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Switch to Forum Live View Religious Law In Baha'i
6 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2008 - 7:42PM #1
Light_Worker
Posts: 47
I'm curious to know what Baha'is believe the purpose of religious law is? There is no Heaven and Hell to be sent to in Baha'i Faith, so it couldn't be punishment and reward. Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the word law. However, if God is really completely beyond human comprehension as Baha'u'llah taught, what use would he have for laws? You'd think he'd have some other way to work with us than laws. Plus whats the use of prescribing a laundry list of laws with no punishment? Or are they closer to the concept in science of natural laws? Less "Do this or go to jail for 20 years" and more "this is the way things work"? I should also note that I haven't actually read the Kitáb-i-Aqdas at this point, so my only exposure to the Aqdas has been through being around people who live by it's laws.
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 19, 2008 - 10:34AM #2
maxmar
Posts: 104
Imagine what it would be like to drive a car where there are no designated lanes, no stop signs, no traffic lights, no speed limits.    Would the drive be pleasant from trying to get from A to B?   Someone said to me, "Oh that's like driving in Bangkok!".   Well, I've never been to Bangkok, but I think driving with no rules at all would be frustrating, dangerous and extremely stressful.     If there were no laws in a society, it would be chaotic, and dangerous.    In the same way we need physical guidelines and laws, we need spiritual guidelines and laws to progress spiritually through this world and the next.      God, through His Manifestations,  has always given us laws and guidelines to aid the progress of society and individuals which will give us happiness, peace and unity.

"All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Say: O friends! Drink your fill from this crystal stream that floweth through the heavenly grace of Him Who is the Lord of Names. Let others partake of its waters in My name, that the leaders of men in every land may fully recognize the purpose for which the Eternal Truth hath been revealed, and the reason for which they themselves have been created."

    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 214)
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 19, 2008 - 4:11PM #3
Ruhi19
Posts: 529
[QUOTE=Light_Worker;833252]I'm curious to know what Baha'is believe the purpose of religious law is? There is no Heaven and Hell to be sent to in Baha'i Faith, so it couldn't be punishment and reward. Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the word law. However, if God is really completely beyond human comprehension as Baha'u'llah taught, what use would he have for laws? You'd think he'd have some other way to work with us than laws. Plus whats the use of prescribing a laundry list of laws with no punishment? Or are they closer to the concept in science of natural laws? Less "Do this or go to jail for 20 years" and more "this is the way things work"? I should also note that I haven't actually read the Kitáb-i-Aqdas at this point, so my only exposure to the Aqdas has been through being around people who live by it's laws.[/QUOTE]

I think there are some misconceptions going on here.  Baha'is do not believe in a physical heaven and hell.  That is not to say that we do not believe in a spiritual heaven and hell.  To us, being in heaven is being close to God and being in hell is being far from God.  I imagine that hell is a form of being so sorry about something you've done that you cannot forgive yourself.  So, I think this concept is closer to "the way things work." 

There are laws to help us be closer to God and a correllary is that we are nicer to our fellow human beings.  So, there is punishment and reward, both in this world and in the next.  (The next world refers to the spiritual life after our soul leaves our physical body in this world, just as the infant leaves the world of his mother's womb to enter this world.)

In addition, while Baha'u'llah teaches that God is beyond human comprehension, we believe that the Manifestations of God (Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Baha'u'llah, etc.) do tell us what we can understand about God. 

If you want to know about the laws, the Aqdas is the place to find them.  However, you should know that Baha'u'llah did not release the laws to His followers until very near the end of His life because He knew that the believers were not ready for them.  Even today, not all of the laws are binding on believers in every land.  They are being implemented gradually.  The pattern is: the longer you have had to understand the laws, the more laws you are asked to obey.

A better book (or two) to start with in finding out about the Baha'i Faith are:  The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah (a short book containing short verses about the principles of God's collective religion found in history's religions) and the Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude) which talks about how humanity can recognize God's Manifestation and what that Prophet comes to humanity to teach. 

Good luck in your research.
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 19, 2008 - 4:11PM #4
Ruhi19
Posts: 529
[QUOTE=Light_Worker;833252]I'm curious to know what Baha'is believe the purpose of religious law is? There is no Heaven and Hell to be sent to in Baha'i Faith, so it couldn't be punishment and reward. Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the word law. However, if God is really completely beyond human comprehension as Baha'u'llah taught, what use would he have for laws? You'd think he'd have some other way to work with us than laws. Plus whats the use of prescribing a laundry list of laws with no punishment? Or are they closer to the concept in science of natural laws? Less "Do this or go to jail for 20 years" and more "this is the way things work"? I should also note that I haven't actually read the Kitáb-i-Aqdas at this point, so my only exposure to the Aqdas has been through being around people who live by it's laws.[/QUOTE]

I think there are some misconceptions going on here.  Baha'is do not believe in a physical heaven and hell.  That is not to say that we do not believe in a spiritual heaven and hell.  To us, being in heaven is being close to God and being in hell is being far from God.  I imagine that hell is a form of being so sorry about something you've done that you cannot forgive yourself.  So, I think this concept is closer to "the way things work." 

There are laws to help us be closer to God and a correllary is that we are nicer to our fellow human beings.  So, there is punishment and reward, both in this world and in the next.  (The next world refers to the spiritual life after our soul leaves our physical body in this world, just as the infant leaves the world of his mother's womb to enter this world.)

In addition, while Baha'u'llah teaches that God is beyond human comprehension, we believe that the Manifestations of God (Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Baha'u'llah, etc.) do tell us what we can understand about God. 

If you want to know about the laws, the Aqdas is the place to find them.  However, you should know that Baha'u'llah did not release the laws to His followers until very near the end of His life because He knew that the believers were not ready for them.  Even today, not all of the laws are binding on believers in every land.  They are being implemented gradually.  The pattern is: the longer you have had to understand the laws, the more laws you are asked to obey.

A better book (or two) to start with in finding out about the Baha'i Faith are:  The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah (a short book containing short verses about the principles of God's collective religion found in history's religions) and the Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude) which talks about how humanity can recognize God's Manifestation and what that Prophet comes to humanity to teach. 

Good luck in your research.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2008 - 1:45PM #5
firestorminitiative
Posts: 498
ok, let's pretend there is just the planet earth. there are mopuntain tops where u can see like eagles and whatever, and quicksand where u can see stuff like mud in ur eyes and the occasional boa constrictor. so what's the point of a map? eiter way, ur left on earth....
pain is ur body's way of saying "this doesn;t work." and that is all that punishment is for. heave and hell re right here right now. are u facing the muck or the sky? wading in the much is its own punishment, for those who know th sky awaits. flying is its own reward, even tho it leacves u chained to the sky.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 7:24PM #6
Naistradamus
Posts: 18
lol this guys explanations make no sense!
sounds like the rpg i was playing the other day.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 8:42PM #7
firestorminitiative
Posts: 498
if u wish i could perhaps put it in quatrains for u....
on the other hand :"makes no sense" is a pov, not a reality. u may or may not wish to see Iqan for a discussion of the "punishment" of wrong doers questions from the Bab's uncle.
th question was, what's the point of a laundry list w/o a spanking attached..the answer is, wearing clean clothes.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 9:36PM #8
Naistradamus
Posts: 18
[QUOTE=firestorminitiative;929692]if u wish i could perhaps put it in quatrains for u....
on the other hand :"makes no sense" is a pov, not a reality. u may or may not wish to see Iqan for a discussion of the "punishment" of wrong doers questions from the Bab's uncle.
th question was, what's the point of a laundry list w/o a spanking attached..the answer is, wearing clean clothes.[/QUOTE]

Still dont know what your talking about. Perhaps you would like to use simple terms rather then metaphors so that us mere mortals can better understand the deep concepts you are trying to explain. I did not get the impression that the Iqan was a punishment to the questions of the Babs uncle, perhaps the language is strong in certain places to emphasize the degree to which peoples idle fancies dictate their understanding of the divine reality. Sometimes strong language is needed to bring down a thick veil.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2008 - 12:37AM #9
firestorminitiative
Posts: 498
let's make a beginning.
first principle: evvvvvverything is a metaphor.
that's where all that relfects the DivineAttributes stuffers kicks in.
creation is a metaphor for the Generic Awesomeness of the Creator.
  the Bab's uncle asks 4 questions...imho the 4 is taxonomised that way for Islamic reasons, cuase there;s reallly more than 4.
1. if this is the Promised Day why does my life still suck?
2. i thought that on th Day the evil would get whomped, and if all the whomping they get is their own distance from God and they are too dumb to know that...how is that punishment??
to this Baha'u'llah REsponds with the thought that heaven and hell are tmselves metaphors...the heaen of understadning, the brning of seperation etc...
or asi put it, heaven and hell are not places, but names for directions of travel, eve as north and south are "real" but u cai'nt get there from here. ur laready there.
why a laundry list? for clean clothes. why a map that gets you to a mtn top instead of a sawmp? ur eyes were made to see sky, not mud...but eiter way, it's all the earth. if u want mud, u'll find it. if u think u can dfind the mtn top without a map, ur deluded,...or..lol, aboyt to be seriusly injured. thus, the "law" is notttt don;t do this, don;t do that, but rather, turn right here, avoid the pothole there, and avoid the speed trap waiting for u in that town by taking this Route.
   we are not punished for "breaking the law"..we punish ourselves by refusing to beleive the Map Maker.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2008 - 12:42AM #10
firestorminitiative
Posts: 498
:"more "this is the way things work"?" yeah. this is ho it works...in the Opinion of the Designer. i would offer that much, like mucho much if the Aqdas is about praxes of differentiation: attaining a sense of "Baha'i identity"....whatever that is. people demanding a recipe book, and Baha'u'llah Adjusting the Route forperceiving His Coming to the needs of the whole of the earth for 1000 years or more...
  imho it is >>>>critical<<<< to understand that much of a book called "Tablets of Baha'u'llah" is actuallly part of the Aqdas, and i offer that ubnless ur a lawyer, it's a beter place on the "how things work" stuff.
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