The question has been raised concerning the teaching that all religions worshi p the same God, the same Creator. Some people disagree with this concept based on the fact that different religious systems worship through different manifestations with a different name. For example, Christians through Christ; Muslims through Mohammad; and Baha’is through Baha’u’llah; and Jews through Moses.
When we, however, look back in religious history it becomes clear that there is a pattern of divine educators, one following on the previous one bringing more and more knowledge to mankind. There is ample proof that these divine manifestations through the Holy Spirit however represent the voice of God in every age, like teachers at different stages of mankind’s spiritual development. They all reinforce the same eternal spiritual laws but transform social laws to fit the needs of the age. We ask that you investigate this.
All sacred books support this truth that as man become more spiritually aware, he is gifted with a higher understanding of the spiritual laws through each succeeding divine educator. It is also clearly shown in religious history that as man develops spiritually to higher levels of spirituality and understanding, social laws are changed by each successive divine manifestation.
How then should we regard the different religious systems in the world? No different than the sun that rises in the morning at a specific point and pace until it reaches its fullest power. Should the sun burst on the horizon at its fullest power the Earth would be scorched, likewise if the divine educators gave all knowledge at the same time to mankind before mankind was ready to receive it, it would not be understood. The Christ referred to this process: “I have much to tell you but you cannot bear it now.”
In the same way the divine manifestations or divine educators come one after the other to meet mankind at the level of his spiritual capacity and lovingly imparts the knowledge he can understand. No manifestation is the last and each one promises that one will come after him. For example, Christ told his disciples that it was expedient that He goes for another manifestation armed with the power of the Holy Spirit will come who will lead mankind into all truth. This was the promise. The eternal gift of every divine manifestation is knowledge. Thus, it is said in the Christian scripture concerning the latter days, “knowledge increaseth”. How are we then to regard these holy souls. In the Baha’i sacred scriptures we are told:
“These sanctified mirrors, these daysprings of ancient glory are, one and all, the exponents on Earth of Him who is the central orb of the universe … From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of his image. Their revelation a sign of His deathless glory…They are the treasuries of divine knowledge and the repositories of His celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that can never fade.” (Baha’u’llah)
In this new day of God, one of the divine principles is not only the critical importance of independent investigation and search after truth but the reality and recognition of the oneness of God. We all worship the same God. God is the unchanging light. How then should we regard the different divine religious systems? One godhead, different divine teachers that build on mankind’s knowledge of spiritual truth. Religious history confirms that from age to age what has caused religious division is man-made theology. Truth, unity, and love the foundation of religion are found when we return to the original teachings of the founders of the divine religious systems. In the Baha’i holy writings mankind is counselled:
“O ye children of men, the fundamental purpose animating the faith of god and his religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, hate and enmity. This is the straight path, the fixed and immovable foundation.” (Baha’u’llah)
The next issue that is a cause of differing beliefs, discussion even dissension, is the position that the manifestation of God is God. This is a weighty matter that is fully clarified in the Baha’i teachings. Firstly, no one has seen God, he is referred to in the Baha’i writings among other spiritual designations as ‘The Unknowable Essence’. It is clearly stated that as proof of His loving kindness, God “hath manifested unto men the daystars of His loving kindness — the divine manifestations — the symbols of divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own self. Whoso recogniseth them hath recognised God, whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the voice of God and whosoever testified to the truth of their revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso hath turned away from them hath turned away from God…Everyone of them is the way of God that connecteth this world with the realms…They are the manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His truth and the signs of His glory”. Herein lies the clear answer to this question.
The Baha’i scriptures explain the station of manifestations of God, whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Christian, or Baha’i. They are all the ‘mouthpiece’ of God in every dispensation. Each one of them, in addition, has confirmed in their holy books the promise of the later coming of another divine being who will add further to mankind’s spiritual education. For example, reminding you again of the biblical prophecy that “in the latter days, knowledge increaseth” and the promise of the Christ of the coming of “He who will lead you into all truth”.
It is therefore made very clear that we must honour them all as we honour the divine reality, the ‘unknowable essence’ that gifted mankind with their presence. An example from the Christian gospel that confirms this truth is that Christ honoured Moses when He said, “Had you believed in Moses, you would have believed in me.” Therein lies the truth of the oneness of God, the oneness of religion. There is a distinct chain of connectivity between God’s messengers. This truth may not be exhibited by man’s behaviour, by the differing religious theologies, and the ongoing religious dissensions and divisions, but the truth of the unity of God and His manifestations remains intact. To cite an example, it is no different from the punishable belief in ancient days that the Earth was not flat, this was a strongly held belief by the church of the time, that it was flat and anyone who expressed the opposite position was punished. This belief in no way changed the later discovered truth, that the world was round. Truth is light; hence, the central principle in the Baha’i faith of the importance of the independent investigation and search after truth. We hope that the information we have shared has given you food for thought and, indeed, greater enlightenment.
The above was contributed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Jamaica.
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