"The Baha'i message is a call to religious unity and not an
invitation to a new religion, not a new path to immortality. God
forbid! It is the ancient path cleared of the debris of
imaginations and superstitions of men, of the debris of strife and
misunderstanding and is again made a clear path to the sincere
seeker, that he may enter therein in assurance, and find that the
word of God is one word, though the speakers were many."
Pritam Singh and Doris McKay, "God, His Mediator and Man", p 14.
Wonderful quote. Do you have a comment or question about the
Of course the above is correct. The religion of God is one. However
Baha'u'llah also taught the concept of Progressive Revelation.
Religious truth has been revealed progressivly from age to age by a
series of Divine Educators, the Founders of the world's great
Religions. An image I've always liked is seeing the religions of God
as being like the chapters of one Book. The chapters build on what
has come before, and lead us to the next chapter, and a fuller
revelation of God's truth. Each is, in one sense, separate and
distinct, but each forms a part of the whole. In that sense, the
Baha'i Faith is the latest chapter, and in it is revealed the
teachings of God for the Age in which we are living. As Baha'u'llah
"The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind.
He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom,
the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its
particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-
day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age
may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live
in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and
(Baha'u'llah: Gleanings, Page: 213)
All best wishes,
But what is salvation? I think there is no thing as salvation. There
is only drawing nearer to God. When one draws nearer to God one
understands better the purpose of creation and of the existence of
humanity. When one understands that better, at a certain point one
will recognise the latest Manifestation of God. That may be before the
transition we call death or after this transition. There is only
darkness and light. When one chooses the light, one will see more and
more of it, if one allows oneself, if one really let the words that
bring the light work through in oneself. But we see that a lot of
people stick to the images they form in themselves when hearing the
words, or can only see those words in a specific context. As soon as
we do that we block out light, we can only see the light under a
Janine van Rooij
But what is salvation? I think there is no thing as salvation.
My beloved Baha’i Friend , Doug, it is so good to read an e-mail from you. I am glad that you are still here
In case I forgot let me wish you a Happy Birthday. I know you had one lately.
I like your subject, and I have spent a lot of time on trying to realize what salvation to people is. I came up
with may different types of salvation. It’s how you define the word.
It can really start at birth. I you have good parents, then
you can have a salvation from discomfort and it
goes from there in a lot of people’s mind. Salvation from want, salvation from slavery, from disease
and there is also salvation from ignorance.
Now to me , the one that is very important is the “salvation from ignorance,” This takes in the Knowledge
of God and His Manifestations. At least to me it does.
Now I think that if we are saved from ignorance of good and bad, it is because we know of God’s messages
and trying to obey them will give us a better, fuller, and happier life. We , do as God has taught us will
save us a lot of pain and misery, and sadness. We know that “Death is a messenger
of Joy to us.
To me all these things are the Salvation we are seeking. As the Teachings
tells us”we keep progressing
and getting nearer and nearer to God. In other words I think I believe as you do. and
this IMHO, we learn more and more about
all the world. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so..gil
bahai-fai...@bcca.org [mailto:bahai-fai...@bcca.org] On Behalf Of Douglas McAdam
Sent: Sunday, September 05, 2010 3:24 PM
Subject: Re: A Call to Religious Unity - The Baha'i Faith
My dear Baha’i Friends, I would like to put my little thought in to this subject
I like the idea that we have only one sun in the sky, but every morning we think
of it as a new Sun and a New Day. We know that the days makes weeks, etc, and so
We are connected with them all, and live each ad\y accordingly/. We know that there
are some things that must change every day and other that change only when necessary.
We learn more each day to make ourselves a better person living and producing a
Now to me that is what the Baha’i tells us and I believe it. Everything begins small
and grow larger. They are not all completely different , nor are they all the same.
If we people can see and judge for ourselves then IMHO God can do the same. He has
a plan and I think our job is to find out what that plan is and follow and obey the instructions
for it. Just my thought....gil
> I like your subject, and I have spent a lot of time on trying to realize
> what salvation to people is. I came up
> with may different types of salvation. It's how you define the word.
> It can really start at birth. I you have good parents, then
> you can have a salvation from discomfort and it
> goes from there in a lot of people's mind. Salvation from want, salvat
> from slavery, from disease
> and there is also salvation from ignorance.
I think there's a lot of truth to what you say in this posting. I
would only say that the above are temporary forms of salvation. If
you have been saved from discomfort, want, disease, and even slavery,
you can come to experience them at another phase of life. Even
knowledge can be wiped out by a disease like Alzheimer's.
It's only the knowledge of the Manifestation of God, and striving to
put His teachings into effect in one's life which is, I feel, what
draws people nearer to God and is the cause of their salvation. But
even this may not be eternal because a person can come to believe, and
then can fall away from belief; and another person can not believe
until the end, but attain to faith in their last breath or even after
that, as Janine pointed out.
Here's a passage which I think is quite interesting since I believe
it's saying that we can't be sure that we are "saved" once and for all
in this life. We need to keep on our toes, spiritually speaking::
"He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for
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."
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 194)
Nice to see you posting again here.
The teaching of Buddha was like a young and beautiful child, and now
it has become as an old and decrepit man. Like the aged man it cannot
see, it cannot hear, it cannot remember anything. Why go so far back?
Consider the laws of the Old Testament: the Jews do not follow Moses
as their example nor keep his commands. So it is with many other
(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 63)
So if the Baha'i Faith is not an invitation to a new religion but a
call for religious unity just exactly what place do the: "many other
religions", have? They are in Abdu'l-Baha'' opinion like: "an old and
decrepit man", "Why go so far back?". If this is not a call to abandon
former religions and religious practices and to take up the Baha'i
religion as well as Baha'i religious practices: "Why go so far back?"
I'm not quite sure what it is.
The Baha'i Faith *is* a new religion, and does call on us to abandon
former religious practices. 'Abdu'l-Baha said:
" For the independent Prophets are founders; They establish a new
religion and make new creatures of men; They change the general
morals, promote new customs and rules, renew the cycle and the Law.
Their appearance is like the season of spring, which arrays all
earthly beings in a new garment, and gives them a new life."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 164)
At the same time, the Baha'i Faith is the religion of God renewed for
a new age; and a call for religious unity. It's all of those things.
'Abdu'l-Baha has explained how, when a Manifestation of God comes,
they reveal the Word of God in its pure form which is transformative.
The Word of God teaches people to be good, kind, sincere, honest,
humble, generous, etc. In that sense, they are all the same. But
gradually, over time, superstitions, man-made traditions, dogmas,
doctrines, rituals, etc., creep in, and eventually they replace the
teachings of the Founder as being the most important aspects of the
religion in people's minds.
Then it's time for a new Manifestation of God to come and clear away
all the debris from the straight path: all the man-made elements of
religions; and bring people back to the straight path of leading a
spiritual life, which is the heart of what all the Manifestations of
God have taught. This is a theme that 'Abdu'l-Baha has spoken of
quite a bit; how the spiritual side of all religions were the same,
but how the man-made elements of religion are not true religion.
Also, each Manifestation of God has a distinct role to play in the
evolution of humanity, and the role Baha'u'llah is destined to play is
the Unifier of the whole human race; and it's through His teachings
that this will come about.
When everyone recognizes that all the religions are from the same
they will not need to be so attached to the differences between
We see this to some extent in my town as the major religious groups at
acknowledge that there "is some truth" in the other faiths and
inter-religious programs and activities.
It is clear that: "The Baha'i message is a call to religious unity and
not an invitation to a new religion", contradicts the fact that the
Baha'i Faith does call on individuals to abandon former religious
practices/rituals. Religious practices and rituals are at the core of
what makes differing religions unique. What would the Baha'i Faith be
without it's religious practices and rituals?
So in essence the Baha'i Faith expects all previous religions to
abandon their religious practices and rituals and that only Baha'i
religious practices and rituals be embraced. If this is not an
invitation to a new religion it is certainly an invitation to new
religious practices and rituals.
Me thinks that true religious unity lays not in a triumphalistic
supremacy of Baha'i religious practices and rituals over all other
religious practices and rituals but in a genuine appreciation of the
broad diversity that exists in the beliefs and practices of the many
religions of the world.
No one religion will ever lord it over all others, although this is a
common belief held amongst many religionists: that their religion and
it's beliefs, practices, and rituals are somehow superior to those of
all other religions and that those beliefs, practices and rituals will
one day be universally held. Even if it were possible this would not
be not true religious unity.
My personal guess is that all the old religions were originally of
divine origin but
that some developed practices that were very far removed from the
divine teachings. Thus I do not think that the Aztec practice of
large numbers of captives to their Gods reflects any sort of divine
But there was probably a real religion that preceded the practices and
that they had when they were destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors.
On the other hand I have great respect for what I know of the
of the North American tribes.
On Sep 29, 8:00 am, Douglas McAdam <douglasmca...@sbcglobal.net>
Good to hear from you again.
I am not at all sure that we can say that the Baha'i Faith expects
anyone to do any specific thing other than follow their conscience.
When I present the Baha'i teachings to someone, I do not expect
them to immediately adopt them (I might hope sometimes but
that is all). I usually just hope that they will listen and try to
consider the message in an open minded way.
Now you might say that the internal logic of the Baha'i message
requires certain actions - but only if someone accepts the truth
of the message. That is only an internal pressure - the Baha'i
community does not require anyone to accept the station and
teachings of Baha'u'llah.
So I think my original post stands correct and your statement is
somewhat illogical. The Baha'i Faith actively promotes the
concept that other religions are true and does not require people
to abandon their religions. If they want to formally join the
Baha'i Faith then there is a logical requirement to follow the
teachings in the Baha'i Scriptures but no one is required to join
the Baha'i Faith. And if they do join then they are always free
to leave if they decide that they do not believe. Again just follow
> It is clear that: "The Baha'i message is a call to religious unity and
> not an invitation to a new religion", contradicts the fact that the
> Baha'i Faith does call on individuals to abandon former religious
First of all, the original quote is not from 'Abdu'l-Baha but Mirza
Ahmad Sohrab (see the second posting in this thread). Secondly, I
think I made it clear in the post you are responding to how the Baha'i
Faith can be at once the eternal Faith of God renwed, and, at the same
time, a new Revelation of God (i.e. a new Religion with a Founder who
abrogates old laws and gives us new ones for a new Day; as each and
every Founder did at one time or another).
>Religious practices and rituals are at the core of
> what makes differing religions unique.
Who says? I don't think you can cite this from a Manifestation of
God. Most religious practices and rituals have been created by man
and not God. People may like them, and may be attached to them, but
it's the spiritual teachngs of the Manifestations of God which are the
heart of the religion. It's this which brings peace and love and a
spiritual society; and this is what 'Abdu'l-Baha is speaking of when
He says they are the same.
> So in essence the Baha'i Faith expects all previous religions to
> abandon their religious practices and rituals and that only Baha'i
> religious practices and rituals be embraced.
That isn't what I said. We don't expect any religion to change to
accomodate us. Only the people who recognize Baha'u'llah and choose
to follow Him are made aware that He has revealed new laws for a new
Day. And these laws are something that we follow out of love and
belief; not out of coercion. As Baha'u'llah said:
"Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty."
(Baha'u'llah: The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Page: 20)
"So in essence the Baha'i Faith expects all previous religions to
abandon their religious practices and rituals and that only Baha'i
religious practices and rituals be embraced. If this is not an
invitation to a new religion it is certainly an invitation to new
religious practices and rituals. "
Actually, many already are and have. And not because Baha'is forced
them. For example, Mainstream Mormons no longer sanction polygamy or
endorse racism. You'll be hard pressed to find a Jewish person who
still practices stoning in New York or most any other Judaic law. The
same people (ie. Samuel Graham in his book on Bahaism and its claims)
who accused of Abdu'l-Baha of being morally lax for marrying a black
and white person, those same churches now champion racial equality.
My point is that if you examine the changes in all churches in the
last 100 years, they've all evolved in the direction of living and
practicing Baha'i beliefs. Many of which now are organized by
assemblies along the lines of the Baha'i Administration. The
brilliance of the Baha'u'llah is that in one century any church,
synagogue or mosque which desires to prosper, will goose-step to His
principles. The same goes for nations. And those nations and churches
which resist find their selves increasingly marginalized and shunned
or degraded in world stature both socially and economically.
At some point, you're left with little difference other than a name.
Eventually, leaders will realize this, and the truth is that many
already do. And when they're done centralizing the world economy,
they'll consider it nothing more than a clerical act of supportive
convenience and cost efficiency to centralize the world faith.
"Should you speak to a Jew about the medium or channel between God and
man, without referring to any particular name or person, he would say,
"Yes, this is right, but I say the name of this mediator is Moses." If
you give the exposition of the divine philosophy to the followers of
each religion they will agree with you in the abstract, but they will
stick to the names of their own prophets and arise in contention and
strife over these names. The Jew believes in Christ, though he knows
it not, and is quibbling over the mere name.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 155)"
> Hi Doug,
> Nice to hear from you! I think the only answer to your question about
> religions that are not mentioned in the Baha'i scriptures is that we
> guess. :-)
There will sometimes be an inference, or comment:
I once had a discussion with a person from the Sepik Province of Papua
New Guinea, who said [paraphrased] :
"We had not heard about Jesus until [ the Christians came here in the
time of my grandfather ] but we had heard about Moses ... "
> On Sep 29, 8:00 am, Douglas McAdam <douglasmca...@sbcglobal.net>
>> Hi Tom-
>> Of course I agree with you in regards to the major religions such as
>> Sabean, Hindu, Judaism, Zororastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity,
>> Islam, Babi and Baha'i Faiths because these are mentioned as divinely
>> inspired in our Writings but what about the tribal religions and
>> others that might be man made. How do we know what is divinely
>> revealed and what is from man's inspiration?
As I understand it there is only one religion of God and there are
three conditions of existence, i.e. Deity, Prophethood and Servitude.
Our Writings state this and they also list these three conditions in
different terms such as God, Manifestation and Creation, or God,
Greater World and Lesser World. So there is One God, One
Manifestation and One Creation. The Manifestation of God appears in a
different body in subsequent ages bringing a new Revelation that
causes Creation to Advance. God created it all but the Manifestation
recreates and endows creation with a new potential.
We humans are limited in our thinking and powers. God gives us a
Revelation through His Manifestations and that is the divine Religion
but our understanding and application is limited and so we created
limited religions from this which in turn become corrupted and the
Manifestation will return to renew the One Religion. Each new age
demands new laws, new teachings, etc. We call this process
Progressive Revelation. The Manifestation diagnoses Creation/
Civilization and the prescribes the Divine Remedy. We are told there
two duties imposed on mankind. One is that we must accept the
Manifestation and secondly we must obey His commands and neither is
acceptable without the other.
The previous religions then must come forward by accepting the Return
and striving to obey His Commands.
These Commands, these new Teachings, principles etc. are revealed to
all Creation and sensitive souls tune into this Cosmic Consciousness,
so to speak, but what they produce comes from their own imaginations
whereas by accepting the Manifestation and independently studying His
Revelation we then bring about a progressive change in civilization.
As Mike pointed out the previous religions eventually do assimilate
the new teachings one way or another.
Whether or not we accept the Manifestation or His Teachings all
mankind is going to be rewarded or punished according to the degree of
this acceptance, practice or non-acceptance. We can readily see the
negative effects in civilization for non-acceptance and disobedience
to the Baha'i Covenant. For example we can see the harmful effects on
society for not accepting the equality of men and women, for not
accepting racial and other forms of equality, for not abiding by the
harmony of science and religion, for not independently searching for
truth and reality, etc, etc.
Those of us who have accepted and who are striving to obey must not
judge others and we must show unconditional love for all.
Let me now show that the Sun determined all this. At least along with the
movement of the Earth.
We started out ignorant, and very primitive. We need things that would
protect us and allowed us to grow. It would have done no to teach about God
in any other than the way it was.
After million of years and growth for man then God released more light. It
was very much like the Sun giving Earth more light and people began to live
in tribes and families. The concept of unity such as these came From God
along with the knowledge of Adam. There were many places that still had men
who lived as Animals, but they were in the Adam's Day
and were the beginning of a long, long cycle of learning about God from
many places and persons, but they were advancing.
To me, it was like a group of people who had to learn to cultivate and grow
crops, and families, and the Days turned into weeks and the weeks turned
into seasons and years and century, but all were shined on by the Sun.
We have only one Sun and we all continue to live and learn under that Sun.
We don't condemn people who try to grow many way and plant many crops, but
because Now in this Century there are better ways,
There are still people who can't read or drive a car or many other things,
but that doesn't mean they don't receive the benefit of the One Sun or the
Now people can hid in caves and never get sun burned, or say out of water
and never drown, but they are still subjected to the Laws of this Century
and of this Day of God.
I could go on and on and talk about this but I think you may understand why
some think they are of an ancient Religion, but are also have to live
It is the way that Abdul Baha talked about the Sun being the same Sun of the
beginning and is still the same Sun or last Sunday, but it is also the Sun
of Today. WE may call Today Thursday, but if we called it Sunday it would
still not be the last Sunday, because the hands of time move on.
I really would like prepare this more comprehensively but I am always so
Well I hope this will explain why there are more than one day and why they
have different names, yet there are different things done because of what
they received light from God.
If you have any questions, I hope that I can answer them....
Sincerely ....the ole cowhand gil
From: bahai-fai...@bcca.org [mailto:bahai-fai...@bcca.org] On
Behalf Of Suzanne
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: A Call to Religious Unity - The Baha'i Faith
> So if the Baha'i Faith is not an invitation to a new religion but a
> call for religious unity just exactly what place do the: "many other
> religions", have? They are in Abdul's-Baha'' opinion like: "an old and
> decrepit man", "Why go so far back?" If this is not a call to abandon
The quote which comes to my mind when I think of this question is this
one from Baha'u'llah:
"There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of
whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly
Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the
ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying
requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed.
All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity,
were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 217)
So He doesn't mention only the followers of the world's major
religions as deriving their inspiration from "one heavenly Source",
but all people, no matter what race or religion, "except a few which
are the outcome of human perversity."
So something that is the outcome of human perversity is not inspired
by God. So obviously the mass suicides at Jonestown were the result
of human perversity and not divine inspiration. Equally, although the
origin of Christianity is divine, the Spanish Inquisition and
lynchings by Ku Klux Klan members, even though ostensibly done in the
name of religion, are the result of human perversity.
The good in the world, no matter whether the person is a follower of
one of the major religions or an atheist, is inspired by the one true
God. The virtues of the world were all taught by the Manifestations
of God, and have been taken over by society, whether they were aware
of their original Source or not. This is a paraphrase of something II
remember reading in one of the talks by 'Abdu'l-Baha. Unfortunately,
I can't lay my hands on the quote right now.
So, personally I think this is the challenge; to sort the good from
the rotten; that which brings spirit, light, life, love and unity from
that which brings prejudice, bigotry, hatred, death, destruction and
the darkness of ignorance. The one is inspired of God, and the other
is the result of human perversity.
And beyond that, after our own independent investigation of truth
leads us to this Faith as being the inspiration of God for this Day;
our task, as Baha'is is to love everyone, regardless of their beliefs,
and be the quickeners of mankind. If it's good it's from God and if
it's bad it isn't. And just because someone is, in name, the follower
of one of the world's great religions, including the Baha'i Faith, it
doesn't necessarily mean that they are getting their inspiration from
that Source. As 'Abdu'l-Baha said:
"Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to
vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and
bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of
dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to
withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it
is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy
should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any
religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All
the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions
for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does
not come from the great and supreme Physician."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 130)
Anyway, that's my thinking on this. Yes, we know that the world's
great religions have their origins in the same Source, but a lot of
other belief systems derive their inspiration from that same heavenly
Source, even if the Founder wasn't a Manifestation of God, per se.
They could be in touch with the spirit emanating from one or another,
or even several, Manifestations of God. "All are His servants and all
abide by His bidding."
What about some of the practices of Muslims which they attribute to
the Qur'an and Hadith?
Certainly suicide bombings, stoning women accused of adultery, etc.
are not the kinds of behavior that God wants and yet we believe the
Islamic religion is direct from God through Muhammad.
I think maybe we need to look at the Holy Books, or the religion in
its original state because our Writings also say that religion
declines and must be renewed. The idea seems to be that there is only
one religion but it is manifested by degrees, by successive and