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.
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 Sydney, 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 though world wide
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
consists 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.
It is amazing that most of the various texts found on this faith
are duplicates of the media handed out by BAHA'I themselves! You will note here, however, that the author 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 Brittanica, 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 Imamorhis 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 Shirazwas born in 1820, descendant of
the family of Muhammad. He was quiet 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. "...in 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
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. They 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 vice regency 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 assasinate 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 writer 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 and 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 Baha'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 to which the religion had spread. 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. Baha'is have no definite Canon of scripture. A small book called the AQDAS is considered
the most important of Baha'u'llah's writings, and yet no authoritative translation of the Arabic has ever been published.
One Arabic scholar refers to them as "rehash of the Bayan."
The essence of Baha'u'llah's message is aptly summarized thus:
"His writings reached the outside world. They advocated a broad religious view upholding the unity of God and the essential
harmony of all prophesy when rightly understood. He called upon all religions to unite, for every religion contains some truth
because all prophets are witnesses to the one Truth that Baha'ism supremely represents. The human race is under one God and
will be united through his spirit when the Baha'i cause is known and joined."
Baha'u'llah WARNED that NO NEW MANIFESTATION would come for 1,000
YEARS! "Whoever claims Command before completion of a thousand years is a false liar....Whoever explains this verse or interprets
it in any other way than that plainly sent down, he will be deprived of the Spirit and Mercy of God."
This warning is interesting because Baha'u'llah had previously
taken this very liberty with the Bab's writings, but realizing someone after him could do just what he had done, he forbade
anyone else from taking the same liberty.
Baha'u'llah died a natural death in 1892 at the age of 74. It
is reported that between the years 1866 and 1891 about 31 Baha'is were killed in Iran.
With the death of the Divine Manifestation, leadership of the
Baha'i movement passed to Baha'u'llah's oldest son, Abbas Effendi, who took the name Abdul Baha (Servant of Baha). Abdul Baha
was born on May 23, 1844, which is reputed to be the same day that the Bab made his fateful declaration of deity.
While he never claimed to be an actual Manifestation of God,
Abdul Baha proclaimed that he was the "Center of the Covenant." Though Baha'u'llah would have objected, Abdul insisted that
only HE was the sole rightful interpreter of his father's writings and that his writings were OF EQUAL AUTHORITY with those
of Baha'u'llah. Most of the faithful gladly accepted these claims, as to them it meant the divine manifestation of Baha'u'llah
was continuing with them through his son. However, an opposition party arose headed by Abdul's brother, Mizra Mohammad Ali,
who had been appointed second in succession by his father. The opposition contended that Baha'u'llah had never made provision
for his successor to take such absolute authority, and that, in fact, only a Manifestation could rightfully claim such authority.
The opposition called themselves Unitarians and called the rest "Violators of the Covenant. "Most of Baha'u'llah's family
members sided with the Unitarians, believing that Abdul was a self- seeking opportunist. In return, Abdul excommunicated them
and deprived them of the funds that Baha'u'llah had arranged for them to receive. The conflict grew extremely bitter, even
to the point of violence. The schism was especially significant because it centered around two sons of Baha'u'llah, his appointed
successors. The Unitarians never became a strong movement and eventually disappeared from the scene.
In the early 20th century Baha'i missionary efforts began to
take hold in Western lands. Abdul Baha himself was able to personally promote the Baha'i Faith in Egypt, Europe, England and
America after the Turkish revolution of 1908 made Akka's political prisoners free. Abdul was especially successful in the
United States, where he received a warm reception and good press coverage in 1912. He was invited by Mrs. Hearst of the publishing
family, which assured heavy and favorable coverage. Abdul traveled the United States for 7 months.
Abdul Baha died in 1921 and, by a directive in his will, was
succeeded by his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, who ruled until his death in 1957. Abdul Baha had appointed his grandson to be
the first Guardian of the cause of God, and Shoghi Effendi made full use of the authority vested in him, demanding absolute
obedience and excommunicating all who, in any manner, questioned him. Virtually all of Abdul Baha's family, including his
wife and Shoghi Effendi's own parents and brothers and sisters, were eventually counted among the excommunicants. It must
be noted that loving one's own family is depicted in the Bible as one of the most basic commands of God. The consistent inability
of Baha'u'llah and his descendants to love members of their own family when conflicts of ambition arose hardly confirms the
reliability of the exalted claims they made and make for themselves. Shoghi Effendi's leadership was characterized by an organization
emphasis. He worked at establishing the local and national spiritual assemblies. He also appointed Twenty Seven Hands of the
Cause, out of which was to be formed the House of Justice; this in accordance to a stipulation in Abdul Baha's will, would
be headed by the Guardian of the cause or someone appointed by him. The Guardianship was to be passed on from father to firstborn
son, or to another son if the firstborn was not worthy. These were to be appointed in the Guardian's will.
However, Shoghi Effendi died childless and never wrote a will.
As a result, confusion reigned among the Hands of the Cause as to who would succeed the Guardian until they finally determined
that there would be no Guardian. Instead, the movement would be democratically ruled by the nine member House of Justice,
the members of which they appointed at that time. This decision was accompanied by the (now traditional) internal conflict,
and a splinter group was formed which appointed its own Guardian.
The "Hands'" ignoring of Abdul Baha's injunction concerning the
Guardianship was only one in a series of violations of previous injunctions which began with Baha'u'llah himself. Baha'u'llah
claimed to be a Manifestation, thus violating the Bab's appointment of Subh-i-Azal. In turn, Abdul Baha violated provisions
in Baha'u'llah's will that Abdul's brother Mizra Muhammad Ali should succeed him when he appointed his grandson Shoghi Effendi,
instead. Shoghi Effendi ignored the command of Baha'u'llah that a will must be written in order to avoid squabbles over leadership,
and he also violated Abdul Baha's provision that he should appoint a successor in his own lifetime "that differences may not
arise after his passing." Since appointments and wills were supposedly inspired by God, Baha'i history is filled with "inspired"
violations of "inspired" injunctions.
The doctrine of Divine Manifestations is the central plank of
Baha'i theology. Through this doctrine Baha'is are able to take seemingly amiable positions toward members of the major world
religions, for each of their founders were manifestations of God and thus each religion has a measure of truth. On the same
premise Baha'is draw converts from other religions, for, they insist, the other religions were for other ages while the religion
of Baha'u'llah is for today. To follow it in no way will conflict with one's native faith, for there is truly only one faith
in mankind's history, best represented now by the Baha'is.
Though the recognized Divine Manifestations represent just about
every conceivable world view (Monotheism through Moses and Jesus, polytheism through Krisna, Agnosticism through Buddah, and
dualism through Zoroaster), Baha'is insist that they are actually united in purpose and teaching. The spiritually initiated
see beyond the apparent differences. In fact, Baha'u'llah warned that anyone who saw even the slightest possible difference
between their words and messages would be guilty of disbelieving and repudiating God.
Among world religions, probably only Buddahism (in its ORIGINAL
form) and Confucianism are less concerned with man's relationship to God than Baha'ism. The Baha'is are concerned chiefly
with man's relationship to man, as evidenced by the Baha'i thirteen "principles" which denote social and political concerns
rather than religious. In volume 13 of "THE BAHA'I WORLD", we read: "It is the avowed faith of Baha'is that this Revelation
has established upon earth the spiritual impulse and the definite principles necessary for social regeneration and the attainment
of one true religion and social order throughout the world."
This understanding that the purpose of the current revelation
is SOCIAL regeneration is the reason Baha'is brush aside the Christian emphasis upon PERSONAL regeneration as being irrelevant
to the present age.
Baha'is follow a number of religious laws and observances. Included
among these are daily prayer, an annual period of fasting, monogamy, and marriage only by consent of all living parents. Divorce
is permitted after a one year waiting period. Parents are under religious obligation to educate their children, education
being a KEY WORD to Baha'i. Use of alcohol and narcotics is forbidden, as is cremation.
HARMONIC WITH CHRISTIANITY?
The Baha'i Faith is essentially rationalistic. "We must not accept
traditional dogmas that are contrary to reason, nor pretend to believe doctrines which we cannot understand. To do so is superstitious
and not true religion." Because of this inclination to reject any doctrine that does not seem reasonable to them, Baha'is
interpret allegorically, rather than literally, the biblical doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the bodily Resurrection of Christ,
the existence of angels and evil spirits, and the doctrines of heaven and hell. Yet, despite this insistence that EVERYTHING
must be understood in order to be believed, they hold that God Himself is impersonal and UNKNOWABLE. He can only be perceived
indirectly through the reflection of his Manifestations - Jesus being ONLY ONE of these NINE, in no manner superior to the
Baha'is deny that man fell through Adam from his original spiritual
and moral state. They affirm that no one is "essentially" bad or evil, but merely imperfect. Sins are characteristics of the
lower, baser plane of nature, and education brings deliverance from them. Baha'u'llah taught that men ought not to confess
their sins to one another, for this would lead to humiliation and abasement, which he taught, are contrary to God's will.
Concerning salvation, Baha'u'llah said, "Whoso keepeth the commandments
of God shall attain everlasting felicity." And Abdul Baha stated that there is no sin-atoning value in Christ's sacrificial
death on the cross. So inadequate was his concept of redemption that Baha'u'llah was able to say of himself: "Fix your gaze
upon Him who is the Temple of God amongst men. He, in truth, hath offered up his life as a ransom for the redemption of the
The Central conflict between Baha'u'llah's concept of salvation
and the biblical revelation on the subject is best shown in BAHA'I WORLD FAITH where Baha'u'llah stated: "Every age has its
own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present day afflictions can never
be the same as that which a subsequent age may require." In CONTRAST to this, the BIBLE teaches that the one universal problem
of man throughout the ages is sin, his state of moral guilt and consequent alienation from God. Thus the one remedy - the
only POSSIBLE remedy for mankind's dilemma - is the death of Jesus Christ for our sins, a sacrifice sufficient to save all
who turn to Him for all time as God tells us in Hebrews 10:10 to 18.
Because they fail to recognize that man fell from his original
position with God, Baha'is also fail to understand what the prophet Jeremiah witnessed concerning the nature of man: "The
heart is more deceitful than all else and is incurably sick; who can understand it?" As a result they believe that man is
capable of keeping the commandments of God, whereas the BIBLE emphatically declares that he cannot in Romans 3:20 to 28 and
8:7. Not realizing that man's problems stem from his heart, instead of the intellect, they think that education is the ULTIMATE
answer. HAVING MADE A FAULTY DIAGNOSIS OF MAN'S SICKNESS, they have prescribed a faulty, ineffective cure.
It is somewhat ironic that the most fitting description of Baha'u'llah's
attempt to establish himself as savior and mediator between man and God can be found in words framed by none other than Baha'u'llah
himself. Certainly, he had ANYONE BUT himself in mind when he penned these words; yet with sobering propriety Baha'u'llah's
indictment CAN BE APPLIED TO HIMSELF: "We can perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable
afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore tired and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self
conceit have interposed themselves between it and the divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all
men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. THEY CAN NEITHER DISCOVER THE CAUSE OF THE DISEASE, NOR HAVE THEY
ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE REMEDY."
Jesus Claimed to BE GOD and lived his life in a manner that reflected
truth. Jesus said that HE WAS TRUTH. Jesus rose "into the clouds" where, we are told by the BIBLE that he "will return just
as we witnessed Him leaving" and not REINCARNATED into another person. It is appointed unto MAN to die BUT ONCE - Then the
JUDGEMENT. Jesus was God as proven by his life. JESUS is SAVIOR as proven by His Death AND RESURRECTION. The bodies of Baha'u'llah,
the Bab, Abdul Baha and other false prophets rot in their graves. The body of Christ is not on Earth, but he lives! He will
return with the NEW NAME of JUDGE and LORD - Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD. When he
comes in HIS BODY, he will take up to him those who He lives THROUGH at this present time. No one has ever found deceit in
the lives of Jesus or his Apostles. Jesus stands IN HISTORY as a PERFECT human - the ONLY MAN IN HISTORY so RECORDED. He came
the first time EXACTLY when God WROTE that he would - He didn't have to change God's word!
No, there is NO HARMONY between Baha'i and Christ or Christianity.
The blasphemy being exhorted by Baha'i World Faith and its adherents will be dealt with at the BEMA JUDGEMENT SEAT. Until
that time, we followers of the LIVING CHRIST, must show our love for the souls in Baha'i that have remained in the bondage
that Christ offered His life to end. Christ did die for them, and we must always be ready to "give a reason for the hope that
lies within us" to "everyman who ask of you." May eyes be opened to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and closed to the bind
of Satan. Amen.
Computers for Christ