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3 years ago  ::  Aug 08, 2011 - 11:24PM #1
bobbyx
Posts: 3
I don't know religion I am. I really like the concept of Bahaism, but some aspects I feel are aligned too much to Islam, like daily prayer, no alcohol, fasting. I believe in that all religions are linked and share one God, but some practices make me uncofortable. Do I have to adhere to the practices or is there leeway? Or is there a better religion for me? 
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 2:15PM #2
Aka_me
Posts: 11,922

hello,


that is a very personal question


my opinion is that only you can answer it.


one thing I would suggest though, is to separate the two issues from each other.


whether you feel the Baha'i Faith has been created by God...


should not be connected to whether you accept every rule and regulation or not.


there are Baha'is who choose not to fast, and that's their own choice... no other Baha'i is going bring it up.


being Baha'i is a life long learning process, and in that learning process is the free will act of deciding what you want to adhere to.

internet troll... anyone who won't stop posting about bad spelling.
the government KILLS and EXPERIMENTS and TORTURES people, without ever apologizing, being held accountable or punished. and you expect me to believe they've automagically grown a conscience to not continue? like bloody hades they have.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 3:06PM #3
bobbyx
Posts: 3

But is will there be consequences

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 4:29PM #4
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,828

Dear Bobbyx,


Welcome to Beliefnet and thank you for your most sincere question! To briefly answer your question; no, there is no moral police in the Bahá'í Faith that eavesdrops people and clubbers them in the head for their disobedience. We can be the Taliban only to ourselves. :)  Each one is responsible for one life only, and that is his own. Only criminal acts and repeated public disgrace result in administrative measures. Of course if someone is a known Bahá'í while continuing to drink in plain sight after repeated kindly recommendations to grow out of the habit, some administrative measures, namely the removal of voting rights within the Bahá'í community, would probably ensue. But faith itself, however, remains a strictly private matter which nobody can legislate on. If you see truth in the Bahá'í Faith, continue to investigate until you have established whether or not you can fully believe in the truth of Bahá'u'lláh. I suggest you proceed slowly and with thought. You should not rush into joining the followers of Bahá'u'lláh if you're not yet fully convinced of the truth of Bahá'u'lláh. The moment you are, you will have no problem accepting the truth of all His commandments, and to begin transforming your personal life accordingly. Ultimately, as you know, life is not about God modifying His laws to suit our wish, but rather man modifying his life to suit His. The irony of this all is of course that by doing His wish, we benefit, not Him.


I would therefore kindly urge you to be at least open to the possibility that both fasting and obligatory prayers may in fact be much more than just empty rituals. Understood deeply and performed with devotion and sincerity, they have proven powerful spiritual exercises for millions of people, nourishing and strengthening the human spirit. Not everything that feels "Islamic" is necessarily bad, particularly if one is willing to accept Islam as one of those great religions of God "linked" to one another. To understand fasting and obligatory prayer, one needs to first study about their meaning in the Bahá'í Faith. Ours are not in any way identical to the Muslim fasting and obligatory prayers (the short obligatory prayer, for instance, should one opt for it, is just three short but meaningful sentences to be recited once a day). As to the salutary effects of abstaining from alcohol, I'm sure we need not even broach the theme.


Ultimately all the commandments are for our benefit. God does not need them. The fact that we do not understand them all at once does not mean we should not obey them. Becoming a Bahá'í eventually means accepting the fullness of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation and not just the parts that suit us. No religion, including the Bahá'í Faith, is a supermarket. ;) I will conclude with these verses from Bahá'u'lláh's book Kitab-i-Aqdás (the most holy book for the Bahá'ís) which directly address our theme:


"O ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures."


"They whom God hath endued with insight will readily recognize that the precepts laid down by God constitute the highest means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples."


"Hold ye fast unto His statutes and commandments, and be not of those who, following their idle fancies and vain imaginings, have clung to the standards fixed by their own selves, and cast behind their backs the standards laid down by God."


"Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men."


"That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker."


"Whenever My laws appear like the sun in the heaven of Mine utterance, they must be faithfully obeyed by all, though My decree be such as to cause the heaven of every religion to be cleft asunder. He doeth what He pleaseth. He chooseth, and none may question His choice. Whatsoever He, the Well-Beloved, ordaineth, the same is, verily, beloved."


"Were He to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority."


"Such are the laws which God hath enjoined upon you, such His commandments prescribed unto you in His Holy Tablet; obey them with joy and gladness, for this is best for you, did ye but know."


Wishing you a truly rewarding process of truth-seeking, wherever it may lead you!


LilWabbit 


 


 


 

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 09, 2011 - 7:43PM #5
Aka_me
Posts: 11,922

Aug 9, 2011 -- 3:06PM, bobbyx wrote:


But is will there be consequences




I am grossly paraphrasing from a Baha'i document I read long ago:


there can only be spiritual growth. if anyone (including Baha'is) decide to do something "wrong"...


they are only holding themselves back from realizing their own full potential.


 


how much spiritual growth you accomplish while on earth, is completely up to you.

internet troll... anyone who won't stop posting about bad spelling.
the government KILLS and EXPERIMENTS and TORTURES people, without ever apologizing, being held accountable or punished. and you expect me to believe they've automagically grown a conscience to not continue? like bloody hades they have.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2011 - 8:20PM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,540

Aug 8, 2011 -- 11:24PM, bobbyx wrote:

I don't know religion I am. I really like the concept of Bahaism, but some aspects I feel are aligned too much to Islam, like daily prayer, no alcohol, fasting. I believe in that all religions are linked and share one God, but some practices make me uncofortable. Do I have to adhere to the practices or is there leeway? Or is there a better religion for me? 




Dear bobbyx,


As you have just read on the other posts, the real question is "Do you believe?"


Everyone, in every Faith, has the choices of what to do.


We can help you learn what is expected of members in good standing, by telling you the teachings and laws, and providing you with the sources in the texts and guidance in the Bahá'í Faith.


We can also tell you the general consequences and implications of actions someone who is a follower may choose to take.


For a start, which practices make you uncomfortable? Start with the hardest and tell us one at a time; so we can give you clear detailed answers.


Daily prayer is part of every religion. It may take the various forms, in different beliefs, of chanting, meditation, writing them down, reciting them aloud, dancing them, counting their repetitions, etc. Generally it is private and usually no one will question you about that in any Faith.


Alcohol consumption is either disallowed, frowned upon, and when done to excess condemned by pretty much everyone including bartenders and its manufacturers though excluding those who abuse it often. (Christianity was the source of the American Prohibition and Judaism censures drunkenness surely and clearly. Many of the Atheist and Agnostic persuasions find drunkenness disgusting and will even report it to enforcement authorities so that the intoxicated don't cause death and/or injury while driving.)


Fasting is a usually minor part of almost all belief systems. Many Animists, Shamanists and others usually at equinoctal times and also people in the seasons of Atonement (Jews), Lent (Christian), Ramadan (Muslim) , Loftiness (Bahá'í) will fast.


In most Faiths there is a great deal of "leeway" because over time people have turned away from their own teachings' practices. Private alcohol drinking is quite common, even in Muslim countries that severely punish it in their legal systems. Divorce, which is so restricted in Christianity as to have been very rare, is now acceptable in nearly all of Christendom.


As to your last question; we believe no religion better for anyone except ours, or we would go and follow that Faith. Most of us have either been members of other Faiths, Agnostics, Atheists or extensively studied many different belief systems both before and after we became Bahá'ís and there are people that have come from almost all backgrounds in this Faith. One nineteenth century Iranian Rabbi successively became a Christian, a Muslim, and then became a Bahá'í.


This process has been going on since the early days of our Faith, when not only Muslims but lots of Zoroastrians, Jews, and freethinkers of wide varieties of belief, joined.


You have many choices available to you, however.


There are lots of sects, in the modern world, which will let you do and believe, pretty much anything you might desire. At least one mystical sect of Islam accepted and practiced homosexuality at a point. There is a popular sect of Chritianity that really doesn't have any specific rules at all. Judaism has huge number of outright Atheists and assorted Agnostics in its membership who view it merely as an ethnic/cultural allegiance and/or heritage. There are many sects in Hinduism; so, you can pick and choose bits and pieces from a bunch of them, and call yourself a Hindu, without anyone seriously disagreeing. Buddhism is generally quite socially tolerant, too! Finally, some have started their own religion, not long ago historically, and collected likeminded followers. (Jones's and Hubbard's each come to mind. The first is now extinct, but Scientology is still going on.)

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2011 - 8:31AM #7
Kalzera
Posts: 258

Aug 8, 2011 -- 11:24PM, bobbyx wrote:

I don't know religion I am. I really like the concept of Bahaism, but some aspects I feel are aligned too much to Islam, like daily prayer, no alcohol, fasting. I believe in that all religions are linked and share one God, but some practices make me uncofortable. Do I have to adhere to the practices or is there leeway? Or is there a better religion for me? 


I decided in high school, sophomore year, that I believed Bahá'u'lláh. However, I didn't declare. I knew I would end up drinking aclohol, if only to try, because of the background I grew up in. And more important than that, I wanted to get politically involved, and I wasn't sure about the whole "prayer" concept. I decided I wouldn't declare until after I graduated college.


Senior year of high school I was reading about the Bahá'ís in Iran and I just felt so much empathy for them. I never felt so attatched to a community of believers before, and that's when I realized it was just silly for me not to declare. I had already had conversations with many Evangelical friends as to why I wasn't a Christian and leaned toward Islamic/Post-Islamic religions, so I didn't think declaring would be a radical change in my life.


But more importantly, you aren't expect to immediatley adopt all the rules and customs of being a Bahá'í. It's a lifelong process. We believe that, if you have genuine faith, Bahá'u'lláh will guide you to living out the Faith on your own terms. Now that I've been declared for almost three years, I've noticed I'm nowhere as politically inclined as I was, I avoid bars and mass parties with alcohol, and I actually pray every now and then, and feel something for the first time in my life. He's guiding me through the things I was worried about the most, and sometimes I even feel it when I try to push back.


Choosing to convert is your own decision, but if you actually have Faith in it, do it. If, after a few months or a few years, you realize it isn't for you, you can also take back your declaration and go find where God is leading you. And if you don't declare but instead find another Faith, that's all well and good too. God's there in whatever form He wants you to see Him in, you just gotta listen.

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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