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Thread: The Baha'i Faith - Satan and the ego

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    The Baha'i Faith - Satan and the ego

    Let's start this thread over in aplace where I am allowed to post.

    The Baha'i Faith - Satan and the ego
    There have been posts with selective references concerning the view of Satan and Satanic in reference to Judaism without understanding the whole view of what Satan means in the Baha'i writings. I will also refer to references from other religions and their scriptures how this relates to the Baha'i view.

    Selective references with the purposes of criticizing the Baha'i Faith without understanding the context in the whole writings of the Baha'i is a very biased way to approach a religion that believes differently. For a better understanding all anyone needed to do was google 'Baha'i Satan' and this reference would be one of the results.

    Source: http://www.religionfacts.com/evil/bahai



    The Bahá'í Faith rejects the concept of "original sin" or any doctrine that teaches 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.

    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. `Abdu'l-Bahá said that "evil is imperfection."

    The Bahá'í Faith denies the existence of Satan, a devil, or an "evil force." Evil does not have independent existence, but is rather the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat. 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.

    Bahá'u'lláh explained that references to Satan in the Scriptures of earlier religions are symbolic and should not be taken literally. Satan is the personification of man's lower nature which can destroy him if it is not brought into harmony with his spiritual nature. There is, in fact, a well-known philosophical problem concerning God's goodness and omnipotence and the possible existence of a Satan. This problem is discussed in some detail in both the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.

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    Any references to Satan or Satanic in the Baha'i writings should be understood in the light of this understanding which applies to the nature of all humanity, and not selectively to reference to one person, culture nor religion.

    In this view all humanity is subject to temptation and seductive nature of the 'ego.'
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber Anomaly's Avatar
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    The Bahá'í Faith rejects the concept of "original sin" or any doctrine that teaches 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.

    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. `Abdu'l-Bahá said that "evil is imperfection."

    The Bahá'í Faith denies the existence of Satan, a devil, or an "evil force." Evil does not have independent existence, but is rather the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat. 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.

    Bahá'u'lláh explained that references to Satan in the Scriptures of earlier religions are symbolic and should not be taken literally. Satan is the personification of man's lower nature which can destroy him if it is not brought into harmony with his spiritual nature. There is, in fact, a well-known philosophical problem concerning God's goodness and omnipotence and the possible existence of a Satan. This problem is discussed in some detail in both the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.
    As with most religions I can find areas of agreement with this. I've come to the suspicion--not quite a conclusion, but very close to it--that the fall in Genesis is representational with respect to inheriting evil, not a literal reality. We don't "inherit" some form of fallenness in spirit or essence. Rather, Genesis is a symbolic account of how each human being is naturally falsified by intellectual entrance into an already falsified world. The path to falsification established in Genesis is its being offered to an agent--as the serpent offered falsehoods to Adam and Eve--for acceptance, from which circumstances one either unites/accepts the false. Acceptance of external falsehood causes falsification in the essence of the recipient as I see it. On this view, the idea of man being "born with a fallen nature" seems incoherent to me, as the falsification of one's soul depends on intellectual union, and infants haven't the capacity for union. The erroneous concept of our "fallen nature" is more likely to be a skewed interpretation that more likely is a gradual result of having to make one's intellectual way from infant to childhood in the midst of a heavily falsified world. In other words, evil isn't inherited in essense, it's learned and forced on us developmentally.

    I have to reject the concept of privatio boni however. Learned it in my Catholic upbringing but have come to the conclusion it's logically incomprehensible. While privation seems a legitimate definition for grades of good, I don't see how reductions in quantity of good could ever produce evil. Subtraction just equals less good. Seems to me placing prescriptive evil in the realm of value (falsity) as a causal power in intellectual operation would be sufficient to produce evil.

    Another area I agree with Baha'i teaching is that Satan is a metaphor for all the expressions of human evil. We're all Satan to varying degrees. From this perspective, the idea of the destruction of Satan is the first step [death] in salvation. Destroying Satan leaves an empty place in essence unless otherwise filled, and the second and final step in salvation [rebirth] both satisfies the conundrum of the "unfinished" soul and overcomes the tension imposed by traditional doctrines of eternal punishment. Why would a sane God condemn to an eternal hell value-diseased humans when it's within His power to restore their false value to true?

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