As my home state of Texas gets battered and flooded by Hurricane Harvey, I’ve been dealing at length with the issue of dogmatism and absurdity in the very heart of my former religion, the Baha’i Faith, as a means of atoning for eight years of delusional thoughts and acts I never should have committed myself to.
Here are the links to Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four of my critique. And as before, I will include direct quotes from the book in red bold and my responses will be in blue italics. My source for this book is:
Picking up where we left off, we find Baha’u’llah addressing rulers of the earth:
O kings of the earth! The Most Great Law hath been revealed in this Spot, this scene of transcendent splendor. Every hidden thing hath been brought to light by virtue of the Will of the Supreme Ordainer, He Who hath ushered in the Last Hour, through Whom the Moon hath been cleft, and every irrevocable decree expounded.
Ye are but vassals, O kings of the earth! He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared, arrayed in His most wondrous glory, and is summoning you unto Himself, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Take heed lest pride deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation, lest the things of this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of heaven. Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations, Who hath created you through a word from Him, and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty.
By the righteousness of God! It is not Our wish to lay hands on your kingdoms. Our mission is to seize and possess the hearts of men. Upon them the eyes of Bahá are fastened. To this testifieth the Kingdom of Names, could ye but comprehend it. Whoso followeth his Lord will renounce the world and all that is therein; how much greater, then, must be the detachment of Him Who holdeth so august a station! Forsake your palaces, and haste ye to gain admittance into His Kingdom. This, indeed, will profit you both in this world and in the next. To this testifieth the Lord of the realm on high, did ye but know it.
How great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who will arise to aid My Cause in My kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the companions of the Crimson Ark—the Ark which God hath prepared for the people of Bahá. All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the cities with the keys of My Name, the omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the fountainhead of blessings unto the whole world. Offer up, O people of Bahá, your substance, nay your very lives, for his assistance.
The many references to “kings” and not “leaders” (which would include Presidents, religious leaders and CEOs of multi-national corporations) illustrates how ignorant Baha’u’llah really was about how the world’s politics would evolve in the century and a half since he wrote the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Indeed, many of the powerful monarchies that were around when Baha’u’llah lived have since been broken down and replaced by republics of various kinds. So already this book is badly out of date!
O Emperor of Austria! He Who is the Dayspring of God’s Light dwelt in the prison of ‘Akká at the time when thou didst set forth to visit the Aqṣá Mosque. Thou passed Him by, and inquired not about Him by Whom passed Him by, and inquired not about Him by Whom every house is exalted and every lofty gate unlocked. We, verily, made it a place whereunto the world should turn, that they might remember Me, and yet thou hast rejected Him Who is the Object of this remembrance, when He appeared with the Kingdom of God, thy Lord and the Lord of the worlds. We have been with thee at all times, and found thee clinging unto the Branch and heedless of the Root. Thy Lord, verily, is a witness unto what I say. We grieved to see thee circle round Our Name, whilst unaware of Us, though We were before thy face. Open thine eyes, that thou mayest behold this glorious Vision, and recognize Him Whom thou invokest in the daytime and in the night season, and gaze on the Light that shineth above this luminous Horizon.
Austria-Hungary was an empire that consisted of many different peoples in central Europe. It was the assassination of the Archduke of Austria by a Serb nationalist that would trigger a domino of events that would result in World War I. In the final months of that war, the empire fell apart and Austria and Hungary became separate nations. Later, countries like Czechoslovakia (which itself would be pulled apart in the anti-Communist revolutions of eastern Europe around 1990) and Yugoslavia (ditto) would be formed from territories Austria-Hungary had ruled.
Question: Why would a Christian monarch who was visiting Jerusalem as an expression of his faith bother to visit also some prisoner attempting to found a non-Christian religion? Baha’u’llah taking offense at being ignored in this case is about as arrogant as it gets.
Say: O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple: “Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the Ancient of Days.” Take heed lest pride debar thee from recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut thee out, as by a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below. Thus counseleth thee the Pen of the Most High. He, verily, is the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful. Do thou remember the one whose power transcended thy power, and whose station excelled thy station. Where is he? Whither are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him when We made known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down to dust in great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of them who reflect.
The formation of the German Empire in the late 19th Century came after the Germans led by Prussia conquered France and forced a humiliating peace treaty on it. Then the King of Prussia became Kaiser (Emperor) of all of Germany. Like its ally Austria-Hungary, Germany was brought down to defeat in World War I, its monarchy ending and it being subjected to an even more humiliating “peace” treaty that was so harsh that it later drove the Germans to seek revenge under Adolph Hitler, leading to World War II.
We have asked nothing from you. For the sake of God We, verily, exhort you, and will be patient as We have been patient in that which hath befallen Us at your hands, O concourse of kings!
The only two rulers Baha’u’llah ever had to deal directly with were the Shah of Persia (now Iran) and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (which later broke up leaving only Turkey as a rump state). The first had him imprisoned and then exiled to what would be later known as Iraq and the second continued to keep him as a prisoner to the end of Baha’u’llah’s life, no doubt as a favor to his neighbor and fellow Muslim ruler.
Hearken ye, O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein, unto that which the Dove is warbling on the Branch of Eternity: “There is none other God but Me, the Ever-Abiding, the Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.” Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Thus counseleth you He Who is the Dayspring of Names, as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. The Promised One hath appeared in this glorified Station, whereat all beings, both seen and unseen, have rejoiced. Take ye advantage of the Day of God. Verily, to meet Him is better for you than all that whereon the sun shineth, could ye but know it. O concourse of rulers! Give ear unto that which hath been raised from the Dayspring of Grandeur: “Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Lord of Utterance, the All-Knowing.” Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.
By “America” we may assume Baha’u’llah meant all the countries of North America and South America and at least here he acknowledges that these are not ruled by kings. In later Baha’i propaganda, the United States is exalted as a nation that would bring peace and justice throughout the world, which would have seemed somewhat credible through most of the 20th Century but the misrule of President Bush Jr and the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency last year have made that idea a LAUGHINGSTOCK! The USA has completely lost its credibility and it is likely to tear itself apart if it continues on its present course. No doubt Baha’is will claim that their religion can make things better, but how can it do that if Baha’is continue to be a tiny minority all across America? The only state where they have any significant numbers is South Carolina….and even that state is a backward cesspool of right-wing and bigoted absurdity! EPIC FAIL!!!
O people of Constantinople! Lo, from your midst We hear the baleful hooting of the owl. Hath the drunkenness of passion laid hold upon you, or is it that ye are sunk in heedlessness? O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath, verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted Throne have wailed and lamented. We behold in thee the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendor made thee vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Baha’u’llah spent a short time in Constantinople as part of his exile and imprisonment. It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which would be brought down after World War I and a new secular republic of Turkey would be established in its place. The city itself would be renamed Istanbul. Of course, Baha’is claim Baha’u’llah predicted this downfall.
O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and ye shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory.
Baha’is claim this was a reference to what happened to Germany in both World Wars.
Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Ṭá, for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his favors unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation.
Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee “the Dayspring of His light,” inasmuch as within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been conferred upon thee—a name through which the daystar of grace hath shed its splendor, through which both earth and heaven have been illumined.
Erelong will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in the gracious favor of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus hath it been decreed in the wondrous Book.
O Land of Khá! We hear from thee the voice of heroes, raised in glorification of thy Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most Exalted. Blessed the day on which the banners of the divine Names shall be upraised in the kingdom of creation in My Name, the All-Glorious. On that day the faithful shall rejoice in the victory of God, and the disbelievers shall lament.
The “Land of Ta” is Iran, formerly called Persia, and its capital is Tehran. The “Land of Kha” is a distant part of Iran. Need I point out that no ruler of Iran to this day has shown any favoritism to the Baha’is? Indeed, Baha’is constantly emphasize how their fellow believers in Iran have been persecuted, especially after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that overthrew the Shah of Iran and replaced him with a theocracy. And a very anti-Baha’i one at that! So much for God’s Will, eh? Iran does have elections for the people to vote in, but the Islamic leaders still keep a tight limitation of who could be voted for, making the elections a sham. So Baha’u’llah was WRONG here!
None must contend with those who wield authority over the people; leave unto them that which is theirs, and direct your attention to men’s hearts.
I am sooooo glad I am not a Baha’i now and thus do not have to even consider obeying this idiotic commandment now that Donald Trump has lied and backstabbed his way to the Presidency of the United States!
O Most Mighty Ocean! Sprinkle upon the nations that with which Thou hast been charged by Him Who is the Sovereign of Eternity, and adorn the temples of all the dwellers of the earth with the vesture of His laws through which all hearts will rejoice and all eyes be brightened.
WTF?! Why would anyone be addressing the OCEAN??? And I thought the lame rhetoric I saw before was bad enough. What could be next, addressing the MOON?
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God’s and to be rendered unto Him, the Fashioner of earth and heaven. Take heed, O people, lest ye deprive yourselves of so great a bounty. This We have commanded you, though We are well able to dispense with you and with all who are in the heavens and on earth; in it there are benefits and wisdoms beyond the ken of anyone but God, the Omniscient, the All-Informed. Say: By this means He hath desired to purify what ye possess and to enable you to draw nigh unto such stations as none can comprehend save those whom God hath willed. He, in truth, is the Beneficent, the Gracious, the Bountiful. O people! Deal not faithlessly with the Right of God, nor, without His leave, make free with its disposal. Thus hath His commandment been established in the holy Tablets, and in this exalted Book. He who dealeth faithlessly with God shall in justice meet with faithlessness himself; he, however, who acteth in accordance with God’s bidding shall receive a blessing from the heaven of the bounty of his Lord, the Gracious, the Bestower, the Generous, the Ancient of Days. He, verily, hath willed for you that which is yet beyond your knowledge, but which shall be known to you when, after this fleeting life, your souls soar heavenwards and the trappings of your earthly joys are folded up. Thus admonisheth you He in Whose possession is the Guarded Tablet.
This is explained at establishing payments of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, in which 19% of the value of one’s estate is said to be expected to be paid to the leadership of the Faith. In some Christian churches, members are expected to give 1/10th of their income to the church for its upkeep. I like that idea better. because it is simpler and more obvious.
Various petitions have come before Our throne from the believers, concerning laws from God, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of all worlds. We have, in consequence, revealed this Holy Tablet and arrayed it with the mantle of His Law that haply the people may keep the commandments of their Lord. Similar requests keep the commandments of their Lord. Similar requests had been made of Us over several previous years but We had, in Our wisdom, withheld Our Pen until, in recent days, letters arrived from a number of the friends, and We have therefore responded, through the power of truth, with that which shall quicken the hearts of men.
I find it very unlikely that Baha’is were begging Baha’u’llah to give them a set of rules to enslave their minds afterwards. Then again, we already saw how the laws of Islam and the Babi Faith were much harsher than what Baha’is observe today, so perhaps that is what Baha’is meant at the time. They were given a little more freedom than they had before……but not enough to make them truly free compared to people in secular societies. It is like giving an impoverished man $100 when he had less than $20 and then telling him he is rich, when most rich people are millionaires.
Say: O leaders of religion! 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. In this most perfect Balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it.
The eye of My loving-kindness weepeth sore over you, inasmuch as ye have failed to recognize the One upon Whom ye have been calling in the daytime and in the night season, at even and at morn. Advance, O people, with snow-white faces and radiant hearts, unto the blest and crimson Spot, wherein the Sadratu’l-Muntahá is calling: “Verily, there is none other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting!”
O ye leaders of religion! Who is the man amongst you that can rival Me in vision or insight? Where is he to be found that dareth to claim to be My equal in utterance or wisdom? No, by My Lord, the All-Merciful! All on the earth shall pass away; and this is the face of your Lord, the Almighty, the Well-Beloved.
We have decreed, O people, that the highest and last end of all learning be the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge; and yet, behold how ye have allowed your learning to shut you out, as by a veil, from Him Who is the Dayspring of this Light, through Whom every hidden thing hath been revealed. Could ye but discover the source whence the splendor of this utterance is diffused, ye would cast away the peoples of the world and all that they possess, and would draw nigh unto this most blessed Seat of glory.
Say: This, verily, is the heaven in which the Mother Book is treasured, could ye but comprehend it. He it is Who hath caused the Rock to shout, and the Burning Bush to lift up its voice, upon the Mount rising above the Holy Land, and proclaim: “The Kingdom is God’s, the sovereign Lord of all, the All-Powerful, the Loving!”
We have not entered any school, nor read any of your dissertations. Incline your ears to the words of this unlettered One, wherewith He summoneth you unto God, the Ever-Abiding. Better is this for you than all the treasures of the earth, could ye but comprehend it.
In these paragraphs, we see the essence of religious fundamentalism, the idea that the teachings of a book or a Messenger that are the basis of a theistic religion should outweigh whatever discoveries are made through modern science, including the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. I directly assaulted this idea here:
Reason: while MEN can make up any number of books that are the basis of religions, only the real GOD could create the universe itself and the physical and chemical laws that govern it. And those laws can only be discovered and described through SCIENCE. Science does change over time, but that is because it is based on reality and as it progresses, it becomes more and more detailed and accurate, thus proving itself to be more reliable than any man-made and dogmatic religion…..including the Baha’i Faith itself!
Which is really more trustworthy, something that keeps moving closer and closer to truth by well known processes of gathering and analyzing evidence, or something that claims to have the truth already but cannot prove it?
I should mention that Abdu’l-Baha later claimed that harmony between science and religion was a principle of the Baha’i faith. That passage I just quoted from Baha’u’llah himself proves his son to have been a damned LIAR!
And with that, I conclude the fifth part of my analysis of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.