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Author Topic: Baha'i and Orthodox apologetics  (Read 1530 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gabriel
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« on: May 28, 2009, 01:40:09 PM »

I was curious the other night and decided to google apologetics against the Baha'i faith from an Orthodox viewpoint.  I was surprised that I didn't find anything.

So, I figured that this would be a good place to discuss the Baha'i faith in regards to Orthodoxy.  I'm not sure if everyone has heard of these folks, but given their own statements about growing numbers, I figure it won't be long before someone runs into them.

Pretty much everything about them flies in the face of traditional Christian understanding and (from what I've seen from other forums) infuriates those inclined to apostolic tradition.

Looking in from the outside, the religion seems to be a grand syncretism of pretty much every world religion.  They attempt to make a case that Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism are all sourced in the same beliefs, and that all great messengers are all equally valid.  Thus, Zarathustra, Moses, Noah, Muhammad, Jesus, the Buddha, and to a lesser extent, Lao Tzu and various Native American writings are all preaching similar messages.

They refer to "Manifestations" in their description of messengers.  They believe that a Manifestation reflects God the way that a mirror would reflect the light of the Sun. 

They tend to interpret world scriptures in an unequal way from what I've seen.  Anything that is complimentary to their understanding is considered valid.  They view passages that others consider literal to be symbolic.

From their own viewpoint, they are NOT a syncretic religion, but a valid Abrahamic (and Dharmic) religion with their own holy writings and their own prophets.

They add to the list of Manifestations with the Bab (meaning, the Gate who is seen to be a precursor the way St John the Forerunner was, along with the Madhi of Shi'ah Islam) and Baha'u'llah (who is seen to be the return of Christ).

Here's the wiki article:  Baha'i

Anyone wanting to read the Baha'i view of Jesus can go here and follow the links at the bottom (note:  it is okay to give out links relevant to the topic of discussion, yeah?)


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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 02:13:55 PM »

I do not know if there is much to say about Bahai from our standpoint. It seems most understandable that a universalist hopeful spirituality would emerge from people since they are sometimes abused and persecuted by the dominant religious culture of their society (unfortunately it has happened in Orthodox Christianity too). My impression is that in secular society there would be no reason for Orthodox and Bahais to not be good neighbors but best (in most cases) for Orthodox Christians to not delve too deeply into a non Orthodox belief system. Just my 2 cents.
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Gabriel
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2009, 03:51:20 PM »

I do not know if there is much to say about Bahai from our standpoint. It seems most understandable that a universalist hopeful spirituality would emerge from people since they are sometimes abused and persecuted by the dominant religious culture of their society (unfortunately it has happened in Orthodox Christianity too). My impression is that in secular society there would be no reason for Orthodox and Bahais to not be good neighbors but best (in most cases) for Orthodox Christians to not delve too deeply into a non Orthodox belief system. Just my 2 cents.

I would disagree.  Baha'is like to interpret the passages about Christ's institution of the Eucharist in a symbolic sense.  I would assume that this would be one of the biggest objections Orthodoxy might want to reply to.

As the religion spreads, Christians will start to encounter it more and more.

I just thought it'd be a good topic for discussion.
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2009, 04:27:49 PM »

Muslim Unitarian Universalists.

I remember my communist roommate (Sandanista, to be exact) telling my other roommate about the UU that when you go to Jewel in the generic products isle with the plain boxes with the straight forward labels "FLOUR", "CEREAL", "MACRAONI", go to the box "RELIGION" and there you will find them.

Really, there isn't much to refute about them other than Unversalist ideas in general, and Muslim denial of Christ's divinity.  Maybe just a little tagged on against the Bab and Baha'ullah, but in the main, nothing new.
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2009, 05:12:06 PM »

From Hindu to Baha'i to Orthodoxy

Quote
This is a very long read but well worth your time. Anjali is our newly illumined catechumen whose baptism video I posted earlier. What has always fascinated me about her is that she grew up as a Hindu and so her journey into Eastern Orthodoxy was quite different from those of us who came to it through the many Western Protestant and Catholic paths. I was surprised to learn as I read this that she had also journeyed through the Baha'i faith. Her insights gained from that experience remind me a lot of how Mormons seem to see themselves as well. I love to be in bible study with Anjali because I find her insights so valuable. Here she has offered this beautiful testimony of how she arrived at Eastern Orthodoxy and allowed me to publish it so all of you can read it too. I hope you find it as fascinating and wonderful as I have! It was originally composed, I think, as a post to an Orthodox forum to which she belongs.

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