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Ask a Baha’i: Would a Christian need to pray to Bahá’u’lláh, not Jesus, if converting to the Baha’i faith?


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Ask a Baha’i: Would a Christian need to pray to Bahá’u’lláh, not Jesus, if converting to the Baha’i faith?

What do you want to ask A Baha’i? Submit your question online here or in the form below.

If I followed the teaching of Baha’i would I need to change my lifelong relationship with Jesus? I can see how the Baha’i teachings are a valid religious path and that your Manifestation of God, Bahá’u’lláh, is teaching God’s word and guidance for humans living in this crazy world. However, I wonder how can I, as a lifelong Christian, focus my prayers from Jesus to Bahá’u’lláh?

Commentary by Daniel Pschaida | FāVS News

Thank you for this heart-felt question.

Yes, indeed, we Bahá’ís believe that following the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is a continuation of believing in Jesus. Even as Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the Law of Moses but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17-20), Bahá’u’lláh is as even fulfilling blossoming of the perfect flower that is Christ, applying God’s eternal truths—in this age of chaos and confusion—for the spiritualization and unification of the entire planet, constructing together the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Bahá’í writings continually uphold and proclaim the lofty station and divine truth of Jesus. Just as Christians are called to accept the truth of Muhammad in embracing the Bahá’í Faith, Jewish or Zoroastrians are called to embrace the truth of Jesus in believing in Bahá’u’lláh. Likewise, the purity and piety of Jesus’ mother Mary is celebrated in the Qur’án and the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, and the primacy of Peter (as the leader of Jesus’ followers after Him) is affirmed.

The Bahá’í writings say that despite knowing that arising to proclaim His message would result in the hostilities and attacks of the political and religious powers of His day, Jesus still arose to proclaim and embody the reality of agapē love, teaching by word, parable, and example, shedding His blood and giving His body on the cross, to quicken and illuminate all humanity for everlasting life with God. 

What Bahá’í writings say of Jesus

Of Jesus, some of the further praises of him in the Bahá’í writings include:

“The rise of Jesus breathed the breaths of the Holy Spirit into the world”

“Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. … The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit.

We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified. … He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”

“You must listen to the admonition of this Spirit of Truth. You must follow the example and footprints of Jesus Christ. Read the Gospels. Jesus Christ was mercy itself, was love itself. He even prayed in behalf of His executioners — for those who crucified Him — saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If they knew what they were doing, they would not have done it. Consider how kind Jesus Christ was, that even upon the cross He prayed for His oppressors. We must follow His example.”

‘The Faith of Christ encompassed the whole earth’

“In the days of Jesus only a few individuals turned their faces toward God … After the ascension of Jesus to the Realm of Glory, these few souls stood up with their spiritual qualities and with deeds that were pure and holy, and they arose by the power of God and the life-giving breaths of the Messiah to save all the peoples of the earth. Then all the idolatrous nations … rose up in their might to kill the divine fire that had been lit in the lamp of Jerusalem. … Under the fiercest tortures, they did every one of these holy souls to death; with butchers’ cleavers, they chopped the pure and undefiled bodies of some of them to pieces and burned them in furnaces, and they stretched some of the followers on the rack and then buried them alive. In spite of this agonizing requital, the Christians continued to teach the Cause of God … Then in the end the Faith of Christ encompassed the whole earth, so that in Europe and America no traces of other religions were left, and today in Asia and Africa and Oceania, large masses of people are living within the sanctuary of the Four Gospels.”

Following Bahá’u’lláh actually continues your relationship with Jesus

So, no, following the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, you would not be changing your lifelong relationship with Jesus but continuing it. In fact, you probably read about in Professor Stockman’s excellent introduction, “The Bahai Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed,” that the Manifestations of God share the same reality as Vehicles of God’s eternal light of Revelation.

They are compared to stainless mirrors, perfectly turned to the sun in the sky, who reflect that light to humankind, so we can know, love, and be quickened by God’s living Word, and grow in our relationship with God. Each mirror may have physically looked different, had a different name while they walked on earth, and a somewhat different emphasis in their message, but Abraham, Moses, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh all reflect the same Light of God. As Bahá’ís, we believe that it is one and the same perfect Divine Light that we love in the Manifestations of God Jesus and Bahá’u’lláh:

Every one of them is a mirror of God, reflecting naught else but His Self, His Beauty, His Might and Glory … All else besides them are to be regarded as mirrors capable of reflecting the glory of these Manifestations Who are themselves the Primary Mirrors of the Divine Being…

‘We liken God to the Sun’

This, in my understanding, is what the Gospel of John calls “the Word” that was from the beginning, made and gave life to all, the Light of all people and made flesh, and which Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 13:8 says “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” By the Manifestation of God, our soul communes with the same Spirit of God:

We liken God to the Sun, which gives us all our life. So the Spirit of God reaches us through the Souls of the Manifestations. We must learn to commune with Their Souls, and this is what the Martyrs seemed to have done, and what brought them such ecstasy of joy that life became nothing. This is the true mysticism, and the secret, inner meaning of life which humanity has at present, drifted so far from.

A mature humanity ready to receive the next Manifestation of God

Now humanity is mature enough to receive and apply this one and the same Light announced by Jesus, shining through Bahá’u’lláh, to the problems of humanity on a global scale — religious dissension and bloodshed, national contentions and wars, racial discrimination and violence, gender inequities, extremes of poverty. Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings of love and unity, as the divine Physician, teaches us to cure the spiritual ills and social problems of the entire planet — those demons, which you speak of, that afflict humankind on the individual and collective level.

The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. — Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 212

That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. — Gleanings, p. 254

The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared. — Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 80

Wishing for you to be entirely wrapped whole in the tender blessings of God — our heart’s Physician!

The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

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Daniel Pschaida
Daniel Pschaidahttps://danielazimpschaida-reflections.blogspot.com
Daniel Pschaida hails from San Diego and married into the Spokane area where he has made his home since 2017. Passionate about Spokane’s interfaith movement, basketball, Harry Potter books and nature hikes with his wife Tiara, he also teaches comparative religion at Gonzaga University and history at Eastern Washington University. You can also sometimes find his shared, personal reflections on the Baha'i writings on his blog.

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