Re: Some sort of statement of support.
- From: Douglas McAdam <douglasmcadam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 09:41:06 CST
On Sep 8, 2006, at 9:51 AM, Gilberto Simpson wrote:
On 9/8/06, smaneck@xxxxxxxxx <smaneck@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
According to Bill Garlington's dissertation on the Baha'i mass-movement
in India in the 1970's rural declarants afixed their thumb print on a
form which states that they accept Bahá'u'lláh as the manifestation
(avatar ) of God and recognize that in joining the Bahá'í community
there are principles, laws and institutions which must be obeyed.
That does not sound terribly different from the card American's sign.
What difference does it make if they refer to a Manifestation as an
It tends to muddy the waters in terms of what the Bahai claims
actually are. Bahais tell potential converts from Christian
bacakgrounds that they believe in the Sonship and Divinity of Christ.
And Bahais tell potential converts from Hindu backgrounds that the
Manifestations are Avatars. But then Bahais also tell potential
converts from Muslim backgrounds that Bahais believe in the Quran
(which pretty clearly denies the sonship and divinity of Christ).
Islam also generally rejects the idea of Incarnation/.Avatars.
Now, I'm actually really sympathetic to folks like Martin Lings who
has Perennialist tendancies and actually (as a Muslim) tried to
reconcile religious differences in the name of unity. And I would be
all in favor of trying to promote understanding and tolerance between
different religions by "translating" terms with ideas like "When you
say 'avatar' that's what we mean by 'messenger'" etc. Lings does that
in his book "What is Sufism?":
But it feels really really unethical to uses such ambiguity in order
to gain converts. I don't think it promotes understanding .In the long
run, it will probably tend to confuse things.
I think if you read God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi you will see why Baha'is refer to Baha'u'llah in various terms.
Here is but a wee excerpt from that book.
the "Lord of Hosts"
to Christendom Christ returned "in the glory of the Father,"
to Shi'ah Islam the return of the Imam Husayn;
to Sunni Islam the descent of the "Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ);
to the Zoroastrians the promised Shah-Bahram;
to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna;
to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.
Lord of Lords,"
the "Most Great Name,"
the "Ancient Beauty,"
the "Pen of the Most High,"
the "Hidden Name,"
the "Preserved Treasure," "
the "Most Great Light,"
the "All-Highest Horizon,"
the "Most Great Ocean,"
the "Supreme Heaven,"
the "Pre-Existent Root,"
the "Day-Star of the Universe,"
the "Great Announcement,"
the "Speaker on Sinai," t
he "Sifter of Men," the
"Wronged One of the World,"
the "Desire of the Nations," the "Lord of the Covenant,"
the "Tree beyond which there is no passing."
He derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) through his wife Katurah, and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from Yazdigird, the last king of the Sasaniyan dynasty. He was moreover a descendant of Jesse, and belonged, through His father, Mirza Abbas, better known as Mirza Buzurg—a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court of Fath-'Ali Shah—to one of the most ancient and renowned families of Mazindaran.
To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the "Glory of the Lord,"
the "Everlasting Father,"
the "Prince of Peace,"
the "Wonderful," the "Counsellor,"
the "Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse"
and the "Branch grown out of His roots,"
the "Lord of Hosts" and
the "King of Glory."
To Him Haggai had referred as the "Desire of all nations,"
To His Dispensation the sacred books of the followers of Zoroaster had referred as that in which the sun must needs be brought to a standstill for no less than one whole month. To Him Zoroaster must have alluded when, according to tradition, He foretold that a period of three thousand years of conflict and contention must needs precede the advent of the World-Savior Shah-Bahram, Who would triumph over Ahriman and usher in an era of blessedness and peace.
He alone is meant by the prophecy attributed to Gautama Buddha Himself, that "a Buddha named Maitreye,
the Buddha of universal fellowship"
should, in the fullness of time, arise and reveal "His boundless glory."
To Him the Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus had referred as the
"Most Great Spirit,"
the "Tenth Avatar,"
the "Immaculate Manifestation of Krishna."
To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the "Prince of this world,"
as the "Comforter"
" as the "Spirit of Truth"
as the "Son of Man" Who "
To Him the Author of the Apocalypse had alluded as
the "Glory of God,"
as "Alpha and Omega," "
the Beginning and the End,"
"the First and the Last.", its heat and glory."
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- From: Gilberto Simpson
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