FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
for
Seekers with a Christian Background


Baha'i Star

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church down the street from my house. The Christian Faith is my personal background, although I have read much and studied about many others. If you are of another Faith than Christian, perhaps these Frequently Asked Questions and the answers will be meaningless to you. You may continue to read, of course, or use the BACK button on your browser to return to the previous page. Either way, may God bless you in your continued search for spiritual enlightenment.

Please Note: Except where I use direct quotes, these answers are my own, from my own understanding of the Writings, and must not be interpreted as the approved position of any Baha'i institution.

Jesus is enough for me. Why should I be interested in the Baha'i Faith?
Are you saying that I’m going to Hell if I don’t become a Baha'i?
If the Baha'i Faith is so right, why don’t the preachers believe it and tell us so?
Do you believe in the Bible?
But do you follow the Bible?
If you know the Bible is God’s Word and you claim that Baha'u'llah is God’s Messenger, then how can They say different things? Are you saying that God changed His mind?
Don’t you believe that the Bible is the Only Word of God?
So what part of the Bible do you use?
How about the moral concepts given in the Bible?
But the Bible is so beautiful, so meaningful, such an intrinsic part of my life, how can I consider giving it up?
Are you suggesting I give up Jesus?
The Baha'i Faith sounds Buddhist to me. (or Jewish or Muslim, etc.) Are you sure it isn’t a sect of Buddhism? (or Judaism or Islam)


Question
Jesus is enough for me. Why should I be interested in the Baha'i Faith?

Answer
Jesus is enough for me, too. That’s why I am a Baha'i.

If you love Jesus, then you probably want to try to do what He told you to do. Watch. Pray. Be ready for His Return. You owe it to yourself and to Him to determine for yourself whether He has kept His promise.

Of course, I realize some people ask that question as a way of really saying they are comfortable in their church and they don’t want to rock the boat. That’s perfectly understandable. It would have been understandable if Peter had glanced up from his nets and responded to Jesus, “No thanks, I prefer to stay with my brother and father, just fishing for fish.”

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Question
Are you saying that I’m going to Hell if I don’t become a Baha'i?

Answer
No, we definitely do not say that, but if you’re sensitive to what Jesus thinks of you, you might wish you were. The Baha'i teachings say that we are all individually accountable for our deeds, accountable to God, not to another Baha'i or any priest, preacher, mulla, monk, or pope. On the occasion of His visit that is reported in the Gospels, He told the Jews who refused to believe in Him that He would NOT be their Judge; they would be judged by Moses, in Whose Law they professed belief.

I was a newly reborn Christian when I first heard of the Baha'i Faith. I tried to picture myself standing before my beloved Jesus, facing His judgement, and explaining to Him why I didn’t accept His Return in the person of Baha'u'llah. The first picture I saw was of me participating in His Crucifixion all over again. Then a worse picture came to mind, the picture of His sad eyes of love, understanding, and disappointment, burning deeply into my soul.

I didn’t like either picture, so I prayerfully investigated the claims of the Baha'i Faith, keeping in mind the Apostle Paul’s admonition, “Prove all things; hold fast unto that which is good.” I think I’d rather spend eternity in Hell than in Heaven at Jesus’ feet, bearing the guilt of having denied Him when He came to me. Although I'm sure He would forgive me, I’m not sure I could forgive myself.

Finally, whether you “become a Baha'i” is completely between you and God. I believe that my soul benefits from the act of telling you about Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, but it is not dependent on whether you believe. I would be overjoyed to help you find out how to enroll in the nearest Baha'i community if you ask me to, but God, through Baha'u'llah, has instructed me to detach from concern if you choose to refuse this gift.

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Question
If the Baha'i Faith is right, why don’t the preachers believe it and tell us so?

Answer
This question is like asking if Jesus was really the Messiah, why didn’t the Jewish priests, scribes and Pharisees scramble to become His first disciples? The religious leaders of every Age, regardless of the purity of their motives, have been the most vociferous in denying the latest Messenger of God, usually saying He did not properly fulfill the prophesies, as they understood them.

Besides, some preachers and other clerics actually have come out of the pulpit to embrace the Faith. They’re not still preaching because Baha'u'llah nullified that profession with the principle of independent investigation of truth. They found other methods of being productive and making a living for themselves and their loved ones.

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Question
Do you believe in the Bible?

Answer
The Bible is the inspired Word of God. I have taught it in adult Baha'i Sunday School classes. And I use it exclusively in my essay on this site encouraging others to try to see the "Things of the Spirit."

Here's one relevant comment about the Bible from the Baha'i Writings: "This book is the Holy Book of God, of celestial Inspiration. It is the Bible of Salvation, the Noble Gospel." And the Baha'i praise for the Bible doesn't end there, by any means.


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Question
But do you follow the Bible?

Answer
Not in matters of social interaction. For example, where the Bible reinforces concepts of slavery, Baha'u'llah outlaws that practice in this Day. Where the Bible teaches the superiority of men over women, Baha'u'llah teaches their spiritual equality and the requirement that we strive to improve the woman’s status until she has equality in education, politics, business, and all other aspects of society. Where the Bible seems to assert “special people” status to a few, God tells us through Baha'u'llah that we must regard all humanity as one family, with no nation, race, or sect more special than any other. Where the Bible apparently warns us against intermarriage with other religions or races, Baha'u'llah encourages those forms of intermarriage as one means of uniting the world and fulfilling one of our main goals, the elimination of all forms of prejudice.

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Question
If you know the Bible is God’s Word and you claim that Baha'u'llah is God’s Messenger, then how can They say different things? Are you saying that God changed His mind?

Answer
Not at all. God doesn’t change. He created humanity to grow and develop, and as a loving Father, He has guided us through all the Ages.

You wouldn’t give your car keys to your six-year-old son, but you might when he reaches sixteen, if you decide he has sufficiently grown, matured and learned enough to drive the car. God’s social laws are intended to guide us through the age we live in and will continue to change as we grow, mature and learn. God doesn’t change, but He knows we do, both as individuals and as a civilization, and He changes His laws to fit the times and our degree of maturity.

The message God gave us through Moses differed greatly from the simple message He gave through Adam. The message He gave us through Christ "fulfilled" the Law that He gave through Moses.

The Bible reports at least four successive Covenants that God made with humanity, each establishing its own laws intended for the age and peoples to whom it is given. Each required us to anticipate the advent of another Covenant, through another Messenger.

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Question
Don’t you believe that the Bible is the Only Word of God?

Answer
I guess it would make life a lot easier, but there’s nothing in the Bible to indicate that we should hold such a belief. In fact, the Bible is quite clear in saying the opposite.

The Bible itself was written over many centuries, constitutes 66 individual books by dozens of different writers, and would likely have continued to grow indefinitely had the Church not chosen to put a cap on it in the Fourth Century after Christ.

Confusion arose when the Church leaders placed the Revelation According to St. John at the end of the collection. John had ended the Apocalypse with a curse on any man who adds to or takes away from his book. Since all 66 books are published between two covers in one volume, many Christians too easily fall prey to the claim that John’s curse referred to the whole Bible and, therefore, there can be no other Word of God.

If that were so, then the Bishops of the Church that canonized the Bible would have been the first cursed because they discarded a number of texts that probably were around when John wrote his book, and added some that John might never have seen.

Also, many Christians tend to overlook the fact that John provided the curse for “any man,” not for God Himself.

Some people use for their evidence the Word of God found in Deuteronomy 4:2. There, God tells us not to add to or take away from His commandments. Some Christians seem to think that God Himself is forbidden from saying more. If that were so, then we would have nothing beyond the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses. Certainly, there would be no New Testament.

I wouldn’t presume to tell God that He’s not allowed to reveal Himself, and I don’t think either John or God Himself intended to, either.

Baha’is believe God did reveal Himself through Baha'u'llah. Not a word of either the Book of Revelation or the entire Bible, has been altered, added or deleted by either God or man (at least not through the Baha'i Faith). Instead, God has increased His bountiful guidance to humanity in many volumes of Baha'i Scripture, including establishing an entirely new Covenant with all of humanity. Baha’is, in keeping with that Covenant, have worked diligently for more than a century and a half to make that bounty available to everyone.

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Question
So what part of the Bible do you use?

Answer
Baha'u'llah unsealed the ancient books and explained the meaning of the words and prophesies of all the prophets, including Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Apocalypse, in clear terms. Also, as a physical prisoner of the Persian and Turkish empires, He fulfilled many of those prophesies Himself.

The Bible is full of references to this Day and to Baha'u'llah. We try to understand them so that we can better teach the Faith. Furthermore, the Bible is still the primary Source for virtually all Christian denominations and, therefore, good for helping our non-Christian friends understand the basics of Christianity.

The Bible also helps us to discuss among ourselves why some Christians disagree with other Christians so vehemently on certain topics.

In glorifying Christ, Baha'u'llah often refers to passages from the Bible.

Finally, even atheists and Hindus, Buddhists and Jews, who declare their belief in the Baha'i Faith must come to believe in Christ in order to be Baha'is, and what better place to learn about Jesus than from the Bible?

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Question
How about the moral concepts given in the Bible?

Answer
The Baha'i Writings provide moral guidance in clear terms. Generally, Baha'is find quite sufficient Baha'u'llah’s laws regarding chastity, honesty, integrity, courtesy, justice, family values, marriage, personal hygiene, upright character, respect for others, and many other issues of morality, often exceeding requirements of the Bible.

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Question
But the Bible is so beautiful, so meaningful, such an intrinsic part of my life, how can I consider giving it up?

Answer
Please don’t. Mine is on my bookshelf right beside the other Works of God, including the Baha'i Writings.

For research, I normally use the electronic version that's on my hard drive. Even that is in a program right along side the Baha'i Writings, the Holy Koran, and some Holy Scripture of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. That program takes more than 32 megabytes of hard drive space, by the way, and is available for downloading from the Web.

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Question
Are you suggesting I give up Jesus?

Answer
Absolutely not! I didn’t and, God help me, I never will! Of course, if you love Jesus, then you owe it to yourself and to Him to determine for yourself whether He has kept His promise to return with a new Name.(Rev. 3:12)

He sacrificed much for me. I could not dream of failing to sacrifice a few hours of study for Him. My "sacrifice," of course, became an investment in an eternity of joy.

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Question
The Baha'i Faith sounds Buddhist to me. Are you sure it isn’t a sect of Buddhism?

Answer
Maybe you've read or heard the children’s story about the six blind men and the elephant. John Godfrey Saxe's (1816-1887) version of the Indian legend reports that six blind men of Indostan were led to a different part of the elephant, and not having ever seen an elephant before, nor investigating further, described it as “like” something within his realm of understanding – a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, and a rope, individually feeling the elephant's side, a tusk, the trunk, a leg, an ear, and the tail. Each had a piece of the whole picture, but none understood how limited his interpretation was, and they fought loudly over who was right, although each was both right and wrong. (Could we call this a case of the blind "misleading" the blind?)

I’ve talked to a Buddhist who felt the Baha'i Faith was too Christian, and to Christians who said it seems Muslim. Others think it is very Jewish. Muslims, on the other hand, don’t officially recognize it as a religion at all, but as heresy. Westerners often say it seems too “Eastern,” while in the Orient, the Baha'i Faith is sometimes proclaimed as being a “Western” religion. For me, all of that blind-man interpretation confirms the universality of the Faith.

The Baha'i Faith is the spiritual extension of all formerly revealed religions, including all those named in the previous paragraph, but is itself an independent world religion. It is neither “Eastern” nor “Western.” It is not a part of any other religion.

Jesus said His sheep would recognize the “voice” of the Shepherd. That’s why I recommend reading the actual words of Baha'u'llah rather than either taking my word for it or allowing someone else to put a stumbling block in your way. See if you recognize in His powerful words, the voice of Jesus.


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I humbly invite you to read my article, "Things of the Spirit", for a challenging personal study strictly from the Bible. Some Christian spiritual seekers may find comfort in reading my Letter to the Preacher.



Invitation Rose

Any time you believe you are a Baha'i,
please pick a rose.




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