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JUST ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

 

Week 14 of 52 - Baha'i Faith

 

Have traveled 157,321,664 miles. That's one quarter of the way around the Sun. It would be more than six million trips around the Earth. A trip around the Earth every minute would take 12 years to go this far.

 

Cards:

 

01 of 52:  Six of Clubs

02 of 52:  Three of Hearts

03 of 52:  Three of Clubs

04 of 52:  Five of Diamonds

05 of 52:

06 of 52:  Five of Hearts

07 of 52:

08 of 52:  Two of Spades

09 of 52:  Ace of Diamonds

10 of 52:  Three of Diamonds

11 of 52:

12 of 52:  Ten of Diamonds

13 of 52:  Four of Spades

 

???

 

Thoughts:

 

I saw the new sign at The Church of Christ - it now says: "This Church is Prayer Conditioned."

 

What does this mean?

 

Of course we know now that this is the version of The Church of Christ that has no organ or piano - and no fancies - so you may be certain that this church has no Air Conditioning.

 

We Mormons would never trust prayer to cool the building - Prayer Conditioning would never work, so we spend thousands on Air Conditioning - and thousands to run it every year in each building when the weather is hot. Even the Donner party could not pray and have warmth.

 

I would like to witness and measure the cooling of a building by prayer if anyone believes it can happen.

 

That's pretty obvious, but people pray for things like this all the time.

 

If I pray to be a better father to my children - or a better grandfather to my grandchildren, I see this as something that is likely to help. I can be inspired - and make the effort to improve.  But if I pray about a pass I've already thrown in a football game - or that the car won’t run out of gas, or that the building will be cool, I don’t think interference can be expected from God - in the normal and logical flow of events. There may be very special exceptions, but I've never experienced one of these and been aware of it. If God did answer such prayers with other than a null, it wouldn't make much sense to pay for Air Conditioning when the same money could do much good elsewhere. We could pray the building cool - and give the money to the poor.

 

Once, a friend got an envelope from BYU. It would be an acceptance - or regrets. He prayed that it would be an acceptance.

 

Another friend said, "Wait - you have the envelope - if it is not what you want - do you expect God to change the computer records at BYU - and the memories of those who made the decision, etc., etc., etc., as a result of your prayer now? And what about the poor fellow that now does not get in, because you took a slot unearned?

 

Prayer would have been useful when this friend was making his grades in High School, but not now.

 

Another time, I heard a grandmother praying for a certain gender for the child of her daughter. She knew her daughter wanted a little girl, having already two boys. I wondered, "If this child is a boy now, as a fetus, does this nice grandmother want God to make a sex change?" Do we believe in sex changes? If we think this ok for a fetus, without consent, then what about for an adult, who makes his/her own choice?

 

A middle ground would be if one believed she could determine the gender of a baby before getting pregnant - at least this would not require God to change already laid out history. God would have only to control the swimming of the billions of sperm - or change the lucky one from XX to XY or visa versa, but then that would be changing history again. (Does a sperm have a gender? Is it a living thing? Does it have a spirit? All those sperm that don’t make it - are they alive? Do they have eternal lives? The scriptures say so of all the plants of the field and all the animals. No clarity on germs, viruses, unfertilized eggs, or sperm.)

 

We know God does not answer prayers like this, and that's why we buy Air Conditioning for the building.

 

Of course, I know the Church of Christ folks didn't mean they could cool the building this way - but this is the "thoughts" section. I don’t have to prove my thoughts make sense - only to share them truthfully. Sometimes I would like to shut the mind down, but I appear to be stuck with one that does that only if am sleeping. Maybe that's why it's so easy for me to fall asleep. I can lie on the concrete any time of day - and be asleep in two minutes. (Or in Sacrament meeting, on occasion.)

 

 

 

Planning to attend the Baha'i  Faith.  

 

Concerning Baha'i Faith -

 

From it's "prophet":

 

Neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.

 

This appears to be a doctrine of the availability of personal revelation.

 

In a list of beliefs, I found some of these attractive:

 

In creation there is no evil, all is good. Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger, and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So, if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous, and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.... It is the same with all the natural qualities of man, which constitute the capital of life; if they be used and displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy.

The Bahá'í Faith does not therefore accept the concept of "original sin" or any related doctrine which considers that people are basically evil or have intrinsically evil elements in their nature. All the forces and faculties within us are God-given and thus potentially beneficial to our spiritual development. In the same way, the Bahá'í teachings deny the existence of Satan, a devil, or an "evil force." Evil, it is explained, is the absence of good; darkness is the absence of light; cold is the absence of heat.5 Just as the sun is the unique source of all life in a solar system, so ultimately is there only one force or power in the universe, the force we call God.

However, if a person, through his own God-given free will, turns away from this force or fails to make the necessary effort to develop his spiritual capacities, the result is imperfection. Both within the individual and in society, there will be what one might term "dark spots." These dark spots are imperfections.

(It would appear that they believe in no evil - just the lack of good.  It's like in physics - No such thing as cold or darkness - just lack of heat - or lack of light.  No such thing as negative light - minimum is zero light.  No negative heat (cold) - but a minimum of no heat at all. [-273 degrees Fahrenheit - zero actual degrees {Kelvin}] )

If a tiger kills and eats another animal, this is not evil, because it is an expression of the tiger's natural instinct for survival. But if a person kills and eats a fellow human being, this same act may be considered evil because man is capable of doing otherwise. Such an act is not an expression of his true nature.

 

The Independent Investigation of Truth


There is a fundamental obligation for human beings to acquire knowledge with their "own eyes and not through the eyes of others."

One of the main sources of conflict in the world today is the fact that many people blindly and uncritically follow various traditions, movements, and opinions. God has given each human being a mind and the capacity to differentiate truth from falsehood.

If individuals fail to use their reasoning capacities and choose instead to accept without question certain opinions and ideas, either out of admiration for or fear of those who hold them, then they are neglecting their basic moral responsibility as human beings.

Moreover, when people act in this way, they often become attached to some particular opinion or tradition and thus intolerant of those who do not share it. Such attachments can, in turn, lead to conflict. History has witnessed conflict and even bloodshed over slight alterations in religious practice, or a minor change in the interpretation of doctrine. Personal search for truth enables the individual to know why he or she adheres to a given ideology or doctrine.

Bahá'ís believe that, as there is only one reality, all people will gradually discover its different facets and will ultimately come to common understanding and unity, provided they sincerely seek after truth.

(This appears more like scientific method than what I see among most religions.)

The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.

(I have often said that harmony is better than unity. Perfect unity would mean no personalities left at all.  Even if I love you, I don’t want to act or believe exactly like you.  I would like, however, to be in harmony with you.) - Chuck

 

It appears that their meetings allow questions - I'll ask some.

 

 

The Visit: Baha'i Faith

 

I visited a small group of Baha'i's in Valley Center. Their smaller groups often meet in someone's home, as was the case here. There were six adults counting myself, and five kids from about 8 to about 13 or 14. All the children were those of the family whose home we were meeting in and two cousins of those. Nobody brought any children to the meeting.

 

The meeting began via the passing around of books - with specified passages (prayers) for reading - each person, including the older children, reading his passage aloud.

 

After these "prayers," one member, without invitation, began a solo song (Kind of like a chant - but with clear words. - His voice was very good, and he sang with his eyes closed.) He appeared to me the most emotionally attached to the religion of the group.

 

The rest of the time was spent with open discussion - though nobody initiated any other than myself. They appeared relatively comfortable with my questioning.

 

I learned that they believe quite a few things that are common and expected of the faith. They believe, for example, that Abraham, Moses (The prophets) and Jesus are the same thing - each more advanced than the last. And after Jesus, Mohammed, and after Mohammad, their prophet (interestingly from the 1800's - Later than Joseph Smith - and a nephew of Napoleon! His name is Bahá'u'lláh.)

 

Also interesting is that there was another that came before - they call the Bab (Pronounced Bob). The Bab's role was similar to that of John the Baptist for Jesus - that is, he came before and laid the way for the prophet.

 

Those among them who were raised in the Baha'i faith were not very aware of Bible stories, though they profess to accept the Bible along with other enlightening works (pretty much "so far as they are translated and interpreted rightly.")

 

They have no problem at all with interpreting the Bible stories a better way than literal - that perhaps the Children of Israel carried out the killing of the "firstborn," rather than God's having done it through an angel. I think it's not their scriptures - and so not so sacred as the writings of the Baha.

 

The independence they teach, with respect to our individual finding of truth, is after studying the Baha - that is, each of us has his own way of dealing with what the Baha has taught. That independence is not so complete as to suggest that one could follow some lesser leader - even Jesus is at least two steps lesser than the Baha. They explained with an analogy - that perhaps Abraham was the first grade - then Moses the second, and Jesus the third grade, and Mohammad the fourth grade, and now Baha the fifth - and others greater yet to come in the future for high school and college.

 

I was surprised to find them not as open to other beliefs as I'd come to expect from my readings on the internet. They view all our "other" religions as "lesser," with lots of good, etc, but behind where they could be if they studied the Baha. It's similar to our own belief that all the other churches lack authority but still have much good. They do think theirs is the best, not quite that theirs is the only. And this, they opined, makes is right to teach the kids at a young age - essentially insuring their attachment to it later in their lives. The woman of this house, for example, was raised in the Baha'i Faith.

 

Of my 14 visits so far, this one was one of the more pleasant - open and honest as far as thought-conditioned people can be. I use those words perhaps a little loosely - and don’t mean it to show them as any different from us or other churches. We have six-year olds claiming a knowledge of many things. (These are the same six-year olds who know there is an Easter Bunny and a Tooth Fairy. - Bless their hearts. We're all children, and believe in many things as un-actual as the Tooth Fairy. How could we not believe in Santa Claus before we understood real data, having experienced the proof from the disappearing hot chocolate? The proof we accept as adults is often no more scientific than the hot chocolate trick.)

 

They have an interesting belief that love holds the planets in their orbits - and all other things in order. They think love is a force, like gravity, and do not appear to understand this as a metaphor. One said, "But you can move my heart with your love." I put my arm around his shoulder - pulling him toward me a little, and said, "There, I moved your heart about three inches, but I cannot move your heart with love - nor can I move that chair over there with love. I can love and love and love, and the chair does not move. Love is not a force - that's only a metaphor. With a tiny thread, I could move the chair better than with all the love in the world." (Like a kid is a "pig" if he eats too fast. Not really a pig - just a metaphor.) Religion is big on metaphors being real - like the wafer becoming the actual flesh of Christ. We don’t do that one, as the Catholics do - we say "in remembrance." We have others, however, wherein we insist that metaphors are actual literal truths. They seem to have great "power" over people. "Power," here, is also a metaphor. We have so many of them that it's difficult to speak clearly about such things.

 

 

Week 14 of 52 - Baha'i Faith

 

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