..the Baha'is have never made any secret of the fact that their Faith, which has developed in the bright light of history, has gone through a series of the severest internal crises, "such as to exceed in gravity those from which the religions of the past have suffered." The plots to which Baha'u'llah was exposed by his step-brother, Mirza-Yahya, the succession disputes which shook the Faith, after the deaths of both Baha'u'llah and 'Abdul-Baha, are to be read in the standard work of the history of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi's 'God Passes By'. These melancholy happenings are like illnesses, which shook and prostrated the young Faith and temporarily obscured its brightness; yet after they had been overcome, on each occasion it arose with new strength. (58:2)
No religion has been spared similar experiences. The greatest and most dangerous adversaries to religions have grown up from within them and not outside them. Marcion, not Domitian, Diocletian or Julian, was the most dangerous threat to the unity of the young Christian community. Usually it was the nearest relatives, disciples or confidants who betrayed their Lord and master. Joseph was "sold into Egypt" by his blood-brothers, Jesus was betrayed to his enemies by one of his twelve chosen Apostles; Abu-Bakr, Muhammad's father-in-law, and 'Umar, his closest confidant, acted against the Prophet's express directions, opposed his chosen successor, 'Ali, and usurped the Caliph's office. Here the words apply: "For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh."(Matt 18:7). No human community, least of all a religious one, is immune from such "offences," from elements with a destructive urge, which aspire to leadership and rebel against authority, whether out of self-seeking ambition or from error.. (58:3) see
There are only two possibilities. Either through Baha'u'llah an incursion of transcendence has taken place, a revelation of God to mankind, in which case his word is God's word, and the teaching he proclaims is not from him but from "Him Who sent him"; or else his claim to be the promised one of all religions is false, in which case his work is of human construction, and the Baha'i Faith an eclectic compound, the result of a synthesis, a "new composite religion which replaces the old religions." Although on dogmatic grounds only the second alternative is conceivable to Christian theologians, this "Either--Or" has come up with every religion, including Christianity. Judaism could not accept the truth that the expected redemption had already appeared with Jesus, and saw Jesus as a mischief-maker. The Jews of all ages have regarded Christianity as.. (others) regard the Baha'i Faith: as a human anticipation of the divine promise, a human creation which wrongly assumes divine origin, a compound of revelation and pagan philosophy, a ragbag of elements of truth collected up from various religions. There have been plenty of attempts from the earliest days of Christianity till the present age, whether from the Jews or from old or new paganism, to disprove the originality of Jesus or even declare him a synthesist, not the originator of a religious community. I can take these attempts as well enough known, and mention here only Celsius, who saw Christianity as a mixture of Stoic, Platonic, Jewish, Persian and Egyptian elements, and Porphyry, who declared the Gospels a collection of myths and the Evangelists liars and falsifiers. Many theologians today call belief in the uniqueness of Jesus's teaching a naive idea. According to Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus's message is "not new in its thinking."