Re: Talk on the Faith: Advice?

Dear Doug -

When you say "All Baha'i Writings are more important than anything else..."
I just wonder about what other things in existence might be more important.
Can you compare the Baha'i Writings with food and water? Which is more
important, health and security or the Baha'i Writings?

Your friend, --Kent

"Douglas McAdam" <douglasmcadam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> Dear Kent-
> Maybe you should read up on what Baha'u'llah says about the Creative Word
> of God rather than taking my opinion on it.
> I would strongly suggest that the actual words of the Manifestation or
> those of the Beloved Master, and the Guardian of the Faith are much more
> powerful that our personal comments.
> I believe any talk or teaching experience with non-Baha'is will be more
> successful when quotes from our Writings are used. And in this regard you
> might want to speak with veteran teachers of the Faith and I can give you
> some email addresses if you like.
> regards,
> doug
> On Dec 25, 2005, at 7:05 PM, Kent Johnson wrote:
>> I don't understand, again, why you want me to ask others about the
>> difference between the creative Word of God and the revealed word of God.
>> If memory serves, you had some point to make about that difference. If
>> you
>> want to make that point I am waiting, but for now I do not understand
>> what
>> you are saying.
>> Are you defending your statement that memorizing a Paris Talk is more
>> effective of "powerful" in some way than talking to people?
>> -- Kent
>> "Douglas McAdam" <douglasmcadam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
>> news:d98fb9cc05f0e58df1a46e0cd14e8d57@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Dear Kent-
>>> Sorry you had trouble following me.
>>> As I understand it, from the Baha'i Writings, the Manifestation of God
>>> IS the Word of God and He REVEALS the Word to Creation. He Manifests
>>> the Word.
>>> ( m ) The reality of prophethood, which is the Word of God and the
>>> perfect state of manifestation, did not have any beginning. its rising
>>> (origin, beginning?) is different from all others and is like that of
>>> the sun. (`Abdu'l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, Page: 152)
>>> Why don't you write to Dr. Susan Manek for a clearer, more academic
>>> type explanation.
>>> Regarding religion, I agree there is One Religion,(R) but there also
>>> are religions(r). How this was explained to me is that God Reveals His
>>> Religion to us and what we understand and apply is a religion the we
>>> create from our limited interpretations.
>>> ( o ) The Manifestations of universal Prophethood .. for example,
>>> Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah.. 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, Pages: 164-165)
>>> ( n ) Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as
>>> fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone
>>> before Him.. The measure of the revelation of the Prophets of God in
>>> this world, however, must differ. Each and every one of them hath been
>>> the Bearer of a distinct Message, and hath been commissioned to reveal
>>> Himself through specific acts.
>>> (Baha'u'llah: Gleanings, Pages: 78-79)
>>> So there are two types of conversions, i.e. a non-believer to become a
>>> believer in God and from one religion to another.
>>> Regarding our words vs the Revealed Word, well, all I can say is read
>>> the Writings for yourself and you will find that the revealed Word of
>>> God has more power than our words. It is called the Creative Word of
>>> God.
>>> Hope this helps a little.
>>> warm regards,
>>> doug
>>> On Dec 24, 2005, at 11:09 PM, Kent Johnson wrote:
>>>> Doug, I am sorry, but I have so much trouble with what you say that I
>>>> hardly
>>>> got through the first paragraph.
>>>> "Logos" is the Greek word for "word" famously translated in the
>>>> Christian
>>>> Bible, especially the prologue to the Gospel of John "In the
>>>> beginning..."
>>>> I am sure that I don't know how you are using the word unless you are
>>>> trying
>>>> to say that the "Creative Word" of a Manifestation of God is not the
>>>> same as
>>>> the "Revealed Word" of the same Personage. I am not certain that you
>>>> are
>>>> correct in your assertion, but I am willing to accept it for the time
>>>> being
>>>> in order to follow your logic.
>>>> I have trouble, again, with the assertion that the Creative Word of
>>>> God can
>>>> be said to have been "in Arabic or Farsi" ("Farsi" is the Persian word
>>>> for
>>>> "Persian"). But let's get past that also.
>>>> Your point seems to be: "...the exact words we have in our Baha'i
>>>> books are
>>>> far more powerful than our own renditions..." In my mind it seems to
>>>> beg
>>>> the question of what sort of 'power" we are talking about. I wrote you
>>>> concerning the power to change lives, to awaken souls to the Spirit of
>>>> God.
>>>> And for that purpose I see heart to heart conversation more useful
>>>> than the
>>>> printed word regardless how powerfully printed.
>>>> "...that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls-a prayer that
>>>> shall
>>>> rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and
>>>> sounds--"
>>>> Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
>>>> "As to conversions, well that is a term used and given much
>>>> importance also
>>>> in our Writings"
>>>> Okay, You want to talk about conversions. I want to talk about
>>>> realizing
>>>> the living God regardless of religion: for there is but one religion
>>>> of God.
>>>> How can someone convert from God's religion to God's religion? I
>>>> believe
>>>> our writings are talking about conversion from nothing to God's
>>>> religion.
>>>> If we can awaken a soul we have changed the world. If the soul is
>>>> awakened
>>>> we have no work to do. Unless maybe you are suggesting that we ask the
>>>> person to sign a card. If that is the point to the Baha'i Faith then I
>>>> converted to the wrong religion.
>>>> "Lot of people can preach and talk about faith etc. but to me what we
>>>> are
>>>> being asked to do is perform by doing service to God and humanity.
>>>> Besides
>>>> how else can we acquire
>>>> true faith unless we act on our beliefs?"
>>>> What good is a faith that does not require any action? An awakened
>>>> soul
>>>> will act, no doubt. It is a wonder to behold.
>>>> Nice chatting with you.
>>>> --Kent
>>>> "Douglas McAdam" <douglasmcadam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
>>>> news:c76356c5583d2ddfad4d53ddad39a7d0@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>>> Hi Kent=-
>>>>> Well there are two meanings to the Word of God. First of all,
>>>>> according
>>>>> to my understanding of the Baha'i Writings the Word of God is the
>>>>> Manifestation (logos) and then there is the "Revealed Word of God) the
>>>>> Writings of the Baha'i Faith for example.
>>>>> These Writings are revealed by the Manifestation not by us. However I
>>>>> tend to feel, and I am not saying this is what Baha'is believe, that
>>>>> it is
>>>>> the concepts in the revealed Word of God, not necessarily the exact
>>>>> words.
>>>>> The Revealed Word is in Arabic or Farsi but then translated into over
>>>>> 100
>>>>> languages, and they all represent the Revealed Word of God. However
>>>>> the
>>>>> exact words we have in our Baha'i books are far more powerful than
>>>>> our own
>>>>> renditions with the more common language.
>>>>> In the prayer for Firmness in the Covenant it says-
>>>>> "...that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls-a prayer that
>>>>> shall
>>>>> rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and
>>>>> sounds--"
>>>>> So maybe there is something to the idea that it is the concept felt
>>>>> in the
>>>>> heart and not the language itself that communicates the Revealed Word
>>>>> of
>>>>> God.
>>>>> As to conversions, well that is a term used and given much importance
>>>>> also
>>>>> in our Writings. No religion can exert the desired and intended
>>>>> influence
>>>>> by God unless it numerically gains strength. In the book Secret of
>>>>> Divine
>>>>> Civilization the Beloved Master says-
>>>>> "The second of these spiritual standards which apply to the possessor
>>>>> of
>>>>> knowledge is that he should be the defender of his faith. It is
>>>>> obvious
>>>>> that these holy words do not refer exclusively to searching out the
>>>>> implications of the Law, observing the forms of worship, voiding
>>>>> greater
>>>>> and lesser sins, practicing the religious ordinances, and by all these
>>>>> methods, protecting the Faith. They mean rather that the whole
>>>>> population
>>>>> should be protected in every way; that every effort should be exerted
>>>>> to
>>>>> adopt a combination of all possible measures to raise up the Word of
>>>>> God,
>>>>> increase the number of believers, promote the Faith of God and exalt
>>>>> it
>>>>> and make it victorious over other religions. If, indeed, the Muslim
>>>>> religious authorities had persevered along these lines as they ought
>>>>> to
>>>>> have done, by now every nation on earth would have been gathered into
>>>>> the
>>>>> shelter of the unity of God and the bright fire of "that He may make
>>>>> it
>>>>> victorious over every other religion"
>>>>> *23 would have flamed out like the sun in the midmost heart of the
>>>>> world.
>>>>> *23- Qu'ran 9:33;48:28,61:19 Abdu'l-Baha) page 41, Secret of Divine
>>>>> Civilization
>>>>> Retention? Now that is another matter. Teaching and consolidation
>>>>> are to
>>>>> go hand in hand, according to our advice from the Writings. And
>>>>> there are
>>>>> both indirect and direct ways to teach the Faith. I have done it all
>>>>> and
>>>>> many years ago I decided that it was best for me to do service work
>>>>> and so
>>>>> I worked on two Indian Reservations and now am operating a Social and
>>>>> Economic Development project for Troubled Youth and Adult Offenders
>>>>> and I
>>>>> love it. Lot of people can preach and talk about faith etc. but to me
>>>>> what we are being asked to do is perform by doing service to God and
>>>>> humanity. Besides how else can we acquire true faith unless we act
>>>>> on our
>>>>> beliefs?
>>>>> peace,
>>>>> doug
>>>>> On Dec 22, 2005, at 9:57 AM, Kent Johnson wrote:
>>>>>>> It is the Word of God that attracts and stimulates hearts, not our
>>>>>>> words.
>>>>>> Hi Doug. The Word of God is not uttered by God, but rather His
>>>>>> words are
>>>>>> voice by us lowly humans. His sentiments might best be voiced with
>>>>>> His
>>>>>> words, but I find myself fully capable of using words that come to
>>>>>> me to
>>>>>> explain and voice His high Purpose.
>>>>>> If you want to talk about retention in religion I think we will need
>>>>>> some
>>>>>> statistics. I believe people who go to "...revivals, programs
>>>>>> etc.." are
>>>>>> looking for that Spirit we all seek. They are not looking to fill
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> roles
>>>>>> of any church, and therefore, retention rates are not an appropriate
>>>>>> measure
>>>>>> of the draw to such a gathering.
>>>>>> Baha'is often talk about conversion. I don't. I talk about how to
>>>>>> show
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> Spirit of God to His people.