Baha’i Belief Advisory System

Inspired by Moojan Momen’s recent paper (and the United States Homeland Security), I’ve drawn up an easy to use chart which should help fellow Baha’is and the institutions in identifying and categorizing members of the community.

Note that each label is directly taken from Momen’s recently published paper. [takes out laser pointer and slowly removes glasses for effect]

“Let the name calling and mud-slinging… errr… I mean, sociological categorization… BEGIN!”

bbas


So… which are you!?

And here is Comic Book Guy to pronounce his succinct review of Momen’s paper:

comic-book-guy-review


“Worst. Paper. Ever.”

Ouch.

  • barry

    If I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was from Mormondom. They follow the same system and rigidly enforce it. Only they call it “When the prophet speaks all discussion ends.”

  • barry

    If I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was from Mormondom. They follow the same system and rigidly enforce it. Only they call it “When the prophet speaks all discussion ends.”

  • Pingback: Moojan Momen: Marginality and Apostasy in the Bahai community

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    This is very handy. I’m printing off a copy and am keeping it in my wallet in case of emergencies. Is there some form of litmus test that can be applied to those we meet?

    Ideally, I’d like to see a Baha’i Belief Advisory System that’s a little more nuanced. For example, within the “Core” category there are folks who once were marginals or dissidents but who have decided to keep their heads down. They’re still at a high risk of original thought, but have decided that this is their problem. They have generally devoted themselves to writing apologist material and critiques of those who have not pulled their head in. And some have done this to such an extent that they’re beginning to show signs of ressentiment (Susan and Moojan). Unlike most core Baha’is, they’re probably not going to be satisfied with Ruhi.

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a useful framework, but a lot of people fit somewhere in between the categories.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    This is very handy. I’m printing off a copy and am keeping it in my wallet in case of emergencies. Is there some form of litmus test that can be applied to those we meet?

    Ideally, I’d like to see a Baha’i Belief Advisory System that’s a little more nuanced. For example, within the “Core” category there are folks who once were marginals or dissidents but who have decided to keep their heads down. They’re still at a high risk of original thought, but have decided that this is their problem. They have generally devoted themselves to writing apologist material and critiques of those who have not pulled their head in. And some have done this to such an extent that they’re beginning to show signs of ressentiment (Susan and Moojan). Unlike most core Baha’is, they’re probably not going to be satisfied with Ruhi.

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a useful framework, but a lot of people fit somewhere in between the categories.

  • http://sallyofthevalley.blogspot.com MrDonut

    Gosh this was funny. You’ve got a new fan (me)!

  • http://sallyofthevalley.blogspot.com MrDonut

    Gosh this was funny. You’ve got a new fan (me)!

  • burning

    I found it very useful too Mr. Marshall and will make use of it where possible. Unfortunately, it has someway to go to to be comprehensive. Obviously it is important to have one codification system and obviously it needs to be fairly simple to gain widespread acceptance (if bahairants can get a letter of commendation from the UHJ it will help).

    I think it would be possible to add 2 further categories to make it more comprehensive without being too complex.

    1. unenrolled (how you missed this I don’t know). You’d need to think where to place this. I would put it under dissident because it sounds nicer. If someone were an apostate, dissident and unenrolled then I could have my choice of label and might even vary it depending on context.

    2. non-Bahai. Worth putting this in. Again, where in the hierarchy? Perhaps above Core to visually demonstrate the specialness of being welded to the covenant and to act as a buffer from the wayward.

  • burning

    I found it very useful too Mr. Marshall and will make use of it where possible. Unfortunately, it has someway to go to to be comprehensive. Obviously it is important to have one codification system and obviously it needs to be fairly simple to gain widespread acceptance (if bahairants can get a letter of commendation from the UHJ it will help).

    I think it would be possible to add 2 further categories to make it more comprehensive without being too complex.

    1. unenrolled (how you missed this I don’t know). You’d need to think where to place this. I would put it under dissident because it sounds nicer. If someone were an apostate, dissident and unenrolled then I could have my choice of label and might even vary it depending on context.

    2. non-Bahai. Worth putting this in. Again, where in the hierarchy? Perhaps above Core to visually demonstrate the specialness of being welded to the covenant and to act as a buffer from the wayward.

  • Craig Parke

    This truly is a handy chart and mass distributed fully laminated wallet sized versions could be useful in case of imminent categorization attack.

    You could say that with each color coded level as it goes up you must take that many deep breaths to try to calm down.

    If you are named a “Marginal” you should take TWO deep breaths. If you are named a “Dissident” you should take THREE deep breaths. Likewise up the scale. Then repeat and take your own pulse or have a friend take it for you. If that doesn’t work, then try breathing into a paper bag. If that doesn’t work then try barfing into the same paper bag.

    The main thing is to TRY TO REMAIN CALM if you come under “sociological categorization attack”. Every person who is still in the Faith as a BIGS like me (Baha’i In Good Standing) should be trained to take immediate proper action lest they have a heart attack or stroke and go to the Abha Kingdom well ahead of their time from the sudden stress. Using the card to take those immediate deep breaths could save lives.

    But I think there should be an even more basic level than “CORE”. “CORE” with “LOW RISK OF ORIGINAL THOUGHT”, in itself, is just too wishy-washy for the current culture of the Faith. You need to have “HARD CORE” with “NO RISK OF ANY THOUGHT WHATSOEVER” as Level 0. This is really the more operational level in the top down ITC (International Teaching Center) Faith these days.

    For example, even though the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ALL discuss the sacredness of the individual human conscience (some may even think that the very purpose of the Faith and all religions across the board is to develop ever more refined sacred personal conscience in human souls), this is no longer on the table in the new top down ITC Faith where THIS is the new operational standard:

    “We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our
    individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha’i belief. In the
    end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in
    the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal
    convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is
    supreme is equivalent to ‘taking partners with God’ which is abhorrent to the Teachings of the Faith.”

    - Douglas Martin
    - Former Member of the Universal House of Justice Baha’i Faith

    http://bahai-library.com/talks/martin.watson.html

    And even though the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ALL teach that there are many levels of understanding in every utterance in the Faith (some may even think that the “multi-level” feature of reflective understanding is the very distinguishing quality of the Divine Word), this is no longer on the table in the new top down ITC Faith where THIS is the new operational standard:

    “The experience of the Ruhi Institute has shown that we do not suppress the imagination or the personality of the participants when we refrain from posing questions such as, ‘What does this mean to you?’; on the contrary, we are helping to nurture the development of communities which look first to the Writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever they are faced with a question.

    We believe that the habit of thinking about the implications of the
    Writings with the minimum of personal interpretation would eliminate a great share of the disagreements which afflict consultation in many
    communities, and would make the activities of our communities more
    effective.”

    “TO THE COLLABORATORS”
    - Ruhi Book One

    So the handy card should be modified to cover this state of mind. This is where the Universal House of Justice tells you to murder your parents in their beds without any personal questioning or reflection within your own conscience of any kind and you just do it because you were told to. The card should cover this state of mind. Perhaps the most appropriate color would be black or a dull gray. Definitely something gray scale.

    So if you add Level 0: “HARD CORE” with “NO RISK OF ANY THOUGHT WHATSOEVER” I think you will cover the current reality.

    I, myself, have been a Baha’i for 36 years and have served in many different capacities and I say God help us that it has now all come to this! So the card needs to cover this ever growing layer of Level 0.

    The other distribution route, of course, is where you just offer the card as a software program and people could add their own gray and transition color area sub-categories as their own personal scale. Like maybe take an extra half breath for those “in-between” half step levels.

    Otherwise, I really like the color coding you have. It really is eye catching! Good job!

  • Craig Parke

    This truly is a handy chart and mass distributed fully laminated wallet sized versions could be useful in case of imminent categorization attack.

    You could say that with each color coded level as it goes up you must take that many deep breaths to try to calm down.

    If you are named a “Marginal” you should take TWO deep breaths. If you are named a “Dissident” you should take THREE deep breaths. Likewise up the scale. Then repeat and take your own pulse or have a friend take it for you. If that doesn’t work, then try breathing into a paper bag. If that doesn’t work then try barfing into the same paper bag.

    The main thing is to TRY TO REMAIN CALM if you come under “sociological categorization attack”. Every person who is still in the Faith as a BIGS like me (Baha’i In Good Standing) should be trained to take immediate proper action lest they have a heart attack or stroke and go to the Abha Kingdom well ahead of their time from the sudden stress. Using the card to take those immediate deep breaths could save lives.

    But I think there should be an even more basic level than “CORE”. “CORE” with “LOW RISK OF ORIGINAL THOUGHT”, in itself, is just too wishy-washy for the current culture of the Faith. You need to have “HARD CORE” with “NO RISK OF ANY THOUGHT WHATSOEVER” as Level 0. This is really the more operational level in the top down ITC (International Teaching Center) Faith these days.

    For example, even though the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ALL discuss the sacredness of the individual human conscience (some may even think that the very purpose of the Faith and all religions across the board is to develop ever more refined sacred personal conscience in human souls), this is no longer on the table in the new top down ITC Faith where THIS is the new operational standard:

    “We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our
    individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha’i belief. In the
    end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in
    the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal
    convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is
    supreme is equivalent to ‘taking partners with God’ which is abhorrent to the Teachings of the Faith.”

    - Douglas Martin
    - Former Member of the Universal House of Justice Baha’i Faith

    http://bahai-library.com/talks/martin.watson.html

    And even though the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ALL teach that there are many levels of understanding in every utterance in the Faith (some may even think that the “multi-level” feature of reflective understanding is the very distinguishing quality of the Divine Word), this is no longer on the table in the new top down ITC Faith where THIS is the new operational standard:

    “The experience of the Ruhi Institute has shown that we do not suppress the imagination or the personality of the participants when we refrain from posing questions such as, ‘What does this mean to you?’; on the contrary, we are helping to nurture the development of communities which look first to the Writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever they are faced with a question.

    We believe that the habit of thinking about the implications of the
    Writings with the minimum of personal interpretation would eliminate a great share of the disagreements which afflict consultation in many
    communities, and would make the activities of our communities more
    effective.”

    “TO THE COLLABORATORS”
    - Ruhi Book One

    So the handy card should be modified to cover this state of mind. This is where the Universal House of Justice tells you to murder your parents in their beds without any personal questioning or reflection within your own conscience of any kind and you just do it because you were told to. The card should cover this state of mind. Perhaps the most appropriate color would be black or a dull gray. Definitely something gray scale.

    So if you add Level 0: “HARD CORE” with “NO RISK OF ANY THOUGHT WHATSOEVER” I think you will cover the current reality.

    I, myself, have been a Baha’i for 36 years and have served in many different capacities and I say God help us that it has now all come to this! So the card needs to cover this ever growing layer of Level 0.

    The other distribution route, of course, is where you just offer the card as a software program and people could add their own gray and transition color area sub-categories as their own personal scale. Like maybe take an extra half breath for those “in-between” half step levels.

    Otherwise, I really like the color coding you have. It really is eye catching! Good job!

  • burning

    I note with interest the green associated with Core belief. Again, this corresponds to the conservation credentials of the faithful and not their life experience. I won’t go into what the red corresponds to. Well thought out and instructive.

  • burning

    I note with interest the green associated with Core belief. Again, this corresponds to the conservation credentials of the faithful and not their life experience. I won’t go into what the red corresponds to. Well thought out and instructive.

  • http://ncag.org.nz Steve Marshall

    Congratulations, Baquia, you have produced a very effective tool in the War on Error. What profoundly simple error alert level monitor this is! You have demonstrated individual initiative and original thinki…

    Hang on, My alert level monitor has changed to blue then to yellow! Transmission ends.

  • http://ncag.org.nz Steve Marshall

    Congratulations, Baquia, you have produced a very effective tool in the War on Error. What profoundly simple error alert level monitor this is! You have demonstrated individual initiative and original thinki…

    Hang on, My alert level monitor has changed to blue then to yellow! Transmission ends.

  • sonja

    core blimy!

    Brilliantly funny, and yet there’s still a hint of nuance despite the rigid edges and blinding colours! After all is it the bearer of this label who is at risk of attack and contagion or that those in contact that would be at risk?

    Interesting that the comments as they progress to the green, progressively narrow so that by the time you get to green, low risk of original thought obviously applies to the bearer (although to be ‘core’ you have to be in the middle of something alike so in that case, low risk would by necessity apply to those in close proximity :))

    I am glad there’s no reference to unenrolled in this system. It keeps the system open to all :)

  • sonja

    core blimy!

    Brilliantly funny, and yet there’s still a hint of nuance despite the rigid edges and blinding colours! After all is it the bearer of this label who is at risk of attack and contagion or that those in contact that would be at risk?

    Interesting that the comments as they progress to the green, progressively narrow so that by the time you get to green, low risk of original thought obviously applies to the bearer (although to be ‘core’ you have to be in the middle of something alike so in that case, low risk would by necessity apply to those in close proximity :))

    I am glad there’s no reference to unenrolled in this system. It keeps the system open to all :)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    The colors and graphical layout come from DHS and the terms from Momen.

    Non-Baha’i, and unenrolled simply don’t exist in Momen’s world – I suppose. So they’re no where to be found on the chart.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    The colors and graphical layout come from DHS and the terms from Momen.

    Non-Baha’i, and unenrolled simply don’t exist in Momen’s world – I suppose. So they’re no where to be found on the chart.

  • Craig Parke

    Baquia,

    For a nice touch in the future perhaps you could use a version of that nifty graphic on the left on the DHS web site link and issue a THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL from time to time on BR. But instead of a mere NATIONAL alert like DHS, you could issue a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL as necessary. Any circumstances anywhere in the Baha’i world that might necessitate required critical thought in individuals facing some issue could result in a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL.

    I think the upcoming election of the next UHJ could necessitate some actual critical thinking worldwide. This would most certainly be an occasion for a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL.

    There is sure to be massive back lash counter measures taken against anyone, anywhere capable of individual thought of any kind in that important time frame. Please issue alerts as required. And everyone should keep their cards handy and practice their breathing during that period.

    If you as the “rhetorical you” can actually think for your self using your own God given conscience you are the new potential “enemy of God” in the new way of things and you as a threat to the status quo of blithering non-thought are going to be put under some kind of “special surveillance” as a threat. So perhaps try to put some kind of alert system in place now for those coming days.

    Try to withstand these thoughts while practicing your deep breaths:

    “Down is Up.”

    “War is Peace.”

    “Ignorance is Knowledge.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Kznmrc3o4

    Visualize this film sequence as you try to calm down using the card scales if named a “marginal”, “dissident”, or “apostate” in the process of the process of the process of “sociological categorization”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

    As you visualize this film clip in deep meditation try to visualize millions of Baha’is rising up all around the world and voting these people into oblivion who have run the Faith completely into the ground.

    If that doesn’t work to stop your vertigo and rapid pulse repeat each suggestion in the US NSA Ridvan 2007 National Convention Report to the UHJ 95 times as you try to count your breaths.

    If that doesn’t work keep breathing into that paper bag.

    If that doesn’t work barf into your paper bag.

    Above all, try to remain calm in a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY ALERT situation.

  • Craig Parke

    Baquia,

    For a nice touch in the future perhaps you could use a version of that nifty graphic on the left on the DHS web site link and issue a THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL from time to time on BR. But instead of a mere NATIONAL alert like DHS, you could issue a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL as necessary. Any circumstances anywhere in the Baha’i world that might necessitate required critical thought in individuals facing some issue could result in a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL.

    I think the upcoming election of the next UHJ could necessitate some actual critical thinking worldwide. This would most certainly be an occasion for a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY LEVEL.

    There is sure to be massive back lash counter measures taken against anyone, anywhere capable of individual thought of any kind in that important time frame. Please issue alerts as required. And everyone should keep their cards handy and practice their breathing during that period.

    If you as the “rhetorical you” can actually think for your self using your own God given conscience you are the new potential “enemy of God” in the new way of things and you as a threat to the status quo of blithering non-thought are going to be put under some kind of “special surveillance” as a threat. So perhaps try to put some kind of alert system in place now for those coming days.

    Try to withstand these thoughts while practicing your deep breaths:

    “Down is Up.”

    “War is Peace.”

    “Ignorance is Knowledge.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Kznmrc3o4

    Visualize this film sequence as you try to calm down using the card scales if named a “marginal”, “dissident”, or “apostate” in the process of the process of the process of “sociological categorization”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

    As you visualize this film clip in deep meditation try to visualize millions of Baha’is rising up all around the world and voting these people into oblivion who have run the Faith completely into the ground.

    If that doesn’t work to stop your vertigo and rapid pulse repeat each suggestion in the US NSA Ridvan 2007 National Convention Report to the UHJ 95 times as you try to count your breaths.

    If that doesn’t work keep breathing into that paper bag.

    If that doesn’t work barf into your paper bag.

    Above all, try to remain calm in a WORLDWIDE THREAT ADVISORY ALERT situation.

  • ruhi sucks

    Where do Momen’s children fit? hint hint, investigate

  • ruhi sucks

    Where do Momen’s children fit? hint hint, investigate

  • sonja

    I assume that you are joking. Let’s not get personal here :)

  • sonja

    I assume that you are joking. Let’s not get personal here :)

  • http://twitter.com/otakuproxy Stephen Kent Gray

    A post earlier said unerolled don’t exist int this scheme. It depends on the individuals unerolled and the individual Baha’i. Dr. Susan Maneck is okay with Sen McGlin, but not Alison Marshal even though they are both unerolled Baha’is. I like the term De-Haifanated better. Also, the term covenant-breakers is relative, especially for the Gauradianist that is me!