Progressive unifications?

I have a question about this passage in The Promised Day Is Come, pages 117-118:

This will indeed be the fitting climax of that process of integration which, starting with the family, the smallest unit in the scale of human organization, must, after having called successively into being the tribe, the city-state, and the nation, continue to operate until it culminates in the unification of the whole world, the final object and the crowning glory of human evolution on this planet.

Does each specific stage correspond exactly to a specific Manifestation? Did one Manifestation bring about the unification of families, and a later one of tribes, and so on? And if so, which Manifestation is responsible for which stage?

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18 Responses

  1. No, it is not quite that straightforward, at least not as I understand it, because there have been many Manifestations we have forgotten over time.

    However roughly, if I had to make a list of the top of my head.

    Krishna – Nationstate
    Abraham – Family/Tribe
    Moses – Nationstate
    Buddha – Individual Salvation
    Jesus – Individual Salvation
    Muhammad – Nationstate again.
    The Bab – Actually caused separation to make a distinct breeding ground for the Baha’i Faith.
    Baha’u’llah – World Unity.

    See, pretty organic, and I don’t know enough about Zoroaster to fit Him in, but the premise is sound, as in each area a Manifestation comes to is taught a greater unity, but some areas are more advanced than others when He comes.

  2. Shoghi Effendi seems to say that the pace by which material civilization develops is set by humanity, not the manifestation. That concept is explored by Zaid Lundberg in Baha’i Apocalypticism – The Concept of Progressive Revelation, ch. 7, and the points made there may have some bearing on your question.

    I’m inclined to think there’s only a loose correspondence between stages and manifestations, but i’ll be interested in seeing where this discussion goes.

  3. It’s an interesting historical meta-narrative, but I suspect it’s not historically sound.

    Ruhiwarrior, can you provide historical corroboration for your schema?

  4. >>It’s an interesting historical meta-narrative, but I suspect it’s not historically sound.

    >>Ruhiwarrior, can you provide historical corroboration for your schema?

    No, and I didn’t claim I could. This was off the top of my head, the message I thought these Messengers taught. I am not a history buff of great enough experience to do much with this, and I think taking religion as history is silly. My point was only religious, if you examine the writings of those Messengers, their revelations were aimed at specific groups of people.

  5. heh…

    <>

    What do you mean by this? Shoghi Effendi doesn’t seem to think it’s silly.

  6. = “… and I think taking religion as history is silly. “

  7. Hmm, I seem to remember Shoghi Effendi often saying that certain things needed to be left to historians and scholars. He was actually very careful not to mix History as Religion. But, as always we seem to be reading different Shogh Effendis.

  8. Ruhiwarrior19,

    Please LOOK at and READ the quote.

    Shoghi Effendi is making a historical claim; he is setting out a chronology of events that have allegedly occured in the past!

    I don’t understand your silly religion/history distinction. Do religions not have a history? Does religious history not unfold within broader human history?

    And no, Shoghi Effendi never said anything about the work of future scholars within the context of this quote. He is making a doctrinal statement in that quote.

  9. “This will indeed be the fitting climax of that process of integration which, starting with the family, the smallest unit in the scale of human organization, must, after having called successively into being the tribe, the city-state, and the nation, continue to operate until it culminates in the unification of the whole world, the final object and the crowning glory of human evolution on this planet.”

    If you call that a Historical claim, you need to try reading some history. Yes, he is making a broad statement about the position of the Baha’i Revelation in a religious context, but he does not make any attempt to set forth a historical theory backed by evidence or speculation. Read the Lights of Guidance, where he makes it clear that he thinks that that sort of endeavor should be left to scholars.

    Of course religions have histories, I have a history too, does that make me a Historian?

  10. He’s making a claim about the CHRONOLOGY of sociological EVENTS in human development that occured in the PAST so as to place CURRENT events in an intelligible context. If you don’t see that as a historical claim, then we have nothing else to discuss.

    Of course he doesn’t, because he’s making a dogmatic statement, as per usual. And he doesn’t say anything about future scholars investigating and evaluating his claims – he simply asserts that future scholars will vindicate his claim, which is in line with his dogmatism.

    Huh? I asked you to just ify your unclear juxtaposition between history and religion. So if by your question you admit to being ignorant about this whole matter then there’s really no point in continuing this.

  11. My second paragraph was a response to:
    “…he does not make any attempt to set forth a historical theory backed by evidence or speculation. Read the Lights of Guidance, where he makes it clear that he thinks that that sort of endeavor should be left to scholars.”

    My third paragraph was a response to: “Of course religions have histories, I have a history too, does that make me a Historian?”

  12. This makes no sense, you are talking about Shoghi Effendi making a claim dogmatically without presenting proof, but you are taking a single quote out of context. This is a pretty idiotic discussion, as obviously neither of us are going to budge, but here is some evidence that Shoghi Effendi did call for scholarly explanations of scholarly questions.

    As for me being ignorant in the whole matter, I made that clear at the beginning, I am not a historian and I cannot back up any claims I make, I did not even make my statements as claims. I simply said these were the Messages I obtain from the teachings of particular Messengers.

    These are about specific questions, but read through lights of guidance and you will see him acquiesce to scholarship whenever it is appropriate. Shoghi Effendi made no claim to be a historian.

    Brahma and Krishna: “Your question concerning Brahma and Krishna: such matters, as no reference occurs to them in the Teachings, are left for students of history and religion to resolve and clarify.”

    (April 14, 1941, to an individual believer)

    Actual Dates of Prophets of Adamic Cycle Not Given: “There are no dates in our teachings regarding the actual dates of the Prophets of the Adamic Cycle, so we cannot give any. Tentatively we can accept what historians may consider accurate. Naturally the dates referring to Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh we are sure of.”

    (November 25, 1950 to an individual believer) 504

    (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 503)

  13. “Shoghi Effendi made no claim to be a historian.”

    Oh, yeah? So I guess God Passes By is a work of fiction.

    You seem to be suggesting that Shoghi Effendi is offering a hypothesis that can be either confirmed or disonconfirmed by scholarly research.

    I doubt many Bahais share that view about the status his remarks.

  14. “I doubt many Bahais share that view about the status his remarks.”
    That is nice for them.

    ““Shoghi Effendi made no claim to be a historian.”

    Oh, yeah? So I guess God Passes By is a work of fiction. ”

    Yes, exactly, because there is no difference between writing a book that deals with historical and religious events and being a trained and educated historian conforming to accepted standards of historicity.

    If you really think this discussion is going anywhere, I would love to continue it, But I doubt it.

  15. I’d love to continue this, but only if you promise to be cogent, a highly unlikely prospect given the strained logic of your (seemingly) facetious comment.

    So writing about “historical and religious events” is not writing about history? What is it then? (Is this where you re-introduce your spurious and unclarified religion/history distinction?)

    What your sarcastic remark implies is that Shoghi Effendi’s God Passes By does not conform to the standards of historical scholarship, which would in effect undermine the integrity of the book since it’s about the HISTORY of the Bahai Faith.

    No, you don’t have to be a formally trained historian to write history, but that doesn’t exempt you from the accepted standards of historical scholarship when writing histories or making historical claims. You seem to want to grant Shoghi Effendi the right to write about history without the burden of the standards of evidence used by historians.

    I’m not a professional baseball player, but I still have to adhere to the rules when I play recreationally.

  16. quote:
    I have a question about this passage in The Promised Day Is Come, pages 117-118:

    This will indeed be the fitting climax of that process of integration which, starting with the family, the smallest unit in the scale of human organization, must, after having called successively into being the tribe, the city-state, and the nation, continue to operate until it culminates in the unification of the whole world, the final object and the crowning glory of human evolution on this planet.

    Does each specific stage correspond exactly to a specific Manifestation? Did one Manifestation bring about the unification of families, and a later one of tribes, and so on? And if so, which Manifestation is responsible for which stage?
    /quote

    Avoiding all the tangents that seem to have crept into this topic, the answer to your question is “No”.

    Each specific stage does -not- correspond exactly or specifically to a given Manifestation of God.

    It would be very difficult to imagine a realistic situation where such an approach would makde sense.

  17. I think this analogy is not meant to be taken literally as the exact truth, but as a basic time-line as to how each major Prophet influenced the world and its people’s psychology, world-view, etc. Anyone who studies history enough knows that history is not that neat. We progress and regress. Sometimes we go through periods of great technological advancements, and sometimes we don’t. The 20th century saw more casualties of war in one century than perhaps any century, and this is supposed to be century that inherited the ‘enlightenment’. So, no, this time-line that Baha’is use should in no way be meant to view world history in this neat little package of family, tribe, city-state, nation, world society, of which were inspired by some Prophet.

  18. Swirk online education tells the story: “Martin Luther has been remembered in history as the man who set the wheels in motion for the Protestant Reformation in Europe. He was a young monk who, on ‘;All Saint’s Eve’ in 1917, wrote 95 controversial statements challenging the Catholic Church and stuck them to the door of a Church in Germany. Within weeks of Luther presenting his 95 theses, pamphlets outlining his statements were copied, printed and distributed across Germany. Eventually these pamphlets also reached people in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, Scotland and England.When the Pope ordered that Luther either recant (take back) his statements, or face excommunication (have his membership to the Church taken away), Luther became even more determined to challenge the Church. He stood by his word, but was eventually forced to flee Germany and seek refuge in Saxony. When supporters of Luther heard he had been excommunicated, people all across Germany began protesting. Many had read the pamphlets outlining his 95 theses and shared his criticisms of certain aspects of the Church.

    Other factors leading to the Protestant Reformation

    While Martin Luther and his 95 theses are generally accepted as the major trigger for the start of Europe’s Protestant Reformation, the movement can not be not be attributed to the actions of one man alone. Discontent with the Catholic Church had been rising within the European population for a long time. The poor were unhappy at the wealth of the Church and the way that having more money meant that people could essentially buy their way into being deemed a ‘;better’ Catholic. The rich were jealous of the power and influence that the Pope and clergy held in society.In addition to this, people from all levels of society liked Luther’s position on human justification and salvation. They liked the way Luther argued that salvation could be achieved through having faith in God alone, because this was more respectful of individual will than Catholicism. By supporting Luther, people therefore felt dignified and empowered.

    Protestantism branches out from Lutheranism

    The Protestant Reformation in Europe formed one of the most significant periods of European history because it broke the almighty power of the Catholic Church and split the continent into two religious camps: the Catholics and the Protestants (or the non-Catholics). Although there were now two distinct sides, however, the non-Catholics were not part of a united movement. The Lutheran Church (also known as Lutheranism) is the branch of Protestantism that was inspired by the vision and teachings of Martin Luther. When Protestantism spread to other parts of Europe, however, it was often modified by other religious leaders. While all Protestants were in some way discontent with Catholicism, they did not all agree on exactly what needed to be changed. This is why a number of different churches emerged in Europe during the Protestant Reformation; examples being the Anabaptist, Anglican, Calvinist and Presbyterian churches.

    Different experiences of the Reformation in Europe

    While the Protestant Reformation was felt across almost all of Western Europe, the movement was most definitely at its strongest in the North. The southern countries of Spain, Italy and Portugal remained predominantly Catholic and Catholicism is still the dominant religion of these regions today. Regardless, humanism and secularism has spread unabated throughout both Protestant and Catholic Europe, showing the Church is no longer respected and has lost a great deal of its potency over the years up to its present predicament.”

    Key events which took away the Catholic Churches dominance forever: The Council of Nicea (false doctrine of the Trinity was put together in spite of protests of many); the coming of Muhammad (preached oneness of God and developed nation building momentum) and eventually the Bab and Baha’u’llah (the Twin Manifestations of the New Jerusalem).

    No doubt that with the development of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into English, the growth of public education and literacy, and the democratization of the family and institutions all triggered by the Baha’i Revelation have led to the Church’s decline in clergy, nuns and attendance. Priests are no longer needed, Baha’u’llah stripped them of their power with His message to the Pope to sell his riches, leave the Vatican and marry.

    The growth of the New World Order under the banner of Baha’u’llah involves all of these inventions bringing the world together with one universal auxiliary language (English), the United Nations, World Council of Churches and many more globalist movements triggered by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of this Era–Baha’u’llah, all glory be to Him.

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