1. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The Martyrdom of the Bab, or the Greatest Story You've Never Heard

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Jack Asher, Jul 9, 2014.

    In the early 19th century, in a series of events that are (for the most part) never talked about, a religious fervor spread over the world as people everywhere anxiously awaited the return of Jesus Christ. Comparisons to recent events like the 2012 scare don't do it justice. Entirely new sects of Christianity were formed. Stores sold "Rapture Robes" garments specifically yanked out of when righteous purchaser ascended to heaven. There was debate on the floor of congress for several days over the United States official position should Christ return to earth.

    for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
    1 Thessalonians 5:2

    In an event unnoticed by the Christian world a young man in the Persian city of Tabriz declared himself to be the herald of Christ's return. This happened both on the very day that William Miller (founder of the Millerites) predicted, and on the hour that Samuel Morse wrote the first telegraph message, "what hath God wrought".

    This man, Mullah Muhammad Ali was not a christian, but his coming had been prophesied in Islamic teachings. The Callipate of Iran, fearing for their political positions condemed Ali (who had taken the name of The Bab, which means "the gate" in Farsi). His followers were hunted, persecuted, jailed and martyred in his name.

    Finally the Bab was detained and told to perform a miracle in order to prove his status as a prophet of God. The Bab refused and was ordered executed as an apostate.

    Early in the morning of July 9th, 1850 the Bab was sent for, interrupting his discussion with his factor. He told the guard, "Not until I have said all the things I wish to say can any earthly power silence me. Though all the world be aligned against me, yet shall it be powerless to deter me from fulfilling, to the last word, my intention." The guard took him anyway to be executed, and as the Bab was dragged through town a young man by the name of Anis flung himself at the Bab's feet and implored that he not be separated from him. The order was signed to have Anis executed alongside the Bab.

    In order to prevent the prophesy of the return of the 12th imam from comming true the caliphate had arrange for the Bab to be killed by firing squad of a christian regiment. The prophecy saying that he would be killed by his own religion. The commander of the regiment came to the Bab, saying that he held no ill will toward him. The Bab replied, "Follow your orders, and if your intention be sincere, The Almighty is surely able relieve you of your perplexity."

    The Bab and Anis were suspended from a rope tied to a peg in the wall and subjected to a firing squad of 500. When the dust cleared The Bab was nowhere to be seen. Anis stood unharmed, the rope having been severed by the hail of bullets.

    A furious search was begun, before The Bab was found, in the jail cell where he had been interrupted. He told the guard, "I have finished my conversation, now you may proceed to fulfill your intention."

    The christian commander ordered his men to return to the barracks and swore on his life never to repeat that action. A Muslim regiment volunteered, and once again The Bab was suspended. Before his sentence was carried out he told the crowd, "The day will come when you have recognized me. That day I will have ceased to be with you."

    The hail of gunfire reduced the bodies of The Bab and Anis to a pulp, leaving their faces miraculously untouched. No sooner had the shots fired then a cloud of dust descended on the city of Tabriz, obscuring the sun completely, terrifying the people for 24 hours. An earthquake shook the city of Siraz (the capital) more violently then any on record.

    The Bab's body was ordered fed to dogs, who refused to touch it, and then after discarded outside the city gates. It was rescued by his followers and now lies in a special shrine on Mount Carmel in Haifa Israel.

    The religion he helped to found, The Baha'i Faith has grown to over 8 million followers and is the fastest growing religion on the planet. Their teaching of the unity of mankind, and the oneness of all religions has spoken to millions.
     
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  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    That's a pretty neat story.
    Doesn't seem like a terrible theology according to their website.
    But what do I know.
     
  3. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds as apocryphal as the other, better known yarn.
     
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I actually do know this story. I had a pretty dynamic prof for comparative religions. We discussed The Bab when we were delving into the idea of the monomyth.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Had to look that one up: (From the Free Dictionary)
    I have Clyde Ford's book, "The Hero with an African Face" that discusses the same, going back and finding the roots of these same common threads in African mythology that predates the Bible.

    Also, "The God Who Wasn't There" notes the same characteristics are bestowed upon the story of Jesus suggesting the man was more myth than real, with specifically applied hero characteristics.
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Wait, really?

    To be honest, with a lot of experience with the monomyth I don't really see the parallels. A big part of that is the story I told is only about 5% of the story. I don't have Taherzadhe's The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, but it's an excellently sourced historical work, and uses government accounts as well as the personal journal of the christian officer, scientific records of the dust storm and earthquake, and the journal entries of several other witnesses. The story is historical fact, and that tends not to follow the monomyth very well.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What's wrong with not being familiar with the word, monomyth?
     
  8. Wreybies
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    What brought it up was the idea that many, if not most, of the stories that fit the monomyth pattern may well have had basis in history. For example, we have good reason to believe that Jesus, the historical personage, did actually exist. We spoke about the monomyth story being a paradigm that subsumes certain types of historical events and stretches them to fit its structure to the point where it's easy for anyone with a fair knowledge of the Arthurian sagas and also the stories of the Bible to draw enough parallels, one to the other, to argue that one is a parable of the other, though both have roots in real events that took place quite far apart in both time and geography. The Bab was brought up by Raj (my prof) as the kind of modern-day story that fits the requisites for a future monomyth platform.
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    it's surprising that a writter wouldn't know about what is possibly the greatest resource for constructing a culturaly relevant story.


    I understand that from a meta perspective it may conform, maybe I'm too close to the details.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Actually we don't. There are only a couple pieces of evidence outside the Bible and at least one of them was probably a forgery.

    But that's a debate for another thread.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    But I knew the culturally relevant parts, just not the word, monomyth. Oh well.
     
  12. Aled James Taylor
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    If this Bab person 'declared himself to be the herald of Christ's return', when was Christ's return actually meant to have happened?
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The Baha'i William Sears (Hand of the Cause) did a whole bunch of research that I can't copy onto here because the Baha'i program Ocean isn't downloadable anymore. Also it's, like, 300 pages.
    But it's the same conclusion that William Miller reached.

    I'll try to sum it up.
    In the book of Daniel it's written "To every year we assign a day" That's the code. Various other events are mentioned and the only one I can remember is the day that the Palestinians once again allowed Jews into Jerusalem.

    The declaration of the Bab is another huge story to which I cannot do justice. Suffice to say there are two important dates. The first is a date I cannot find online in 1843. This marks the point at which 40 Islamic Mullah's departed from their home towns in search of the promised one. When the date passed and Christ had not returned Joseph Miller recalculated and said he was wrong, the real date was May 23rd 1844. That was the date that The Bab revealed himself to one of those men, Mullah Husayn.

    That's the prophecy. The actual return of Christ was a man named Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí who took the name Baha'u'llah when he revealed himself to the Babi's in the garden of Ridvan on April 21st 1863



    EDIT: I found Thief in the Night, here, so anyone can read it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  14. GingerCoffee
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    So just out of curiosity, @Jack Asher, why do you think this particular Abrahamic religion version is the correct one?
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That's like asking which color is correct.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    Yeah, that was kind of my point.
     
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    You'll excuse me for disagreeing, but I think your actual point was to search for some kind of break in the philosophy.

    There's nothing wrong with the other religions, the biggest difference is that the Baha'i Faith is newer, it's prophet was younger then the United States. What's more while the New Testament was written by people who knew a prophet, the Baha'is have literally thousands of prayers, devotions, instructions and laws; all written directly by a prophet of God.

    Want to know what God thinks of slavery? Baha'u'llah freed all the slaves held by his father and wrote to them individually about the injustice that had been done to them. (I cannot find these letters in English, sorry)

    Want to know how God feels about abortion? Baha'u'llah said that abortion should only be undergone when the life of the mother was at risk*

    What does God think of the equality of men and women?
    "And among the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings -- one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be."

    Evolution? (this is a long one, sorry)
    "Between man and the ape, however, there is one link missing, and to the present time scientists have not been able to discover it...
    "The philosophers of the Orient in reply to those of the western world say: Let us suppose that the human anatomy was primordially different from its present form, that it was gradually transformed from one stage to another until it attained its present likeness, that at one time it was similar to a fish, later an invertebrate and finally human. This anatomical evolution or progression does not alter or affect the statement that the development of man was always human in type and biological in progression. For the human embryo when examined microscopically is at first a mere germ or worm. Gradually as it develops it shows certain divisions; rudiments of hands and feet appear--that is to say, an upper and a lower part are distinguishable. Afterward it undergoes certain distinct changes until it reaches its actual human form and is born into this world. But at all times, even when the embryo resembled a worm, it was human in potentiality and character, not animal. The forms assumed by the human embryo in its successive changes do not prove that it is animal in its essential character. Throughout this progression there has been a transference of type, a conservation of species or kind. Realizing this we may acknowledge the fact that at one time man was an inmate of the sea, at another period an invertebrate, then a vertebrate and finally a human being standing erect... Therefore, in the protoplasm, man is man. Conservation of species demands it.
    "The lost link of Darwinian theory is itself a proof that man is not an animal. How is it possible to have all the links present and that important link absent? Its absence is an indication that man has never been an animal. It will never be found.
    "
    (Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 358-359)


    How about aliens? Does God have a position on aliens? (Sorry, this is long again, but prophets are not well known for brevity)
    "The earth has its inhabitants, the water and the air contain many living beings and all the elements have their nature spirits, then how is it possible to conceive that these stupendous stellar bodies are not inhabited? Verily, they are peopled, but let it be known that the dwllers accord with the elements of their respective spheres. These living beings do not have states of consciousness like unto those who live on the surface of this globe: the power of adaptation and environment moulds their bodies and states of consciousness, just as our bodies and minds are suited to our planet. For example, we have birds that live in the air, those that live on the earth and those that live in the sea... The components of the sun differ from those of this earth, for there are certain light and life-giving elements radiating from the sun. Exactly the same elements may exist in two bodies, but in varying quantities. For instance, there is fire and air in water, but the allotted measure is small in proportion. They have discovered that there is a great quantity of radium in the sun; the same element is found on the earth, but in a much smaller degree. Beings who inhabit those distant luminous bodies are attuned to the elements that have gone into their composition of their respective spheres."
    (Divine Philosophy, pp. 114-115)

    The Baha'i Faith is a new religion for a new age of man, and as such has direct teachings about issues mankind has never before faced in their history.


    *the Universal House of Justice, the reigning authority on Baha'i law has since amended this, saying that the matter should be a subject of deep consideration by both parents, and not undergone lightly
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    No, my point was just to ask you what it is about the faith you've chosen that makes it different from the rest.

    It looks like you found the moral values more consistent with your own. That makes better sense than, "because the Bible says so."

    I'm not a believer in gods, I think you know that. But I'm not a knee-jerk all religion is bad kind of gal.
     
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  19. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's actually worth pointing out that Baha'is also believe in the Gods of Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism, albeit as attributes of a single God, and the teachings of Buddhism. We see the last nine major religious movements as a chain of prophets stemming from a single all powerful god.
     

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