Baha'u'llah claimed to be the Return of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammad and all the Prophets. The claim puts the fate of billions of Souls, and indeed the planet, at stake. True or false, it is a claim that demands urgent, independent investigation and deep prayer. See some of those amazing prayers here...
Ontology is the study of what we accept as real, and Epistemology is it's sister field, and about what sources of knowledge and information we accept as valid. Every time we accept what Hannah Arendt calls "received opinion," we delegate our God-given ability to research independently, and empower the authority of another over us.
At the primal level of the cingulate formation supporting and bridging our prefrontal cortex, our decision, and ability, to give ATTENTION to someone or something, is the foundation of our use and projection of inner authority. The cingulate gyrus bridges ancient emotional and affective memory with recent neocortical developments in the logical and learning cortex, to create the uniquely human ability to FOCUS attention and CONFER authority, pointing inwardly to belief and outwardly to projections of our own authority. This is part of the physical source of ontology, as it relates to attention shifting itself.
In the old brain, a suppressed "living lizard" brain loves to stare up in awe at the bigger lizard on the rock above us. Authority as admiration for celebrities, stars, sports figures, politicians, clergy: primal, illogical, and giving away our birthright of inner authority.
Baha'u'llah states that spiritual evolution has to begin with the "Independent investigation of the truth" and "Seeing with our own eyes and not the eyes of another." Astonishingly, He unites science and religion and describes the soul's judgment with the words, "By what proof have ye believed in God?" The soul's judgment has more than one meaning here.
Every human disaster has come from people accepting the leadership of tyrants, leaders, authorities, clergy, politicians, and showmen who convinced them, with lizard like flashes of emotion, pomp, spin and ceremony, to relax their inner authority, skepticism, research and independent judgment.
The Baha'i Faith is the most innovative (as literally, in-novation, creating new stars) spiritual movement on the planet, as the first and only Democratic Religion, a concept Baha'u'llah Revealed at a time when Democracy meant male rulers telling everyone else what to do, and more groups were barred from voting than permitted to vote.
The Baha'i Faith has no clergy, and is based on the principle that each of us has the inner authority to decide for ourselves, without friends, clergy, family or "leaders" telling us what to think. At our soul's immortal judgment, Baha'u'llah states that the "defense" of "everyone else thought that way" is a plea that will be rejected.
With inner authority comes responsibility: the duty to LOOK INTO THINGS with our own minds, INDEPENDENT of "received opinion." Arendt gives a brilliant chain of logic that shows how violence, totalitarianism and the mess we're now in is a direct consequence of accepting received opinion. Baha'u'llah has freed our minds: rejecting that gift is the primary source, at the individual level, of the planetary peril we now face as a species. If you won't look into His Message for yourself, do so for the innocent animals, children and other living beings for which we are responsible on this planet!
At the highest Spiritual level, The Quran speaks of "adding gods to God" when we shift our attention in a way that confers Authority on anyone but our True Beloved-- God Himself. Abdul-Baha puts it this way: "Rely upon God, Trust in Him, Praise Him, and call Him continually to mind. He verily turneth trouble into ease, and sorrow into solace, and toil into utter peace. He verily hath dominion over all things." Baha'u'llah lovingly states: "Thou disappointest no one who has sought Thee, nor dost Thou keep back from Thee anyone who hath desired Thee." On the memory front, Baha'u'llah also states: "Forget all else and commune with My Spirit..."
Giving one moment of our precious attention to anyone but God empowers and deifies humans, creates false and illusory authorities, and betrays our birthright as independent thinkers, researchers, investigators, and choosers. Just say no, and check it out for yourself!
Prejudice, or pre-judice is pre-judgment, or forming opinions outside of balance and logic, or before judgment with our own minds-- accepting received opinions in the logic of Arendt. It's subtle, we all do it all the time, and rooting it out is a lifetime journey.
The "Word of God", or God's Authority in the Prophet on earth in Judaeism, Christianity and Islam was seen as the law-- the Prophet brings new laws with each Divine Cycle, which when followed, bring eternal felicity for the individual soul, and new planetary evolution for mankind. At this basic level, Baha'u'llah did bring astonishing new laws never seen previously on the planet, including unity and respect, virtue, democracy in religion, the equality of women, racial equality, etc.
But religion is like the seasons, at the beginning the new laws revolutionize the planet, cause incalculable new social and scientific gains, and cause the dawn of brilliant new civilizations. But like the seasons, Fall and then Winter eventually come, and men turn the Prophet's Message into strife, contention, control, and false authority. Then, a new Prophet arrives to renew the Message. Sadly, Jews don't accept Christ, Christians don't accept Islam, Islam doesn't accept Baha'u'llah... and the slaughter of innocents continues, even as religion is being revitalized and renewed.
Far more astonishing than the struggle of new laws, is the Word itself. Baha'u'llah states that all Light comes from Mercy, all Mercy comes from the revealed Word, and the revealed Word comes from a Hidden Word wondrous beyond comprehension except by the Heart. We are literally like fish swimming in this Ocean of Light, Mercy and the Mystic Word, unaware of the water!
Logic itself comes from LOGOS, or the WORD, and in the words of John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." Baha'u'llah takes this much farther, stating that the Love of God holds the atoms of our bodies together, and the Word is far beyond comprehension: "Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. Verily thy Lord is the Expounder, the All-Wise. Know thou, moreover, that the Word of God--exalted be His glory--is higher and far superior to that which the senses can perceive, for it is sanctified from any property or substance. It transcendeth the limitations of known elements and is exalted above all the essential and recognized substances. It became manifest without any syllable or sound and is none but the Command of God which pervadeth all created things. It hath never been withheld from the world of being. It is God's all-pervasive grace, from which all grace doth emanate. It is an entity far removed above all that hath been and shall be. Every thing must needs have an origin and every building a builder. Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent world--a world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times. Immeasurably exalted is the God of Wisdom Who hath raised this sublime structure."
Want to become a Baha'i? You do so by filling out a "Baha'i Declaration" card. There is one you can print out at the bottom of THIS page. Just fill it out and give, email or mail it to a Baha'i Local Assembly near you!
"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chainsthat mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain to true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness. This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful. We have accepted to be abased, O believers in the Unity of God, that ye may be exalted, and have suffered manifold afflictions, that ye might prosper and flourish. He Who hath come to build anew the whole world, behold, how they... have forced Him to dwell within the most desolate of cities!"
"Wert Thou to bestow on one of Thy creatures what would equal the kingdoms of earth and heaven, it would still not diminish by even as much as an atom the immensity of Thy dominion. Far greater art Thou than the Great One men are wont to call Thee, for such a title is but one of Thy names all of which were created by a mere indication of Thy will.
There is no God but Thee, the God of power, the God of glory, the God of knowledge and wisdom."