He ate food in the presence of the disciples. Are we then to infer that His glorified body was dependent upon earthly sustenance?

And when He ascended into Heaven, does He still need to eat food? and breath air?

When we use the term “glorified body”, might we say instead, “Glorified Identity”, without the connotations of an earthly human physical “body” with all that that seems to imply.

I have an easier time in my attempts to grasp His ascended Reality in spiritual terms, rather than earthly, which means He’s still like us, a human being with an earthly body. That tends to not make sense to me despite all the efforts to explain such things as
“He entered the room, not using the door.” Which to me, refers to His Presence being somehow discerned in their midst as in “Where two or three gather and make mention of Me, there I am also”

When I have felt His presence in the latter sense, I have never “seen” a glorified body, and certainly would not offer Him something to eat and expect it to be consumed.

I know the Elect will begin the Reign of Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. That “lions will eat straw as a lamb”. So the New Heavens and New Earth will include things which are as mundane as eating. It appears, however, that we will not “need” to eat as we now do–we will “hunger no more, neither thirst”.

While Christ departed His Disciples by being taken “up” into the Heavens, one needs to balance how one interprets that. Jesus did not “hie unto Kolob”, a literal planet in Mormon teaching. He is not “in the sky”, standing on the Moon or the Sun or Pluto. He is in a place which is real, which has elements similar to that which we understand and know–but which exists on a “higher plane” of existence than we presently know.

Daler: would you, if confronted with the Risen Christ, have expected Him to invite you to “put your finger in My side and in My side”? Would you have expected Him not only to ASK for food when He saw you unbelieving that it was really Him and not His ghost–but, on another occasion, actually cook food for YOU to eat?

The Resurrection is a Mystery, something which our limited intellect can apprehend but never fully comprehend. It is “like” what we know, but also–somehow–very UNLIKE what we know.

Flame, You put your thoughts together well. A couple of things:

The Baha’i view of the Lion and the Lamb is the gathering together of hostile nations previously opposed to each other. You could view this as Germany and France, the eventual reconciliation of Israel and Iran, etc. It doesn’t happen as a “Presto” Abra Kadabra instant moment, but an unfoldment in the process of peace, a multi-generational coming together of traditional enemies, set in motion by the coming of the Lord of Hosts.

The New Heavens and the New Earth, Baha’is believe, refers to a New Revelation from God, a Heaven sent outpouring of the Spirit of Truth, guiding men unto all truth. The New Earth is a new understanding based upon receiving that Revelation and absorbing its effect, just as the earth receives the new rain and the results are the bounty of all manner of new fruits, vegetables, and crops. So, too, the clouds of heaven bring rain and the earth responds.

As to “where” Jesus went, it is challenging in light of that which is written in the Gospels, for on the face of it, or the surface of literal expression, it “appears” to be an ascension into the physical heavens, or sky. In olden times, nobody questioned that as there was no knowledge of outer space. It was all a mystery, so the mystery of the “Resurrection” fit well into that mystery.

Since the modern age of science and space exploration, we find ourselves rethinking some of these traditions that have been handed down to us for a couple of thousand years, scratching our heads, and saying, “Hey, wait a minute.” Then we come up with other explanations to explain the “mystery”, still leaving it a mystery to be solved.

My thoughts are to resolve the two statements: “He entered the room, not using the door”, and, “Wherever two or three gather and make mention of Me, there I am also.”
I think they refer to one and the same thing. The problem, however, lies in the eating of food and the touching of His wounds. Again, on the face of it, the Resurrection sounds to be clearly physical, except for the part of entering and exiting the room. Could there be another explanation?

I heard a fellow speak on this about twenty years ago. He said this refers to “the body of Christ” That until Thomas saw the disciples partaking of the teachings of Christ, doing His works, and sacrificing themselves as He had done, Thomas would not believe. It made a lot of sense to me.

What this would then mean is that the story in the Gospels was a metaphorical type of conveyance of this latter idea, clothed in the garment of a story, and left for people to discern from it the true reality of the Resurrection in a way that resolves both “He entered the room, not using the door”, and, “Wherever two or three gather and make mention of Me, there I am also.”

This would also allow for His ascension into the same Heaven that He came down from when He said:

“And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

For He said this while on earth, although stating at the time that He was “in heaven”, and that He was born of Mary, although He says that He came down from heaven. Hence, His ascension back to that realm of spirit from whence He came could be understood as something other than His physical body going skyward.

Dealer, respectfully, I think hyperspiritualizing the Christian Scriptures is a way of evading what the human authors, at behest of the Divine Author, intended.

Christians, including Roman Catholics, treat our Scriptures more seriously. And we have put together explanations which I believe have real substance, which ought to be taken seriously.

I invite you to use the resources here and elsewhere to learn what much more learned minds than mine have said in grappling with Bible difficulties.

Respectfully to your beliefs, Flame, I don’t think that I am “hyper-spiritualizing” any of this. I do understand, however, why you might use that term, but I also treat the Scriptures very seriously. Its just that my rational mind does have trouble taking literal some of the stories, such as Jonah being swallowed by a Great Fish and spit out three days later. I see an important metaphorical meaning in that which is not, as you term, hyper-spiritualizing it.

I cannot just “check my brain at the door” when I enter a church, or a discussion. My brain won’t “shut up” about some of this stuff, and I seek to answer the questions in my mind rather than simply taking everything on faith and declaring it to be a mystery.

The term “clouds” has dual meaning, for example. We can speak of the literal clouds, and say that Jesus ascended on the clouds, and in such way He shall return. Or we can understand the usage of the term “clouds” to be analogous to veils, which block our vision, and prevent us from gaining the insight to understanding the meaning held in what are mysteries of the Bible, and many other religious traditions.

God never sent us a Prophet out of the sky, and to expect Him to return from physical clouds is to limit God to a way of thinking, or interpretation, of Scripture. The Jews rejected Christ because Elijah didn’t come in the clouds, the way He ascended (as literally interpreted).
If Elijah fulfilled Jewish prophecy by coming in the spiritual clouds of mens preconceived ideas while being physically born to his mother with His own earthly identity, why couldn’t the Return of Christ be the same way. Natural on the one hand, being physically born, and supernatural on the other, fulfilling in the same way the role filled by John, who denied being Elijah, yet who was actually in fact that One promised, as Jesus testifies Himself.

Not dependent. He is God and is dependent upon nothing. He ate to demonstrate to his disciples that it was really him and not a ghost. Neither will we be dependent upon food, or air, or anything on which we currently depend in order to sustain our earthly body. If we were dependent upon food or air then our body would be subject to corruption and decay without it. That is not the case.

And this is the difference between truth revealed through our human experience of the world around us and truth which is revealed divinely. Just as we do not believe in the Trinity because it makes sense to our human minds within the context of our human experience, but rather because it was revealed to us by God, so we believe that we will receive glorified bodies which we cannot fully understand within our human experience because it was revealed to us by God in the person of Jesus Christ. We will have real bodies, our own bodies, however changed and perfected by God. And they will be spiritual bodies with which we cannot be familiar in this life. Bodies which can at once consume food and walk through walls, as demonstrated by Jesus himself. We can only understand the natural in our current state. But we are dealing with the supernatural which we cannot understand in our current state.

The question is, can one believe in something which they cannot fully grasp? Can we believe in a spiritual world with which we have no experience? Yes, we can. We believe, not because we fully understand, but because of the One who told us.

Neither did his disciples. He had to ask them for food. They did not offer it. And when he had eaten it they knew it was the Lord and not some ghostly apparition. So it is not “either” we can eat food “or” we can walk through walls. It is “both/and”. We can eat food and we can walk through walls. Doesn’t make sense in the context of our experience, yet Christ demonstrated its reality.

This response was not directed to me, but I would like to offer a general comment. The Christian Scriptures are full of metaphors, analogies, parables, poems, and literal history. When we read Scripture we are instructed to read and understand it from various perspectives:

The first principle is that any particular text or verse must be read in light of the same Spirit by whom it was written and in the context of the living tradition of the whole Church. Attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole Scripture. And then we must read it according to:

The literal sense
The meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis following the rules of sound interpretation. In this we must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the various literary genres in use at that time and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating current at that time.

The allegorical sense
This is where we acquire a more profound understanding of the literal events by recognizing their significance in Christ; i.e. the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.

The moral sense
The reading of the Scriptures should change the way we live our lives as we apply the principles found there.

The anagogical sense
We view the realities and events in terms of their eternal significance; i.e. the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.

So, while there are many ways in which we can and should read Scripture, we should never assume that everything is literal, nor should we assume that everything is metaphorical. The above information was taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, though not quoted verbatim. I would suggest that you read Paragraphs 109 - 119 of the Catechism in order to gain a better understanding of the Catholic view.

Peace.

Steve, Thank you for the courteous reply. I do not claim to fully (at all) grasp our heavenly reality of form, but I don’t think of it as composed of the elements of this earth. If it were, I think we could detect it. While I believe it is real, I can’t say what it is and what it isn’t. I think we end up using terms with which we are familiar to try and describe what is beyond description, from our earthly vantage point.

I do have faith in Christ, but also in Baha’u’llah. I never met either One of Them, but I read Their words and am moved by them. It isn’t about miracles for me, that I believe in Jesus, but by something about His speech. Also, when praying, I do sometimes get that sense of “Wherever two or three gather and make Mention of Me, there I am also”

However, and this will be a curve ball, I have partaken of the Sweat Lodge ceremony among the Lakota people back home and felt the same “born again” experience that I had felt in Christian settings. Different rituals, words, and approach to God, the Great Spirit, but to me, achieved the same end.

The Indians also had something which translates into English as the “Ghost Dance”, which through special prayers enabled many of them to comprehend that those who had died were not really dead - just their bodies.

I don’t think that our body is our soul, but that they are connected in this life, and then the body dies, something like the butterfly and the chrysalis. Can’t say what the butterfly eats in that next world we call heaven, but don’t think its human food for its energy. That also tends to confound me about the story of Jesus eating food, which implies digestion, enzymes, and the whole bit. Then, where I get stuck on literal resurrection is the ascension into heaven.

I think there is a reason why this stuff is so perplexing. God wants us to be perplexed by it. A lot of what Jesus said was perplexing.

Steve, What I think you are describing is growth in a spiritual sense, and also intellectual understanding. To expand our minds but also our hearts.

We feed our physical bodies physical food, exercise and stretch them, and they grow. God gives us a mind and hard questions and challenges to which we respond by thinking and chewing on the ideas for awhile. Also, I think that there is a sort of “team effort” in this process, for I never see everything somebody else says, yet I benefit from their efforts to think and understand. Culturally, this can be both challenging and rewarding.

Sometimes we have an inherited mindset, restricted to familiar traditions, whether religious specific or cultural worldview. To step outside of the comfort zone of our own familiarity is to challenge our own selves to see things from other perspectives. Stuff I would never catch is part of somebody else’s every day world, but its new to me.

Also, as you say, there are the practical and moral improvements in our character that should go hand in hand with the understandings and beliefs. Of what use, otherwise, are all the wise beliefs?

Except Jesus argued he himself was the unique son of God, see the parable of the wicked Tenants, the only son is the son sent at the end who dies, those before him (moses and the prophets) were messengers and servants. This sort of unique understanding is all throughout the new testament, so the sonship of Christ is one of uniqueness as opposed to this flat sonship which non trinitarians want to embrace. Everything is centered around jesus, not all the prophets.

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

Christ was speaking in the future tense. He would give us his glorified body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine and was, therefore, not asking the five thousand to take one of his arms and start gnawing on it (the charge of cannibalism). I realize that you were not thinking of the Eucharist when you asked your question but it is through his glorified body that we have this greatest of gifts. It is through eating the glorified body and blood of Jesus, not bloody human flesh, that we gain eternal life and a glorified body of our own.

Hi Steve,

With regard to the glorified body that we will have, a few questions:

  1. Will we live on earth, or in heaven with this body?
  2. If on earth, will the earth somehow also last forever, or will it be destroyed when the sun burns out billions of years from now?
  3. If it will be in heaven, what is the difference between a glorified body and a spirit?
  4. Apart from not needing food and air, what other advantages are there, will we still need to speak with words to communicate or will we be able to communicate spiritually?
  5. Jesus said there is no taking in marriage in heaven, but what about while resurrected on earth?
  6. Jesus also spoke about the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven. Will this be with glorified bodies and no marriage? If with marriage, what about children?
  7. In fact, what about those who die as children, will they be resurrected as children or adults, and if as children, will they stay that way forever?
  8. Questions related to these come up when speaking with Jehovah’s Witnesses. How is the Catholic view different from theirs with regard to living forever on earth?

Thanks!

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