DREAM STARTS HERE :
Peter Khan is greeted at the pearly gates by St. Peter. Mr. Khan says:
"There must be some sort of mistake, I was expecting to be greeted in the Abha Kingdom by Baha'u'llah, Abdul'-Baha at least. St. Peter looks down at his list and says: " Mmmmm, it appears that there has been no mistake, your name appears right here on the list." He shows Mr.Khan the list and sure enough there's his name."
Saint Peter goes on to say: "It appears that you're fairly well balanced on the holy scales but there is just one thing we want to check with you.". Mr.Khan thinks: "And what could that possibly be?"
Saint Peter says: "There is some mention of a calamity in New Zealand that you spoke of at a talk you gave there yet there is nothing in our records that show any such spiritual calamity occurring. Let me remind you Mr.Khan that your response could weight in your favour, or not."
This has Peter Khan somewhat stumped, he's not quite sure how to respond. He thinks it over for a few moments and then says: " Well, in my position as a member of the infallible Universal House of Justice I felt myself qualified to be the arbiter of the spirituality of the community there." Saint Peter has a perplexed look on his face and says: " I've never quite encountered a situation quite like this before so I will have to take it up with the boss, I will be back shortly." He vanishes leaving behind a rose of attar smell in the air.
By now Mr. Khan is getting very worried, he's thinking: " This is all a big mistake!!! I was in my right to pass judgment on the New Zealand Baha'i communities spiritual state, what am I doing here anyway? These Pearly gates are a Christian myth!" As suddenly as he disappeared Saint Peter reappears. He looks at Peter Khan and states: "Well I took it up with the boss and he says that since He's the only one that's infallible he's given you a choice: hell, or purgatory.". Now Mr.Khan is getting really worried and starts to lose his composure a bit, he excitedly says: " Send me to the Abha kingdom this moment! I deserve it!!!" He begins to tremble a bit while thinking: "Those nasty New Zealanders deserved everything I said about them."
Just then he awakens with Shoghi Effendi shaking him by the shoulder. With great relief he thinks: " Finally, this must be the Abha Kingdom. He asks Shoghi: " This must be the Abha Kingdom, isn't it?" Shoghi answers: "Sadly not, this is a special place for all those who during their life times suffered the delusion of divine infallibility. Don't worry though, we have lots of company." ;^)
When I was confirmed into the Church of England in 1984 I asked some Baha'is I met at their firesides to come along. None did. In the end I fell out with the Baha'is as I discovered academic material that presented their history differently from their own. They are very committed to the preservation of their history as monitored by the Universal House of Justice, the nine seater male-only assembly meant to be a combined secular and religious decision making body for the world, elected without campaigns by the National Spiritual Assemblies below them, these elected by delegates from the Local Spiritual Assemblies below them. It is a very conserving system, a sort of democratic centralism: what the top level says goes.
Very quickly summarising: the origins of the Baha'i Faith are in the Babi faith that developed out of Shia Islam in Iran and Iraq. They were waiting for the return of the Hidden Twelfth Imam and a Holy War for the victory of Islam. In 1844 Sayyid Ali Muhammed Shrirazi claimed to be the Bab, the Gateway to the returning Imam. When he didn't appear at Karbala, Sayyid Ali Muhammed escalated his status in stages to the Imam, then the Prophet and then superseding to a new Manifestation of God. The movement was surrounded by violence, and started much of it themselves. The Bab appointed Mirza Yahya (or Sub-i-Azal) to be his successor, but after the Bab was killed by the authorities the violence continued and the movement was in severe decline. Sub-i-Azal's half brother, Mirza Husayn Ali, an elite Persian convert, built up his own faction and in 1863 he, Baha'u'llah (Glory of God) announced himself as the Bab's next Manifestation of God. The authorities never left either faction alone, and the Azalis ended up in Cyprus and the Baha'is at Palestine. However, Baha'u'llah, in the course of the compulsory travels and his declaration to the few and then the world of his status, read Sufi and New Testament material, and completely remodelled the faith as it came into the Western orbit, making itself syncretistic in character, peaceful and expecting the unification of the world.
Baha'u'llah died in 1892, and Abbas Effendi, his eldest son, or Abdul-Baha, became the leader and only interpreter or "Centre of the Covenant". Here there was factionalism, as a group known as the Unitarians (people of the Book, not Abdul-Baha's interpretations) broke out and were excommunicated. The Young Turks' victory meant an end to imprisonment, and Abdul Baha became a traveller around the West even more spiritualising and Westernising the movement, and was a charismatic figure as he attended mosques, Christian and Unitarian (the other sort) churches and synagogues.
After he died Shoghi Effendi became the first Guardian. Some Germans did not accept the validity of Abdul Baha's will appointing him and so the Free Baha'is emerged for a time. Shoghi Effendi should have had a serving Universal House of Justice under him, but he did not set it up. He should have left a will, but either he didn't or it never appeared. So when he died in 1957 there was a crisis of leadership, after which in 1963 the Universal House of Justice was formed and took to itself powers of the Guardian, most importantly the sole power to interpret and the power to excommunicate.
The chief of Hands of the Cause, a forerunner to the UHJ, Mason Remey, thought he should be the new Guardian. Factions have arisen ever since from that branch, including one that now thinks the second Guardian was presumptive, but so was the Universal House of Justice taking power to itself.
The UHJ produces plans for growth. The millennial nature of the Bahai Faith is that it expects the Most Great Peace to arrive (instead we had George Bush) and a tipping point where "troops" of people convert to the Bahai Faith. Unfortunately, the Bahai Faith has been born in a rather irreligious age in Europe, and other than some growth in developing countries, Europe has been slow and with a high turnover of members. Plus, the UHJ in Haifa has a habit of turning members who don't submit to censorship panels into covenant breakers. There are also quite a few people who find themselves mysteriously removed from the rolls of membership, but in the age of the Internet they continue the faith themselves with new freedom, the name Baha'i being in the public realm. A problem for the Haifa Baha'is is that only they can raise money for themselves, and members who can participate in Feasts as well as Firesides find themselves locked into administration details: the Baha'i Faith is an "Administrative Order" after all.
So at each stage of leadership transition elite groups have competed and been excluded, and it is reasonable to say that the quest for unity has been a failure because of its high cost in factions and breakaways, and now there is a more relaxed Bahaism emerging of excluded or drifter individuals. It matters not that the Universal House of Justice only recognises itself as legitimate, because anyone can read the Kitab-i-Iqan and Kitabi-i-Aqdas and the published materials that Shoghi Effendi translated into his strained olde-worlde English. Even infallibility is being questioned by individuals let loose.
The Bahai Faith is useful for Christians and Christian theology in a number of ways.
First of all we see something of a parallel in the Bab as a kind of announcer of a new manifestation, although he became what he expected. He gets positioned like a John the Baptist, and probably John the Baptist was his own man too. Then we have the central manifestation (Incarnation) figure, Baha'u'llah. Then we have the very important St. Paul figure, who becomes such an important interpreter and spreader into new cultures and giving a further twist to the faith.
Then we have the issue of authority. There is something of the Pope in the Guardian, of course, but the UHJ is like Orthodoxy or Roman Catholic centralism - with knobs on. In fact it is very Weberian-bureaucratic, and very pyramidal. Weber regarded such with great pessimism: it was anti the life-giving enchantment that he thought religion supplied.
The other lesson is that of allowing theology to grow organically and in diversity. There is a distinct double identity problem of Baha'i member scholarship in secular institutions including that of religious studies departments. It does the Baha'i Faith no favours. We see similar with some Roman Catholics. If Christians become more subject to such pressures of membership conformity, then there is a distortion to both the academic sphere and to the representational sphere.
I also suggest that Christians should express the truth as they find it even when it conflicts with doctrines or interpretations of the Bible. If there is some compelling finding about, say, the Jesus of history as an endtime Jewish rabbi, then this should come first, or at least people should be honest about the layer-cake nature of doctrines or how people interpret the Bible.
Older faiths have developed more maturity with time. They can sit light and worry less about how their faiths are represented. Or at least this is what we thought, as the Christian world gave rise to a secular and plural world.
There are pressures to go along a road of such as the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. There is a narrowing of what is legitimate expression of a faith, and there are calls for excluding those who are not biblical enough. An Anglican Communion, properly understood, would become a World Wide Anglican Church with authoritative statements handed down, with again distant high-up forms of selection of those with centralised power.
Who knows how these developments will work out. The Baha'is could not predict their own future, despite the claimed infallibility of the words of both their Manifestation of God and Centre of the Covenant. So Anglicans cannot predict theirs! Nevertheless, if secularisation and plurality lead down the road to authoritarianism and centralisation, there are going to be quite a few Anglican Communion Covenant Breakers who will continue to define the faith in a broad way, however they organise, meet and link up together.
Adrian Worsfold (Pluralist), has a doctorate in sociology and a masters degree in contemporary theology. He lives near Hull, in northeast England and keeps the blog Pluralist Speaks.
He became a Baha'i when he was a youth. He served as a member of National Spiritual Assembly of Australia, Auxiliary Board Member for Propagation in North America, member of Continental Board of Counsellors in Australasia, and of the International Teaching Centre, later he was appointed to the Universal House of Justice on which he served for twenty-three years.
He was tortured (mentally) by the New Zealand Baha'i community to a greater extent. May may this has contributed to his sufferings and may be this and some other pressures lead to his dying in Australia. As we all know Wahid also stays in Australia.
The members of UHJ are under immense pressure. They have so much work-load that they often succumb to bear.
Read this excerpt from his speech that he gave in New Zealand :
The House of Justice has been appalled in recent weeks to receive vitriolic, nasty, vicious letters from New Zealand Baha’is concerned about actions the House of Justice took with regard to a believer from the South Island. I’m sure you are aware of it. These letters are not many, there are a few of them, but they’re probably the worst letters I have ever seen written to the House of Justice and they came from people who are part of the New Zealand Baha’i community. That, if nothing more, is an indication of the need for a far greater attention to this issue in this country as well as in other countries. New Zealand surely doesn’t want to go down in Baha’i history as the community that has produced such nasty correspondence. Correspondence of such a kind that I am embarrassed to have my secretary see it because of the kind of language that it uses. Anyhow, be that as it may, it’s their spiritual problem and they will deal with Baha’u'llah as they wish. But the point is that here it is an indication that something is fundamentally wrong with the Baha’i community in this country in terms of its depth of understanding of the covenant and the authority of the institutions of the Faith. What you take as normal is not normal, but abnormal.read more here :
May Peter Khan rest in a place where Baha'u'llah is. May God do justice with him.
In addition to cooperation and connection with colonialists supporting and accompanying the dictatorships have been among the principles of this sect.
The tie between Bahaism and the Pahlavi regime reached it peak after the coup of 19 August 1953 and the Bahaists mounted to the highest political, economic, cultural and military positions in the last two decades of the rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Presence of the leaders of this misled sect in the important political, military and economic positions also prepared the ground for expansion of its propagation activities against the Shiites in the cradle of Shiites (Iran) from which they took the highest benefit.
It is noteworthy that ties to colonialists still continue in the forms of official support of the white House and the Occupier Regime of Palestine for them and the apparent cooperation against the Islamic republic of Iran.
By: Karim haghparast
(Some minor changes have been done to the original article)
This is what the Ahmadiyyas have to say regarding the Baha'is :
The following important differences between the Ahmadiyya claims and the Bahai claims :
1. One of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's basic aims was to teach the world the Islamic doctrine of the absolute oneness of God, which strongly rejects the concept that any human being can ever be a manifestation of God. The Bahai teachings are that there have been various manifestations of God on earth (Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Baha-ullah). Therefore Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was teaching the opposite of the Bahai beliefs.
2. As noted above, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad proclaimed that the Islamic scripture, teachings and law are valid forever, and will never be abrogated or replaced. Again this is exactly the opposite of Bahai beliefs which teach that Baha-ullah's scripture and law have abrogated and replaced the Holy Quran and the Shari'ah of Islam.
3. The Prophet Muhammad taught that prophets before him had been sent by God to all nations, and he required his followers (Muslims) to believe in all of them. Moreover, he taught, as stated in the Quran, that these prophets had prophesied to their nations of the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad and had instructed their followers to believe in that Promised Prophet when he came. So the Prophet Muhammad became the converging point of the previous prophets and religions. He addressed the whole of humanity, while the previous prophets addressed only their individual nations. He was thus the Last and Final Prophet through whom all humanity is to be united.
To preach the oneness of humanity and to seek to unite religions on fundamentals in the seventh century, as the Prophet Muhammad did, at a time when no one even knew what the whole world consisted of, is a clear proof of the Prophet Muhammad getting revelation and knowledge from God. But for someone in the nineteenth century like Bahaullah to repeat similar ideas (i.e. unity of humanity) cannot be called new revelation coming from God, particularly when he himself originally arose from within the religion of Islam.
These are the ideas of Baha'is regarding Ahmadiyya Muslims :
While some of the few quotes of their (Ahmadi) writings I have read seem quite forceful and rarely seem inspired, the correlations to Baha'i scripture is quite astounding. Their founder also claims to be the Mahdi and Messiah, as well as claiming the same ties to Buddhism and Hinduism. They also promote non-violence and uphold jihad as personal struggle not the waring aspects Muslims have accepted widely.
They differ in many ways, they uphold more closely everything in the Qu'ran and much of their writings are about this book. He also claims Jesus didn't actually die on the cross, but rather journeyed to India where he died an old man of natural causes.
Obviously, I do not believe time based prophecies apply since it was founded in 1889, thus 45 years late for Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu prophecy at least. They also call their leader Caliph, which I agree with Riggs is the mark of the beast - the 666 referred to in Revelation. Still, it is interesting, could their leader have been exposed to Baha'u'llahs writings at this time? There are already 200 million members of this group apparently, so I think it would be a valuable group to target with pioneering, they already accept many things Baha'u'llah has said so presenting time based prophecies might be enough to bring them to the Baha'i Faith?
I sort of liken them to Mormonism in that they have writings that correlate to what Baha'u'llah has said - and in the case of Mormonism, accurately describes the Baha'i dispensations coming - however entirely focus on a previous dispensation rather than bringing anything new.
What the christians have to say about both of these "Mahdi"s ?
Their visit was covered in articles by CNN, Agence France-Presse (AFP), The Huffington Post, Beliefnet, and the Religion News Service. The AFP story was reposted by several sites including Yahoo. A live broadcast February 10 on BBC Persian Television included a three-minute interview with Mr. Iraj Kamalabadi, whose sister is Ms. Fariba Kamalabadi, one of the imprisoned former members of the Yárán. (Later that day, Mr. Kamalabadi said his sister's husband told him on the phone that he saw the broadcast.) The family members were also interviewed in Persian by Radio Free Europe (Radio Farda), Voice of America (Persian Service) radio, and BBC Persian, which also did a recorded radio segment.
In addition, on March 31, 2011, Dr. Farzad Kamalabadi, another brother of Ms. Kamalabadi, spoke about her at a reception attended by some 150 human rights activists and congressional staff on Capitol Hill for the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus.
Source : Annual Report of NSA of US - 2011, Page 40
اين طرح در جريان اجراي آزمايشي آن در كلمبيا كه مدت ده سال به طول انجاميد، به طور مستمر و مداوم ارزشيابي مي شد و نتايج اين بررسي ها و ارزيابي ها در اختيار مركزيت بهائيت (بيت العدل حيفا) قرار مي گرفت.
سرانجام «بيت العدل حيفا» پس از پايان مرحله ده ساله آزمايشي اين طرح، تصميم گرفت، تا «طرح روحي» به عنوان يك «راهنماي عمل» به تمام محافل بهايي ابلاغ شود و موارد مطرح شده در آن مورد اجرا قرار گيرد.
يكي از مهمترين اهداف «طرح روحي» ايجاد بسترهاي لازم براي افزايش آمار تعداد بهائيان است و مسئولان مركزيت بهائيت براي ايجاد سهولت در دستيابي به اين هدف، با يك برنامه ريزي گسترده، مؤسساتي را تحت عنوان «مؤسسه آموزشي» در كشورهاي مختلف ايجاد كردند كه براساس آخرين آمارهاي منتشره از سوي مركزيت بهائيت تعداد اينگونه مراكز آموزشي بيش از يكصد مركز مي رسد.
مركزيت بهائيت براي دستيابي به اهداف «طرح روحي» زمان بندي هاي مشخصي را معين كرده اند كه شامل «نقشه هاي پنج ساله» و «نقشه هاي چهار ساله» است كه بعد از آن نيز يك نقشه دوازده ماهه و يك نقشه پنج ساله در نظر گرفته شده است. شعار اصلي نقشه پنج ساله «دخول افواج مقبلين» نام دارد. مؤسسات آموزشي كه بهائيان در ارتباط با «طرح روحي» ايجاد كرده اند، افزون بر هيأت مديره، زير نظر مشاور قاره اي بهائيت كه از سوي «بيت العدل حيفا» معرفي و تأييد شده است، اداره مي گردد. تبليغات فرقه بهائيت در كشورهاي اسلامي، بويژه خاورميانه به دليل حساسيت هاي خاصي كه در مورد آن وجود دارد، براساس يك استراتژي ويژه اي كه از سوي مركزيت بهائيت بدان نام «استراتژي خاموش و پنهان» داده شده، اداره مي شود و براي تحقق اهداف اين استراتژي در كشورهاي مسلمان زمان بيشتري در نظر گرفته اند و تا سال 2021 ميلادي براي رسيدن به اهداف مورد نظر وقت و فرصت معين كرده اند. فعاليت «طرح روحي» در ايران سه سال قبل با پيام 26 نوامبر 2003 ميلادي بيت العدل حيفا آغاز شد. شيوه فعاليت اجرايي «طرح روحي» با فعاليت هاي گذشته بهائيان ايران تفاوت اساسي دارد.
فرقه ضاله بهائيت به امر تبليغات، بهاي زيادي مي دهد و هر سال ميليون ها دلار هزينه كارهاي تبليغاتي مي كند.براي بهائيان اثر تبليغات منفي، نيز به اندازه تبليغات مثبت حائزاهميت است و از رهگذر همين اعتقاد است كه بيت العدل حيفا، افزون بر ميليون ها دلار هزينه براي خريد «فضا» و «وقت» از ماهواره هاي گوناگون و كمك هاي چشمگير به تلويزيون هاي ماهواره اي، مدتي است كه تبليغات رذيلانه اي را درباره اعزام دختران ايراني به شيخ نشين هاي خليج فارس، راه انداخته است. من ترديد ندارم كه اگر درباره گروه هايي كه اينگونه دختران را به سوداي بردن به اروپا و آمريكا مي فريبند و آنها را به مراكز فحشا در «دبي» و ديگر نقاط به بيگاري كثيف وا مي دارند، تحقيق شود، بدون ترديد با اين واقعيت مواجه مي شويم كه تمام گروه هاي فعال در اين كار ضدانساني، بهايي هستند. مديران و كاركنان اينگونه گروه ها، با مأموريت از سوي «بيت العدل حيفا» و با هدف بدنام ساختن جمهوري اسلامي - به عنوان «تبليغات منفي» و يك برنامه كارشناسانه از پيش تدوين شده به اين اقدامات روي آورده اند. «بيت العدل حيفا» كوشيده است، تا در اين دور از فعاليت جديد و در اجراي «طرح روحي» در حد و اندازه يك «اپوزيسيون فعال» موضع بگيرد و اين امر را مي توان از پيام 26 نوامبر 2003 «بيت العدل حيفا» دريافت.
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