The Bahai Faith or the Ninth Messiah
Ronald D. Howes
Eagle River, Alaska
1844 was a banner year for imagination, speculation, and false prophets. William Miller's day in court, or night on the roof top, came and went only to be upstaged by the daring enterprise of Ellen G. White of Seventh-Day Adventist fame. New religions were springing up with reckless abandon in the United States. Meanwhile, our neighbors in Persia were being stirred up about a modern-day "John the Baptist." In this year, the, BAB, Persia's "voice crying in the wilderness," begin preparing his countrymen for BAHA `U' LLAH, alias: Everlasting Father, Prince of this World, Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, Spirit of Truth, etc.(1)
The Bahai World Faith, the brainchild of "The Prophet" Baha `u' llah and his son Abdul Baha, is a religious mutation of the worst sort. The keynote of the teaching of these men was the "oneness of all things." Therefore, all people are one, all races, all societies, and also, all religions. All the conflicting, contradictory, and irreconcilable differences of the world's religions are really just figments of the imagination. "All are one." The foundation principle of the Bahai Faith is that God has manifested himself through 9 different personal representatives, or "divine manifestations" of himself. As they would say it, "All the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God."(2)
Will The Real Jesus Christ Please Stand Up!
This translates to read that the 9 great world religions, and especially their leaders (Lowe, Krishna, Bhudda, Confucious, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Baha `u' llah, etc.) were all sent by God, and all had the same inspiration, the same degree of truth, and the same relationship with God. Therefore Jesus is no better than Krishna, Moses has nothing over Mohammed, and the New Testament is some kind of long lost friend of the "Upanishads." In simpler terms, this theory is a devaluation of the New Testament and turns the "Only Begotten Son of God" into a mere prophet.
Bahais contend that all the "Divine Manifestations" brought the same message from God to men; only adapted for the society into which it was brought. All these different prophets, they claim, were equal and united, all teaching the same message. An enlightened public has generally scoffed at this totally unsupportable premise. Even on basics such as their concepts of right and wrong, after-life, morality, their own mission in life, there is great diversity, yea even great difficulty.
Still, some have been convinced. Here we find offered a simple philosophical cop-out. To those who are distraught by the great differences in the world, and are not satisfied to cope with them in the gospel of Jesus Christ, this is the walk down the garden path. How much simpler it is to say that "everybody" is right, than to preach that "many" are wrong. Great problems are shrugged off as insignificant.
PROBLEMS, Problems, problems
Within the frame-work of this kind of thinking, discussions with the Bahais prove to be difficult undertakings. There is no common ground of authority in religion. All these terms become somewhat elusive and hard to tack down. They do accept the Bible as the Word of God, but no more or less so than the babblings of Krishna, or the Koran. The following excerpts from a conversation with a Bahai Chapter Leader will serve to show some of these exercises in futility.
Discussion With a Bahal
Question: How do Bahais reconcile their belief in the Bible as the Word of God and Baha `u' llah as the Word of God, when the Bible claims to give us "all things pertaining to life and Godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3). If it does, what is left over, and why does the world need Baha `u' llah?
Answer: Jesus brought everything his generation needed as did Mohammed to his people and Bhudda to his. But, we can not expect a 2,000 year old religion to be applicable to the needs of men in today's modern society.
Question: If Jesus' message does not apply today, what new truth did Baha `u' llah bring that makes his message more applicable than Jesus'?
Answer: Baha `u' Ilah did not bring a new truth, but a new system of order and unity. Christianity failed to unite mankind, and has decayed and divided into so many sects that it can no longer deal effectively with the world's real problems.
Question: In the letter to the Hebrews, Paul goes to great lengths to prove that Jesus and his system were superior to Moses and his system. For instance, a better covenant, a better sacrifice, a better priesthood, and more. How do Bahais reconcile these teachings with their belief that Moses and Christ were equal manifestations of the divine will?
Answer: Oftentimes disciples of a great prophet will go overboard in their praise for their prophet. This is such an instance. We do not find Jesus bragging and saying that he was better than Moses.
Question: What makes the Bahai Faith superior to Christianity?
Answer: The Bahai World Faith is more spiritually oriented than Christianity. Your religion has been shackled with worldly things. You are wrapped up in showy services, fancy buildings, physical gestures. We are not!
The last answer to this stomach turning dialogue left something to be desired. So, under further grilling he admitted that they do indeed like big 9-sided temples, hold sometimes extravagant religious feasts (with non-spiritual watermelon), and perform a genuflection during some prayers to promote spiritual humility. Still, our Chapter Leader refused to admit to himself that these were all evidences of physical needs and worldliness, and not his glorified concept of super mental spirituality.
Some Telling Points
The "great prophet" of the "New World Order" could not come up with even one new spiritual truth. By their own admission, Baha `u' llah came to change society, and along the way he just happened to throw in a little religion to augment his political philosophy and social theory.
Bend Their Arm!
To successfully work with a Bahai, you must first completely and firmly reestablish the absolute authority of God's Word. Step two, is to press the inconsistency of preaching a God whose prophets rarely agreed and could not make up His mind about what was best for mankind. Do not be so soft in your argumentation. Most Bahais that I have studied with relate with great pride the tremendous emotional crisis they went through in becoming Bahais; a similar crisis may be needed to root out their error. Press them, and continue to press; get them into a corner and make them sweat out their beliefs. Most Bahais consider themselves intellectuals, and this little bit of pride may be used against them to point out some of their worst mistakes for, "God is not the author of confusion" (I Cor. 14:33).
1. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Willmette, Illinois 1957), pp. 93-95.