Copper to Gold?

copper nugget

An enquirer asked: Do Baha’is really believe that copper turns into gold after 70 years if protected from becoming dry (or solidified)?

The most important skill for understanding scriptures, including the Bahai scriptures, is not mastery of the original languages, or other arcane knowledge, but familiarity with literary language: the ability to read poetry and similar writing. Religious language is necessarily metaphorical, using the physical world (as understood at the time) as a correlative and reflection of spiritual realities. A literalist mind-set makes a complete hash of reading any scripture. This is a problem in all religious communities today, as modernity has given such a high status to the hard sciences and their way of describing the world that many people have never learned to read literary language as literature.

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Modes of revelation

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I have compiled a summary of the passage in the book "Gate of the Heart" by Nader Saiedi, in which he outlines the five modes of revelation, as explained by the Bab.

Click on this link: Modes of revelation

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Authentically 'Abdul-Baha?

Recently I came across a poster on facebook bearing the text:

“The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one. – ‘Abdul-Baha”

I loved the design: a hazy globe surrounded by an electric green mist, and the plain bold capital letter font, but then I doubted that colloquial phrases such as “the fact that” and “the path towards unity” would be part of ‘Abdul-Baha’s vocabulary. So I asked Sen (who can read Persian) to look for me.

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A question answered: Chapter 1 of Some Answered Questions

SAQ book cover

One of the participants on the Facebook group Bahais United in Diversity wrote:

I’m afraid I have to point out that Abdu’l-Baha contradicts himself [in the proof of the existence of God, in the first chapter of Some Answered Questions]… First he suggests that “Nature has neither intelligence nor perception.” So God must exist. Then he says that “man is the branch; nature is the root,” and asks “can the will and the intelligence, and the perfections which exist in the branch, be absent in the root?”

So the will and the intelligence and the perception are in nature after all… and God becomes unnecessary to explain order in nature and the emergence of human life.

It’s a sharp observation, but the problem lies in the translation rather than in Abdu’l-Baha’s reasoning. I would also note that the title of the chapter, which is part of the original Persian text, is not “a proof of the existence of God” but “nature is governed by universal law.” In my translation, Abdu’l-Baha’s argument goes as follows:

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Reading the writings daily

Here is my next podcast on Baha'u'llah's central message. This one is about how we journey spiritually by reading Baha'u'llah's writings every morning and evening.

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