CULT 007A Baha'i World Faith The Baha'i World Faith claims to be a religion of unique rele

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CULT 007A Baha'i World Faith The Baha'i World Faith claims to be a religion of unique relevance to the modern world. Few cults are better adapted to the mentality of the 20th century than this one. Its emphasis upon rationalism, human rights, international peace, education, equality of the sexes,and the eradication of all forms of prejudice gives the Baha'i Faith a very broad base of appeal. The Baha'i cry for one world religion appeals to the ecumenical spirit of the age, especially in light of the continuing insistence that Baha'is are in perfect harmony with the Christian Faith. We will look into several areas of this cult. ORGANIZATION The Baha'i World Faith has had its headquarters on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel, since 1949. In America the center for the Baha'is is in Wilmette, Illinois, where a 3 million dollar temple draws over 100,00 visitors a year according to their spokesmen. Additional temples are located in Frankfurt, Germany; Kampala, Uganda; and Sidney, Australia. Though each one is different, they are all nine-sided (Nine has religious significance to Baha'is) and each is covered with a dome. Since they are convinced they have a message the entire world should hear, Baha'is have a strong missionary emphasis. They are active in more than 250 countries, and through worldwide missionary work has been limited to the 20th century, total membership totals over 5 million. The 60's and the 70's witnessed very strong growth, especially in the United States (special emphasis in California), where a large percentage of the membership consist of minorities and youth. California membership constitutes over 25% of the membership of Baha'i. The Baha'is have three levels of administration. A minimum of nine believers is sufficient to constitute a local spiritual assembly, which elects a nine member administrative body each year. These centers have no clergy or house of worship. They employ only teachers who conduct "Firesides" or discussion groups in homes or Baha'i centers. The second level of Baha'i is the National Spiritual Assembly of nine members elected each year by the delegates to the faith's national conventions. The very top level is the UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE, which is another nine member body elected every FIVE years by the national spiritual assemblies throughout the world. Although the House of Justice serves presently as the governing body for a "world" religion, its ultimate intention is to serve as the FINAL GOVERNING AUTHORITY for ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. BAHA'I HISTORY We at CFC have been amazed at the various text found on this faith that are duplicates of the media handed out by BAHA'I themselves! You will note on this BBS, CFC makes careful examination of the HISTORICAL record and the BIBLICAL record (if existent) to arrive at our text files. We can do no different, so we stay away from Encyclopedia Brittainica, etc and look to History for the history of this cult. Iran, the birthplace of the Baha'i Faith, has long been a Muslim nation. The Persians (present day Iran) embraced the Shi'ite sect of Islam rather than the larger, more democratic Sunni sect, which is the more traditional form of Islam. The Shi'ites believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and the last of the four universally recognized caliphs (rulers of the faith in temporal matters), was succeeded to the caliphate by twelve of his descendants, called Imams. The Shi'ite sect, alone, recognizes these twelve as divinely appointed leaders of Islam, and they came to be regarded as sinless, supernatural beings. The twelfth Imam mysteriously disappeared without leaving an heir, and the belief began in the Shi'ites that he was still alive and would one day return as the Messiah, or Mahdi. In addition, some schools among the Shi'ites began to teach that the Imams were manifestations of deity, a belief against orthodox Islam, which denies even the possibility of divine incarnation. Periodically, especially during times of oppression, men would arise claiming to be the Hidden Imam or his appointed channel of grace. This was especially true in the early nineteenth century when political and religious reform was badly needed in Persia and when the 1,000 years that Shi'ite tradition affirmed would pass between the disappearance and return of the Hidden Imam was nearly completed. One such man was Shaykh Amad al-Ahsa, whose followers were called "Shaykhis." He and his successor, Sayyid Kazim, were both called Bab (The gate between the Hidden Imam and mankind). They claimed to be in contact with the Hidden Imam and proclaimed that he would soon become manifest. After the death of Kazim, the sect became divided between those who believed that the new successor was Hajji Karim Khan of Kirman and a much larger faction which followed Sayyid Ali Muhannad of Shiraz. The latter proclaimed in 1844 that he was the Bab, a manifestation of God, the Mahdi for whom all had waited. The first group continued under the name of Shaykhis; the latter were called Babis. Sayyid Ali Muhammad of Shiraz was born in 1820, descendant of the family of Muhammad. He was quite and modest and, as he grew older, became studious and pious. He made a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Imams near Bagdad, where he met Sayyid Kazim and became strongly influenced by Shaykhi doctrine. When Kazim died, the movement temporarily lacked a leader. Becoming convinced of his own divine mission, the Bab gathered eighteen "apostles," whom he called the "Letters of the Living." They began to proclaim vigorously his "divine" identity and mission, which met with varying response in different cities. Some eagerly accepted the "good news," while others reacted with hostility And, in some cases, violence. " the History of Islam, putting forward a claim to be the Hidden Imam has always been connected with political uprising." In order to prevent this, the Persian authorities imprisoned the Bab. However; because the people were looking for a deliverer, the movement spread. While in prison, the Bab wrote a number of books and had visits from his disciples. In the spring of 1848, while the Bab was still alive in prison, the babi leaders met in conference where they declared the laws of the Islamic dispensation had now been abrogated in the same way that Muslims believe that the Islamic dispensation replaced the Christian revelation. The decided that rather than being the twelfth Imam, the Bab was the prophet of the new dispensation in place of Muhammad. This declaration placed the Bab clearly outside of the Islamic fold and invited the utmost hostility from the traditional Muslims. After the Babis sought forcefully to gain control of the province of Mazanderan, a succession of conflicts with the Persian government resulted that led to the mass defeat of the Babis and in 1850, the execution of Bab. Those writings of the Bab which have been preserved are called the Bayan (translated =utterance or exposition). The Bab was convinced that his works were superior TO ALL OTHERS, that they were inimitable, and that they replaced Muhammad's Quran (KORAN) as the scripture relevant to the present age. He cited the supposedly superior quality of his writings as proof of his divine mission, just as Muhammad had compared his writings to the Bible. The Bayan includes religious and social laws for the universal theocracy of this new age. As Baha'is claim, the Bab taught that one would come after him who would be greater than he. In the Bayan there are seventy references to "He whom God will manifest." SUBH-I-AZAL and BAHA In keeping with the Shi'ite belief that Muhammad appointed his son-in-law to the caliphate before his death, the Bab appointed the viceregency of his movement to Mizra Yahya Subh-i-Azal, Subh-I-Azal continued as the ruler of the Babi community for about sixteen years. This appointment is noted in the book NUQ tatu 'L-kaf, which is a history of the babi movement written in 1851 by an "authorized" Babi, Mizra Jani. There is no historical evidence to the contrary, though Baha'i histories omit mention of this appointment of Subh-i- Azal. Subh-i-Azal instructed his followers to lay aside the sword, and under his leadership, the movement continued to grow with little opposition. He was assisted in the leadership of the movement by his older half-brother, Mizra Husayn Ali, who took for his name, BAHA (Glory). Turmoil began when a number of claimants to the coming divine manifestation arose, citing certain verses in the Bayan and ignoring the required time span of 1,500 years. Then Azim, a devoted disciple of the Bab, devised a plot to assinate the Shah, which failed and resulted in a search for Babi leaders and the execution of many. The Mizra brothers fled Bagdad to escape. In Bagdad, Baha became increasingly active in the leadership of the movement, while his brother retired to seclusion in order to contemplate and write. Baha saw that the movement needed stronger leadership than his brother was supplying, but he recognized that since he had not been appointed by the Bab, the only way he could attain it would be to convince the faithful that he was "He whom God will manifest." However; strong opposition from other leaders prevented Baha from making any such claim at that time. in spite of these thoughts, Baha wrote during that period in his "Book of Certitudes" (alleged to have been a response to others who were claiming to be the "HE") that the time interval between the Bab and He whom God will manifest "is about 1000 years." After ten years in Bagdad, outbreaks of violence between Muslims and Babis forced the Turkish government to banish the Babi leaders to Adrianople on the extreme western border of Turkey. There, with no one nearby to oppose him, Baha declared that he was the one who should come. He assumed the name Baha'u'llah (Glory of God), a title applied to the Divine Manifestations in the Bayan. Baha'u'llah called upon his brother and all the Babis to submit to him without question, since this would be the only appropriate response to one who is GOD, and the Bab had instructed in the Bayan that "HE" be received in that manner. While most of the Babis accepted Baha'u'llah's claim and thus became known as Baha'is, Subh-i-Azal and some of his followers refused. They strongly believed that the Bab's revelation was all sufficient for the age. They held that it was unreasonable to suggest that the elaborate system revealed by the Bab was only to last twenty-two years, but rather that it must be accepted and instituted for multitudes of people for many centuries before another manifestation would appear. After all, the Bab had indicated that it would be a minimum of 1,511 years before "HE" would appear. They reasoned that (1) since the Bab was infallible and (2) that he had appointed Subh-i-Azal to succeed him, if Baha was truly "He," Subh-i-Azal would have to recognize him. Thus the minority that remained loyal to Subh-i-Azal continued to be called Babis (sometimes Azalis). Baha'u'llah sought to force Subh-i- Azal to recognize him by withholding his share of the allowance that the Turkish government had been supplying to the exiles. As a result, Subh-i-Azal's children fell sick due to lack of food, and his wife complained to the wife of the Turkish governor. This "betrayal" incurred even greater wrath from Baha'u'llah. The Baha'is responded to Babis resistance by rewriting many Babi writings and records, degrading the Bab to a forerunner of Baha'u'llah, the REAL prophet for the age, and MURDERING about twenty Babis in Bagdad, Adrianople, and Akka. Two of these Babis were brothers of Fatima, widow of the Bab; another one was her current husband; and two were "Letters of the Living" that were appointed by the Bab. The murderers were never punished nor disowned by Baha'u'llah. The conflict between the two parties became so fierce that the Turkish government separated them, sending Babis to Cypress and the Baha'is to Akka in Palestine. Baha'is often claim that Baha'u'llah was imprisoned most of his life. He was in exile and was not free to leave Akka, but for the most of his stay in Akka he was free to move about and owned palaces and gardens that were purchased with funds supplied by his followers in Iran and other countries. Baha'u'llah's claim to be God put him under the difficult pressure of having to play and live up to that role during the twenty-six years of his life that followed. Contrary to his previous custom, in Akka he lived largely in seclusion. No One was allowed to visit him except by special permission. One write of this time wrote: "each visitor was carefully prepared for his audience with the Manifestation of God. He was told that what he saw when he came into the Divine Presence would depend on what he was himself-If he was a material person he would see only a man, but if he was a spiritual being he would see God. When his expectations had been sufficiently aroused, the pilgrim was led into the presence of Baha'u'llah as was permitted to gaze a few moments upon the "Blessed Perfection," care being taken that the visitation should end before the spell was broken...Baha'u'llah, however, did not encourage the Bah'is in their desire to visit him.. there was too great a risk of their seeing and hearing things in Akka which might weaken their faith. There was a saying among the Baha'is of Iran that 'whosoever went to Akka lost his faith.'" In Akka Baha'u'llah recognized that the Bab had designed his religion in a manner suitable only to Persia. He also saw that the Bab's vision of world wide theocracy was unrealistic. Thus, in order to promote the universal aspirations of the Babi/Baha'i religion, Baha'u'llah ignored many of the Bayan's injunctions and sought to make the faith appealing to the Christians and Muslims in the lands the religion had spread to. Baha'u'llah appealed to members of these faiths out of their own scriptures, claiming not only to be the one whom the Bab foretold, but also the return of the Shi'ite Hidden Imam, the return of Christ, AND the Comforter whom Jesus said would come. Baha'u'llah wrote numerous epistles called "tablets" to believers, rulers, the Pope in Rome and other religious leaders. He also wrote longer treatises. All are considered to be the word of God. In all, these works number over 100. Bah'is have no definite Canon of scripture. A small book called the AQDAS is considered the most important of --NEXT SECTION IS CULT 007B


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