Theology, dogma and traditions

Theology, dogma and traditions.


230. Theology, dogma and traditions: As Bahá’ís we, like many other people, understand that theology is the study of the word of God by man. One needs to realize though, that theology is created by man and therefore is not infallible. In other words, we, as Gods children, have a duty to ourselves to study what the word of God tells us, for ourselves, otherwise we could be just like those who missed the ministry of Jesus Christ. The people of Jesus’ time listened to the theology and traditions of the Pharisees who rejected Christ out of ignorance and led the people down the wrong path. the cross-5pix Christianity: Matthew 15:14 “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Man’s desire to hold onto theology and tradition can have a blinding effect on people who, out of ignorance, reject Gods holy word and deny Gods holy messengers in favor of a dogma handed down to them by their parents and clergy. 1 Peter 1:18 “Know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” This is one of the main reasons why the people of Jesus’ time denied him: John 5:45 “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.” John 5:46 “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” John 5:47 “But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” This undaunted fixation, some of the highest stars in the heavens of religion (the religious leaders) have with theology, tradition and dogma is one of the main reasons Christ was crucified by the people. 1 Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” 1 Corinthians 2:8 “Which none of the princes (the religious leaders) of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (Jesus Christ)

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “The Jews were expecting the coming of the Messiah, lamenting day and night, saying: ‘O God, send to us our deliverer!’ But as they walked in the path of dogmas, rather than reality, when the Messiah appeared they denied him. Had they been investigators of reality, they would not have crucified – but would have recognized him instantly.”

(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 153)

   Because of theology, dogma and tradition, Christ was crucified. It was because of theology, tradition and dogma in religion that caused the Báb to suffer martyrdom and Bahá’u’lláh spend a great portion of his life in exile and in prison.

The shrine-17pix BABI RELIGION: “Although dominated by legalistic concerns, Shi’i intellectual life has readily encompassed the implicitly dissenting traditions of speculative theology, philosophy and gnosis.”

(Peter Smith, The Babi & Baha’i Religions, p. 8)

   The practice of holding on tightly to religious dogma, tradition and theology by various religious clergy and parishioners is the reason early Christianity took hundreds of years to become a world religion. the cross-5pix Christianity: John 8:43 “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.” It is the same today as it was back then; Theology and tradition is a big stumbling block for the people. 1 Peter 2:8 “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”  We need to learn to study the word of God for ourselves and come to our own conclusions before the ignorance of people leads us down the wrong path.

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “Beware lest theology prevent thee from the King of the known, or the world from Him who created and left it. Arise in the name of thy Lord, the Merciful, amidst the assembly of beings, and take the cup of life in the hand of assurance; drink thou therefrom first; then give it to drink to those who advance of the people of religions. Thus hath the Moon of the Bayan shone forth from the horizon of wisdom and evidence. Rend asunder the veils of theology lest they prevent thee from the region of My Name, the Self-existent.” “Remember when the Spirit (Christ) came; he who was the most learned of the doctors of His age gave a sentence against Him in the chief city of His country, while those who caught fish believed in Him; be admonished, then, O people of understanding!

(Bahá’í Faith, Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 98)

the cross-25pix CHRISTIANITYMark 7:8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” Traditions associated with Christianity and other religions are the beliefs and customs accepted by men, that the words of God have a certain meaning, which may or may not be correct, and that prophecies will be fulfilled only a certain way regardless of the fact that other meanings may be the reality:

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “People are too easily led by tradition. It is because of this that they are often antagonistic….”

(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 27)

The shrine-17pix BABI RELIGION: “Cast off dogma and discern the true spirit of its founder.”

(Peter Smith, The Bábí & Bahá’í Religions, p. 109)

the cross-25pix CHRISTIANITYMark 7:9 “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

The shrine-17pix BABI RELIGION: “With the Qur’án in hand. It was an easy matter for him to show before all these crowds who knew the Mullas well, at which point their conduct, their precepts, and to what extent their beliefs, even their theology, were in flagrant contradiction with the Book, which they could not deny.”

The Bab: (Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 158)

the cross-25pix CHRISTIANITYMark 7:13 “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “A third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that traditions, or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis of human knowing.” (Bahá’í Faith, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 251) “When we consider the third criterion, traditions upheld by theologians as the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book. By what means has this understanding, this interpretation been reached? By the analysis of human reason. When we read the Book of God the faculty of comprehension by which we form conclusions is reason. Reason is mind. If we are not endowed with perfect reason, how can we comprehend the meanings of the Word of God? Therefore human reason, as already pointed out, is by its very nature finite and faulty in conclusions. It cannot surround the Reality Itself, the Infinite Word. Inasmuch as the source of traditions and interpretations (theology) is human reason, and human reason is faulty, how can we depend upon its findings for real knowledge?” “Therefore man is not justified in saying: ‘I know because I perceive through my senses or I know because it’s proved through my faculty of reason or I know because it’s according to tradition and interpretation of the holy book or I know because I am inspired.’ All human standard of judgment is faulty, finite.”’

(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 253)

the cross-25pix CHRISTIANITYColossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Luke 6:39 “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” The blind, those religious leaders who are so steeped in religious theology and tradition that they can’t see the light of religious truth for the dogma of the religion, lead the blind, those people who do not study the religious word for themselves, who wait on other people to tell them what they should believe, are both at risk of failing to see Gods chosen one for this day; as they failed to see the light of truth in the days of Christ. Titus 1:13 “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “The beginnings of all great religions were pure; but priests, taking possession of the minds of the people, filled them with dogmas and superstitions, so that religion became gradually corrupt.”

(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 125)

   So, through the traditions and theology of men Jesus Christ was rejected by the Jewish clergy and by in large the Jewish people, because he didn’t fit into their traditions; this is also the case for today. Bahá’u’lláh, like Christ, does not necessarily fit into the preconceived notions or traditions of the men of today. He comes to us with Gods Holy Word not the preconceived notions that are the ideas of man’s creations.

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “A Bahá’í, through this faith in, this conscious knowledge of, the reality of divine Revelation, can distinguish, for instance, between Christianity, which is the divine message given by Jesus of Nazareth, and the development of Christendom, which is the history of what men did with that message in subsequent centuries, a distinction which has become blurred if not entirely obscured in current Christian theology.”

(Bahá’í Faith, The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 389)

The shrine-17pix BABI RELIGION: “How numerous the verses which have been revealed concerning the grievous tests ye shall experience on the Day of Judgement, yet it appeareth that ye have never perused them; and how vast the number of revealed traditions regarding the trials which will overtake you on the Day of Our Return, and yet ye seem never to have set your eyes upon them.”

(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 140)

Islamic symbol-10 pix ISLAM: 83. “But none believed in Moses except some children of his People, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds.” (The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr) Surah  10)

Jewish symbols-13pix JUDAISMEcclesiastes 1:13 “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” Ecclesiastes 7:25 “I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things:” It is, as I stated earlier, our need if not our obligation to seek out the reason of things.

   Solomon tells us that we should use wisdom to seek out the meaning of things, that we should try to understand everything done under the sun. This includes our trying to understand the writings of God, and yet many leave this gathering of spiritual knowledge to others: Jewish symbols star-8pix JudaismDeuteronomy 29:4 “Yet The LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Ecclesiastes 8:16 “When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)” 8:17 “Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” Thus mankind develops theology thinking, with his mind, thinking he knows the true meaning of the word. the cross-5pix Christianity: Mark 4:12 “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

the greatest name-12pixBAHA’I FAITH: “Bahá’u’lláh continually urges man to free himself from the superstitions and traditions of the past and become an investigator of reality, for it will then be seen that God has revealed his light many times in order to illumine mankind in the path of evolution, in various countries and through many different prophets, masters and sages.”

(Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 8)

the greatest name 8 pixBaha’i Faith: “It is the true religion of the welfare of human society, it has neither priests nor dogmas, and it binds together all the human beings who inhabit this little globe.”

(Moojan Momen, The Babi  and Baha’i Religions, p. 55)

Islamic symbol-10 pix ISLAM: 9. “Say: ‘I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration: I am but a Warner open and clear.”’

(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah  46)

Islamic symbol-5pix Islam: “Let every nation follow what they used to worship, and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.”’ They will be blind to the new manifestation of God, Allah will send them. They have eyes to see, but don’t see the true light of Allah (God) when it dawns, and fail to hear the truth of His words, but, instead, hold onto the literal words of their holy books, failing to see the new light of the spirit of God in the words of the new manifestation, and the new book.

(Hadith, Bukhari Vol 9, Book 93, # 532)

Islamic symbol-5pix Islam: “The Prophet said, ‘He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us.”’

(Islam, Hadith, Bukhari Vol 2, Book 23, Number 382)

Islamic symbol-5pix Islam: “The Prophet said, ‘The most hated persons to Allah are three: (1) A person who deviates from the right conduct, i.e., an evil doer (2) a person who seeks that the traditions of the Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance, should remain in Islam (3) and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right .”

(Hadith, Bukhari Vol 9, Book 83, Number 21)

Islamic symbol-5pix Islam170. When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah hath revealed,” they say: “Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers.” “What! even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?

(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 2)

Zoroastrian symbol-12pix  ZOROASTRIANISM: 7. “Can they be true to thee, O Mazda (God), who by their doctrines turn the known inheritances of Good Thought into misery and woe. I know none other but you, O Right, so do ye protect us.”

(Zoroaster, The Zend-Avesta, Avesta – Yasna 34)

Zoroastrian symbol-5pix Zoroastrianism: Denkard. Zoroaster, “Be it known that the yearning for immoral apostate dogmas makes him (man) vicious, the ignorance of the good religion destroys the propensities [lit. thoughts] for acts of merit. Owing to his fondness for comfort man grows too idle to think of acts of merit.”

Zoroastrian symbol-5pix Zoroastrianism: “Real religion is killed by too many rites.” “How long will you go on dallying with the shape of the jug? Leave the jug alone (the religious teachings); seek water (the spirit within the teachings).” 

(ZOROASTER, Hymns of Atharvan p. 107)

Hindu symbol-10pix HINDUISM: 95. “All those traditions (smriti) and those despicable systems of philosophy, which are not based on the Veda, produce no reward after death; for they are declared to be founded on Darkness.”

(Hindu, Laws of Manu chapter 12)

Hindu symbol 5-pix Hinduism: “Nor must we forget that though oral tradition, when once brought under proper discipline, is a most faithful guardian, it is not without its dangers in its incipient stages. Many a word may have been misunderstood, many a sentence confused, as it was told by father to son, before it became fixed in the tradition of a village community, and then resisted by its very sacredness all attempts at emendation.” “Lastly, we must remember that those who handed down the ancestral treasures of ancient wisdom, would often feel inclined to add what seemed useful to themselves, and what they knew could be preserved in one way only, namely, if it was allowed to form part of the tradition that had to be handed down, as a sacred trust, from generation to generation. The priestly influence was at work, even before there were priests by profession, and when the priesthood had once become professional, its influence may account for much that would otherwise seem inexplicable in the sacred codes of the ancient world.”

(Hindu Upanishads vol. 1, Introduction to the Upanishads, vol. 1)

Hindu symbol 5-pix Hinduism: 5. “Coveting the property of others, thinking in one’s heart of what is undesirable, and adherence to false (doctrines), are the three kinds of (sinful) mental action.” 95. “All those traditions (smriti) and those despicable systems of philosophy, which are not based on the Veda, produce no reward after death; for they are declared to be founded on Darkness.”

(Hindu, Laws of Manu chapter 12)

Buddhist wheel symbol-10 pix BUDDHISM: 22. “Those who are ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of and are not ashamed of what they should be ashamed of, such people, following false doctrines, enter the wrong path.” “Those who fear what they should not fear and do not fear what they should fear, such people, following false doctrines, enter the wrong path.” “Those who discern wrong where there is no wrong and see nothing wrong in what is wrong, such people, following false doctrines, enter the wrong path.”

(Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))

Dharma wheel Buddhist symbols-5pix Buddhism: 11. “By confidence, virtue, effort and concentration, By the investigation of the Doctrine, By being endowed with knowledge and conduct And by keeping your mind alert, Will you leave this great suffering behind.”

(Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 3 (tr. J. Richards))

Mandaean symbol-15pix SABEANISM: “The name of the great Mystery, the mystic Word, is pronounced upon thee.” The word beyond theology and dogma. (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba-173)