World Religions


Baha’i Faith

By Reeves 

Brief Introduction

The youngest world religion, Baha’i, Originated in 19th century as an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. Baha’i is a movement started by an Iranian wool merchant and a Shi’ite Muslim aimed to reform Islam.

On May 23, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia, a young man, Mizra Ali Muhammed, known as the Bab, said that God’s messenger was about to appear.

Babs work was to prepare a way for this messenger, he would be the living door or “the gate.” Bab’s teaching became widely known throughout Iran, but provoked opposition

He finally died by execution. One of Bab’s earliest disciples was Mizra Husain Ali, who was assumed the name of Baha’u’llah whan he renounced his social standing and joined the Babis.

He self-proclaimed that he was the long-awaited prophet. Baha’u’llah began organizing and composed many of the now known Baha’i scriptures for the movement, which became known as Baha’i.

Baha’u’llah died at Bahji and was succeeded by his eldest son Abd ul-Baha to be the leader.

Baha’i’s Holy Book

One of the most important scripture is The Most Holy Book containing the laws governing Baha’i. The writings and spoken words of the Babs (or Bobs), Baha’u’llah, and Abd ul-Baha form the sacred literature of the Baha’i Faith. Some of the most notable of the one hundred volumes of the Baha’i scripture are:

1. Selections from the writings of the Bab.

2. Tablets of Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdes (considered to be the most holy).

3. Book of Certitude (kitab-i-iqan).

4. Baha’i Prayers.

Baha’i Beliefs

The basic Principles of the Baha’i Faith includes the oneness of the world of humanity; the foundation of all religions as one; the religion must be the cause of unity. This is so because according the Baha’i people,”all faith is unified in the eyes of God,” and that there are certain principles under which God intended us to live.” The laws and obligations of the Baha’i Faith are:

1. Pray daily

2. Read the holy writings from various religions

3. Fasting from sunrise to sunset

4. Contribute to Baha’i financial fund

5. Abstain from drugs and alcohol

5. Avoid gossip etc

Least we forget, Baha’i Faith is a monotheistic religion such Judaism and Christianity. Baha’u’llah taught that there is one God, the eternal Creator, who is essentially unknowable.

Baha’i is syncretistic, claiming that the world’s major religions are not contradictory or even competitive but equally true. Baha’i also teaches that Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad all of whom were valid manifestations of God. Yet Baha’u’llah claimed to be more of significance than all previous manifestations including Jesus.

The key of Baha’i beliefs must be highlighted, thus the following are:

  1. The Primacy of Love
  2. New Role for Humanity
  3. The Twelve Principles
  4. Oneness of God
  5. Foundation Beliefs
  6. Successive Revelations
  7. Basic Unity of All religions
  8. Religious Dialogue
  9. Prejudice
  10. Racial Unity
  11. Equality for Women
  12. Economic Justice
  13. Universal Education
  14. World Federal System
  15. Science

Baha’i Worship

Baha’i have no clergy, sacraments or rituals. Baha’i as such is pretty much individualistic; that is they are responsible for his or her own spiritual growth.

Baha’i Faith and Christianity

It is said that Baha’i people are committed follower of Jesus Christ, but denies what the New Testament declares as truth in the same process. Basic Baha’i faith are diametrically opposed to biblical Christianity. The Baha’i also rejects the fundamental teachings of the New Testament such as:

  1. The Trinity
  2. The Deity of Christ
  3. Virgin Birth of Christ
  4. The physical Resurrection of Christ
  5. Christ’s Atonement (the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind,)
  6. Salvation by Faith In Christ Alone
  7. The Holy Scripture as Final Authority
  8. The Second Coming of Christ

This shows that what Baha’i faith followers follows in Jesus and embrace are only those they consider authentic teachings of Christ that are in accord with their principles. This means to say is they “pick out” the ones that agrees the teaching of Baha’u’llah.

This also means that only some part of the Bible is from God but this is contrary to what the Scripture says, “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Baha’i in its relativistic system teaches that all religions are valid way to God. Again, this goes against to what Jesus said namely that He is, “The Way, The Truth, The Life” (Jn. 14:6). As you can clearly see, Baha’i Faith is irreconcilable with Christianity. As Dr. Walter Martin said,

There is very little indeed that a true Christian can have in common with the faith of Baha’i. There is simply no common ground on which to meet…The Baha’i Faith is at its very core anti-Christian theology [The Kingdom of The Cult].

Jehovah’s Witness

By Reeves

Introduction 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses officially known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded by a fella Charles Taze Russell. He was born February 16, 1852, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

As a young lad without theological degrees, organized a Bible study group and was ordained by his member as “pastor.” In late 1800’s Charles founded and published the magazine Zion’s Watchtower. It contains his odd interpretation of the Bible. 

After Charles Taze Russell’s death came Joseph F. Rutherford become the successor of the Watchtower Community. The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted during his rulership. Rutherford died in 1942 and was replaced by a fella Nathan Knorr. 

The members of the Watchtower increased from 115,000 to 2 million members under his presidency. During 1961 the society produced their self-proclaimed English translation of the Bible entitled The New World Translation of Holy Scriptures.

The Credo’s of Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • Unusual Practices 

For some odd reason a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) must refuse Blood Transfusion. One must not wear a cross necklace not even just an ornament. They refuse to be active in the political arena such as refusing to vote elections, salute the flag or sing a national anthem. Christmas and birthdays are excluded too. Serving in armed forces is an absolute a no no in their practice. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are commanded to be very active to proselytizing for the movement. 

  • Source of Authority 

There are no “articles of faith” or authoritative doctrinal statements according to their beliefs. Most of their theological views are found in their different publications, including the famous The Watchtower and Awake.

  •  JW’s And Its Doctrines 

Trinity, is denied. According to them the doctrine was not conceived by Jesus or the early professing Christians. In the field of their theological studies, Jesus Christ deity as God incarnate is denied. Their favorite biblical passages they use to quote denying Christ’s deity are John 1:1, John 14.28 and Colossians 1:15. They often refers to these verses to read the texts out of contexts. 

Jesus Christ according to Jehovah’s Witnesses was just an ordinary created being-a human just like you and me. Holy Spirit to JW’s is not part of the Godhead. JW’s believe in forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ plus total obedience to Watchtower Society. Salvation for a Jehovah’s follower is through good deeds. 

Christ bodily resurrection is denied and the Second coming of Jesus distorted. Infallibility of the Scripture, Final Judgment, and eternal life in heaven are also distorted in their doctrinal beliefs. JW’s also teaches that there is no salvation outside the Watchtower Society.

A Response to Jehovah’s Witnesses 

Christ Deity 

JW’s denial of Christ’s deity wasn’t originated by Charles T. Russell but by a man called Arius. Arius was a fourth century heretic whose false theology and doctrine was opposed and condemned at the council of Nicea in 325. Arius or Arianism as its called for this teaching was opposed, and exposed his distortions of the Bible by Alexander the mentor of Athanasius. 

Later, Athanasius wrote a skillful defence of Christ’s deity entitled On Incarnation. I’m just going to write a couple of common “proof text” to rebut JW’s false doctrine namely, Christ was just a created being.

John 1:1 

The Scripture reads, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (KJV) But according to NWT corrupt rendition of the last clause of John 1:1 it says ” In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.” The reading of “…the Word [Christ] was a god” totally changed its original meaning. 

The letter a is not in the original Greek text. JW’s maintains that Jesus is only a created being a lesser god. But for the sake of the argument, lets say that Jesus was just a god, this will only add up more difficulties since the Judeo-Christian doctrine is exclusively monotheistic (Is.43:10)! 

To suggest that Jesus is just a lesser god is tantamount to that their are other god beside YHWH! 

John 14:28 

Jesus says, “the Father is greater than I” JW’s frequently uses this verse as a proof text to support their false presupposition about Jesus’ deity. 

If Jehovah is greater than Jesus then Jesus cannot be god. This is just a simple misunderstanding of the text. What Jesus meant about the “greater I” was that God the Father is greater by position, but not by nature, since both are God. Jesus is lower in office, in function in position-As man. 

Jesus is also equal to the Father, in essence, in nature, in character-As God. We have to remember that Jesus has two nature;God-man. Jesus wasn’t denying His deity as God.

Colossians 1:16 “All things” or “All [other] things” 

If one cannot change a meaning to a text all he can do is to add a word to it so that it might appear more appealing. Yet this is exactly what the JW’s did adding a word other into the verse of Col. 1:16 in their NWT. Did the word other existed in the original Greek texts? 

No. The word other is not in the Greek original text. They believe that Jesus is Micheal the Archangel a created being, therefore, they have to add other four times in to the text to justify their false doctrine. JW’s main point about Col. 1:16 is to show that God created Jesus and Jesus in the same token created other things. 

Let’s read Col. 1:16 in its original rendering, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him…” 

Again, if we read Isaiah 44:24, where God says, “I am the Lord, that maketh all things, stretchet forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” If Jesus created others along with God then why did God say that He did the creating by Himself?

Bibliography__________

Kingdom of Cults,Water Martin; Bethany House Publisher

Reasoning From The Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ron Rhodes;Harvest House Publishers

 Hare Krishna 

By Reeves

Brief Introduction

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a major Hindu sect. ISKCON is a modern school of Vishnu Hinduism that developed from the fifteeth-century teachings of a man named Chaitanya, who instituted worship of Vishnu as God, opposed to the local worship of Shiva.

Chaitanya taught that Krishna was the supreme personality of the Godhead. Chaitanya Mahaprabu (1486-1534) was the key figure in the revival of devotional religion which took place in Bengal.

He got his inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita, the most influential of Hindu scriptures. Chaitanya emphasized liberation (mukti) through devotional love and service to Krishna as the ultimate and personal god. This is known as bhakti yoga. He had his own method when it comes to devotional called sankirtana dancing which is still pretty much praticed today among devotees of Krishna.

Hare Krishna Scripture:

ISKCON movement was established in the West since 1966, yet its roots can be traced all the way back into India’s history. The lifestyle and philosophical beliefs are based on ancient scriptures known as the Vedas. ISKCON’s sacred texts is the Hindu poem The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is one of the ancient books that contains the Vedas in which one can read in it the conversation between Lord Krishna and a soldier Arjuna.

Hare Krishna Beliefs:

Many ISKCON beliefs are the same as those of conventional Hinduism. They believe that we are all spirit souls who are temporarily trapped in a material body and its cares and woes.

In ISKCON chanting the name of Krishna (sankirtana) is the only way to attain freedom from samsara (endless repetitive rebirth) and return to the kingdom of god. You probably already seen Krishna devotees in our public places with shaved heads, sporting longrobes, playing drums, and singing the 16-word chant, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare. (Krishna means “The All-Attractive” and Rama means “The Greatest Pleasure.”).

Hare Krishna Practices:

I Mantra Meditation

Devotees of Krishna practice mantra meditation. A chant, or mantra, is a vibration of sound that purifies the mind, liberating it from worries and illusion. This can only be performed by chanting or mantra by repeating Hare Krishna’s name.

II Krishna Consciousness

ISKCON teaches that, that these who place themselves in harmony with Krishna and Krishna’s energy return to their natural, pure state of consciousness that is, to “Krishna Consciousness.” Krishna consciousness is suppossedly inside each person, waiting to explode. There are four simple pratices in Krishna consciousness;

1. Reading (Shravanarn)

2. Chanting (Kirtanam)

3. Friendship (Sat-sangam)

4. Remembering (Smaranam)

The Tilaka Mark:

Devotees of Hare Krishna have the Tilaka mark on their foreheads. It is a U-shaped marking made of clay and placed on their forehead with yellow colored clay from the sacred bank rivers of India.

a. The two stripes symbolizes the lotus feet of Krishna

b. The leaf in the center represents holy basil, or Tulasi, which traditionally adorns his feet.

Monks:

ISKCON have their distinctive monks: an order of monks and priests, and congregation members. Male monks shave their heads, except for a sikna, a central patch of unshaven hair. They vow not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take any king of drugs. Gambling is prohibited and are strictly vegetarian. They chant Krishna’s name everyday.

ISCKON and Christianity

ISKCON is one of the few non-Christian cult movements that worships a god who is both personal and infinite. However, it assumes traditional monism (essential pantheism). To ISKCON, Jesus Christ is Krishna’s Son, but in a position no more unique to God than any other man could strive to attain.

Hare Krishna’s devotees does not believe Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God; God manifest in the flesh. According to the Scripture, Jesus Christ is God Almighty who became a human flesh (incarnate) in order to die for the sins of the ungodly world.

He has been God, Jehovah from all eternity (John 1:1). In addition, Christ is not inferior to Krishna, who is the original Personality of the Godhead Himself. The Christian belief has a higherview of Christ.

Salvation in ISKCON is obtained by removing one’s karmic debt through devotion to Krishna, and right actions through handful incarnations. According to Hare Krishna, Salvation then, must be earned by performing a series of works. This is contrary to what the Scripture teaches Christians namely, we cannot earn salvation by performing good deeds by filling his or her bank account!

Since ISKCON has different God, a different Jesus, and a different way of salvation from what the Bible reveals, it is therefore impossible for there to have a common ground between Hare Krishna and Jesus Christ.

Source_________________

AMG’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Cults and the Occult; Compiled By Mark Water