From Hindu to Baha’i to Christian

Guess I’m not the only one. Here’s a Hindu woman who embraced the Baha’i Faith, and five years later resigned and became a Christian. She is now a member of the Orthodox Church.

Here is her story. For a blog post, it is exceedingly long (15 type-written pages), but well worth reading. I am amazed at how similar her experience was to mine (except I came from an agnostic background instead of Hindu). Her attraction to the Faith, her puzzlement at the contradictions, and her experience with Protestantism are all similar to my own, and what she says about Eastern Orthodoxy is how I feel about Catholicism.

Two bloggers, Crunchy Con and Wholly Roamin’ Catholic, comment on the story.

My thanks to Steve Marshall for the nice tip.

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15 Responses

  1. Click on the link above for more comment on the story.

    ka kite
    Steve

  2. If I thought the Baha’i Faith teaches the things that she thinks the Baha’i Faith teaches, I wouldn’t be a Baha’i either! She obviously understands some things in the Baha’i Writings very differently from what I, and as far as I can see, just about every other Baha’i, understand(s). I would even go so far as to say that is is pretty clear that she misunderstands them, since some of her assertions about Baha’i beliefs seem to go directly against some very clearly worded scripture…but of course, that is my own opinion.

    I suppose this is pretty much how most religious people feel, that their beliefs are not properly understood by those who criticize them. Whether that is true, that the criticism is a result of misunderstanding as opposed to a genuine falseness of the beliefs themselves, can only be determined by being as fair and open-minded as possible, of course, and entirely free of prejudice and attachments.

    May we all walk the path towards God in a way manner that befits our relationship with Him!

    Anyway, thank you for the interesting read.

  3. I think I used to talk to her on the Planet Baha’i forum. It could be a different person with the same name, but she was also a Hindu who became a Baha’i who was interested in Christianity.

  4. Lukas wrote:
    She obviously understands some things in the Baha’i Writings very differently from what I, and as far as I can see, just about every other Baha’i, understand(s).

    Can you give any examples? I might agree with you, I just don’t know what you’re referring to.

  5. “Here’s a Hindu woman who embraced the Baha’i Faith, and five years later resigned and became a Christian.”

    Here’s a cathecised Roman Catholic man who resigned and became a Baha’i. There is one thing that woman says which I will agree with – “…we have just drawn different conclusions.”

    Puc.

  6. Dear Jonah,
    Through quite extensive discussion with her, I am learning about Orthodox Christianity, on which she kindly enlightens me. One thing that struck me is the Orthodox Christian view on Catholicism. It appears that Catholicism is seen as quite a serious deviation from the original teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit herself and thereby presumably generally held by the apostles and early Christians. The Holy Spirit (who is a Person I have learned) ‘lives’ in the one body of Christ which is the Orthodox Church – the only Church that has preserved the true teachings on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. The rest of Christianity, and obviously other faiths, are at least deviations and sometimes even ‘inspired’ by the devil.
    Is there a similar Catholic view on the Orthodox Church, other Christian denominations and other faiths?

  7. Mr. Rep,

    In my experience there seems to be a lot of anti-Catholic feeling among Orthodox Christians, which leads them to exaggerate the doctrinal differences between Catholic and Orthodox.

    The Catholic position is that the Orthodox churches hold the same faith as us. Their sacraments are the same as ours and just as efficacious, and their doctrines are pretty much the same, too. It’s essentially the same religion.

    There is of course a lot of doctrinal diversity among Protestants. To speak generally, the Catholic view is that they maintained some truths of the gospel and lost others, but we still see them as part of the one Church.

    There are no hard and fast boundaries between who is in and who is out. Rather, everyone is connected to God through the Church in some sense, which varies from person to person, and even within the same person from one period in life to another.

    I should also bring up natural law. Catholics believe that all human beings have an innate faculty for comprehending truth independent of revelation, and this innate faculty is the natural law. Revelation is still necessary because natural law will take you only so far. But since all people have it, that means the followers of other religions have it too.

    Therefore, the Catholic view of other religions is that they all have some truth, and the followers of all religions are capable, by virtue of natural law, of living godly lives. However, the truth in these other religions is mixed with error.

  8. Thanks Jonah for the clear explanation.
    Another question comes to mind (apologies for the many entries on your blog within a short time, I won’t keep that up :-)).
    From the same discussion mentioned above, I learned that at least for some Christians the devil, or various demons, play an important role in this world as real creatures, not just as the individual ego or insistent self. The role of these evil spirits seems to be to keep people away from the true faith in Christ and they even inspire some (like Muhammad for instance) to ‘invent’ new religions for this very purpose. The devil even goes so far as to make following false religions ‘seem good’ outwardly to confuse people. The only way (?) left to ‘check’ if one isn’t influenced by the whisperings of Satan is to sincerely look inward and see if you ‘really’ believe Jesus Christ is God Himself (and also His Son) and to acknowledge to Truth of the Trinity, translated into becoming a member of the Body of Christ, which can either be the Christian Faith in general or a particular Church. What is your take on this?

  9. So let me just sum up her argument:

    Against the historical evidence of the life of Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri (Baha’u’llah) she sides instead with an article of faith.

    That’s not rational– by definition, that is, it’s not rational.

    She comes much closer than have other “ex-Baha’is” on explicitly denying the claims of Baha’u’llah i.e. that He was either deluded or conscientiously perpetrating a fraud. That’s the clearest and really only reasonable standard of judgement for somebody to leave the Baha’i Faith who had sufficient cause to *reasonably* be deemed a believer in the first place.

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, to quote Carl Sagan. And I have found the evidence for Baha’u’llah to be extraordinary– in fact singularly so. However I readily confess that I currently lack the expertise in scholarship and Arabic/Farsi to adequately scrutinize Baha’i writings, the Qur’an and the original historical evidence to make a judgement that I would consider is equal to weight of the issue.

    Along those lines I find that people who either refute the claims of Baha’u’llah or have left the Baha’i Faith don’t come anywhere close to the standard I personally accept as warranted. In fact in every case it’s either been a disillusionment with Administration of the Baha’i Faith or like this lady, who because of her faith in the physical resurrection of Christ judges Baha’u’llah to be a false prophet (which I believe would be a punctilious, if antediluvian, phrase when used in reference to Christianity), makes what is certainly a lax, and even fairly characterized as frivolous, argument lacking any real degree of rigor.

    Personally, I am not even sure that I could, based on the evidence, even come to believe in the historicity of Jesus, not to even begin to mention His physical resurrection (which can only be reasonably characterized as an article of faith), if not for Baha’u’llah who, of course affirms only the former.

    Having said all that I am glad she’s found a religious practice that will help her advance spiritually… Personally I don’t see how one could accept her claims for having been a Baha’i– It’s easy to sign a card attend feast and believe that settles the matter. The standard of investigation is really so high it doesn’t leave any grounds to find recourse in another faith. In anyone’s spiritual search they may be attracted to principles of the Baha’i Faith and for a while ascribe to themselves as being a Baha’i without ever really having becoming confirmed, so to speak, before finding a more satisfying spiritual level of practice. And it’s certainly better to find a religious practice one can honestly participate in rather going through life as Baha’i in name only.

    .

  10. “Personally I don’t see how one could accept her claims for having been a Baha’i– It’s easy to sign a card attend feast and believe that settles the matter. The standard of investigation is really so high it doesn’t leave any grounds to find recourse in another faith.”

    Apparently the Universal House of Justice did. And they are regarded as infallible according to your religion. So, if the infallible institution accepted someone as a believer, who are you to say otherwise?

    It is possible for a person to believe something, and then change their beliefs. It doesn’t mean they were “never believers in the first place”. I also know that she tried very hard to be a Baha’i, and did not take it lightly. It is also not for an individual Baha’i to judge the ‘level’ of faith of their fellow believers.

    “We regard fanaticism and zealotry as redounding to our credit and honor, and not content with this, we denounce one another and plot each other’s ruin, and whenever we wish to put on a show of wisdom and learning, of virtue and godliness, we set about mocking and reviling this one and that. “The ideas of such a one,” we say, “are wide of the mark, and so-and-so’s behavior leaves much to be desired. The religious observances of Zayd are few and far between, and Amr is not firm in his faith. So-and-so’s opinions smack of Europe. Fundamentally, Blank thinks of nothing but his own name and fame….”

    -‘Abdu’l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, pg. 55

  11. Dear Matt,

    I fully agree when you say: “It is … not for an individual Baha’i to judge the ‘level’ of faith of their fellow believers.”, even when that person resigned from the Faith. Faith does not appear to be something that is fully present or absent, but has degrees and goes through stages, crises and resurrections and can switch loyalties.

    You also say “Apparently the Universal House of Justice did. And they are regarded as infallible according to your religion. So, if the infallible institution accepted someone as a believer, who are you to say otherwise?”

    That, to me, is a bit over the top. In the Bahai writings, the Universal House of Justice is promised infallibility specifically regarding application and supplementation of baha’i law. Next to that, the writings say it is the central authority to which baha’is should turn for guidance. The House cannot and does not investigate the integrity of each individual declaration of faith. As you say, ultimately no one can adequately judge that.
    It is the responsibility of the House, though, to pronounce judgement on apparent lack of integrity of faith (as judged from specific activities) when that is damaging the reputation or image of the Faith as represented by the Bahai community. But even that, in my understanding, is not an ultimate judgement of an individual’s personal relation to God.

  12. Mr Rep asked:
    From the same discussion mentioned above, I learned that at least for some Christians the devil, or various demons, play an important role in this world as real creatures, not just as the individual ego or insistent self. …

    What is your take on this?

    I respond to this comment in the post Angels and demons.

  13. Update on my previous comment.

    I am currently a Catechuman and now in the process of converting to the Catholic faith. So what changed?

    I did finally get around to reading about the early Church and Christianity in that very first century. There were lots of beliefs I held which were simply erroneous. The only conclusion I can now come to especially in light of the spread of what latter came to be called Christianity among first century Palestinian Jews is that these people believed in a resurrected Christ. The key here is to understand what was the first century Palestinian’s expectation for the messiah. The best explanation for me in understanding how so many Jews came to believe Christ, who had been crucified by the Roman State, was the messiah is to accept that, at least, they really believed that the resurrection was credible–but even a simple resurrection wouldn’t have been sufficient to explain the large number who came into the fold. Both the resurrection and the work of the Holy Spirit seems necessary to understand the radical re-contextualization of what the Messiah had come to do for those Jews to have accepted a man who had been crucified as such.

    Really understanding Catholic theology came as quite a surprise. I really began to see how there was but one single religion Judeo-Christianity. Christianity isn’t a daughter religion of Judaism. It is a continuation and a fulfillment of it. I thought as a Baha’i it would be very difficult for me to accept certain theological notions such as a Triune God and the fall of Satan. Not only is there clear evidence of the revelation of God’s nature as Triune right there in the first few verses of Genesis, but it seems an extremely odd thing to have ever been invented. I know there are a lot of pagan trinities, but these are actually very, very different things. The Christian Trinity is a unique concept with some startling implications.

    Only Christians because of the Triune nature of God can make the claim that the very essence of God is love–not that God love’s, but that God is in His nature is love itself. In the three Persons of the one God of the Trinity you have the Lover, the beloved and love they share.

    Obviously Islam denies this which brings me to my last point. There aren’t three great monotheistic religions, but rather two mutually exclusive ones. Judeo-Christianity on the one hand and Islam on the other which can not both simultaneously be true. This is because Islam denies both the Triune nature of God and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ–the two most fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and since Islam is predicated on Christianity be true one either must believe the Apostles or believe Muhammad. Interestingly Muhammad’s own confession was that he had been visited by a malicious spirit. Muhammad was suicidal before Khadijah convinced him that he was wrong about the spirit who had visited him and subsequently went on to visit him throughout his life revealing to him the Quran.

    Even though I had read the Quran as a Baha’i and studied Arabic I was inexplicably blind to what a really duplicitous book it actually is. In addition to its duplicity Islam is, factually speaking, dogmatically political and dogmatically violent. Of course Baha’is as well as many Muslims read it differently and excuse, rationalize or otherwise ignore the clear commitments obliging Muslims to engage in political violence–and thank God they do. The fact remains I have to decide between Muhammad or the Apostles.

    So yes I now not only believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ but in his resurrection. As the 3rd century theologian Tertullian put it:

    That God became man is immediately credible because it is silly, That He was resurrected after his death is certain because it is impossible.

    Over the summer I withdrew from the Baha’i Faith. I have yet to find any of the type of duplicity in Baha’u’llah’s writings I find excessively in the Quran. He really seems to have been an impeccable person. Nonetheless the truth of the Baha’i Faith is contingent on the truth of Islam. I will say that although I am still often struck by the brilliance of and alien intelligence of Baha’u’llah’s words I no longer see this as certainty that they must be revealed by God. Likewise I don’t see the Quranic boast that Muhammad’s only miracle was the Quran, itself–something by the way at odds with many Hadith– as convincing either. Catholicism has lead me to understand there are malicious spirits at play in the word who are superior in cunning and intelligence to human beings. Reciting a book no human could reproduce would seem a minor effort.

    Again I don’t extend these criticism to Baha’u’llah’s writings, behavior or person. Nonetheless despite how eminently sane and agreeable they appear superficially, if the faith the Apostle’s handed on to us is the true faith of one and living God then the Baha’i Faith must be every bit as malicious and evil as is Islam (although it is still incredibly difficult for me to say that).

    And so predicated on this line of thought I’ve done a complete about face form my earlier comment.

  14. I just wanted to reply to Aaron…..it is amazing to see the journey you have gone through yourself! Some of the realizations you had were similar to my own. I wrote a lengthier post on this process below, if you are ever interested. Take care, and congratulations!

    https://rebelsprite.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/believing-thomas-how-i-left-the-bahai-faith/

  15. Aaron, thank you for writing. I had stopped maintaining the blog, so I did not see your comment when you made it.

    It sounds like you had a lot of the same eureka moments that I had. When I was investigating Christian beliefs (as a Baha’i who wanted to teach the Faith to Christians), I was also surprised to find that the Christian belief system made more sense than I had imagined it could.

    If my blog had anything to do with motivating you to read up on the early Church, then it was kind of God to let me be a part of that. I think a lot of people who currently dismiss Catholicism would come into it if they just took the time to read about the early Church. The facts are there, if people would only look.

    Thank you for reporting here and telling me you became a Christian. When I left the Faith and became a Christian, I was the only one I knew who did that. As far as I was concerned, I might have been the only person who would ever do it. I didn’t know if anything I was saying on the blog would make sense to anyone. But to see that other people can also go from Baha’i to Christian, it makes it seem like there could be some like-minded people out there who would find value in the blog.

    And it looks like rebelsprite underwent a similar experience? I just tried clicking the link but it no longer works. I wonder how many Baha’i-to-Christian people there are out there.

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