/r/bahai exposed

I got banned from r/bahai for posting this...

The Forbidden Prophecies: The Deceit of Bahá’u’lláh and Abdul-Bahá
The Bahá’í religion was established in Iran in 1863. It is the youngest of the world religions, and today there are over 5 million adherents, known as Bahá’ís, all over the world. The founder of the Bahá’í religion, a man by the name of Bahá’u’lláh, claimed to be divinely inspired:
I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing.
[Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle, p. 11]
He proceeded to send letters of warning to the rulers and leaders of the world. In these letters, Bahá’u’lláh openly proclaimed his station as a Messenger of God. Followers of Bahá’u’lláh cite these letters as evidence of his prophetic ability, they claim that they contain clear predictions which came true. One such letter addressed the people of Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Bahá’u’lláh wrote that the sultans, the leaders of Constantinople, had been a source of tyranny and told them that their rule would soon come to an end:
O people of Constantinople! Lo, from your midst We hear the baleful hooting of the owl. Hath the drunkenness of passion laid hold upon you, or is it that ye are sunk in heedlessness? O Spot that art situates on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath, verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom... We behold in thee the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendour made thee vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
[Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, verse 89]
This warning can be found in the book Kitáb-i-Aqdas, which was completed in 1873 and is the central religious text of the Bahá’í faith. The collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1918 brought an end to the rule of the sultans. On March 3rd, 1924, the sultans lost their powers and they were replaced by parliamentary rule in the newly formed Turkish Republic. Is this really a remarkable prophecy? When Bahá’u’lláh penned the warning, the once-mighty Ottoman empire was already in terminal decline. In fact, rival nations were referring to it as “the sick man of Europe” as early as 1853, over twenty years before Bahá’u’lláh made his prediction.
[Candan Badem, The Ottoman Crimean War (1853 – 1856), p. 68]
In the prophecy itself, Bahá’u’lláh even highlighted the fact that the rule of the sultans had become “filled with manifest pride” and was a “throne of tyranny”. He also mentioned that “the flames of hatred” had been kindled in the people of Constantinople. If you think about it, the most likely fate of any leadership in such circumstances is that it comes to an end. When those who are ruled are dissatisfied with their rulers, then there is always the chance of an uprising or revolution. This has been the pattern through history; examples include the fall of the French monarchy during the French Revolution and the rebellion of American colonies against British rule during the American Revolution. Another issue is that there are no details of how it would come to an end.
Bahá’u’lláh just stated in very general terms that “it shall soon perish”. In fact, the end of sultan rule took place nearly half a century later in 1924, long after he made the prediction.
In another letter, he wrote to the French emperor Napoleon III in 1869. He was warned that he would soon lose his empire unless he embraced Bahá’u’lláh as a Messenger of God:
For what thou hast done, thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know how thou hast plainly erred. Commotions shall seize all the people in that land, unless thou arises to help this Cause, and followest Him Who is the Spirit of God in this, the Straight Path. Hath thy pomp made thee proud? By My Life! It shall not endure; nay, it shall soon pass away...
[Bahá’u’lláh, Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 20 – 21]
In July 1870, within a year of writing this letter, Napoleon III lost a battle against Prussia and was captured. This was followed by his exile to England and a bloody revolution in Paris known as the Paris Commune in May 1871. Did this prediction require a special insight into the future?
If one analyses the political events that occurred in the decade leading up to Napoleon’s downfall, then a France-Prussia conflict and civil strife in France were inevitable. Napoleon III was a warmonger who actively sought to expand French influence in Europe and around the world. He had fought wars against Russia in the Crimea and in Italy against the Austria-Hungarian empire. Napoleon III was also acquiring colonies throughout Asia and Africa. In the 1860s, Prussia emerged as a new rival to French power in Europe. In 1862, Prussia’s chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, famously declared: “The great questions of the day will not be settled by resolutions and majority votes — that was the mistake of the men of 1848 and 1849 — but by blood and iron”.
[Joachim von Kürenberg, The Kaiser: a life of Wilhelm II, last Emperor of Germany, p. 437]
Prussia was the most powerful German state and under Bismarck’s leadership, it sought to unify Germany. Bismarck engineered wars with Denmark and Austria-Hungary, which resulted in Prussia coming to dominate the Northern German States. The historian David Wetzel wrote: “it seemed that it was only a matter of time before they brought all the German states under the control of Berlin”.
[David Wetzel, A Duel of Giants: Bismarck, Napoleon III, and the Origins of the Franco-Prussian War, p. 123]
Prussia’s ambition and victories made it a direct threat to France who did not want a strong and unified Germany on its borders.
[A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848–1918, p. 347]
Napoleon III recognised the threat that a unified Germany would pose to France, and he looked for allies to challenge Prussia. But this was without success, as Britain, Russia, Austria, and Italy all refused to form an alliance with France. Napoleon III was isolated and would be helpless in the event of a conflict with Prussia. In 1866, Prussia, with a population of 22 million, had been able to mobilise an army of 700,000 men, while France, with a population of 26 million, had an army of only 385,000 men, of whom 100,000 were in Algeria, Mexico, and Rome.
[Philippe Séguin, Louis Napoléon le Grand, p. 387]
The Prussian army, combined with the armies of other German states, would be a formidable enemy. Napoleon III ordered a rapid expansion of his armed forces and this greatly added to tensions with Prussia. We can see that years before Bahá’u’lláh made his prediction, France was on a collision course for war, with a very real prospect of defeat at the hands of its enemy. Finally, his prediction that “commotions shall seize all the people in that land”, which implies that there would be civil unrest in France, is by no means remarkable as civil unrest goes hand in hand with political instability. When dictators like Napoleon III are deposed, it results in a vacuum and it’s not uncommon for power struggles to take place. These are often violent affairs, this is especially the case throughout France’s turbulent history.
In summary, we have seen that even the most accurate predictions of Bahá’u’lláh did not require any supernatural ability, just an astute awareness of world history and politics. Bahá’u’lláh died in 1892. His eldest son, Abdul-Bahá, was appointed by his father to be his successor and head of the Bahá’í Faith, a position he served until 1921. AbdulBahá’s writings and talks are also regarded as a source of Bahá’i sacred literature.
[Peter Smith, A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahái Faith, p. 20]
Like his father before him, Abdul-Bahá made predictions about political events that he claimed would occur in the near future, some of which turned out to be accurate. However, a true test of one’s prophetic ability is not to analyse political trends in the present and then estimate outcomes.
Rather, a true test is to make accurate predictions for events in multiple fields, not just politics, and also for events that will occur far into the future. Let’s look at examples of such predictions that have been made by Abdul-Bahá. He decreed that his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, would lead the religion after his death, and he predicted that Shoghi would father a line of descendants who would also lead the religion:
O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsán (Branches), the Afnán (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abhá Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi… as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the firstborn of his lineal descendants.
[Abdul-Bahá, The Will and Testament, part one]
Shoghi Effendi did go on to lead the religion in 1921, just as Abdul-Bahá decreed. However, the situation changed dramatically in 1957, when Shoghi suddenly died at the age of sixty. Shoghi died childless, and so he had no descendants who could lead the religion.
[Peter B. Clarke, Peter Beyer, The World’s Religions: Continuities and Transformations, see section “Succession and routinisation of Bahá’i leadership”]
This was a situation which went directly against Abdul-Bahá’s prediction that Shoghi would be “the expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the firstborn of his lineal descendants”. Shoghi died without having appointed his successor, and as a result the Bahá’i religion underwent a significant restructure. No longer would the faithful be led by a single individual, instead a governing council made up of nine elected members, the Universal House of Justice, assumed full authority over the affairs of the Bahá’í religion.
In another prophecy, when Abdul-Bahá was questioned about what would happen by the year 1957, he stated that there would be a worldwide transformation of humanity:
Universal Peace will be firmly established, a Universal language promoted. Misunderstandings will pass away. The Baha’i Cause will be promulgated in all parts and the oneness of mankind established. It will be most glorious!
[J. E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, 1923 edition, Chapter XIV – Prophecies of Bahá’u’lláh and Abdul-Bahá]
These predictions by Abdul-Bahá were first published in 1923. He foretold that by the year 1957, the Bahá’í religion would spread everywhere and that there would be worldwide peace and unity among mankind. In actual fact, the decades leading up to the year 1957 and the decades since then have been among the most bloody in history. Social ills like poverty, racism, and crime still plague mankind and are only getting worse, nearly a century after Abdul-Bahá’s prediction.
We can conclude that the leaders of the Bahá’í religion, its founder Bahá’u’lláh and his son Abdul-Bahá, did not have any special insight into the future. While they may have been skilled in analysing political trends, when they ventured into fields other than politics and attempted to make predictions that were far into the future, they made false prophecies and therefore were not genuine prophets.

One counter-argument for one of the above claims from one Bahá’i:
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament was just that, his will and testament. He wasn’t prophesying. He was saying what he wanted to occur after his death. Obviously it wasn’t the Will of God to occur
When I posted how the quote itself does not come across as simply 'just a will' as there is no ifs nor buts, just straight-up predictions. And that the words in the will should they be acted out on would foretell "good things to come" as it reads in the full document you can find on their Bahá’i website which reads "The phrase is only foretelling good tidings to come, namely that regarding this all requisite arrangements have been made." he responded:
Please do not take 'Abdu'l-Baha's words out of context and portray them to be something that they're not. "the phrase" is referring to the phrase, "I cannot any more explain," used by his enemies against him.
I was going to respond with, "in the context, the phrase “I cannot any more explain” is simply claiming that the enemies of this man Abdu’l-Bahá can not explain his religion and want his death because of such. The person who wrote the document then says the phrase is (not which you claim you can not understand but that it is actually) to tell of good things to come if this will is carried out (which the enemies portrayed in the will are somehow afraid of getting into the wrong hands and about it getting carried out) I got banned.
I was not even rude or anything... Just wanted to see how they handled apologetics and to see if the above was anyway a good argument.

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