Baha’u’llah & “The Subject of Boys”

The following contains mature content of a sexual nature so if you are squeamish, a prude or a minor, please move along. Maybe check out some kittehs or bunnies.

The subject of homosexuality continues to be a difficult topic within Baha’i theology. For many it presents an insurmountable challenge to accept the Baha’i Faith and for believers it is a topic of seemingly endless polemics.

There are many approaches we can take to attempt a better understanding of this issue. One of the most basic is to go back to the source and try to understand exactly what the Baha’i writings say.

If we search Baha’u’llah’s writings, we find something quite remarkable. Nowhere in Baha’u’llah’s writings is there an explicit mention of homosexuality (and neither by Abdu’l-Baha). Arguably, the only reference we have is an extremely brief mention in the Aqdas (more on that a bit later).

To understand why there is no wider mention of homosexuality and what exactly Baha’u’llah was referring and what Shoghi Effendi translated to the seemingly cryptic words, “the subject of boys”, we have to take a few steps back.

Sexual dynamics and mores differ greatly between cultures and time periods. What may be accepted sexual behavior at one point in time or within a specific society may be completely unknown or unacceptable in another time or place.

For example, the Sambia of Papua New Guinea believe that ingestion of semen is necessary for a boy to reach full maturity. To that end, starting at age 7, Sambia boys orally stimulate their adolescent peers (14-18) and ingest their semen. Upon reaching puberty, they then provide their semen so that the younger boys can reach full sexual maturity and become men.

To the Sambia, semen is a precious substance which is being gifted from the older generation to the younger to assure their development. The act is done not to derive pleasure but to give a nourishing substance that the Sambia believe is as necessary as mother’s milk. While to us this may seem to have homosexual overtones, to the Sambia this is a natural and necessary part of a boy’s development and has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. In fact, the Sambia view homosexual acts to be as taboo and socially undesirable as incest.

Of course, because we all fall prey to the recency effect, what we see in our present culture is what we consider to be ‘normal’. But actually, ‘normal’ is rather subjective.

The way that we understand and define homosexual relationships today simply did not exist during Baha’u’llah’s time in the Middle East. That is, there was no recognition or allowance for a mutually consensual, exclusive relationship between two adult women (or men) living together and raising children together as a family. Therefore, since this model of family life did not exist, it is not reasonable to expect that the topic be given explicit treatment. Just as we don’t expect Baha’u’llah to have explicitly written about cloning or stem cell research.

That does not mean however that homosexuality did not exist at all in one guise or another during Baha’u’llah’s time. Homosexuality, after all, has been observed in nature among hundreds of species as well as throughout human history. So while the current definition of homosexual relationships may not have existed, there certainly have always been some forms of homosexuality in human society, just as there have been many other acceptable sexual expressions, beyond the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

So to understand the extremely limited or non-existent Baha’i treatment of homosexuality, we have to first understand the sexual traditions prevalent in the Middle East during the 1800’s. These would be the norms that Baha’u’llah would be familiar with.

While the current definition of homosexuality didn’t apply, there is one exception that must be noted. In Iran at the time of Baha’u’llah, this exception was the somewhat more readily accepted practice of lesbianism. It is sometimes referred to as sisterhood sighe and involved the consensual relationship between two women that was sexual in nature but not exclusively so. This was practiced in a society that allowed woman to travel together and spend time together (especially in harems where women were only allowed to frequent with other women freely).

Janet Afary writes in her book “Sexual Politics in Modern Iran” (p. 8):

Among married women, same-sex relations known as sisterhood vows were also culturally recognized practices. Although we have much less information on female homosexuality, we know that such courtships involved an exchange of gifts, travel to a shrine, and cultivation of affection between the partners.

Jafary’s book includes the account of the court gynecologist and obstetrician, Dr. Polak, who was occupied in a singularly advantageous post to observe and report on such activity:

Tribady – or tabaq – among women is widespread, though not to the same extent as pederasty [among men]. A certain friendship pact between women is performed within certain ceremonies in particular mosques on the last Wednesday before New Year’s Day (char shanbeh suri). The rituals and the day point to its heathen origins. Once the pact is entered into, the women maintain an inviolable commitment. This act is called khahar khandegi (sister recognition). It is worth noting that, just as men who have relations with individuals of their own kind (sui generis) develop a repulsion toward women, so too do these women develop an opposite repulsion. Thus there is often an agreement or tolerance of one another.
(Polak [1861] 1982, 43-44)

While not legally or religiously acceptable we see that homosexual relations were in fact common. The institution of marriage, while recognized and respected, was in many cases wholly separate from the sexual life of the couple. Of course, this was much easier for the urban and wealthy individual.

The “repulsion” that Polak describes developing towards the opposite sex would today be recognized by a medical professional as a person’s inherent sexual orientation. Of course, the societal norms did not allow them to live openly and freely as a couple but many women and men would have if they could. Instead, they were forced into various clandestine relationships. This, then, was the sexual milieu with which Baha’u’llah was familiar.

Having noted the existence and prevalence of lesbianism, it is interesting that Baha’u’llah doesn’t use language that could include homosexual relations between women. Instead, the word that is used refers to the masculine.

Here is the brief mention by Baha’u’llah (verse 107) in the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

ennaa nastah-yi an nazkora hokma’l ghelmaane et-taqo’r-rahmana yaa mala’el emkaane wa laa tartakiboo maa nohitom ‘anho fil-lohe wa laa takoonoo fi haimaa ash-shahavaate minal haa’emina

This is translated into English (the bold is my own emphasis):

We shrink, for very shame, from treating the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of their desire.

First, let’s start with defining the word used. The S. Haim Persian-English dictionary defines the Persian implications of the Arabic term “ghulaam” as: slave, page; lad, servant.

Clearly, Baha’u’llah is making a hasty reference to something embarrassing. Something that He would rather not even have to talk about but must. But what possibly could it be? From the context that the preceding sentence to the paragraph provides we can surmise that it must be of a sexual nature.

Fortunately for us as observers (and unfortunately for those directly involved) the practice that is being referred to is actually in place today in Afghanistan so we can study it with great detail. It is an old practice known as “bache bazi” – literally translated as ‘child play’ or ‘boy play’ that has made a rapid resurgence after being banned for a time by the Taliban.

This involves the practice of training young pubescent or pre-pubescent boys to entertain men by dressing as women and dancing for them. There is also a sexual nature to this relationship as the boy is expected to provide his body for his master’s delectation. A recent PBS Frontline documentary called, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan exposes this practice in greater detail:

Please be advised that while the content is not graphic in nature, the story may be disturbing to sensitive souls. You can view the documentary at this link.

These relationships are markedly different from the homosexual relationships that we see practiced today. It is not a relationship between equals. Instead the adult male has resources, power, rank and authority and in effect ‘owns’ the younger male. He provides for the boy’s needs but expects certain reciprocation.

The boys are not involved of their own choosing but often sold into the practice by their impoverished families. Therefore, this is a far cry from a loving and consensual relationship between two adults. In short, this is pederasty and human trafficking – what most modern societies would consider very serious crimes.

To compound the tragedy, their own society holds men who own such young boys in high regard and honors them with prestige. This is partly because the activity is an expensive one and participating in it is a sign of wealth. As well, the practice is often continued by the very same individuals who were once victims. That is, upon reaching puberty and no longer being desirable, the young boys would then use their acquired skills to recruit younger boys and introduce them to bacheh bazi in a continuing chain of sexual abuse. After all, this is the only life they’ve known and the only skills they’ve acquired to make a livelihood for themselves.

Again, referring to “Sexual Politics in Modern Iran” Cambridge University Press, we see that this was a common practice during Baha’u’llah’s time:

Nineteenth-century Iranian society did not adhere to modern definitions or sensibilities concerning same-sex relations. Although legally prohibited, homosexual sex was common, and homoerotic passion was accommodated. Falling in love with a youth and celebrating that love were recognized practices, as long as the lovers remained circumspect and observed certain conventions. Elite urban men often flouted these conventions. In the royal court and among government officials, wealthy merchants, and clerics, the practice of keeping boy concubines was widespread and commonly known; close, homosexual relations between free adult men were less often discussed or divulged, however.

Ibid. (p. 104):

In the era of Naser al-Din Shah and Mozaffar al-Din Shah, Iranian society remained accepting of many male and female homoerotic practices, among them the staging of dances by mukhannathun (effeminate men) in coffee shops (Aubin [1908] 1983, 248-249). The state distinguished between permissible and illegal homosexual acts. Bringing male (or female) prostitute to lower-middle-class homes was illegal, but purchasing or hiring a boy as a servant for the exclusive sexual pleasure of the master (in middle-class or elite homes) was permissible. Here a man could hire a boy as his long-term servant/concubine without any social recrimination. Handsome boys from poor families were hired at elite homes around the age of eight and were known as gholam bacheh (page boys). Polak made a number of observations about the practice:

Through this vice, livat [lavat], betsche bazi [bacheh bazi], is strongly rebuked in the Qur’an and can even be punishable by death, it is nevertheless today generally widespread, among the lay people, especially… officers, schoolteachers, and even clerics. It is so overt that no one makes an attempt to conceal it. In almost every house of standing there is such a boy, even many, who are there to serve this purpose. No one is reserved about introducing them publicly. Indeed, one takes pride in possessing a splendid specimen. One is especially jealous about them. They are carefully watched and protected from seduction. (Polak [1861] 1982, 41)

He goes on to say that men often fought bloody battles over these boys: “One uses all possible means of seduction: money, [professional] advancement, even violence, in order to take possession of a boy” (Polak [1861] 1982, 41). At the same time, the abduction and rape of boys remained serious crimes:

Though pederasty is quietly tolerated, the punishment for the abduction of a boy is often significant. Often the abductor, because of legal action against him, has all of his genitals, including his penis, cut off, at which point the individual will seek to be part of the eunuch service. Several of these violently mutilated received positions as governors and ministers. (Polak [1861] 1982, 41)

By the 1880s the kidnapping and molestation of boys were still major offenses, but the punishment had been generally reduced to imprisonment and flogging. The police in Tehran were vigilant about missing children, and every attempt was made to find and reunite them with their families within a few house (see for example Shaykh Rezaei and Azari [1885-1888] 1999, I:181, 266, 397). If a common soldier or peddler took an eight-to-ten-year-old boy to a garden or a religious seminary with the intention of raping him, and was caught, he might be beaten by the citizenry and then turned over to the police (see for example Shaykh Rezaei and Azari [1885-1888] 1999, I:17, 39, 50, 103, II:428).

Furthermore, Afary quotes Robert Surieu (p. 89) – note that he uses the exact same (etymological) term as that used by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, cited above:

From the Middle Ages to the Safavid period, the rulers and the great men of the [Persian] kingdom possessed, the ghelman (plural gholam) boys acquired at a tenderest age from the Turkish tribes of Central Asia, and later from the Caucasus. The prices paid for these boys were often very high… [in some cases around] 2000 pieces of gold… They were undoubtedly a costly luxury. Often, it is true, the merchants who traded in these ghelman educated them with great care just as they taught music, dancing, and poetry to the most beautiful girls who were destined for princely harems – so that intellectual accomplishments should be added to their physical attractions and thus enhance their price. (Surieu 1967, 170)

Here is a picture from 1905 depicting a “dancing boy” in Samarkand:

"bache bazi" Samarkand 1905

Considering that Baha’u’llah was born into nobility and moved within very elevated circles earlier in His life, there is no doubt that He would have been very familiar with this practice and probably would have even seen finely attired catamites at the Shah’s or ministers’ courts. Therefore, there was no need to further explain or detail the practice, especially considering this practice’s questionable morality. While it was something that was prevalent most chose to ignore it in formal and refined conversation. In that context, the fleeting and awkward mention in the Aqdas becomes much more understandable.

We have further exposition of the sexual mores of that time from R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram:

It was simply taken-for-granted in Middle Eastern tradition that all men find boys sexually attractive and that men who are attracted to boys are not a ‘different’ type of men but, on the contrary, ‘normal’ men who desire intromissive ejaculation for which a boy taken in liwat is as fit as a woman taken in liwat or vaginal intercourse.”

“Liwat does not encompass fellatio or mutual masturbation. The latter is common in the middle east but generally considered simply one of those things young men do that does not need to be acknowledged or discussed. Nor can liwat include sexual activity between women as the perpetrator of liwat must have a penis. Some authorities consider sahq, sexual activity between women, as a form of zina, but this is problematic as standard definitions of zina require penetration.”

If we note the widespread use of dancing boys dressed as girls for prostitution in the Middle East; and the practice of female prostitutes dressing as boys to increase their appeal to customers who would engage in either anal or vaginal intercourse with them; and remember that the customers of both the dancing boys and the travesti girls are married men: It is evident that expecting recent western terms like ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ to be readily applicable in this socio-cultural milieu in any meaningful way is futile.

We may also note for purposes of comparison that in late nineteenth century New York working class Italians, and the decidedly un-Mediterranean Irish, held that male sexuality centered on intromissive ejaculation and that the object used to achieve that was not particularly relevant for defining masculine identity. Intromissive ejaculation demonstrated the superiority of the penetrator and that was what mattered.

In both the West and the East, the principal aim of sexual norms was to bolster adult male dominance, both in situations of illicit sex and in marriage. Islamic marriage was based on a concept of husband as owner (malik) and wife as owned (mamluka) and even the most advanced muslim thinkers of the late nineteenth century assumed an innate disability to being female, even when they were directly citing Western sources. The West did generally assume the existence of an essential difference between men and women that provided a limit to women’s development. If women tried to emulate men beyond a certain point, this would result in them being literally desexed (unable to bear children) and becoming a neither man nor woman monstrosity.
Sexuality in the Aqdas by R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram

And further in another essay R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram writes:

A remark that it is shameful to keep a catamite presumably means first and foremost that it is shameful to keep a catamite. But from specific comments we may also develop generalizations. We are likely to be aided in generalizing by an understanding of the context in which the statement was made and received. However, apart from this there are two basic directions in which we may take our generalizing. The statement may be generalized to a condemnation of a broader range of homosexual acts; or it may be generalized to a condemnation of those in a position of power exploiting their dependents for their own ends. One type of generalization operates on the basis of presumed analogies among specific outward acts and the one in the statement; the other operates on the basis of a concern for the principles that may be inferred from the statement and how these may be related to motives, responsibilities, and relationships.

The important question is which type of generalization is more likely to produce results that may support a global value system that can flourish and develop in all cultures. Is God more interested in people’s actions than their hearts? Is the road to salvation a mechanically instrumental one? Of course actions matter, but what underlies the actions must matter at least as much if we are not to espouse a materialist view of existence. And not only individual actions matter but also the broader patterns of social interaction in which these actions are situated.
Baha’i Faith and Sexuality by R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram

I hope that the above has served to provide the historical context for understanding directly what Baha’u’llah wrote in the Aqdas. Needless to say, as Baha’is, we of course pay attention to the translation and interpretation of the Guardian. Juxtaposing the two may provide us with a deeper insight into the discussion of the views and attitudes of the Baha’i Faith towards homosexuality.

Similar to the line of reasoning provided by R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram above, but with one important distinction, here is a question to ponder:

By ignoring the homosexual relationships between women, which were marked by consensual agreement between adult equals, and condemning specifically a despicable act of ritualized pederasty marked by the abuse of power and dominance of an adult over less fortunate minors, was Baha’u’llah telling us more about equality, justice and human rights than about merely a sexual act or orientation?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  • Anisa

    Thank you so much for this. I found it extremely educational and diplomatic. I was reading the Aqdas today, and for the first time took note that there is no specific advice towards homosexuality, and found myself rather baffled as to why that quote was listed in the index under “homosexuality”. I am hoping to find more further explanation from the Universal House of Justice. Thank you again.

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome Anisa. I’m glad that you found it useful.

  • Sam

    I remember watching the Frontline “Dancing Boys…” documentary last year and thinking about the controversy about the passage in the Aqdas. The context provided in this documentary (and in the historical material you have referenced) leads me to the opposite conclusion from you. The context shows that “bache-bazi” was the culturally-current and relevant behavioral manifestation of homosexuality in the time the Aqdas was penned. The language used by Baha’u’llah was the only language available at the time to express the prohibition of this practice (homosexuality.)
    Baha’u’llah did not explicity forbid the use of crack cocaine or crystal methamphetamine in the Aqdas. He forbade hashish and opium, since they were the culturally-current and relevant manifestations of the same spiritual sickness in the time the Aqdas was written.

  • Nice bit of writing here, solid and well thought out. I think that the point of Baha’u’llah being born into nobility and thus being aware of these practices is an excellent one. Keep up the good work!

    P.S. “ceremonies in particular mosques no the last Wednesday before New Year’s Day” should be …”on the last”…

  • Anonymous

    Sam, what Baha’u’llah referred to was only one form of homosexuality and it was an institutionalized form of pederasty and human trafficking. So the worst that Iranian society had to offer.

    As I show above, Baha’u’llah did not make any mention of homosexuality between two adults who entered into the relationship with mutual consensus – this, although such relationships did exist, especially between women and they were just as much known and ritualized.

    As well, to believe as you do, then we would have to not only ignore such important information as the above but also that Baha’u’llah is more concerned with a physical act than the human ‘heart’ or intent as R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram points out.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Adam.

  • Tim

    So what you are saying is that Homosexuality as we know it today didn’t exist and therefore Baha’ullah did not have the language at his disposal to condemn it? You go on to use the analogy of harmful drugs that were not specifically mentioned by Him. This is faulty reasoning in my view as the results of the use of modern and older drugs is essentially the same, and result in harmful additions additionally the use of them being within the control of the user. To equate this with expressions of one sexual orientation goes to demonstrate that you do not understand the nature of gay men and women and use the prejudice of the old order to condemn. I have known several Iranian men who openly admit to having intercourse with younger boys and do not consider themselves as gay and would be highly offended if you did.
    There is so much wrong with your comparison that I feel I cannot continue for fear of losing my temper as your view evinces a kind of “soft” homophobia that so many in the faith think is acceptable.

  • Squeaky

    Excellent analysis. My question for everyone is what will be the Baha’i Administration’s approach to legally married same sex couples? I haven’t read any guidance yet, but living in a state where these marriages are taking place, how long will it be until a homosexual individual or couple declares. Since we are to abide by the civil laws of our particular locale, will they be accepted, and if not, how will the situation be handled? As a point of comparison, those in polygamous marriages are allowed to maintain multiple spouses after declaring for the sake of family unity. Has anyone seen any guidance on this matter?

  • Fubar

    While it is understandable that progressive/liberal bahais would try to ferret out some faint wiffs and hints of new age universalism, relativism, pluralism and postmodernism in bahaullah’s writings, the sad fact is that the religion’s roots go deep into the corrupt, dysfunctional and autocratic/paternalistic tribal-imperial cultures from which it evolved.

    http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Richerson/evolutioninstitutions.pdf

    All attempts to transplant the religion into soil that is less toxic have been futile.

    Anyone that even dares to show up with a tiny bag of organic compost, in hopes of spreading it on top of the religious hard-pan suffocating a few tiny roots, is quickly scared away by the chemical fertilizer salesmen in charge of bahai institutions.
    (e.g., Velasco’s theology blog)

    Also, bahaullah does not embrace all spiritual paths or religions. the idea contained in bahai belief about what religions are “acceptable” is itself culturally limited.

    the problem is explained here (audio only, sorry no text transcript):

    http://www.vastsky.org/Audio_Video.html

    oops, that is gone (victim of another Roshi’s sex scandal?), here are other versions of the same concept:

    http://integrallife.com/editorial/three-faces-god

    excerpt:

    Just as human beings intrinsically possess 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-person perspectives of the world, so do we possess those same perspectives in our experience of spirituality. And while these dimensions of the divine can be found in just about any spiritual lineage—Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Islam, etc.—many of these traditions only explicitly emphasize one or two of these perspectives, resulting in one or more important aspects of spirituality often being left out of their conceptions of God.

    God in 3rd-person is often described as the “great web-of-life,” and is frequently experienced when observing objects of miraculous beauty such as the Grand Canyon

    God in 2nd-person is traditionally defined as the “I-Thou” relationship with the divine, where Spirit is experienced as a living intelligence that we can actually interact with in our own lives. As Ken often says, borrowing from renowned theologian Martin Buber, in the “I-Thou” relationship, God is the hyphen connecting the I and the Thou. And of course, our conceptions of God in 2nd-person evolve right alongside the rest of humanity, growing from magical animistic immersion, to the mythic “old bearded white man in the sky” interpretation, to rational and pluralistic recognitions of divinity within our families, communities, and humanity itself, to the simple intuition that we all exist within the unimaginable Mind of some Supreme Being, by whatever name.

    God in 1st-person refers to the actual phenomenological experience of God, in the form of satori, kensho, ecstatic reverie, and other sorts of “peak experiences” of the divine. These are most frequently exercised through some form of contemplative practice, such as meditation or prayer, in which we can directly experience consciousness as the “singular to which the plural is unknown”—and the effortless, open awareness behind all of our experiences is recognized as the consciousness of God (or Godhead, as Christian mystics might prefer).

    http://www.integralspiritualpractice.com/articles/three-faces-spirit

    excerpt:

    Second-person spirituality is a difficult sticking-point for many Westerners. One reason is that Western culture was long dominated by Christian second-person religion with a dogmatic mythic conception of God. When Western cultures made their transition into modernity, they (rightly!) rejected mythic religious conceptions of God. But they threw out the baby (second-person spirituality altogether) along with the bathwater (a mythic version of God.) It can be especially difficult for Westerners to accept trans-rational prayer, since they often imagine that communing with the Mystery must inherently presume a metaphysical conception of God. (?First, tell me exactly who I would be praying to??) But that dogmatic skepticism fails to notice that we can relate to Spirit trans-rationally, as the graceful nature of reality, the universal ?other-ness? implied by the experience of ?me-ness.?

    But second-person spirituality is essential—and it’s one of the most transformational opportunities opened up by an Integral view. Human brains and nervous systems evolved in hunter-gatherer bands, and therefore we are mentally and emotionally structured for relating to others. Those relational capacities are not engaged by first-person awakening to IAMness or third-person contemplation of nature or philosophy.

    Note: the “fourth face of God” (systems/evolution) goes unexamined in most discussion of Spirit, or is assumed to be part of the “3rd” face.

    Comments:

    Please note that while the open concept of spirituality stated in the above excerpts is compatible with some individual bahais’ beliefs, it is not consistent with the definition of “prophets” as “sole” gateways to Spirit. Western religion traditionally attempts to conflate the 1st person “direct” experience with the 2nd person form, allowing a religious hierarchy to define access to Spirit in conformist/mythic terms.

    Bahai scripture thus is hostile to authentic buddhism, which emphasizes direct access to Spirit. (abdul-baha concocts a flimsy pile of “b.s.” about how buddhism is “corrupted” since its scriptures were passed down via verbal traditions, not written.)

  • Fubar

    excerpts:
    By the late Pleistocene [50,000 years ago], hominids evolved the social instincts necessary to create societies on the tribal scale, a level of social organization absent in other primates and, indeed, entirely unique to our species. These instincts and the social institutions that they underpinned were the preadaptations to complex sociality that followed.

    We believe that the human capacity to live in tribes evolved by the coevolution of genes and culture. Simple cultural cooperative institutions favored by cultural group selection would have favored genotypes that were better able to live in groups that at first were only marginally cooperative outside of families and simple schemes of reciprocity.
    Given marginal genetic changes, cultural evolution could marginally advance the scale of cooperation. These rounds of coevolutionary change then proceeded until capacities for cooperation with distantly related fellow tribals, emotional attachments to symbolically marked groups, and willingness to punish others for transgression of group rules became
    [] quite advanced.

    We believe that with, at a minimum, tens of thousands of years to work with, natural section on cultural variation could easily have had dramatic effects on the evolution of human genes by this process. Of course, humans are still in part a wild animal; our genetically transmitted evolved psychology shapes human cultures, and as a result cultural adaptations often still serve the ancient imperatives of genetic fitness. But the leash works both ways. Cultural evolution creates new selective environments that cause cultural imperatives to be built into our genes.

    So even if the cultural group selection process began
    as late as the Upper Paleolithic, human behavior has been selected for 2,000 generations in social environments in which the innate willingness to recognize, aid, and if necessary, punish fellow group members was favored by social selection acting on genes.

    The innate principles furnish people with basic predispositions, emotional capacities, and social skills that are implemented in practice through highly variable cultural institutions, the parameters. People are innately prepared to act as members of tribes but culture tells us how to recognize who belongs to our tribes, what schedules of aid, praise, and punishment are due to tribal fellows, and how the tribe is to deal with other tribes—allies, enemies, and clients.

    tribal instincts are laid on top of more ancient social
    instincts rooted in kin selection and reciprocal altruism. These ancient social instincts conflict with the tribal. We are simultaneously committed to tribes, family, and self, even though the conflicting demands very often cause us great anguish such as Freud (1930) described in Civilization and Its Discontents

    There is every evidence that humans’ Pleistocene evolutionary experience did not prepare us to tolerate more than the most minimal command and control institutions (Boehm 1993). Nor were we prepared to tolerate much inequality. The cultural evolution of complex societies in the Holocene will have had to work around these awkward realities
    of our ancient and tribal instincts, drawing upon the prosocial elements in them while finessing the elements not suited to large scale social systems.

    Business organizations, schools, religions, and government bureaucracies generally contain features that tap or respond to our propensity to grant loyalty to tribes or reasonable facsimiles.

    Large national and international (e.g. great religions) institutions develop ideologies of symbolically marked inclusion that often fairly successfully engage the tribal instincts on a much larger than tribal scale.

    The most important cultural innovations required to support complex societies are command and control institutions that can systematically organize cooperation, coordination, and a division of labor in societies consisting of hundreds of thousands to
    hundreds of millions of people. Command and control institutions lead to more productive economies, more internal security, and better resistance to external
    aggression.

    A common method of deepening and strengthening the hierarchy of command and control in complex societies is to construct a formal nested hierarchy of
    [13]
    offices, using various mixtures of ascription and achievement principles to staff the offices. Each level of the hierarchy replicates the structure of a hunting and gathering band.

    Devolving substantial leadership responsibility to sub-leaders far down the chain of command is necessary to create smallscale leaders with face-to-face legitimacy. However, it potentially generates great friction if lower-level leaders either come to have different objectives than the upper leadership or are seen by followers as equally helpless pawns of remote leaders. Stratification often
    creates rigid boundaries so that natural leaders are denied promotion above a certain level, resulting in inefficient use of human resources and a fertile source of resentment to fuel social discontent.

    In older complex societies, village councils, local notables, tribal chieftains, or religious leaders often hold courts open to humble petitioners. These local leaders in turn represent their communities to
    higher authorities. As long as most individuals feel that existing institutions are reasonably legitimate and that any felt needs for reform are achievable by means of ordinary political activities, there is considerable scope for collective social action.

    In no particular cultural tradition is progress even and steady. Episodes of temporary stagnation and regression are commonplace.

    Institutional evolution no doubt involves complex design problems. For example, Blanton (1998) describes some of the alternative sources of power in archaic states. He notes that archaic states differ widely in time and space as their evolution wanders about in a large space of alternative social institutions.. Thus, the Classical Greek system of
    small egalitarian city-states with wide participation in governance was a far different
    [23]
    system from those like Egypt with divine royal leaders from near its inception as a state or the bureaucracies that were common in Western Asia. Philip, Alexander, and their successors substantially rebuilt the Greek state along Western Asian lines in order to
    conquer and administer empires in Asia. Much of the medium-term change in archaic and classical state institutions seems to involve wandering about in a large design space without discovering any decisively superior new institutional arrangements (Marcus
    1998; Feinman 1998).

  • Fubar

    Gays that were already bahai, and then were able to get married due to changes in state law, and made it known that they had gotten married have had their administrative right taken away.

    http://revolked2.blogspot.com/2009/05/welcome.html

    Look for the links under “Context” on the right side of the web page for details.

    So, as per “logical” consistency, any gay person that is married according to state law that applies to become a member of the bahai community will probably be asked to get unmarried, or otherwise become separated. If for some reason they are not unmarried and their application for membership is accepted anyway (perhaps the LSA/NSA are not aware of the gay marriage), then they will probably be asked to separate, or either have their administrative rights taken away, or their membership revoked.

    Please note that as an ex-bahai, I do not personally agree with any of the above, it is just what seems most likely to happen. unfortunately (IMO).

  • Baquia

    Fubar, since we do not yet have an official response from the UHJ regarding such a situation what you suggest is merely conjecture.

  • Baquia

    Squeaky, this is a valid question and one that has yet to be answered by the UHJ. We can all offer our own educated guesses but the best option is to be patient and wait to see what they say.

  • Desir0101

    Baquia.
    Very instructive your article. Nicely display.
    I will meet TIM in his statement.
    ”So what you are saying is that Homosexuality as we know it today didn’t exist and therefore Baha’ullah did not have the language at his disposal to condemn it? You go on to use the analogy of harmful drugs that were not specifically mentioned by HIM”

    But what is common between your article, nicely presented with solid proof, pederasty and homosexuality that there are sexual relation between male.

    If pederasty consisting also of sexual penetration between male This practice of natural or other means of sexual penetration between same sex are condemned by Bahaullah. And same for homo.

    The state and spiritual laws are differently interpreted.
    If e.g the state law prohibit the consumption of opium and make no mention of any other drugs, means you can consume the latter without fear of the authority.

    But religiously speaking, if only opium been mentioned in the law means all drugs that are noxious to the health.

    So if pederasty consisting also sexual penetration is condemned so for homosexual.

    So for lesbian.we have traffic codes to be respected to prevent accidents and worst so for our life.
    You can’t pay free will to your feelings to wander .

    But homosexual people have the right to know and love GOD if it’s their wish. And to live in a socio-religious cultural group.

    BUT WHO ARE READY TO ACCEPT THEM>…

  • Tim

    I am sorry but I can see that English is not your first language and i have found it difficult to follow your argument. What I have understood is that you are suffering from so many false mis conceptions about the sexual habits of gay men that until these are debunked there is little point trying to explain to you. Notwithstanding certain scientific reservations that some hold about what actually is sex and what is eroticism, you seem to think that anal penetration is equal to homosexuality false. Some gay men have never practised this at all and therefore under your definition are not gay! If you are meaning anal penetration is the same a pederasty then this can be performed within a heterosexual marriage….what are your views on this?

  • Fubar

    B- thanks for the excellent feedback.

    re: conjecture

    You are correct, which is why I used the word “probably” several times, and “most likely”.

    Additional question:

    Similarly to how “pre-bahai” polygamous marriages are accepted, for there to be an acceptance of a pre-bahai gay marriage for people “declaring” (requesting official membership in the haifan bahai community), would it not be necessary for bahai administration (UHJ) to nullify Shoghi Effendi’s letter(s) that define homosexuality as a “disease” (and thus make homosexual relationships/marriages/unions unacceptable)?

    Even if such a reversal of “interpretation” took place (a “good thing”), then a large number of aggrieved gay bahais would be to be dealt with who had previously been given “bad” (“fallible”?) guidance that their homosexual relationships were unacceptable.

    How would that be handled?

    Doesn’t that seem INCREDIBLY unlikely?

    (Again, as an ex-bahai, I would consider it to be a good thing if the UHJ admitted that neither it, or S.E., was really “infallible”. then they could proceed to “grow up” and start acting like a responsible religious organization that does not need to sociologically/psychologically organize itself around a false “purity myth”.)

    Look, the reality is that bahaism is getting a lot of bad PR stink on it from its discriminatory, backward anti-gay policies. The recent “improvement” in guidance is a pathetic attempt to wiggle out of the PR problem, but it does not address the underlying issues, which are that haifan bahaism current subjects homosexual bahais that want to have open relationships/marriages/unions to great social injustices.

    Yes, it is “nice” that the UHJ has finally recognized that it has a PR problem, but that does not in any way actually help individual homosexual bahais that have been victimized and traumatized by a policy that is a great social injustice.

  • Fubar

    (B- again, thanks for providing the most open, public , high quality bahai blog in the world.)

    re: “the best option is to be patient and wait to see what they say. ”

    I’m sorry, but that may not be good advice for homosexual bahais that want to get into open relationships, marriages or unions in the near future.

    Imagine a situation of having a non-bahai spouse, and asking them to “be patient”, potentially for many years, (or more likely decades), more waiting for the UHJ to change the policy before being able to get married.

    Ridiculous.

    Please remember that Daniel Orey was lied to by a UHJ member about all this in the 90s.

    Please remember that the UHJ is not always consistent over time with its guidance.

  • Fubar

    re: “BUT WHO ARE READY TO ACCEPT THEM>…”

    Hi Desir,

    This is a good question.

    It will be a difficult process for many people that were raised in cultures that are hostile to homosexuality. I personally objected to the gay marriage laws proposals here in California for several years on the basis that gay activists were themselves frequently obnoxious, radicalized, hostile and reactionary. They tended to share harsh attitudes (engaging in occasional vandalism of conservative churches) and engage in thought policing, political correctness and other unprincipled forms of coercion of conscience (snubbing, unwillingness to engage in rational debate, etc.).

    However, the gay movement became less dominated by PC/left extremists that hate heterosexuals, and started to demonstrate their own “acceptance” of the difficulty that heterosexuals have in learning to accept homosexuality. Gay activists changed their political rhetoric to one that emphasizes *common values* such as human rights, and postmodern “feel good” themes.

    So, social attitudes in most “liberal”, western cultures are changing (to pro-gay), and the only young people that are retaining anti-gay prejudices and beliefs are fundamentalists, right wing lunatics and people from backward areas (rural, impoverished, etc.).

    The more “progressive” form of religious values share an “accepting”, “open”, “non-judgmental” attitude about sexual preferences with postmodern culture.

    Generally, within one generation, it will only be older, conservative people that will be anti-gay, and they will be seen as an embarrassment, narrow minded and backward in their thinking.

    If you scientifically examine the relationship between religious traditions and sexuality worldwide, it is by no means “universal” that western (judeo-christian-islamic) sexual morality has ANY RELEVANCE to spiritual practices of other cultures. From a scientific viewpoint, the western concept of sexual morality is basically almost completely random in nature.

    The connection between sexual morality and the “experience of spirit” is not universal, and probably not of any real significance, except as social construction.

    In other words, it is a culturally limited construction to think that anyone’s sexuality has ANY inherent connection to their “spirituality”.

    Put yet another way, the sexual morality in western religion is nothing but a construct of culture (purity myths), it is most likely just a random aberration of cultural evolution, residue of psychologically dysfunctional control pathologies, or some such.

  • Bird

    Wow Baquia, I really appreciate the time you spent compiling this article/blog, and the responses are interesting too. I’m happy to read this as I know a few Baha’i’s in same sex relationships and am in a state that has it’s own NSA and just legalized civil union.
    One of my children a few years ago asked me about homosexuality, if it was right or wrong? Normal or someone sick? Great question from an 8 years old… I responded that ??love? controls you, not you that controls love and what happens in the private relationships of others, man & wife, man & man or woman & woman is none of our business’ So he asks, ?Is it right then mom?? I replied It’s neither right nor wrong, it is love…? I’m so grateful not to be among those who are homophobic. I’m happy to see people and not sexuality in those I meet.
    But alas, people do love scandals by nature so the Baha’i’s I know in same sex relationships have distanced themselves from the cruel & obviously misguided judgment of the corporate policies of the growing embryo of the BF. I too, like you, with the matter becoming a global awareness and states legalizing the bonds of humans, call it marriage or civil unions that cannot nor will not go quietly through any good night, sit at the edge of my seat with the response from the UHJ, and for that matter the Pope 😉 …. Great compilation, interpretation, I can’t wait to pull it out at the right moment…. Knowledge is powerful…. PS, I really dug the article on Humility & teaching as I adamantly refuse to go door to door, nor will I answer a question not asked… as for Ruhi Book 1 for my community to move up the rank in cluster grading, (I’m the only one left who has not completed book 1… I started 10 years ago…) I informed them it may take me another 6 years to get through book 1… I like to read the whole content of the information, not just brain train handpicked sentences…. No two Baha’i’s are alike right…. We’re all ?misfits?….thank you so much for the post.

  • Eric Hadley-Ives

    I’m so glad you put this together. Those passages from R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram had been influential in my own thinking about this issue, and your introduction and background leading up to them was just what the subject needs. I’ll recommend this to anyone investigating the Baha’i Faith who is interested in our faith’s actual teachings on homosexuality.

  • Eric Hadley-Ives

    You make some interesting points in your various comments to this post, Fubar.

    While I agree with the general point of this particular comment (the connection between sexuality and spirituality is probably not as strong as is commonly thought, and there are aspects of a “purity myth” that are destructive in human societies), I am going to take issue with a couple points.

    You write: “From a scientific viewpoint, the western concept of sexual morality is basically almost completely random in nature.”
    Because you use “basically almost completely” you are making room for the idea that some concepts of sexuality morality may work better, producing greater happiness, more stable societies, better health of those living in the societies, and so forth. I think a scientific viewpoint (I am a social scientist) would recognize certain limitations on the sorts of sexual morality that produce flourishing communities. Total prohibition of reproductive sex doesn’t seem to work well in creating a sustainable community (it’s been tried). Sexual jealousy is widespread, nearly universal, and usually needs to be constrained by rules about who can have sex with whom. Incest is generally psychologically and physically unhealthy, and cultures in which it is widespread suffer as a result. Sexually transmitted diseases are dangerous, and before the invention of drugs that treated STDs, societies that did not control sexual activity were likely to suffer as a result. I’m not sure what the “western concept of sexual morality” is, but I think it possible, or even probable, that it contains values that are functional (the institution of marriage as a long-term commitment for mutual support, the ideal of sexual fidelity within marriage).

    You wrote that: “The connection between sexual morality and the ‘experience of spirit’ is not universal, and probably not of any real significance, except as social construction.” Well, this is a problem, isn’t it. What is a social construction, and what is something of real significance (“real significance” having to do with transcendent truths and Revelation and our spiritual nature)? Scriptures don’t usually give us a clear process of sifting between the two, and it’s clear that since we use language (in itself a social construction) to understand “real significance” there is always going to be a taint of social construction afflicting all our conceptions of “real significance” anyway. There are real issues involved with promiscuity and having multiple sexual partners. Such behavior tends to correlate very highly with some undesirable and unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. Most often, the promiscuity is a sign of something wrong that is causing the behavior. Sometimes, however, it seems the promiscuous sexual behavior causes certain harmful changes in the person as a consequence. I use “harmful” and “unhealthy” here as terms related to fairly universal conceptions of what makes a person must functional, most able to sustain supportive relationships, most able to participate in fair exchanges with others, and so forth.

    You wrote: In other words, it is a culturally limited construction to think that anyone’s sexuality has ANY inherent connection to their “spirituality”.
    Fair enough, but I wonder if you can think of any idea about sexuality or spirituality that isn’t a “culturally limited construction”. The idea that there is some connection between a person’s behavior and a person’s spirituality is a fairly widespread social construction, isn’t it? It seems fairly universal. Perhaps there is some real significance to that link, beyond social construction. And which behaviors are linked to spirituality? Things like honesty, loyalty, fidelity, trust, mutual support, fair exchanges, predictability, steadfastness, empathy, concern, nurturing and caregiving, etc. seem to get linked to spirituality over and over again in all sorts of value systems and religions. Perhaps there is something of real significance there as well, not merely social construction. And sexual bonding and sexual behavior often has something to do with those sorts of behavioral ideals I’ve listed. Perhaps the connection between sexual behavior and these aspects of interpersonal relationships isn’t entirely a culturally limited construction. Any specific type of relationship between a behavior and spirituality might be a culturally limited construction, but taken as a whole, it seems to me there is some sort of latent relationship manifested through these various culture-bound ideals in sexuality and spirituality, and I think this indicates some sort of inherent connection between sexuality and spirituality.

  • Diamondsouled

    Howdy Baquia,

    Best piece I’ve read on the subject. Too bad it can’t be put into the newest edition of Ruhi, ;^)

    For Baha’is, unfortunately, every thing you’ve pointed out is moot point, even if true and factual, as it quite obvious is. Why? Because Shoghi said so. Shoghi being infallible could of course not error in his interpretation of Baha’u’llah’s Aqdas reference to pederasty. End of the story.

    This of course is only one example of where Baha’i dogma, Baha’i doctrine, does not coincide with reality. The more time that passes from the origin of the Baha’i Faith the more such examples of the non-relatedness to reality of the Baha’i Faith will come to the fore. Why? Because no matter how genuine was the original illumination of the founders of the Baha’i Faith much of what they personally believed to be true has been shown though human progress to be inaccurate, to be incorrect. Not only scientific knowledge but social knowledge, knowledge of the psychological make up of humankind.

    The Baha’i myth of the infallibility of it’s founders, of it’s Guardian, of it’s present day administrative order’s UHJ is a unbreakable yoke which firmly holds the Baha’i Faith in the past. What isn’t held down by that yoke are those worthy concepts such as the oneness of humanity, equity for all regardless of religion, race, nationality, gender. My advice to Baha’is to abandon all the Baha’i detritus which is irrevocably mired and tied down in the past. Fully embrace and actualize the concept of the oneness of humanity, which by the way can’t be done if that oneness is compromised by a Covenant which divides by it’s very nature.

    Humanity is one, has always been one, will always be one. There is no means to force the realization of this fact on humanity, no religion, no philosophy, no politic. What may well wake humanity up is something as simple as the Genographic Project. Thing is people will have to be educated, informed, to appreciate what the results of this project will show. That there is only us, we are them.

    Cheers

    Larry Rowe

  • Alee

    Baha’u’llah and the subject of Boys
    The article brings out the point that homosexuality is not mentioned in the Baha’i Writings and begins to examine history and culture to better understand why it is that Baha’u’llah doesn’t mention it.

    Baquia: ?Sexual dynamics and mores differ greatly between cultures and time periods. What may be accepted sexual behavior at one point in time or within a specific society may be completely unknown or unacceptable in another time or place. Even a cursory understanding of human sexuality throughout history bears witness to this.?

    No, actually history tells another story about humanity, human original design, and relationship to sexuality. Knowing this, and wanting to align Baha’i with the patriarchal religious mores of the day is a significant reason why Baha’u’llah’s Writings did not go into same sex, although he did reach out to protect boys from pedophilia according to my understanding.

    Beings were once as male-female in one and were self reproducing prior to the Separation or Fall of Humanity when the male aspect separated out of the original Body. Yet Human DNA retains in every Being the blueprint of the Whole-Being made in the image of Source. However, in this Day the male and female Soul is reuniting. This topic is discussed in Tahirih Thealogy (Creation and Evolution) pages 90 -100. Available at Amazon.com

    Abdu’l-baha, in Some Answered Questions, does mention what the Qur’an says about Humanity being born as a pair in one singularity, a male-female Being in the image of the Allah. ?And We created you in pairs? ~Quran, Chapter 8, 78:8);
    http://bahaitext.info/btxt.asp?buk=saq&tgt=87:1+7&wds=zd

    This knowledge of the original Beings first being asexual undifferentiated and then evolving into androgynous or hermaphroditic Beings comprised of both male and female who were self-reproducing is no longer general knowledge. Yet the Gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammadi Library, No. 22 states:

    “Jesus said to them, ‘When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female; … then you will enter the kingdom.”

    Kabbalists teach that God is masculine and feminine, and that when speaking of ‘man’ they are always referring to two faces. The Zohar says the same.

    There are many other religious quotes to support this including the Hindu Shiva/Shakti relationship of the Divine embodiment of both male and female Energies. The film: ?Androgyny Limitless Variety? speaks to these issues.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho8uxzpWvpQ

    The point of bringing the above awareness’s into this discussion can help people realize that Humanity is becoming Whole-Beings once again (at least in Mind) – a process of Unity. The ?false myth’ that there are only two sexes (male and female) is rapidly fading in the light of scientific data.

    At around the same time that the sports industry was reeling from the Semenya case, Gerald Callahan, an immunologist/pathologist at Colorado State University, released a book titled Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes. After considering the 65,000 ?intersex? people born each year, he investigated the processes involved in the emergence of human sexuality. He concluded that the supposed dichotomy between male and female is nothing more than a social convention, inaccurate scientifically and damaging to society in general.
    Thousands of women are born without wombs each year. Sunday Times, ?Donor Wombs Forecast?, 20 March 2011.

    Studies in parthenogenesis bring in the original design of cloning possibility accounting for virgin births beginning to increase among mammals. It stands to reason if the original Beings had self-reproducing abilities it would still be inherent in the DNA – only awaiting activation by the Intelligent Mind.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2009/01/09/the-science-of-virgin-birth/

    In these Days Humanity is moving past separation and the Fall, and as a result, as Whole-Beings can recognize male and female aspects of ?Soul? in others and find ?Love’ regardless of biology. Of course this is not new; but outside the male female construct.

    Rumi writes of finding this Divine Love in another (Shams) who was biologically male. Between male and female there are millions of possibilities in the DNA of each creature as mentioned previously. Thus, it would be inappropriate to define which person can marry another and to forbid intersex relationships. Therefore, armed with knowledge of the future, Baha’u’llah did not pen anything about this subject.

    The young boy slave often became a catamite to the male partner of a married couple for many reasons, including preventing unwanted pregnancies. Baha’u’llah seemed to be aware that boys needed to come to age to make choices when he wrote:

    We shrink, for very shame, from treating the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of their desire.

    This Writing starts to take man into the higher application of love and desire (much like Rumi and Shams); but does not explain the glorious days of Wholeness unfolding for the Human Beings in a way that interact the Female aspect of Divinity into the Paradigm of Oneness, Unity, Wholeness, Balance, Harmony or Love.

    Today pedophilia is not encouraged in most countries regarding boys and girls.

  • Desir0101

    Tim . I have earlier admit that English is not my mother tongue nor my favorite ones.

    I was borne in a Bahai family in a tiny island, then since a child move to Russia. I was raised up there.I work as a marine biologist.I have had many questions about the Bahai faith but don’t know where to turn with all the fear of being a transgressor, or been chased by the community and assembly.

    Recently I dare to write on this site and thanks to Baquia,
    And I study little English. Sorry please, if I could not explain myself correctly.

    So, e.g Bahaullah condemn theft in all its form’
    Whether a simple act or a laboriously preparation and premeditate act, all are condemn. Disregard the environment, the reason etc. that brought to the perpetration of the act.

    I believe that same hold true for homosexual and in the case of pederasty. In both cases there are sexual relation with same sex partner,
    but I don’t generalize the case.

    I believe that Bahaullah is pointing mainly to what Baquia described above as pederasty but can be extend to other form of sexual relation out side a marry couple , a man and a woman.
    Anal penetration between married couple are also condemn.
    This is religion standard.

    What the use if only to succumb to basic””instinct””.

    Fubar and Eric hadley ives gave intelligent food for thought.

    But prophets what we so call them have nothing to prove scientifically.
    In the Bible, having sex with same sex partner is not permissible.
    You will see the quote in Roman.

  • Sam

    The condemnation of homosexuality found in religious scripture is, by definition, concerned with a physical act. Baha’u’llah does not condemn love between men, He encourages it. His condemnation seems limited to the physical act(s). Secular western society would do well to have more love and emotional intimacy between men. Consider the possibility that the lack of sexual boundaries and the prevalence of homosexuality in these societies confuses and contaminates the atmosphere in which such healthy emotional bonds between men might otherwise flourish.

    Yes , the prevalent forms of homosexuality have seemed to evolve away from bache bazi to arrangements with more mutual consent, less abuse and less power imbalance between partners. The same could be said of the evolution of heterosexual marriage during the same time. That does not change the fact that the former has always been outside the bounds of Baha’i law, and the latter has always been within.

  • Sam

    The analogy to drugs is very limited, and is intended to make only a point about language. As far as I know, the use of crack cocaine and the practice of homosexuality have nothing in common save this: They are both practices condemned by Baha’u’llah in the Aqdas using antiquated language.

  • Baquia

    Sam, thank you for your response. Yes, I understand what you’re saying. The argument that you present (the act itself is important) is one that is trotted out quite often. I will be knocking down each one individually by dedicating a single post to them. So bear with me for now. I will respond to the argument that the act itself is key, not the emotions behind it.

    In this particular post my purpose was to present a historical exposition of the context of Baha’u’llah’s words. In the following I will be addressing your point as well as other fallacious arguments (for example, that homosexuality is an “illness”).

    Thank you for your patience.

    For now, I will once again point out that you and many others completely ignore the fact that homosexual relations of a very similar kind that we have today were prevalent during Baha’u’llah’s time. I’ve presented the historical evidence above (see sisterhood sighe). Therefore the argument that we are seeing an amelioration of the balance of powers in relationships and an introduction of justice into them just as with marriages that include a man and wife as justification for your interpretation on this subject is categorically erroneous.

    Baha’u’llah said nothing about lesbianism which does not include penetration or liwat and instead chose to address the limited subject of bache bazi.

    Did you happen to actually read what I wrote? I don’t want to come across as lecturing but I did already explain all this.

  • Baquia

    Again, this is false. Baha’u’llah could have certainly chosen to use language that was inclusive of female homosexual relations or those that do not include penetration. After all, these were realities during that time in the Middle East.

    The only way we can stretch what Baha’u’llah actually wrote to make it an umbrella injunction against homosexuality is to equate bache bazi with liwat – that is the act of penetration.

    Most people make this equation in their head and stop, quite satisfied. But this actually presents a host of problems because we can’t stop there.

    Again, I don’t want to go into this here because I will be knocking down this assertion (that the “act” of liwat is what Baha’u’llah is prohibiting) in a separate post.

    Please bear with me.

  • Zla’od

    It would be harder to argue that Shoghi Rabbani was unfamiliar with the cultural concept of homosexuality as it is now generally understood. (Indeed, he may have been, =ahem!= much more familiar with it than official sources commonly acknowledge.) It seems to me that Baha’is cannot simultaneously maintain a liberal view of homosexuality (or the above, common-sense interpretation of Baha Allah’s “boys” passage), and the officially-mandated view of Rabbani as “authorized interpreter” of Baha’i doctrine.

  • Desir0101

    Paragraph 107 in the Aqdas ” It is forbidden you to wed your father’s wives”. I believe this law apply in the specific cultural context mostly in the middle east.
    Does this imply that incest is tolerable, because make no mention in the Aqdas.
    Next we will witness those suffer from zoophilia will claim their rights as it was not forbidden in the Aqdas.
    It pose a real problem to these category of people.

    SIMPLY BECAUSE THEIR FEELING DICTATE THEIR REASON.

    HERE IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM, IT’S WITHIN THE PERSON ITSELF.
    NOT WITH ANY BOOK, LAW , MORAL, RELIGION, SOCIETY.

    AT ACTUAL TIME EVERY THING IS HERE WITH A SPECIFIC AND WELL DEFINE PURPOSE.

    AND PLEASE DON’T PRETEND THAT AN ADVANCE EVOLUTE SOCIETY MUST NOW RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT TO RIDICULING THE PERFECT WORK FORGED FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BY THE UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS
    SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SURRENDER TO THEIR PRIMITIVE AND BASIC INSTINCT. THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEIR SELF.

    Yes, you have the limit to platonic love but not to the extent to have sexual relation with same sex AND TO RELIGIOUSLY OBTAIN APPROVAL.

    For those who believe in species evolution, does this an hazard that we have metamorphosed from unicellular to who we are, clearly distinct to male and female.-

    For those who are well versed in science and wanted to prove every thing scientifically:
    YOU MAY GO THROUGH ALL KIND OF MOST ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PROVE SCIENTIFICALLY WHY THE CELESTIAL BODIES ATTRACT EACH OTHER.

    IT’S JUST THE POWER OF IMMACULATE AND PURITY OF LOVE.

    I feel very sorry if i have offended someone.

    Please.

  • Diamondsouled

    NO NEED TO YELL , we can hear you ;^)

    By the same reasoning it would not only be ethically and morally allowable to burn arsonists alive because it is mentioned in the Aqdas, it would actually be laudable because it would be directly following an injunction of Baha’u’llah’s: ‘Perfect Work’.

    The depth of ignorance that holds sway over the minds of the members of the Universal House of Justice, as well as the Baha’i body politic, is shown in that they, and the Baha’i community, continue to give voice to the untruth that homosexuality is a mental disorder that is curable. This untruth has done so much harm and continues to do so much harm that to continue giving voice to it is a proof of the deep dysfunction of the Baha’i community and it’s administrative order. Unfortunately for Baha’is it is unlikely that this untruth will ever be outgrown. Why? Because of the Baha’i myth of infallibility.

    Even though Baha’u’llah said such an obviously ridiculous thing:

    Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by
    fire, him also shall ye burn; should anyone deliberately
    take another’s life, him also shall ye put to death.
    (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 41)

    Because of the Baha’i myth of infallibility the Baha’i Faith will be forever locked into the barbaric mind set expressed in Baha’u’llah’s ‘infallibile’ words.

    Thankfully here in Canada our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is light years ahead of anything expressed in Baha’u’llah’s Aqdas.

    Cheers

    Larry Rowe

  • Stella Herbert

    Although interesting, to me the point is that Bah??’u’ll??h condemned adultery, I am reliably infomred that the word from which this is translated actually refers to any form of sex outside of marriage. The penalty for ignoring this will, in the future, be a fine payable to the House of Justice (assuming it is found out) and more importantly, it is said to affect the progress of the soul in the next life. Elsewhere in the Bah??’? writings it is made clear that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. although there is nothing wrong with deep spiritual friendships between 2 people ( of the same or of different sexes) outside of marriage. At the present time the importance of and “right” to have sex is overemphasized, and, as with the Roman Empire, is one of the majore factors causing hte breakdown of many societies. In the future this will all seem very clear and reasonable, to most of us in the present age it sounds like a curtailment of a freedom, whereas in fact those who follow this supposed freedom can easily end up as slaves of their lust, risking their health and breaking up families as they cannot settle into a long term relationship. Another example of this is the increasing number of grossly overweight people who have become slaves to their appetite for food to the extent that they can barely move, lie in bed all day and contribute nothing to society, simply through lack of self control. While the taxpayer is paying the cost of picking up the pieces of such actions, there is not enough money to support in comfort those who have lived and worked all their lives, moderating their desires and in some cases fighting for their country only tobe abandoned in old age while society supports single mothers and disturbed children from broken homes. and hospitals have to spend precious resources on larger beds ambulances and wheelchairs to accomodatep those who overeat.

  • Amado de Dios

    As I grow out of my own devout, fanatical fundamentalism, I increasingly see how mistaken we are to take one verse associated with a religion and pontificate on it. For example, I don’t much care what Saint Paul says about anything as a binding pronouncement (Desir?e mentioned his letter to the Romans) when Paul said so many outrageous things, for readily fathomable reasons (to help convert pagans, mostly. For example, Roman soldiers have short hair, so Paul wrote that short hair is good! So, long hair is bad?)
    Shoghi Effendi, like Abdu’l-Baha, and arguably like Baha’u’llah Himself in his human side (3 wives caused a bit of trouble there…) blew it, for whatever reason – personal soul-cleansing penitence, grandstanding for contemporary public opinion, taking primitive science too seriously…
    I personally think Baquia has been right about everything I’ve read so far! But that doesn’t mean I am proposing to add to the canon of “infallible guidance”!
    Amado

  • Craig Parke

    What about overweight members of the UHJ? Just say’in…

  • Craig Parke

    Well, with advances in science maybe there could be mutual consent between species in the future? Just say’in…

  • Bird

    You’re funny Amando…. but you may have a point in your jest compared to the evolving AO…. in the back seat watching the view of it all myself.

  • Bird

    LOL

  • Bird

    The weight of thier ego’s or bodies? Never the less they are the CEO and COB (Chairman of the Board) of the corporation of the BF. The rest of us little people, the believers, must achieve thier mission for us…

  • Baquia

    Larry, as you well know, Baha’u’llah also said that the person found guilty of arson/murder can also be imprisoned for life instead of subjected to capital punishment.

  • Baquia

    Desir, the Aqdas does legislate on incest. With regards to zoophilia, there is no mutual consent possible as it is not between two human adults. I do not find your arguments compelling but instead to be the rehashing of all too common misunderstandings and ignorance.

  • Anonymous

    Stella, thank you for your comment. What you’re referring to is the Arabic/Quranic term zina. The concept is one that is deserving of more discussion and I plan on presenting something on it as well. The above was to set the context for Baha’u’llah’s words. In the future I will touch on the point that you bring up as well as other points that several other readers raised.

    I will say this though for now, the analogy you use (obesity) is a non-starter for obvious reasons.

  • Zla’od

    P.S. I seem to recall that Shoghi Rabbani also forbade passionate kissing among the unmarried. I look forward to Baha’i exegesis of this forward-looking jewel.

  • Zla’od

    Like if I let my dog hump my leg…?

    (The argument against would point out that the dog, being a dog, is thereby impaired from being able to give informed consent. However, such objections are rarely made about dogs who mate with other dogs.)

  • James

    Baquia, thanks. Very nice article. In fact I have nothing with which to respond to your article except praise.

  • James

    Based on the evidence, this particular reference has nothing to do with homsexuality itself but rather specific injustices that Baha’u’llah felt needed a good dressing down.

    Furthermore, why would Baha’u’llah need to specifically point out homosexuality when it is quite clear that people are not permitted to have sex outside of marriage? Bit of a waste of ink, really…

    It seems there is nothing special about same-sex relations. And the designation of “illness” on the act has been misinterpreted and blown out of proportion by old prejudices. Any person who is a slave to their own sexual urges (married or not) can be said to have a kind of spiritual “illness,” thus there is no umbrella injunction on homosexuality, merely a law on who is allowed to knock boots.

    Which brings us back to “the issue of boys,” and your intelligent observation of a tradition which Baha’u’llah sought to break. A point with which I agree.

  • James

    Logical consistency would mean consulting instances of people living lives inconsistent with Baha’i law who later became Baha’is.

    What we do know is that there are people from polygamist cultures who have become Baha’is. They have been allowed to become Baha’is and keep their multiple marriages, but are barred from taking NEW spouses.

    Logical consistency then would suggest that if a person arguably comes from a “society within which homosexuality is considered the norm” that they, upon becoming a Baha’i, if they already had a spouse, could then keep that spouse. But if at a later time they divorced, they would not be permitted to take on a new spouse of the same sex.

    As Baquia says, “squeaky” — the difficulty is whether or not one can be said do come from a “society or culture within which homosexuality is considered the norm”. Also important is whether or not it would put the spouse at an economic disadvantage. Are both spouses declaring as Baha’is or one?

    And always remember: to assume is to make an ass of u and me =)

  • James

    Desir, you are still in Russia? I am also in Russia. we can talk! my email is rhapsodistnine@gmail.com :))))

  • Desir0101

    Baquia, good day,
    I have been unable to find it.”Aqdas does legislate on incest”
    Please confirm.

    Thanks.

  • Desir0101

    Diamondsouled, hello.
    I see that your sense of judgement and observation are very defective and need upgrading,
    I am right now some hundred miles off the nearest coast of the Pacific, in the middle of the vast ocean and you have heard me ”yell”.
    What an acute sense or you are just a gossipmonger.

    That’s funny.
    ”continue to give voice to the untruth that homosexuality is a mental disorder that is curable.”

    Have you never heard that we can alter the behavior, feelings of people by administering certain drug. May be it’s outside your scope.
    Our body mind and spirit are interwove.
    We can use meditative states to alter the body chemistry, as well we can modify the body bio chemistry by drug intake to produce such and such behavior. Homosexuality is not a disease but an orientation.
    Every thing that happen within your body produces a bio chemical reaction.Even the action of thinking,having faith, love produce such chemical change. Science is just at the beginning of perfection.

    Do you believe that govt. or state care to fund research for the cure of homosexual or the like.IT”S NOT A PRIORITY AND IT WILL NEVER BE>
    All result that you will read is just hasty conclusion.

    You may produce any argument you want to support your obscure idea.

    You live your life as you wish but don’t blame others for your misconception on certain realities that escape your primate understanding.

    Not only bahai faith, other great religion forbid having sex with same sex partner.
    Why don’t you create your own religion and you be the MANITOU>

    Surely there certain points in the Bahai faith that i need to understand and seek answers. Iam not not totally agreeable with all that are going on . May be Iam right or wrong.Please God help us.

  • Desir0101

    Hi James,
    Thanks for your invitation.
    May be one day we could have a cup of tea together.
    I am at present far from Russia on a sientific vessel.
    Thanks for your mail add.
    Thanks a lot.
    God Bless.

  • Craig Parke

    Well, maybe there could be a Ruhi Course on what to do if your dog humps your leg? Maybe some multiple choice questions from the discussion?

  • Stvnclmn

    What is your motive of posting this article? What are you trying to convey to your audience?

  • Bird

    I would imagine the motive and message would be the same, the opportunity for individual investigation and the right to free speech, I am assuming Baquia is an American but he/she may not be… Of course there are other countries with the liberty of free speech… Perhaps you live in a world Stvn where no Bahai’s are effected by the interpretations of homosexualtiy in the Bahai Faith. In fact Baquia is more then correct. Where I agree the posting is in depth, it’s fully covering the topic. It’s a very good read and usful information. You really ought to read it.

  • Baquia

    If you read the article, you’ll notice those questions answered.

  • Craig Parke

    Why do you exist? What is your motive for getting up each day? I am curious?

  • Desir0101

    Did Aqdas really mention that ”incest” is forbidden ??

  • Anonymous

    Desir, you already quoted the line from the Aqdas which refers to incest. Furthermore, applying the Baha’i principle that science and religion agree, we have further corroboration of this guidance.

  • Tim

    The uote in Romains has nothing at all to do with homosexuality. You have been the victim of propaganda and need to look at the varous resourses out their which explain the issues in a clear and reasoned way
    here is a link

    http://www.lionking.org/~kovu/bible/toc.html

  • Desir0101

    Baquia,
    The Aqdas consisting of a main core writings of Bahaullah and included
    Question and answers.

    The other are notes from Adulbaha and shoghi effendi interpretation.
    But in the main core and Q & A make no mention any where that’s incest is forbidden.
    Only at page 222 note 133 did Abdulbaha make a timid approach quote”the more distant the blood relationship between the couple the better,””But not from the revealed words of Bahaullah.
    So you take it for granted that ”Aqdas does legislate on incest”.
    I believe that morally it’s not acceptable. Or should we go through another RUHI for that.
    My point is how you admit that Bahaullah(Aqdas) has legislated on incest, when there is nothing mention any where, just the note 133, but you insisted that homosexsuality is permisible, despite in note 134, condemn by Shoghi effendi.

    Bye.

  • Fubar

    This is (largely) unsupported bahai myth.

    Please read James Hillman. Hillman explains how the culture of therapy has gone wrong, and how it is common to superficially blame the structural failures of society (or religion) on individuals (by focusing on “ethical flaws”, etc.), rather than on the dysfunctional systems that underlie the problems.

    In this case, the bahai myth of the imperfection of individuals is intended to create a servile attitude of dependence on bahai institutions/ideology. This is a deep pattern that has existed from the beginning of western religions: an individual is dependent on a priest class for “access” to moral, intellectual and spiritual development.

    Any realistic, objective, rational examination of bahai culture will quickly reveal the silliness of the idea that bahaism creates a highly evolved moral/ethical framework for people’s lives.

    On the contrary, it creates servility/conformism, or the mirror image, nonconformant “misfits”. In both cases, a common structural feature of “surplus powerlessness” is at work.

    There is no way that individuals can be empowered toward moral/ethical development within the context of backward religious ideas and outdated metaphysics, especially in postmodern culture.

    The future of culture (and spirituality) lies in evolutionary principles, holism, and integration. This assumes organizational openness and transparency.

    Bahaism provides almost no basis for an evolutionary model of integral, holistic spirituality, and the bahais that have proposed moving in that direction have been marginalized and attacked by the defenders of conventional wisdom, the status quo, etc.

    In reality bahai “morals” = fundamentalism and dysfunctional bureaucracy.

    It is appalling to suggest that “real” spirituality has anything to do with the random cultural existence of convoluted, bizarro sexual rules in islamic/shi’ia society.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Traditional religion is not going to be the source of advanced ideas on science and spirituality. Traditional religion has a large amount of “baggage” (outmoded metaphysics) that invariably attempts to justify backward cultural attitudes at the expense of “detached” (rational) investigation of emerging ideas.

    Bahaism badly flubs evolution. The corrections that Keven Brown and his collaborators attempted simply make it more evident that adbul-baha was wrong about most of what he said about evolution.

    Like religion, science is not perfect, and unlike religion, does not claim to be.

  • Desir0101

    fubar.
    i don’t know why I always approve what you say.
    you are right fubar.

  • Desir0101

    Fubar,
    I was too busy yesterday to comment on above.
    Purpose of religion is to mold the concept of people into what we so call ‘spirituality’. This has been achieved.
    Religion has nothing to prove. Practice it and witness.
    ”Traditional religion has a large amount of “baggage” (outmoded metaphysics) ” You are right.
    But Abdulbaha admit the existence of metaphysical forces, but discourage at all level for someone to be interested with,, why// that’s always was my question. I believe that something lie ahead or is it that every one at a mastery level in metaphysics can claim to be a prophet, as he will be at the source of knowledge and might. Why He created this fear that our soul will suffer in next world when this power is inherent in human.

    As concerning evolution Bahuallah gave a brief approach in Gleaning.
    I believe that Abdulbaha was right when He compare the evolution of life in a woman womb and ours. The different stages to a perfect human.

    ‘Like religion, science is not perfect, and unlike religion, does not claim to be. ‘
    The perfection with religion is the regenerating forces created with words and writings throughout ages. That’s the miracle.

    I really need an answer, if you can help or anyone who wish do do so.
    At the time a person claim to have divine revelation , did everything he said, he penned down at any time be considered as dictate by God.
    Or be it at a particular time and specific circumstances can be taken as Divinely revealed.

    Thanks a lot for you patience.

  • Desir0101

    Hello Tim, Good day.
    I have gone through your site and I confirm that a pro homosexual person who have gave such interpretation.
    <Most of the other sites confirm that Roman 1 is speaking about homosexuality and lesbian.
    But these terms did not exist at that time.

    just a quotation from the BiBle, Roman.1(24 to 32)
    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    The God of perfection will never, never allow that an innocent be victimized (pederasty) because of adult disbelief in God.

    You are wrong my friend.

  • Desir0101

    Hello Tim, Good day.
    I have gone through your site and I confirm that a pro homosexual person who have gave such interpretation.
    <Most of the other sites confirm that Roman 1 is speaking about homosexuality and lesbian.
    But these terms did not exist at that time.

    just a quotation from the BiBle, Roman.1(24 to 32)
    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    The God of perfection will never, never allow that an innocent be victimized (pederasty) because of adult disbelief in God.

    You are wrong my friend.

  • Desir0101

    Hello Tim, Good day.
    I have gone through your site and I confirm that a pro homosexual person who have gave such interpretation.
    Most of the other sites confirm that Roman 1 is speaking about homosexuality and lesbian.
    But these terms did not exist at that time.

  • Tim
  • Tim

    He means that WHEN YOU WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE SHOUTING…..You didnt understand that I can see so I doubt that you can understand the Bible or other holy texts as you clearly lis interpret even basic remarks. If you didn’t understand what he meant about shouting why didn’t you ask or say you don’t understand. No you would’nt do that you just assume you understand and then act on that faulty understanding….

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback.

    re: “truth”

    —1) As I’ve said before, “spirituality” is perhaps best SEEN from the viewpoint of consciousness studies, brain science, cognitive studies and leading edge linguistics. Such approaches strip away superstition, outmoded metaphysics, unexamined assumptions that are usually false, and so forth. They allow for holistic perspectives, and are “open”.

    Spirituality can be “freeing” (and “healing”) to those that develop such perspectives.

    This is referred to by some sociologists of religion as the “new age” expression of “America’s Religion of No Religion”. It isn’t so much that Spirit has been “found” as it is that Spirit is being “sought”.

    (By contrast, rigidy orthodox or literal/fundamentalist perspectives are “limiting”, and “closed”.)

    The concepts of “spiritual materialism” is useful – it implies that “attachment”, or “clinging” to false, or outmoded, or unexamined assumptions is “bad”.

    —2) For most people, spiritality is perhaps best EXPERIENCED wihin a faith tradition and community (in evolutionary terms – human beings are “social animals”). Most of the rituals, behavioral “maps” and guides to spiritual experience (enlightened, higher states of consciousness/being) that have been discovered by human beings are contained in the mysticism traditions. Spiritual “practice” contains elements that are both individual and social, both “interior” and “exterior”.

    What postmodern culture, at its best, does is to ADD the possibility of holism (multiculturalism, multiperspectivalism, pluralism, relativism) to the traditional knowedge of spirituality (maps, guides).

    Without Holism, traditional spirituality an religion are “destroyed” by science and rationalism and postmodern “deconstruction”.

    Holism and Integral Theory offer a way of legitimizing spirituality in the context of pluralistic and relativistic culture.

    As such, new traditions are evolving. They will honor the valid aspects of old traditions, and “move past” the outmoded aspects.

    Holistic-Integral Spirituality has a better chance of avoiding Absolutism (and superstition) than does either traditional spirituality, or postmodernism.

    I do not believe in Prophetic Revelation, to me it is a construct of culture, is inherently limiting, and full of superstition. It addresses a set of problems and questions that people were confused by thousands of years ago that science has better answers for.

    What I do believe in is that all human beings can access Spirit, and be healed and liberated by Compassion and Altruism.

    No “intermediary” Daddy God archetype is necessary for people to experience Spiritual Liberation. Buddha was clear.

    However, for people that are not able to detach from culturally limited forms and perspectives, “spiritual liberation” can create fear and discomfort.

    The same goes for evolution. Since it is better explains what is “true” in the creation of physical reality and biological life than did tradional religion, it became part of the “politics” (and economics) of the rejection of aristocratic and eccleiastic authority at the begging on the modern era, industrial revolution, democratic republics, capitalism, etc.

    Evolution becomes a “symbol” of the so called tiumph of rationalism and modernism over feudal, imperial and tribal culture (and the conformism and superstition and oppression that came from them).

    Holism-Integralism are paradigms that “transcend” the “fight” over the “best absolutism” between rationalist modernism and ancient spirituality. (or between modernism and postmodernism)

    The Holism part “sees all” and is “open and liberatory” (inclusive).

    The Integralism part “brings together” science and spirit, “interior” and “exterior”, “I” and “We”.

  • Fubar

    Also: re: regeneration

    regeneration is about culture. which means that it is about psychology, and paradigms (some of which are religious/spiritual).

    all attempts to discuss spirituality utilize culture.

    there is no “escaping” culture when discussing, or reading about, religion and spirituality.

    in its most radically liberatory form, spirituality is EXPERIENCED as complete freedom and escape from contingent reality.

    The EXPERIENCE of complete spiritual liberation (escape) involves paradoxes, one of which is that both rational and spiritual “ways of seeing” are enmeshed in illusion (culture).

    Total spiritual liberation can cause immense pain and discomfort, which is why ony a few people are known to have attained it in history.

    Complete freedom of spirit goes against the tendency of humans to be “social/cultural animals” in our biological and cultural DNA.

    Some of the people that have experinced complete spiritual liberation been “described” (seen) as “Prophets” or “Manifestations” within the culturally limited context that they appeared in.

    To try to ascribe timelessness to time is futile.

    To try to scribe “emptiness” to space is futile.

    The only true experience of detachment and liberation is in timeless and emptiness, not in culture or traditions.

  • Fubar

    Many ancient cultures explained spirituality as divine Eros. Druids celebrated male and female divinity as union within the Great Circle. Monotheism and patriarchy are silly, imperialistic.

    In the random-ish evolution of culture, most medieval societies seemed to have arrived at a feudal state in which conforism to myth was the main organizing principle. such behavior was presumably “adaptive” in some sense at the time – it allowed for better survival, and/or it conferred better skills to defend and compete agasinst neighboring societies.

    The creation of strict moral codes has no spiritual reality, except in that in some cultures, ethics and moral discipline are ASSIGNED to particular behaviors and then supported by conformist myths that “spirituality” is conferred upon those that follow strict rules/roles. There are always “material” inducements/privileges (ego/status) that “supplement” the “spiritual” reward of following rules.

    Say a bunch of people (think tribe) are standing on some train tracks. As a large, speedy locomotive bears down on them, they break into an argument about if it is better to get off the tracks by going left, or right.

    A few weirdos even advocate running toward, or away from, the train on the tracks. and not even getting off at all!

    In any case, it would be far better for the group to simply exit the tracks in any direction rather than continue to argue up to the point where the train actually collides with the group.

    This is how a lot of culturally limited rules originate. The act of conforming in a specific, historical circmstance, was what legitimated the rule, not any inherent “correctness” to the rule.

    And of course, all such cultural detritus is eventually swept into a pile and termed “correct religion” by someone silly that claims a “higher good”, while “speaking for god”. etc etc etc

  • Fubar

    As far as it goes, your analysis sounds logically consistent. Thanks for the excellent clarification.

    As you probably know, there are a great variety of genetic expressions of reproductive gender in <1% of the human population. "She males" are one example: a body that is feminine in most/all ways, except the presence of male reproductive organs.

    "Gender identity" is another area in which the boundry between "male" and "female" is far from black-and-white.

    Any rational examination of religious rules should presumably require that the rules explain how sexual preference applies to all the variances.

    this would rapidly become grotesque and bizarro.

    In reality, this would probable just make people realize how idiotic the idea of having religious rules about sexual preferences really is.

    Isn't it odd that religion pays so much attention to two body organs (brain, peni/vagi)? Doesn't this religious obsession with what people
    1) think and
    2) what they do with their "repro- organs"

    tells us more about the sociology of religion than about spirituality or "god"?

  • Fubar

    2050 – singularity and apocalypse
    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback.

    My sense is that humans are biologically/culturally programmed to socially bond (in hunting/gathering clans), and the rules themselves are probably not as important as is simply conforming to them as an act of “embodied consciousness”. (to use a fadish academic buzzword)

    In another response, I stated an analogy: a group of people standing on train tracks can argue about getting out of the way of an oncoming train up to a point, then they simply need to get off the tracks in any way possible or get run over. Ancient tribes needed to act together for survival, and even “bad” rules were usually better than “no” rules. (this is basically what abdul-baha said about how after “unified” consultation, if an assemby is wrong, everyone should follow anyway?)

    Many people that are highly evolved in the area of contemplative practice are horrible to be around. This is the “a$$hole guru” syndrome.

    In evolutionary terms, spirituality, rationality, morals/ethics, social bonding and a buncha other stuff are all part of human consciousness. They all contain elements of construction and biology. According to Richerson and Boyd, it is probable that human DNA contains adaptations involving the ability to “do” cultural construction! This makes any analysis of what is “real” interesting.

    http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Richerson/evolutioninstitutions.pdf

    Richerson and Boyd admit that their paper is preliminary and “crude”. Nevertheless, it appears that any attempt to see a “grand design” behind any advanced form of social organization is probably foolish, and possibly very foolish.

    Almost all of our DNA was formed in eqalitarian tribal culture. Everything on top of that (all the complex social stuff) is construction, extremely variable, nearly random and highly volatile and unstable, and VERY DANGEROUS.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Management/Why-Cities-Survive-and-Companies-Die/

    —excerpt—
    Why Cities Survive and Companies Die
    By Eric Lundquist
    2010-10-29

    In this news interview, Eric Lundquist, Vice President of Strategic Content for Ziff Davis Enterprise, catches up with Geoffrey West at the Business Complexity and Global Leader Conference at Suffolk University. Geoffrey West was named as TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world,” and for good reason. West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles, their interactions, and cosmological implications. His work was also selected as one of the breakthrough ideas of 2007 by the Harvard Business Review. The author of several books, West also is a Distinguished Professor and Past President of the Santa Fe Institute; a visiting Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London; and an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at Oxford University. In this video interview, West discusses how his work in general scaling phenomena has a relation to the business world. As he notes, cities have long lives similar to the biological world, while businesses tend to have much shorter life spans. West also gives insight and speculates on how businesses should organize themselves for longe[…]
    —end excerpt—

    For instance,
    I’m coming to the conclusion that the entire construct of modernism- democractic republics, capitalism, science/technology (rationalism and the liberal tradition), etc., may be about to decline in a near apocalyptic manner.

    It may be that after the AI singularity (when artificial intelligence is “smarter” than human intelligence) – around 2050 – that a new or hybrid human-robotic species that is capable of stable, global complex social organization may evolve.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that biological humans simply do not have the DNA to create and maintain a stable, just, prosperous, peaceful gobal society of vast complexity.

    I think we can “imagine” the possibility*, but will probaby not ever be able to actualize it in the “real world” (due to how our tribal DNA constrains collective action and makes innovations unstable).

    Warm regards

    *http://www.integraltheoryconference.org/keynote

    http://www.worldforum.org/creatives-overview.htm

  • Fubar

    Apparently rump is an acquired taste. Many people learn to enjoy applying their puckered lips to the “behinds” of religious leadership. There may be, or need to be, an exemption from the Shoghi kissing rule in this case. Just speculating, of course.

  • Fubar

    Haven’t you realized yet? Baquia is trying to get on Oprah, AND become fabulouusly wealthy and powerful!

  • Fubar

    Bonobos have some interesting social bonding behaviors based on frequent sex as a conflict resolution method (simiar to some college students?). “Coupling” is not restricted to same sex, or single partner, but does serve to maintain social cohesion and hierarchy.

  • Fubar

    living next to a large river, I noticed lots of duck fornication. the females rarely seem to enjoy the great degree of attention they get from the many (noisy) male ducks. this is why human beings invented professional sports?

  • Anonymous

    There’s a really nice vowel at the end that she can stretch to her heart’s content. Just sayin’

  • Fubar

    God evolves with Man?

    re: “Purpose of religion is to mold the concept of people into what we so call ‘spirituality’. This has been achieved.
    Religion has nothing to prove. Practice it and witness.”

    Desir,

    There is truth in what you say, but it is framed by mostly bad anthropology.

    The available artifacts seem to suggest that something like what we call “Spirit” existed in early human consciousness long before “religion” developed, or words like “god” existed.

    Human beings have a deep yearning for some kind of bliss, with associated images/archetypes of a unconditionally loving, nurturing mother Goddess, to counteract the human ability to imagine their future death.

    Soldiers and others that suffer from disaster and violent harm cry for “mommy” on their last breath before dying.

    It was probably at the exact point that linguistically evolved humans could imagine their own future death, that they became terrified, and some “coping” capability had to evolve to relieve the terror/anxiety of being aware of future death. That coping mechanism appears to be a brain organ that releases calming/tranquilizing neurochemicals that create a sense of bliss, heaven, with a caring, compassionate Goddess, etc.

    Later, as climate changed (or ecosystems were destroyed), and resources became scarce, a Protector God was substituted.

    Here is an interesting article that adapts Rabbi Joshua Abraham Heschel’s idea of “God In Search Of Man”:

    http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/tikkuns-core-vision

    excerpt:

    Why read this long statement of our Core Vision?

    Because it is the absence of this vision that is the primary reason why liberals and progressives are failing to remake this society even at the moment when Obama is President, the Democrats control both houses of Congress, and the economic meltdown has given overwhelming evidence that the old system doesn’t work so well. Absent a coherent world-view, the liberal and progressive forces fall back onto a non-ideological pragmatism which has nothing in it that is compelling to most Americans. So too many of them revert to the only worldview they’ve ever heard, and one that still seems to command the assent (however grudging) of the elected leadership of both major parties: the notion that the competitive marketplace, perhaps with some added guidelines or supervision from government agencies, is the only way to achieve societal well-being, and that military domination of the world is the only way to achieve ?homeland security.? Thus, president Obama enters office and selects the champions of Wall Street special interests to run his economic bailout program (which then, not surprisingly, favors the interests of the banks and imagines a trickle down effect for the rest of the economy),

    It’s not because there is something wrong with Obama or the Democrats—it is that the entire liberal and progressive world has no coherent worldview to which it educates the larger public and which it uses as its criterion for which policies and programs to support and which to oppose.

    We have that alternative, articulated in part here, and in part in our Spiritual Covenant with America and our Domestic and Global Marshall Plan, which you can find at http://www.spiritualprogressives.org

    Many of us are involved in, or greatly admire the accomplishments of social change movements like the peace movement, the women’s movement, the movement for economic justice, the environmental movement, the civil rights movement, the GLBT rights movement, the labor movement, struggles for civil liberties, and the disability rights movement, to name just a few. Many of us hope that President Obama will be successful in moving our society toward a higher level of commitment to peace, social justice, and ecological sanity—and hope that he will find increasing bipartisan support among the American people.

    And yet, we in the Tikkun Community and the NSP (Network of Spiritual Progressives) believe that these movements, and leaders like Obama who (rightly or wrongly) are identified in public consciousness as being the current spokespeople for liberals and progressives, have tended to underplay or even deny a very important dimension of human life-the spiritual dimension. People living in the advanced industrial societies of the West want economic well-being and political rights, to be sure, and we are a long way from securing that for women, gays, lesbians, and people of color.

    Yet what we’ve discovered is that there is an equally strong set of needs that we call spiritual or meaning needs: people want their lives to have some higher meaning and purpose than simply accumulating money, power, sexual gratification and fame-they want their lives to be connected to something about which they can feel that it has transcendent value. And they hunger for personal relationships, families and communities in which they can experience themselves as being cared for and recognized in all of their specificity and uniqueness and spiritual beauty-not only for what they can ?deliver? or ?do? for others, not for how they will be ?of use,? but simply because they are valuable and deserving of love and caring just for who they are as embodiments of the sacred. And many people want their ethical commitments to social justice, peace and ecological sanity to connect with achieving a life that is suffused with love, generosity, kindness, and awe, wonder & radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of the universe and all being. Unfortunately, very few social change movements move beyond the first set of needs to actually understand and integrate into their thinking and program these spiritual or meaning needs

    The absence of this consciousness and program in progressive and liberal movements and political parties of the West has limited the potential impact that all these movements could have. It will take a very different kind of movement-one founded on and giving central focus to a spiritual vision-to create a real alternative to the political Right, to the fundamentalists (religious and political), and to our society’s ethos of selfishness, materialism, and cynicism. Without that, we find ourselves in the following very peculiar position: even when we have won electoral victories for progressive or liberal candidates, the ideology of the Right continues to shape what these people do in office, because that ideology has a coherence that is rarely matched by the various and often intellectually incoherent or at least scattered and random measures introduced by these liberal and progressive governments.

    What We Mean by ?Spiritual?
    We in the Tikkun Community use the word ?spiritual? to include all those whose deepest values lead them to challenge the ethos of selfishness and materialism that has led people into a frantic search for money and power and away from a life that places love, kindness, generosity, peace, nonviolence, social justice, awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation, thanksgiving, humility and joy at the center of our lives.

    At the same time, we will challenge the lack of a spiritual dimension in the agendas of our allies in progressive social change movements. That gap has allowed the Right to present itself as the force that cares about spiritual issues. And the Left’s failure to address spirituality has led many to believe their hunger for a larger framework of meaning and purpose must be separated from their involvement with social transformation. You need only compare Tikkun magazine and the way we approach issues with magazines like The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, Z, the NY Review of Books, Huffington Post, Salon.com, or the emails from moveon.org to see the striking absence of our kind of perspective and approach to contemporary politics, economics, ecology, social change in most of the liberal and progressive publications and movements. Nor is this ?by mistake?—we and other parts of the Spiritual and Religious Left have frequently approached the movements and publications of the secular left to ask that our perspective be included and have most of the time been rebuffed.

    This is Not a Reframing of Secular Ideas in Spiritual Clothing
    Please note that this is very different from those who talk about spiritual politics but actually mean only this: that it would be politically advantageous and opportune to take the traditional liberal agenda and dress it up with some spiritual or ?values? language. So they take the existing liberal/left agenda, with its primary focus on social justice, inclusion of those who have been left out, economic redistribution, and peace-and then they find some Biblical quotes to bolster the case for the pre-existing liberal/progressive agenda.

    …. For a large section of the American public, the primary source of pain in their lives is not about economic deprivation or non-inclusion, but about the way that the ethos of selfishness and materialism plays out in their personal lives and in the lives of people around them in ways that are destructive and feel terrible. They can’t stand being part of the manipulative, narrowly utilitarian way people treat each other and themselves and the earth. They want a framework of meaning to their lives and to the lives of those around them that speaks of higher meaning to life, shows a path to a life that is not only about maximizing money but is about maximizing a meaningful life. In short, they want and need a politics of meaning, and need a meaning-oriented movement that can counter the spiritual depression that surrounds them. Don’t confuse this with those who simply are trying to put some Biblical quotes in front of the same old Democratic Party or liberal agenda-we are seeking a much deeper change.


    We do not believe that every particularistic tradition must be totally left behind in some new globalized spiritual mush. While we support the attempts within existing religious and spiritual traditions to renew their foundations, we do not seek a spiritual melting pot but a world in which plurality and difference can be respected, even as we affirm the Unity of All Being, the interconnectedness of all with all.

    At the same time, we will challenge reactionary spirituality that privileges one group above all others while demeaning those who are not part of the group. We will challenge forms of spirituality that seek to impose racist, sexist, or homophobic values. And we will challenge forms of spirituality that lead people into quietism or a de facto accommodation to a world of oppression. In this and other respects we want to be clear that we do not embrace a vapid ?tolerance? which refuses to make moral distinctions or a deconstructionist logic which sees all forms of discourse as little more than strategies for some group or other to gain power over others. We are not tolerant of religious reactionaries who manipulate the language of God in the service of an oppressive status quo or to restore patriarchy and authoritarian forms of government.


    We are trying to create something that doesn’t have an exact analogue in contemporary life. The truth of the matter is, many of us are wary of any organization-they remain human institutions, susceptible to the ever-present reality of human frailty. The capacity to under-whelm, frustrate, disappoint, and madden is common to all human organizations, whether spiritual or secular, whether on the left or the right or in the middle.

    Particularly when people start hoping for a loving reality, we often get so scared-because we have been so deeply shaped by the pathogenic belief that we don’t really deserve to be loved-that we try to prove to ourselves that a better world isn’t really possible. That’s when we find people in our organizations hurting each other in the name of love, being brutal and lacking compassion, creating endless fights over theoretical differences, or clinging to ego at the cost of finding real solidarity with others. We will do what we can to provide a supportive context, but we will also not hesitate to ask people to leave our organization who would prefer to fight with each other than to lovingly support each other. Creating an international community of people who start with agreement on the points in this document can generate generous amounts of comradely love and solidarity.


    To recognize our mutual interdependence does not require us to abandon cultural difference. We reject the view that says that real peace can only be achieved if everyone is alike, part of a leveling universal culture fostered by a melting pot of preexisting cultures.

    We do not seek to obliterate all differences, but to build a multi-cultural world based on mutual recognition and respect for difference. The world is better served by a diversity of religious, ethnic and cultural traditions-each of which has learned to respect and honor this diversity and to divest itself of those elements in its tradition that lead to hatred or the demeaning of others.

    … we do at least want to give special attention in this founding statement to what has become a particularly egregious focus of right-wing energy: the assault on gays and lesbians. Tikkun magazine has long championed the transformation of Jewish practices that demean queers or that limit marriage to heterosexual unions. The NSP and the Tikkun community will oppose all use of state power, in the United States, Canada, England, Israel and other countries, to disadvantage queer relationships or to limit marriage or family to traditional heterosexual forms. We honor those who are developing what they call a ?queer politics? that forces all of us to rethink gender relationships, even while rejecting any attempts to privilege any one approach as ?the politically correct way? for sexual life. Our community also affirms support and honor to heterosexuality as an equally valid form of family and marriage. We seek to create a society that is supportive of families and of people making and sustaining long-term loving commitments, and we will do our best to support people to work through the inevitable difficulties that emerge in all loving relationships.


    The world we want to see cannot be created solely by external economic and political changes. We wish to see the democratization of our economic and political institutions, and a redistribution of wealth so that all people can share equally in the benefits of this planet. But as we indicated above, the sources of our worldwide economic and political problems are not solely external in nature, but reflect also distortions in how we experience each other and ourselves. So work on changing our inner selves and our ideas about the world is an important aspect of changing the world-not a diversion from the healing that is necessary, but an important component of it.

  • Fubar

    re:
    ” Abdulbaha admit the existence of metaphysical forces, but discourage at all level for someone to be interested”

    Occult forces and superstition are the types of “metaphysics” that are problematic (corrupting).

    I think that there is some partial validity to abdulbaha’s ideas, but the overall framework in abdulbaha’s thinking is culturally limited, if not imperialistic.

    re: “I believe that Abdulbaha was right when He compare the evolution of life in a woman womb and ours. The different stages to a perfect human.”

    Bad science, poor metaphysics. Keep in mind, these were feudal, sufi ideas, recycled for elitist/wealthy westerners looking for “eastern wisdom”. Lots of silly romanticism (anti-capitalism) was involved.

    There is nothing in “science” supporting the idea of “perfection”, much less human perfection.

    Buddhism has the concept of “the worst horse”. The best horse always wins the race. It never really works hard to become enlightened. The worst horse is actually more worthy of praise not because is is most enlightened, but because it has to work so hard to even become slightly more enlightened than it was to start with.

  • Tim

    And one more point. You say that the Bible passages are talking about Homosexuality but that the term did not exist at the time. So the reader you in this case has “interpreted” the passage as referring to homosexuality? Other’s disagree and not only the “pro homosexual person” Why would the authors of the Bible talk about things that did not exist? How would people know what they were talking about? You are shoe horning your prejudice into making the Bible conform to your interpretation and others.

  • Desir0101

    Tim,
    Nice intervention.
    Please read one among hundreds of interpretation. You can surf the webs.
    “”Romans 1:26-27

    Interpretation
    Religious person frequently focus on Verses 26 to 28 as a — perhaps the — main anti-homosexual passage in the Bible. One reason is that these verses are the only ones that refer to same-sex behavior by both men or women. Conservatives generally condemn all homosexual behavior as an unnatural, abnormal perversion. They frequently consider homosexuality as chosen, changeable, and related to childhood sexual abuse or inadequate parenting, Some feel that it is further linked to all types of evil behavior up to and including suicide.
    :Some quotations:

    Almost all Evangelical Christian writers speak with a common voice about same-sex behavior: condemnation:
    bullet David Griffiths writes: “One of the consequences of refusing God’s plan for life is homosexual activity which is condemned by the Scriptures (Romans 1:26-28; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13 ), and is contrary to the gospel. (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10 ). But homosexuals can be saved through faith in Christ and can know deliverance like other sinners. (1 Corinthians 6:11 ).” 1
    bullet A. Mohler said: “The passage makes it clear that homosexuality is ultimately a rebellion of human nature against the divine creator. It deals with the heart of homosexuality, the passion of man for man or woman for woman.” 2
    bullet Frontline Christian organization states: “The ‘natural use’ would be the use of sex between a male and female who are married. Intimate affections between two of the same gender are here called unnatural…. Homosexuality displays clearly how utterly perverse man’s desires are.” 3
    bullet David O. Dykes, Pastor “…in this passage, the Bible says homosexuality, number one, is unnatural. Number two, it is called ‘a perversion.’ …Note: God created sex for a man and a woman who are married to each other. ALL other sexual practices are a perversion of God’s good plan.” 4
    bullet Drew Worthen writes: “…when people willfully dishonor the One true God, God may very well turn people over to their own sins where they are dishonored. In the case before us it involves sexual perversion. Now I’m not going to spend a lot of time getting too specific here as this kind of behavior is very unnatural and not a very pleasant subject. But the gist of it all is that God is addressing the perversion of lesbianism among women and homosexuality among men.” 5
    bullet Dave Armstrong writes: “…the contrast is between natural and unnatural, and also between heterosexual and homosexual sex. Paul is not merely saying that the ‘inflamed passions’ are what is sinful, but the very concept and practice of homosexual relations, which goes against nature. The documented medical consequences of engaging in such unnatural and unhealthy sexual practices bear this out. Since it is “unnatural” for men to be (sexually) with men, and women with women, according to the Apostle (and God, since the Bible is God-breathed), he describes the sexual acts as ‘shameless’ and ‘error.’ There is no qualification here for things like rape or promiscuity or uncommitted, manipulative sex (that is the desperate eisegesis [sic] of those who already believe the Bible is neutral on the issue – itself an absurd proposition, in my opinion). St. Paul makes an argument from nature. He is saying that the very notion of homosexuality is disordered and unnatural.” 6
    bullet Dan Hill writes: “The ‘natural’ use is the relationship of man and woman. The use that is ‘against nature’ is lesbianism. This is the female expression of degrading passions….Paul affirms that male homosexuality is also unnatural and then goes a step further in saying that it consists of indecent acts. It is an error or aberration and receives due penalty: The word DUE PENALTY involves justice, receiving what one deserves….Christians are very good at becoming hate mongers, and we must not allow that to happen. There are many homosexual men and lesbian women who are very aware of their lack of fulfillment and are receptive to the truth of God if it is expressed with the love of Christ.” 7
    bullet Jonathan D. Inman writes: “There is no indication whatsoever that any of the sins mentioned in Romans 1:26-32 — homosexuality or greed, murder or gossip (among others) — would be acceptable under any circumstances. Such a distinction is a far-fetched fiction, based on impressive sounding speculations that lack any demonstrable factual basis….In Romans Paul teaches that homosexuality is absolutely wrong, that it is coincident with and on a par with all kinds of other sin, and that God forgives people of all kinds of sin, including the sin of homosexuality.” 8
    bullet ChristianAnswers.Net writes that “For the bible-believing Christian, there can be no doubt that homosexuality is a grievous sin in the sight of God. The awful catalogue in the first chapter of Romans of the sins practiced by the ancient pagan world began with this sin.” 9
    bullet Bob Harbison writes: “The popular view is that homosexuality is just as natural for the homosexual as heterosexuality is for the rest of us, and that it is actually harmful for one to suppress his natural sexual inclinations. Is this a natural, inborn trait? Does the Bible address that question?….(Romans 1:26-27). There may be physical or sociological factors which make the temptation to be homosexual stronger for some people, but there is nothing natural about it! If someone convinces us that there is, it becomes easier to accept the sin.” 10
    bullet Manfred Brauch writes: “The point, it seems to me, is that same sex relations are a specific falsification of God’s intention for human sexual intimacy, emerging out of the general falsification of right thinking about God, idolatry. Paul is not talking about individuals who deny their true nature, that is, heterosexuals committing homosexual acts, but about humanity that both in general idolatry and in specifics in morality, has replaced the truth about God and the truth about God’s creative design with error.” 11

    horizontal rule
    About the words “natural” and “nature:”

    Romans 1:26-27 says, in part: “…their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another….”

    Many religious liberals accept the findings of human sexuality researchers that there are three normal and natural sexual orientations among humans and all other mammals: heterosexuality among the majority and bisexuality and homosexuality among minorities. Thus, some liberals do not interpret the terms “natural” and “nature” in this passage as absolute terms. They believe that it is normal for a heterosexual person to be attracted to a person of the opposite gender, just as it is normal for a gay or lesbian person to be attracted to a person of the same gender. They consider abnormal sex to involve sexual activity which is in violation of a person’s basic nature — something that goes against their sexual orientation.

    .

  • Desir0101

    Tim,
    It’s just simple as saying Good day.

    The act itself existed but the term “”Homosexual” did not at that time.
    It’s just recently that the word been used.
    So the author of the Bible can’t have used the word homosexual, but described the act. So simple to understand.

    ”So according tot he text we deserve to die doi we? Are you going to be doing the honours….”

    Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

    Religiously speaking the unbelievers in God are consider spiritually dead even they are still alive in this world.
    So “deserve to die” is in the spiritual term not physical.

  • Desir0101

    Tim,
    Capital letters have different appreciation in Writing.

    One among is to lay emphasis and capture the attention of others, what I have been trying to do.

    But If He has understood that these capital letters referred to meant “”YELL”” was his own perception.
    I am sorry. Convey my greetings to him.

    Desir.

  • Tim

    Please stop posting huge chunks of text….I ve read it all and come to my own conclusion about the meaning contained in the Bible. Perhaps you might learn greek or latin and that way you could see a lot of room for interpretation in the original sciptures. None of what you have pasted says anything about gay relationships as we know them today and therefore cannot be used to prohibit them. It’s all about sexual / erotic practices which have nothing to do with homosexualuity in the same way rape has nothing to do with sex.

  • Tim

    Why would god ban something for which there was not word? From my understanding what is prohibited is heterosexuals commiting acts of sodomy against people either willing or unwilling, these acting agaist their nature. It would be against the nature of gay men to have sex with women and therefore equally to be condemned in my view as it is against their true nature…..

  • Tim

    <<<>>>

    How convenient of you to interpret this passage this way. You are typically changing the word of god to suit your own purposes.. It is clearly written that they should be put to death along with people who wear cotton and wool in the same garment, people who work on the sabbath people who dis honneur their mother and father etc the list is quite long….please stop interpreting the Bible to suit your own argumemt the words are clear to read.

  • Desir, I don’t understand why you refer to the Bible. Another Bahai did this in attempt to argue that homosexuality was a bad thing and here is a link to my response where I show why I do not think it is a Bahai teaching to accept previous religious laws as being applicable for Bahais.

    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/homophobia/#previous_religious_law

  • stvnclmn

    What do you think of:

    “Amongst the many other evils afflicting society in this spiritual low water mark in history, is the question of immorality, and over-emphasis of sex. Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned. This does not mean that people so afflicted must not be helped and advised and sympathized with. It does mean that we do not believe that it is a permissible way of life; which, alas, is all too often the accepted attitude nowadays.

    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, May 21, 1954)

  • Fubar

    Clearly that letter expresses bigoted and ignorant opinions. It is absurd to consider it “infallible” interpretation. Bahaism is full of far more exgregious examples of moral/ethical failure. Many sexual scandals of bahai “leaders” have been covered up. It is a culturally imperialistic religion that attempts to perpetuate an autocratic, paternalistic slave-war paradigm.

    The backward “purity myth” metaphysics that lie behind this kind of bigoted ignorance are the real culprit. They stunt people spiritually. They reek of fundamentalism.

    There is no “revelation from god” in bahai scripture, just odious, backward culture.

    Disgusting and vile stuff.

  • Fubar

    Isn’t it time to get past tribal religion? the “kingdom of god” meant a tribal slave-war religious paradigm. premodern. feudal. medieval.

    we live in a world where the level of culture has progressed several orders of magnitude beyond that silly, outmoded stuff.

    why are bahais invoking ancient, bigoted texts? is bahaism attempting to use such texts to use the organizing powers of premodern culture to take the world in a backward direction?

  • Fubar

    lol!

  • Fubar

    backward religions have various characteristics. they tend to be absolutist. they tend to empower inquisitorial, autocratic, authoritarian personalities.

    all that has nothing to do with real spiritual liberation.

    and real spiritual liberation has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

    bahaism is stupid, backward religion.

  • Fubar

    that sounds correct. shoghi, and/or his letter writers, were bigoted and ignorant, and thus, “took liberties” with the concept of “infallible interpretation”.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Conservatives/evangelicals need hate. They hate non-christians. They hate gays. The hate liberals. etc.

    Conservative religion is about conflict, not spiritual liberation, compassion, peace or altruism.

    Conservative religion is backward. It is “strict daddy” with no “loving mommy”. It is unbalanced.

    Conservative religion is always used to support greed, hierarchy, corruption, autocratic attitudes, authoritarianism.

    The denial of their own real humanity by a warped, soul killing form of religion is *projected*, in the form of hate, into gays.

    Conservative religion is what is sick and pathological.

    The “sickness” that conservative religious people see in homosexuality is just the mirrored, inner spiritual sickness of conservatives. This has been true since ancient times.

    As Rabbi Learner states (www.tikkun.com), the ancient bible is full of descriptions of both spiritual liberation and spiritual sickness/pathology.

    It is only unenlightened people that can not tell the diffference between the spiritual liberation of SOME jewish people described in the bible, and the spiritual sicknesses of others.

    bahaism attempted to gain some clarity but failed miserably.

    there was nothing “infallible” about either the ancient jewish tribal leaders or “prophets”, or bahai founders, or shoghi/UHJ, they all have some spiritually liberated ideas, and many spiritually enslaving, pathological ideas.

    the perpetuation of “puity myths” is one of the most sick, pathological, enslaving things that any religion can do to humanity.

    purity myths are backward fragments of imperialistic cultures.

  • Fubar

    re:
    “SIMPLY BECAUSE THEIR FEELING DICTATE THEIR REASON.

    SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SURRENDER TO THEIR PRIMITIVE AND BASIC INSTINCT. THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEIR SELF.”

    You could say the same thing for many behaviors of so-called “devout” bahais. Most of what passes for bahai thinking is based on unexamined, undisciplined, backward cultural “feelings”, not “REASON”.

    Many typical bahai behaviors, including those of “infallible” bahai leaders, are based on what you would call “poor intellectual and spirital discipline”.

    For instance, years ago, I saw several “mass teaching” programs implemented. bahais exhibited disgusting behavior when gaining converts. very “spiritually materialistic” and self-desctructive. the emotional vulnerability, as well as spiritual and other needs of the converts were deeply disrespected, and they were made to conform, in a deeply dehumanizing way, to silly, dysfunctional ideas common in bahai culture and expressed by “infallible” leaders.

    the simple fact is that bahai culture is full of lies and dishonesty.

    the converts are led to believe that they will become part of a group that provides meaning, and spiritual healing/liberation. instead, they are indoctrinated into a deeply dysfunctional bureaucracy that attemtps to make the “convert” into a servile conformist.

    (this is based on a medieval model. the “convert” is a “peasant”, and expected to exhibit an “earthy, primitive purity” that the elites are not required to live by themselves. eventually, some peasants {very few} attain high status and become “ethereal” and even further detached from the impure world and dirty work of technocrats that operate “behind the curtain”.)

    this is why gay culture is unacceptable to mainstream bahaism, it questions the long existing paradigm of religious conformism and servility that is part of bahaism and western religion.

    gay culture celebrates the dyonisian aspects of spirit, and freedom.

    when baha scripture states that gays are “morally debased”, that is simply a mirror projection of the pathological, dysfunctional souls of bahai leaders.

    when bahais are “teaching” (converting), the most disgusting things about bahai culture become very clear.

    some of the responsible leaders of the mass conversion projects actually had to exclude bahais that were exhibiting predatory, exploitave behavior toward new converts.

    some bahais are so undisiplined that they become “spiritually materialistic” and so “attached” to the excitement of converting others that it becomes like an emotional addiction.

    the reality is that bahaism is a very unstable, dangerous, immature religion that exploits and dehumanizes people.

    only delusional, psychologically sick people would accept leadership in such an organization. (the world trains many people for such roles.)

    anyone that has seen how bahaism actually “operates” in the real world will not maintain much hope for a better future, bt rather will become bitter, cynical, hopeless, or at least realistic about silly religious leaders who are driven by need for ego gratification, control, etc.

    as such, bahaism’s goals of creating a “spiritual” society that will somehow bring about world peace (etc.) are absurd in the extreme.

  • Desir0101

    Hi Fubar,
    ”we live in a world where the level of culture has progressed several orders of magnitude beyond that silly, outmoded stuff.”

    The amplitude of cultural progression is indeed witnessing in many part of the world but more keen to materialistic things, to an abase nature devoid of spirituality. Millions of people to day find tranquility,peace and wisdom through faith in that “”outmoded stuff”.
    that we call religion. The masses need it. Religions influence were more positive than negative.

    ‘why are bahais invoking ancient, bigoted texts?”
    So for you all these what we call sacred texts are ”bigoted texts” which I have quoted from the Bible. It’s your perception, I will not argue.
    it’s easier to be destructive than constructive.

    So you are against all, but WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROPOSE TO HUMANITY FOR SECURING PEACE AND TRANQUILITY AND AN ADVANCED ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

    i WOULD REALLY WANT TO HEAR YOU.
    Perchance I could become your disciple.

  • Tim

    Again just to repeat there are no writings by Bahaullah that condemn spiritually or otherwise homosexuality. This letter written by a secretary does not carry the same “weight” as the actual words of the Guardian. If you look at the links sonja has provided you will gain a fuller understanding of the issues.

  • Tim

    Oh no he doesnt have to propose anything of the kind. His opinion is that religions are an invention of man and that mankind has progressed boyond the need to beleive in an all-powerful god and all the rituels of organised relgion…why does he have of form a sort of alternative for mankind to follow? Your views are becoming more and more bizarre. It’s not for you to be a diciple of anyone, I suspect that what he wants is for you to think things through on your own without beleiving in things through the eyes of others. Your remarks are insulting and sound like bullying!!

  • Desir0101

    SONJAVANK,Good day.
    I appreciate and savor everything that is good in anything what the masses call religion. Whether eastern or western religion.
    That’s make no different to me.

    I have my own way to transcend the limit and be one with every thing and transcend traditional belief and religion.

    I am not an homophobe.
    I am just trying to identify the common within different scriptures relating to such and such topics.
    I can conclude that there are some relevancy and similarity between the different what the masses call revelation.

    If you gone through the Bahai writings you will noticed Bahaullah quotes several passages from other scriptures and even social laws and sometime with some modification.

    I believe , (my personal view) you take it with objectivity the infallibility of the Guardian. It exist only for those who have faith and believe in him. No more no less.

    I came on this blog to find answers and more understanding, but I see you have nothing concrete and positive to propose that destructive concept.

    Why do you pressure the religious organization to accept ‘UNNATURAL” things .

    You find it ”natural” that a male introduce another male (anal) even if there is consent. Is it not the passage has some other specific bodily function. Is God stupid at that point, that His creature has found more creative ideas than Him.
    May be in coming days you will hear some people calling themselves god at the Hadron Collider.
    Homosexuality is an orientation against nature.
    Where feeling dictate reason.
    I believe this is the imbalance.

  • Tim

    ..and there we have it… I am not a homophobe but …… typical. To homophobes it all comes down to anal sex doesnt it… you silly little man!! Have you a view to the unnaturalness of oral sex? what about masturbation ? is that againt nature too? To condem one form of human erotic behaviour it to condemn all. You ask whether God is so stupid … your blinkered fundamentalist bigotted views are at odds with the commandment to investigate the truth of issues independently without preconception. Presumeably because to state specificlally two males you are not against and man penetrating a woman in this way if both find it pleasurable? I am afraid you have given yourself away in this last post. We know you now. Are there any large iceburgs near by?

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Thanks for posting your concerns. Our goal is excellent customer service, and I hope we have met your expectations and needs. lol. Many people find it painful to realize that they have to detach themselves from ingrained prejudices and bigoted ideas. This is your support network.

    I except to see a robot, or hybrid robot-human, species evolve after 2050 that might be capable of world peace. I do not think the current form of humanity, based on current DNA, which only alows humans to behave as tribes, or UNSTABLE DANGEROUS supertribes, can create world peace.

    Human beings as we currently know them will probably be extinct in 100 years.

    “BYE, BYE – STUPID PEOPLE WITH 99% Chimpanzee DNA.”

    The universe will probably give a sigh of collective relief.

    The Dali Lama recently wrote a book about Compassion as the basis for the Interfaith movement. You might like it.

    Homosexuals and religion:

    This simple.

    Some heterosex is bad/exploitation/evil, and some is good.

    Some homosex is bad/exploitation/evil, and some is good.

    The bad is bad, the good is good.

    Ancient prejudices, such as in the bible, are based on scape goating homosexuals based on a complex of psychosocial dynamics involving “bad sex”, exploitation, self-loathing, social stgmas, and so forth.

    As you may recall, bahai scriptures state that most religion is encrusted junk.

    So did Nietzsche and Marx.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_is_dead

    ********************************
    *** I did not invent the idea! ***
    ********************************

    The bahai “mantra” about materialism is silly. Most cultural evolution is not about “materialism”, it is about psychology, archetypes, paradigms.

    “Materialism” has liberated more poor people than religions ever has, or will.

    “Materialism” is not the problem, the problem is CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION.

    CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION NEEDS BACKWARD RELIGIONS.

    Conservatives are tools of Capitalist oppressors.

    Backward religion is a tool of Capitalist oppression.

    Please – Don’t be stupid.

    There are over 1,000,000 (MILLION) NGOs, social justice groups, environmental sustainability groups, and similar in the world. They are the “Cultural Creatives” that are working for TRANSFORMATION, not “backward” religions like bahaism.

    I excerpted LONG PASSAGES from http://www.tikkun.org about politics, gay rights, etc., containing many alternative ideas from one of the best HOLISTIC JEWISH RENEWAL THEOLOGIANS in the USA.

    If you wish to understand the bible, you might want to listen to real Jews, IT IS A BOOK ABOUT *THEIR* CULTURE.

    To summarize:

    1) some ancient jewish leaders were evil

    2) some ancient jewish leaders were good

    All the gay-hate stuff in the bible is about the evil ones, not the good ones.

    By quoting gay hate stuff from the bible, we learn about:

    VERY BAD JEWISH LEADERS WHO WORSHIPPED A VERY BAD GOD.

    (Please examine their fate, bad karma, or whatever you want to call it.)

    I also mentioned “America’s Religion of No Religion”.

    1)-> anthropolgy tells us that spirituality existed before religion or “god”.

    2)–>8,000 years of “civilization” tells us that religion is about imperialism, war and slavery

    3)-> postmodern culture talls us that spirituality can exist without religion or god.

    4) this is scary to many people

    I also mentioned Integral Theory and Holistic Theory.

    I also mentioned STATE OF THE WORLD FORUM – The most important world peace organization – which most bahais are CLUELESS about !!!

    I also mentioned Cultural Creatives.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/magazine/19Urban_West-t.html

    See below for the Holistic Enchilada:

    (I look forward to more discussion, and I hope your work is going well.)

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/intro.cfm

    —excerpt—

    …A scientific revolution is the result of new paradigms and new theories coming into accord with each other, both of which are anchored, not in abstractions but in social practices. These revolutions are embraced, at the start, by a handful of individuals at the leading edge, but, if validated, these new exemplar-worldviews (paradigms-and-theories) are accepted by the larger culture or knowledge community, becoming a new “normal” or “legitimated” science, which stabilizes and carries forward until the next set of pesky data arises that refuses to be humbled in the existing scheme of things, and new and heretofore undisclosed territories start to shimmer on the horizon of the possible.

    A similar process is now at play, I believe, in the nascent integral salons spontaneously forming around the world. Before we discuss that possibility in more detail, here is another example of a knowledge revolution, this time in politics.

    The rise of the modern, liberal, representative democracies in the West involved, among innumerable other things, a significant shift in values from traditional to modern, which particularly began in Europe around 1600 and accelerated to something of a crisis pitch by the mid-1770s. Traditional values (e.g., blue, mythic-membership, conventional) tended to be conformist, ethnocentric, hierarchical, mythic-religious, and based on individuals conforming strongly to the present order. Modern values, on the other hand, tend to be egalitarian (not hierarchical), individualistic (not conformist), scientific (not mythic-fundamentalist), and place a premium on equality (not slavery).

    This shift from blue to orange, or from traditional values to modern values, was presaged in the salons or “small gatherings of moderns” (the word salon is French, but these gatherings were also occurring in England, Scotland, and Germany, among others), where the social practice of dialoging according to orange values was carefully exercised. That is, the practice of dialogue geared toward mutual understanding, reciprocal exchange, postconventional equality and freedom was practiced by small groups of leading-edge elites. This was a collective, communal, intersubjective, dialogical discourse at the orange wave of consciousness–a social practice, paradigm, or injunction of dialogical discourse within an elite subculture whose center of gravity was orange or higher.

    This new exemplar or social practice gave rise to a set of novel experiences, insights, data, illuminations, and interpersonal understandings, which new political theories then sought to capture. Most of these new theories of liberal democracy shared the idea that the only way to integrate individual and social is to have the individual feel that he or she is participating in the laws that govern his or her behavior. In the States this was popularly summarized by the phrase, “No taxation without representation,” and it essentially meant that a people have the right to be self-governing. This new practice of dialogical discourse and self-governance (generally called a “social contract”) was conceptualized in different ways by leading-edge individuals ranging from John Locke to Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine to Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant to James Madison.

    This self-governance is not a felt requirement of blue (which will follow the law if it is part of tradition), and it is not felt requirement of red (which will follow the law if it issues from the power leader). Only at orange does interiority start to demand a hand in the laws that regulate its own behavior.

    (Of course, there were several other social injunctions that were part of the orange tetra-worldspace, including an industrial base that was one of single largest factors in reducing the need for slavery, and which lessened the demand for physical strength in order to succeed in the public sphere, thus paving the way for, and actually allowing, the various liberation movements, including feminism and abolition. But we are here focusing on the subset of social practices or paradigms within the rising cultural elite that was forging a new and revolutionary form of governance that would tetra-mesh with new techno-economic base.)

    In short, out of this new exemplar or social practice of orange dialogical discourse (which was enacting and bringing forth a new set of experiences, data, and illuminations) soon issued a new theory of political governance called the social contract, whose general form is: any legitimate governing system is a contract between the governors and those governed, such that the two are mutually governing. This usually involves the election of governors by those governed, such that sovereignty rests, in the final analysis, with the people being governed. All representative, liberal, industrial democracies are today some form of a social contract, which was first pioneered, in a micro-quadratic form, by a small cultural elite at the leading edge who were forging new types of social practice or paradigms embodying a higher, wider, deeper wave of consciousness unfolding.

    The Great Possibility

    And so it is today, with an integral age at the leading edge. The possibility–and it is only a gossamer possibility at this time–is that a new and wider wave of consciousness–an integral wave, an age of synthesis–is beginning to emerge and push against all of the now-older waves (traditional, modern, and postmodern), throwing each of them (but especially the postmodern) into a legitimation crisis about its own validity–a crisis of legitimacy that can only be resolved by an increase in authenticity, or an actual transformation to the new and wider integral wave of unfolding.

    —end excerpt—

  • Tim

    I don’t think you have tackled the sublject of why homos should be shot! LOL

  • Desir0101

    Good day Tim.

    “We know you now’
    So you are not yourself, you dissolve in others intelligence and opinion.
    you aren’t yourself.
    That the wrongest things you can do to society and humanity.
    But Iam myself, alone responding to others comments. No groups, no association of any kind.
    Do you always have the bad habit in answering post addressed to others when you did not have the mental faculties and intelligence to do so.
    Please keep apart.
    When address to you then to express your opinion if however you have one.
    Thanks for your kind understanding.
    Fubar gave interesting point below.
    You should pay attention.

    Thanks..

  • Tim

    I will comment on anything I like thanks…it is not for you to decide. I think you have been well and truly outed as a homophobe…

  • Tim

    “We know you now’
    So you are not yourself, WHAT >?you dissolve in others intelligence and opinion. WHAT?>
    you aren’t yourself.
    That the wrongest things you can do to society and humanity. WHAT>?
    But Iam myself, alone responding to others comments. WHAT>? No groups, no association of any kind.
    Do you always have the bad habit in answering post addressed to others when you did not have the mental faculties and intelligence to do so. WHAT?
    Please keep apart. WHAT?
    When address to you then to express your opinion if however you have one. WHAT?
    Thanks for your kind understanding. YOUR WELCOME
    Fubar gave interesting point below. SO WHAT?
    You should pay attention. WHAT?

  • Stvnclmn wrote: What do you think of:
    “Amongst the many other evils afflicting society in this spiritual low water mark in history, is the question of immorality, and over-emphasis of sex. Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned. This does not mean that people so afflicted must not be helped and advised and sympathized with. It does mean that we do not believe that it is a permissible way of life; which, alas, is all too often the accepted attitude nowadays.”

    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, May 21, 1954)

    Some Bahais might think to use birth control is against the teachings of the Bahai Faith because a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi states it “as constituting a real danger to the very foundations of our social life.? (A link to the letter is here – scroll to the comments below for the full letter)

    So Stynclmn if you choose to treat everything penned by a secretary writing Letters on Shoghi Effendi’s behalf, as if this is scripture to be followed to the letter, I can only assume that you might have problems with Bahais who practice some form of birth control or anything else penned in these letters. As an individual there is nothing to stop you from following the advice in these letters, unless, and this is just my own opinion, your actions contradict any Bahai Teaching.

    Some Bahais interprete anything penned by a secretary as if this has the same status as Bahai Scripture so here is a link to some statements about the status of these letters.

    These letters have status, but not the same as anything penned by Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha, or Shoghi Effendi and here is a link to some of these letters which either contradict Bahai Scripture or have inaccuracies.

    As Bahais we need to learn to see these distinctions if we want our Bahai community (here Shoghi Effendi is referring specifically to our administration) to: “be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Baha’u’llah, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation.”
    (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 9)

    So in short Shoghi Effendi seems to be saying, let the priniciples of the Bahai Teachings guide us in our actions.

    Now to the Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi which you posted: I googled the phrase: “Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.” and found it is sourced all over the place, including wikipedia, bahaikipedia and so on. However nowhere have I found anything in the Baha’u’llah’s Writings to back this up. Of course I realise many of His tablets are not yet translated but my argument here is, if there is a tablet somewhere that states clearly that homosexuality is spiritually condemned, it would be sourced or a priority would have been given, so such statements in Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi would have some scriptural basis. We cannot assume that those secretaries had the power of divination to ‘know’ what was in a tablet without having read this themselves. It is not a Bahai Teaching to believe that Bahais such as those who served as secretaries had super-human powers.

    But I can understand that anyone using the internet would think, well it must be somewhere in the Bahai Writings, otherwise why would this quotation often be the first thing quoted in places such as wikipedia. I would agree, I find this odd. Why does it seem to be that Bahais are so keen to damn homosexuality? Why do not more Bahais question this? Are Bahais more likely to damn homosexuality than any other individual? If you think so, then I’d say, do something about this.
    Asking questions (to others or oneself) and investigating the truth are Bahai Teachings. We as individuals make what the Bahai community is in society – no people, no community. We need to do the investigating ourselves. It is our own responsibility.

    Why does a religion that celebrates diversity and has equality as a teaching, have homosexuality as an exception? Where does the idea that homosexuality is bad come from? That’s my question. If it comes from those letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, and other issues mentioned in these letters are treated as advice for the particular individual/s it was addressed to, or not given a focus, then why are those mentioning homosexuality treated differently?

    We cannot blame those letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi either, because it us, the Bahais, who are who treating the status of these letters differently to how other letters are being treated. Sen has written a blog which goes into some detail about the Letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi.

  • Desir0101

    Sonjavank, Hello.

    I gone through the link and find it well documented.
    Very impressive.
    But I found some irregularities and nonconformity that I will not comment.
    But you are right on 99% but not on the one below.

    ”In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Questions and Answers, #49, is the text: ?Concerning the penalties for adultery, sodomy, and theft, and the degrees thereof?
    Baha’u’llah’s answer: ?The determination of the degrees of these penalties rests with the House of Justice.? (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 121, 1992 edition)

    The question asks about:
    zinaa’ (= adultery, fornication) and
    liwaat (= sodomy, paederasty) and
    sariqa (= theft)”

    In the dictionary SODOMY means ”anal intercourse committed by a male with another male or a female”, irrespective of consent or not is a transgression according to Bahaullah.

    Part of that population, homosexual, will confirm that they are not concern with liwaat but the other part will.
    When two people are attracted to each other that feelings will culminate into and this love find expression into sex relation.
    So in same sex partner male it will be sodomy. They will have no other choice to search for this intense pleasure.

    In heterosexual couple they have the main choice to normal sex relation. Which is the natural form.
    But this does not prove that will never pass to a sodomy act or may be never.

    In homosexual couple sodomy will be their only recourse.

    Bye.

  • Tim

    In homosexual couple sodomy will be their only recourse.
    What about lesbians? What a silly post…….

  • Mitra

    Dear Baquia thank you, very informative! I’ll share.
    For me the translation in modern Persian of Bacheh-bazi= Pedophilia.
    Bachehbaz=Pedophil.
    Afghanis still use Khahar’khandeh but in modern Dari it means Bosom friend (hartsvriendin).

  • Tim

    In current non political correctness
    bacheh baz = gay
    bacheh bazi = homosexuality
    These terms are current among Iranians I can assure you. It is also worth noting that these terms are relatively new as as has been pointed out it was commonly accepted Mediterraneanian culture thheterosexualual men would find any object that coufulfillful their needs sexually attractive and this includes young boys as these were readily accessible. Those obliging themselves of sex with young boys did not and would not consider themselves “gay” in the way we understand it today.

  • Stvnclmn

    In that case, what are your views on this:

    “The word translated here as ‘boys’ has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.

    “The Bah??’? teachings on sexual morality centre on marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Bah??’? law thus restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the woman to whom he is married.”

    (The Universal House of Justice: The Kitab-i-Aqdas: N 134, p. 223)

  • Desir0101

    Hello fubar,
    Good day.
    I am very busy but I promised you I will go through your different links and have and overall view.
    And will contact you.
    Bye.

  • Desir0101

    “”In homosexual couple sodomy will be their only recourse.
    What about lesbians? What a silly post……. “”

    Lesbian are considered less dangerous to society.
    Female homosexuality has not received the same negative response from religions or criminal authorities as male homo. or adultery has through
    history.
    Women have been given little importance in their relation with same sex.
    But over pressured, controlled, and restraint in their relation with male.
    they have been found inoffensive even with the intimate relation with other women.
    I believe woman will not rape, abuse on physical forces, harass another woman just to have sex relation.
    If some cases exist it’s insignificant.

    Contrary to male, they go further up to murder, destroying individual conscience,personality, family ties etc etc…

    The psychological and mental state since ages have cultured male into a sex predator.

    SO IF MALE THE DOMINANT PROTAGONIST COULD BE TAMED FROM PERVERSION, ABNORMAL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR , IT WILL BE EASIER WITH THE FEMALE..

    So religion has been more concerned with the ABNORMAL male practices.

    If the concept of absolutism/relativism and morality encrusted in human mind been removed then every one can do as he wishes.

    Like on the road removing all traffic signs resulting in mass accident and death.

    A business company must be govern by rules, regulations and laws. The absent of which will be doomed to failure assuredly.

    Like wise in life , some misconducts are acceptable, others less punishable, whereas some are forbidden/prohibited ( as I perceive it through the eyes of religion).

    So I have commented up to now from scriptures relating to homosexual behavior.

    A26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:s in the Bible Roman 1.

    and from the Aqdas.
    The Aqdas consisting of a main core writings of Bahaullah and included
    Question and answers.

    The other are notes from Adulbaha and shoghi effendi interpretation.
    But in the main core and Q & A make no mention any where that’s incest is forbidden.
    Only at page 222 note 133 did Abdulbaha make a timid approach quote”the more distant the blood relationship between the couple the better,””But not from the revealed words of Bahaullah.
    So you take it for granted that ”Aqdas does legislate on incest”.
    I believe that morally it’s not acceptable. Or should we go through another RUHI for that.
    My point is how you admit that Bahaullah(Aqdas) has legislated on incest, when there is nothing mention any where, just the note 133, but you insisted that homosexsuality is permisible, despite in note 134, condemn by Shoghi effendi.

    So why incestuous act are unacceptable by some people despite not mention in the scripture and homosexuality are welcome despite if extend further is condemned.

    Thanks.

  • Maureen Sullivan

    Can this hole your digging get any deeper ?

  • Tim

    Listen here. Incest is againt the common law of most civilised countries and doesnt need to have specific laws in the the writings to condemn it. Baha’u’llah writes little about parking on douvle yellow lines but this is nevertheless illegal. I suggest you re read another well known Baha’i book called the “kitab e hearsay” since you obviouly have a rich vein of opinion yet to share with us eager diciples keep posting please. By their fruits shall ye know them”

  • Guest

    Bahi=islam

    seplufacil!!

    save your time

    if you really study islam and the history of islam will discover that you are waisting your time

    in your holly quran to the killers of allah will give 72 huris but also “boys” with a fair skin and bracalet and silk rope (oh my…) even if it is translated garcon instead of boy the question is that you talk about it as Homosexuality but if you were a persian or a muslim in amuslim country you will hear as bache khoshgel (boy) and who is practicing is more macho than the others and very proud how violated a boy and how with detai

    so you are shameless as muslims

    viva Seal team 6

  • Desir0101

    In the coming years there will be a world conference, where elites, scientists, professionals and other will meet to discuss the future of the planet.
    the politicians will be admitted just as an observer.
    They will not take active part.

    In the moral, spiritual and material developement
    the venue will be in an underdevelop country.
    IT WILL BE YOUR CHANCE FOR THOSE WHO FEEL MARGINALIZE, RIGHTS ARE NOT RECKON .
    It will be unique in the history of the planet.

    The homosexuals who are victim of the society why don’t you create your own religion. The spirit are within you and around you.
    Religion are just the mask of civilization.

    Iam neutral in all what I have posted.

    I did it just to learn from you that every one can create his own religion.
    No need to affiliate to such or such group or belonging or pressure any one to accept who we are.

    When an individual will attain a level to altered states of consciousness, he will be capable to transcend realities yet hidden to common folk. And i see you are just the common folk.
    And that will be your religion..
    Follow it and don’t lose hope.

    I will take leave of you for some time.
    Thanks to every one for your support. and patience.
    Please sorry if I offended any one.
    Fubar, Baquia thanks a lot.

    Desir.

  • Baquia, I second Eric’s views. I’ve only now had time to read through the article and the links. It is brilliant!

  • As far as I know the question of incest, referred as forbidden degrees of marriage, like homosexuality is something the Universal House of Justice will or can legislate on.

    See: http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/religious-law-and-house-of-justice/#9

    Desir, the note you refer to is not penned by Shoghi Effendi, but it is a letter written on his behalf. See my blog which discusses the status of these letters.

  • you wrote: “Elsewhere in the Bah??’? writings it is made clear that marriage can only be between a man and a woman”, where in the Bahai writings? You do not state this and just saying it is, is not proof.

    Baquia has indicated that s/he’ll discuss this in a future blog, so you might prefer to wait for that context. However, my argument for equality for gays has not to do with sex. It is to do with raising children and being married. So picking on what you see as excesses or lack of control, I feel, avoids this. As if gay marriage could somehow be a cause of a lowering of morals? Are you seriously suggesting this? I may have misinterpreted your intent, so I’ll stop.

  • I wrote about this on this blog some years ago and this is a direct link to the same post.

    Here I show that since the notes section (the quotation you use) is penned by the U.H.J. or the Research department acting on their behalf.

    “Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself. Inasmuch as the House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same.
    Thus for example, the House of Justice enacteth today a certain law and enforceth it, and a hundred years hence, circumstances having profoundly changed and the conditions having altered, another House of Justice will then have power, according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law.
    This it can do because these laws form no part of the divine explicit Text. The House of Justice is both the initiator and the abrogator of its own laws.”
    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 20)


    I give more background to this here

    Baquia has also pointed out the same in earlier comments. That there is no reference to homosexuality by Baha’u’llah or Abdul-Baha. And Shoghi Effendi did not write a word on the topic either. His secretaries did.

  • Stvnclmn

    In response to your comment re: the authority of letters written on behalf of the Guardian:

    In a postscript appended to a letter dated 7 December 1930, written on his behalf to an individual believer, Shoghi Effendi described the normal procedure he followed in dealing with correspondence written on his behalf:
    I wish to add and say that whatever letters are sent in my behalf from Haifa are all read and approved by me before mailing. There is no exception whatever to this rule.

  • Fubar

    Corporations and autocrats are aready running most of the global system in an “organized” manner (just like the mafia was “organized” crime), the problem is to stop corrution, exploitation, ecological destruction, social injustice.

    For this, a paradigm shift is necessary, and then actual practices and social behaviors have to change.

    The paradigm shift is aready going on. It involves all forms of human consciousness, including new spiritual paradigms, psychological, business practices, a pervasive delegitimization of almost all existing social institutions (including religion), and so forth.

    bahai scripture does not provide many useful details, and does not provide a very good “map” of how human consciousness will evolve in the future, or what the paradigm shifts will consist of.

    consciousness studies and other fields of scientific theory are advancing, bahaism and other similar religions are falling behind.

    religion is the product of evolution., but does not adequately explain evolution.

    thus, religion, particularly tradition forms of religion, suffer a “crisis of legitimization”, especially from modernist and postmodern perpectives.

    so, the remaining task is to attempt to “rescue” spirituality from both the “encrustations” of culture/religion and the “attacks” that modernism/postmodernism make on spirituality.

    bahaism is concerned with the above issues, but the tools that it proposes are underdeveloped and incomplete, and tainted with contradictions and anchored in outmoded, limited cultural constructions.

    so, other alternative theories must be explored. in fact, you may be shicked to discove that a letter was written for the UHJ several years ago in which bahai scholars were told to “contribute” to the “integrative paradigms” that the worlds best thinkers and scientists have already started formulating! even the (haifan) bahai world center has admitted that non-bahais are far in advance.

    withdrawal in “etherealism” (romanticism) is not a viable option for anyone that wants real progress.

  • Gordon Freeman

    What is “progress”?

    Our grand parents were happier than us, generally.

    All that is relevant in the world existed since the universe was born. And most people in the world now have no idea of what it is. They live with no purpose and no meaning, while primitive people were MORE ADVANCED in this.

    I again restate: primitive people were more advanced than modern man in an absolute way. I don’t need to prove why and how; one simply believes in either God or Satan (truth or lie). And YES it is that simple in essence and complexity = ignorance and lies. If you have decided that scientific or other kinds of “progress” are required there is nothing I can do except looking and laughing. I will never think that kind of progress is COOL. Never. I will always oppose it till the end of time. Because that’s what I think is cool and good and I don’t give a damn what the fools inhabiting this sorry planet think. They’re wrong, period. Where is the proof that people for the most part are not ignorant fools. They are. Therefore “progress” is just an illusion. The world is moving BACKWARDS. Not forward.

    REAL progress (spiritual, true, genuine, non illusory) simply means moving backwards to the origins. That’s why when you die, you forget all this crap, you even lose your brain. And you’re moving FORWARD, even though you don’t know what a computer is anymore, and you forget language.

    It is predicted that we will not be using computers, not even have electricity in the next ten years at most, probably earlier. FINALLY we’ll be maving PROGRESS in the real sense of the word, and not in mere appearance.

    Appearance = lie.

    If we disagree on the essence of the basic things, it is useless to make those postmodern intellectual
    feats, that are useless to the core, just like a movie with plenty of special effects.

    And even though I’m no baha’i Baha’u’llah put it this way from what I understood and I 100% agree with that.

    Scientific and intellectual progress is as important as masturbation. Nobody dies. It could be bad if you exceed with it (which is exactly what is happening). It’s there. You can do it. It is nice for a while. You can also live without it.
    Sure the purpose of life is not masturbation.

    Or is it?

  • Fubar

    Please feel free to craw into a cave, or return to hunting/gathering, just don’t be an absolutist that demands that everyone else do so.

    Explanation of the Age of Hermes:

    http://digitalcommons.trinity.edu/trickstersway/vol2/iss1/4/
    (click “download” for the .pdf)

    Evolution happens. All backward movement is regression. All regression causes evil, dysfunction, degeneration.

    A regression from modernity would simply take humanity back to worse forms of imperialism and slavery than currently exist.

    Yes, the modern ideology of progress has its own absolutisms and evils.

    A new (post-postmodern) model of emergent consciousness based on holism and integralism seeks to align with a different paradigm shift, one that “transcends, but includes” previous paradigms.

    It may be that the current form of human DNA is too limited to operationalize the next paradigm shift in consciousness, and a new, “artificial” (or hybrid) form of intelligence will evolve to make it work in the real world.

    Current human inteligence appears to be capable of “seeing” the possibility of the next paradigm shift, but not reorganizing global society around it. If circuits can be designed to enhance human consciousness in a way that somehow elevates human psychology above the level needed for tribal life, then there is a chance for world peace.

    I do not know if this will involve global control systems, implantation of circuits in human brains, nano-engineering of DNA, a hybrid, or something else along those lines, but something radical will probably be needed.

  • Hanstellih

    You are more stupid than I have believe.

  • Zreed9

    Just about that last part. Certainly no one was making the claim that the creation is greater than the Creator. But the idea that one part of the human body can’t have a myriad of functions is inherently wrong. The lungs, trachea, tongue, teeth, lips and diaphragm are all used in breathing, eating and even defecating but also for human speech. Surely although God gave them to us for the purpose of staying alive and nourishing our bodies we take the liberty of using them for speech as well, something our brains are naturally programmed to do. Now having said that I admit there are acceptable and unacceptable things to say and times to say them. There is no denying that sex and speaking are too different things, but the argument you were making does not hold up.

  • Desir0101

    Hi Zreed9,

    Can you please formulate yours.

    Thanks.

  • Desir0101

    HI fubar,
    Good day.
    I got through your different sites and I found it fantastic.
    ”Yet what we’ve discovered is that there is an equally strong set of
    needs that we call spiritual or meaning needs: people want their lives
    to have some higher meaning and purpose than simply accumulating money,
    power, sexual gratification and fame-they want their lives to be

    connected to something about which they can feel that it has
    transcendent value.”

    What We Mean by ?Spiritual?
    We in the Tikkun Community use the word ?spiritual? to include all those
    whose deepest values lead them to challenge the ethos of selfishness
    and materialism that has led people into a frantic search for money and
    power and away from a life that places love, kindness, generosity,
    peace, nonviolence, social justice, awe and wonder at the grandeur of
    creation, thanksgiving, humility and joy at the center of our lives.

    ”The bahai “mantra” about materialism is silly. ”’read in the thread.

    So the Bahai mantra is not that so silly.

    ”-we are seeking a much deeper change.”

    ”We are trying to create something that doesn’t have an exact analogue in contemporary life. ”

    ”So work on changing our inner selves and our ideas about the world is an
    important aspect of changing the world-not a diversion from the healing
    that is necessary, but an important component of it.”

    What you propose for the changing of our inner selves??

    So lovely and wonderful, awesome but a great deal has already been accomplished by what you qualify  in a word as obsolete paradigm.

     http://wilber.shambhala.com/ht…

    All mention by Mr. Wilber will be just an utopia if not imparted at the beginning by an elite or group with a transcendence,absolute spiritual power emanate from the divine Spirit.

    I personally believe, that divine revelation claimed by the so called prophets are intermittent.
    In the absence of this direct revelation the prophet used his own words and common sense to preach, so where there are contradiction, unadapted rules and laws etc.
    But the spiritual energies emanate are so powerful to change the heart of millions to betterment through ages.

    Good Luck.

  • Desir0101

    HI fubar,
    Good day.
    I got through your different sites and I found it fantastic.
    ”Yet what we’ve discovered is that there is an equally strong set of
    needs that we call spiritual or meaning needs: people want their lives
    to have some higher meaning and purpose than simply accumulating money,
    power, sexual gratification and fame-they want their lives to be

    connected to something about which they can feel that it has
    transcendent value.”

    What We Mean by ?Spiritual?
    We in the Tikkun Community use the word ?spiritual? to include all those
    whose deepest values lead them to challenge the ethos of selfishness
    and materialism that has led people into a frantic search for money and
    power and away from a life that places love, kindness, generosity,
    peace, nonviolence, social justice, awe and wonder at the grandeur of
    creation, thanksgiving, humility and joy at the center of our lives.

    ”The bahai “mantra” about materialism is silly. ”’read in the thread.

    So the Bahai mantra is not that so silly.

    ”-we are seeking a much deeper change.”

    ”We are trying to create something that doesn’t have an exact analogue in contemporary life. ”

    ”So work on changing our inner selves and our ideas about the world is an
    important aspect of changing the world-not a diversion from the healing
    that is necessary, but an important component of it.”

    What you propose for the changing of our inner selves??

    So lovely and wonderful, awesome but a great deal has already been accomplished by what you qualify  in a word as obsolete paradigm.

     http://wilber.shambhala.com/ht…

    All mention by Mr. Wilber will be just an utopia if not imparted at the beginning by an elite or group with a transcendence,absolute spiritual power emanate from the divine Spirit.

    I personally believe, that divine revelation claimed by the so called prophets are intermittent.
    In the absence of this direct revelation the prophet used his own words and common sense to preach, so where there are contradiction, unadapted rules and laws etc.
    But the spiritual energies emanate are so powerful to change the heart of millions to betterment through ages.

    Good Luck.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    glad you liked the material.

    re: ”The bahai “mantra” about materialism is silly. ”’read in the thread.
    You replied:
    “So the Bahai mantra is not that so silly.”Reponse:

    To clarify: there have been many critiques of materialism, they contain various elements of truth and non-truth, and various levels of relevance to the current conditions in the world.

    Basically, many critiques of materialism fall into the Romaniticist camp (they are absolutist in their hatred of capitalism – but because they are reactionaries that want to revive the cultural foundations of aristocracies and High Church powers).

    More to the point are critiques of Rationalism  or what one book titled “Voltaire’s Bastards”:

    http://www.scottlondon.com/reviews/saul.html

    excerpt:

    Saul’s central message can be summed up as follows. Voltaire and his contemporaries believed that reason was the best defense against the arbitrary power of monarchs and the superstitions of religious dogma. It was the key not only to challenging the powers of kings and aristocracies but also to creating a more just and humane civilization. While the emphasis on reason has become one of the hallmarks of modern thought, today’s rational society bears little resemblance to the visions of the great 17th and 18th century humanist thinkers, according to Saul. Our ruling elites justify themselves in the name of reason, but all too often their power and their methodology is based on specialized knowledge and the manipulation of rational “structures” rather than reason. Today the link between reason and justice has been severed and our decision-makers, bereft of a viable ethical framework, have turned rational calculation into something short-sighed and self-serving. The result, Saul observes, is that we live in a society fixated on rational solutions, management, expertise, and professionalism in almost all areas, from politics and economics to education and cultural affairs.

    The cult of expertise is one of the defining characteristics of today’s rational elites, as Saul sees it. “Among the illusions which have invested our civilization is an absolute belief that the solutions to our problems must be a more determined application of rationally organized expertise,” he writes. “The reality is that our problems are largely the product of that application.”

    http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/saul.html

    excerpt:

    London: What you are really out to attack, I gather, is the corruption — or you might say the bastardization — of reason.

    Saul: Well, you could put it that way. But what I’m really attacking is the isolation of reason. In other words, the obsession we have in the West with this idea that reason is the great quality. We’ve replaced God the father with reason, basically. Reason is a wonderful human quality, but it’s just one of the human qualities, and it’s by putting it up on the throne all by itself that we’ve cause it to do the opposite of what it ought to be doing. We’ve turned it into unreason.

    One of the effects of the rational revolution has been that knowledge has become the currency of our society — much more important than money, if one were to return to the idea of the marketplace. The control of knowledge, in the full sense of that term, is the real currency of our society. It’s power. Of course, because it’s power, because it has a major effect on your career and what you are going to be able to do in your life, you hold it back. It’s something you negotiate with.
    So instead of knowledge coming together into a great whole, knowledge has been broken up into tens of thousands of isolated corporations or specialist groups. It’s meant two things. It’s meant, first of all, that society loses all sense of direction, because if everything is separated into little groups that don’t really talk to each other in an honest manner, except to negotiate between each another for power, then there is no possibility to have any kind of directed conversation about society.

    Tikkun’s statement about materialism is far more coherent and relevant to the conditions of a postmodern world than is the typical bahai “mantra” about materialism and related statements in bahai scripture about “excess civilization” and so forth.

    If you get a chance to research the idea of “God In Search of Man” by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, you will see the difference.

    What Saul’s material does is explain that Absolutism is one of the Big Evils.

    The bahai mantra about materialism is “instrumentalized”. The real point of the bahai mantra about materialism is to refer not to the real psychosocial conditions and problems of the postmodern world, but to the past glories of western religion and its metaphysics. The problem is that the modern world rejected and invalidated those metaphysics, and “changed everything” (for better or worse).

    As I’ve said may times, one of the the big problems with outmoded metaphysics and backward religion is that they do not explain evolution.

    How could it be that a Creator God brought about evolution, but “somehow” COMPLETELY FAILED to explain, in various “REVELATIONS” from so called Prophets and “Manifestations” what the f* evolution was all about?

    How could it be that one of the most profound phenomena in the universe – evolution – goes unexplained in traditional religions?

    (I do not consider the typical fundamentalist criticisms of evolution to be coherent or sufficient.)

    In the case of bahaism, abdul-baha is simply misinformed, and makes the mistake of recycling some old, out of date sufi metaphysics when he attempted to “answer some questions” about evolution.

    Similarly (to attempt to bring the back to being “on topic), traditional explanations of the relationship between science, traditional metaphysics, sex ethics (including homosexuality), culture and religion are inadequate.

    The most profound challenge that traditional religion faces is not homosexuality, it is the reality that the “cultural logic” behind its metaphysics is no longer relevant in the cultures that are changing most rapidly and causing the most change in the social conditions of the world (both good and bad).

    It isn’t clear to me that bahai scripture has anything coherent to say about how meaning and spirit can be reintegrated into postmodern culture, and actually help people to find some way to rediscover a more enlightened way of living.

    The internal political culture of haifan bahaism is largely reactionary and fundamentalist, there is little or no interest in anything “authentic” or forward looking in most traditional religious communities.

    This is because they have failed to see how clinging to past dogmas and absolutisms out of fear of change typically discredits the few good things that religion has to offer.

  • Fubar

    re: [Desir said] “All mention by Mr. Wilber will be just an utopia if not imparted at the beginning by an elite or group with a transcendence, absolute spiritual power emanate from the divine Spirit.I personally believe, that divine revelation claimed by the so called prophets are intermittent.  …”
    What Wilber is advocating is a Holistic and Integral paradigm that brings together spirituality and science, and that proposes a developmental model of social evolution.

    One of the pioneers of Integralism, Jean Gebser (who taught at the Jung Institute), wrote a book called “Ursprung und Gegenwart” (The Ever Present Origin) in which he proposed that all paradigms have a legitimate origin at some point in history, but become feeble as social conditions change. By social conditions is meant primarily, as Marx points out, the economic and material conditions that create social changes.

    The great changes to human conditions are not caused by “god” or “prophets”, they are caused by evolution from one economic form to another:

    0) the development of tribes caused by tool making and speech
    1) the shift from hunter/father to small agriculture
    2) the shift from small agriculture to large (empires, slaves)
    3) the shift from imperial to industrial (democracy, science, capitalism)
    4) the shift from industrialism to information economy (postmodernism)

    “god” , “religion” and “prophets” come along just after the changes are already started, and explain how a “new way of thinking, acting and believing” are necessary.

    bahaism could be positioned at the end of #2 and after the beginning of #3.

    bahaism (as a “revelation”) can NOT be positioned at the end of #3 and beginning of #4, so it is by definition “out of date”.

    as such, the “solutions” to the problems of the world given by bahaism are out of synch with the most rapidly growing areas of social development: postmodernism, holism and integralism.

    Some integral theorists have proposed that some kind of “spiritual capitalism” will need to evolve.

    So far, the likely contender, LOHAS, had been problematic. LOHAS is more about the cultural forces of postmodern self-indulgence than about “authentic” spirituality (but both are present).

    A big fight broke out last year in the integral movement about LOHAS.

    http://www.integraltheoryconference.org/home

    Summary:

    What is known about the current, dominant framework is that the Left became discredited in the 70s by their failures (as explained on Tikkun) to bring about profound changes in the world. In the void that was created, people became afraid of change toward postmodern nihilism and narcissism. That fear became reactionary conservatism, and fundamentalism. Institutions began to crumble from within, and exploiters took over.

    There is no turning back. People have been turning back for 25+ years, and it only makes things worse: more bad capitalism, more bad socialism. now we have the worst situation possible: bad capitalists in bed with bad socialists, each helps the other stay in power because power no longer comes from “doing good”.

    I hope that partly helps to address your concerns.

    Another approach that explains “delegitimization” of institutions from a “systems” viewpoint:

    http://people.ucalgary.ca/~frank/habermas.html

  • Desir0101

    Good day Fubar,

    Excellent feedback.

    As your “”reply”” option is disabled ,I reply you here.

    Fubar, the world has given birth to great philosophers, thinkers, geniuses, scientists through ages.
    Surely,we are all indebted to them to have render our lives more easier materially and intellectually.
    But who, when wake up in the morning render thanks to a Plato, a Marconi, a Flemming, a Einstein and so on.????

    If you ponder a while and listen to your silent world, it will pop up and flash to your mind that there is a super force that have always pushed forward humanity towards an always advancing evolutionary process.

    These few man we so called ”prophets” illiterate, with no earthly power, dominion and intellectual at that time  have up to now prove to be the best of the best in influencing people up to self sacrifice, abnegation and resignation to demonstrate his faith. Can’t you feel that supernatural power.

    How many people in this modern world and the postmodernists sees the world  only with their physical eyes but not with the eyes of their spirit.
    You see only a physical tree but I too and also a bondage of the four elements animated by a power that govern the whole. so fantastic, marvelous, even your heart will smile at this moment of intense feeling.
    With every step you make along your way to work you experience such transcendence.

    If humanity has put only one writing into practice to day the  would have been a better place. “”Love your neighbours as yourself.””

    I can compare postmodernists to a grown up person when at the age of reason now repudiate and deny all those and environmental states who have contributed to his education and his intellectual attainment.
    They forget that they must have started with zero to finish with 9.

    from excerpt.’So work on changing our inner selves and our ideas about the world is an
    important aspect of changing the world-not a diversion from the healing
    that is necessary, but an important component of it.”

    So what you propose for the changing of our inner selves?????

    Courage Fubar .
    All the best.

    Bye.

  • Desir0101

    Good day Fubar,

    Excellent feedback.

    As your “”reply”” option is disabled ,I reply you here.

    Fubar, the world has given birth to great philosophers, thinkers, geniuses, scientists through ages.
    Surely,we are all indebted to them to have render our lives more easier materially and intellectually.
    But who, when wake up in the morning render thanks to a Plato, a Marconi, a Flemming, a Einstein and so on.????

    If you ponder a while and listen to your silent world, it will pop up and flash to your mind that there is a super force that have always pushed forward humanity towards an always advancing evolutionary process.

    These few man we so called ”prophets” illiterate, with no earthly power, dominion and intellectual at that time  have up to now prove to be the best of the best in influencing people up to self sacrifice, abnegation and resignation to demonstrate his faith. Can’t you feel that supernatural power.

    How many people in this modern world and the postmodernists sees the world  only with their physical eyes but not with the eyes of their spirit.
    You see only a physical tree but I too and also a bondage of the four elements animated by a power that govern the whole. so fantastic, marvelous, even your heart will smile at this moment of intense feeling.
    With every step you make along your way to work you experience such transcendence.

    If humanity has put only one writing into practice to day the  would have been a better place. “”Love your neighbours as yourself.””

    I can compare postmodernists to a grown up person when at the age of reason now repudiate and deny all those and environmental states who have contributed to his education and his intellectual attainment.
    They forget that they must have started with zero to finish with 9.

    from excerpt.’So work on changing our inner selves and our ideas about the world is an
    important aspect of changing the world-not a diversion from the healing
    that is necessary, but an important component of it.”

    So what you propose for the changing of our inner selves?????

    Courage Fubar .
    All the best.

    Bye.

  • Desir0101

    Fubar said..How could it be that a Creator God brought about evolution, but
    “somehow” COMPLETELY FAILED to explain, in various “REVELATIONS” from so
    called Prophets and “Manifestations” what the f* evolution was
    about?

    How could it be that one of the most profound phenomena in the universe – evolution – goes unexplained in traditional religions?

    Response. I believe that the so called prophets have not to prove and even to explain as ”evolution”.
    Because it is within our grab.
    If we follow spiritual path we will be connected to the source of knowledge in the non physical world.
    Answers will be retrieved by us depending our interest and research.

  • Shoghi Effendi interpreted it broadly to refer to all homosexuality. It’s called generalization. Bahai groups that recognize him have the homosexuality interpretation. Ones that don’t, only pederasty.

     

  • Pingback: Baha’u’llah & ?The Subject of Boys? « Just a Bahai Blog()

  • Sonjavank

    [sorry, I didn’t realise that this response didn’t get sent. It has been sitting here in the queue since May]

    Stvnclmn, I don’t want to clog up Baquia’s blog with repeating things I’ve already written on this blog, but I realise that it is hard to find links to particular comments, so that is why I posted the link.

    Here it is again.  And in particular this link discusses the quotation you mention.

    I suggest that you look at the other letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi on my blog (all linked from the first link here) and if I’ve missed a letter you know of, then please do quote this, or if you disagree, or see a flaw in my argumentation, please address that here.

    Surely you know the difference between ‘reading and approving’ and writing something yourself. And then when Shoghi Effendi was so clear when he was writing in his role as the Guardian. The letters have status, they needed to have status so Shoghi Effendi would not need to write them, so he could focus on his work as Guardian. But having status for the addresse is not the same as Bahai Scripture.

    This is also why it doesn’t matter that these letters on his behalf contain errors and inconsistences. Their status was never intended to be treated as if they were interpretation on par with Shoghi Effendi and Shoghi Effendi set limits on his own role here as well.

    I find it noteworthy that at those times when clearly Shoghi Effendi did not like the way these letters were being treated that his vehicle for expressing this was to have a secretary pen a letter. What this says to me is that he was being consistent. Using those letters for communication of another status to his role as Guardian. It seems to me, that he knew clearly the status of his writings as interpretator and so refrained from penning anything that did not fit within this framework. It would also mean that it would harder for letters penned by secretaries to become part of the canon of Bahai Scripture, but my guess is that he would operate from principle. That the principle was his role as official interpreter was not the same status or authority or role as the letters written in response to a question.

    Of course Shoghi Effendi did pen personal letters, and exactly what is the status of these and whether the status of all
    letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi is the same is something that can be debated.

    However the medium Shoghi Effendi used is part of the message.

    Sen’s blog has more on this here

    So my suggestion would be, if something isn’t clear, go to Bahai Scripture and if it is not there, then assume this is an area the Universal House of Justice can rule on and that a future Universal House of Justice can change.

  • Desir0101

    The Faith is dyeing in every land.

    Every one can witness it but by hypocrisy some will say the contrary.
    Or may be they are right.
    Following the law of nature nothing remain stagnant.
    It move forward or back, appreciate or depreciate.
    And the faith is agonizing.
    The failure of RUHi to fulfill it’s role as not meeting expectation, the myth
    of entry by troop or is it anachronistic , the myth of infallibility, the
    pretend  of the UHJ that everything is going on a swing are false.
    Or is it that the dark forces of nature are more powerful as foretold in
    ancient prophesies before the age of light to appear.

    The only reason that still Hold me to Bahaullah (not the Bahai Faith) are the
    the famous PRINCIPLES.

    No one as intelligent they were, have been able to reveal such lines (Principles of the Bahai Faith) and been found to take shape just some decades
    later.
    Even the modernist and post modernist been screwed up.

    Or is it that Bahullah was an advance guru in metaphysics, which made Him
    possible to enter the upper realm of non physical worlds to retrieve knowledge
    not accessible to ordinary man.???
    But have nothing to do with DIVINITY.

    I  did some elementary experience of that sort.

    Why There was no record of his passing in the two years spent in The mountainous
    of Kurdistan.???
    Had He learned to develop such metaphysics faculties.???

    Quote from Gleaning L X X X II.

    ”It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is
    still. It is, in 162 itself, a
    testimony that beareth witness to the”’

    And in out of body experience, projection of the consciousness the same experience is witnessed and it was not the soul.

    I really believe that there must be a paradigm shift from the individual up to the UHJ for the Faith to experience a rebirth.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    The paradigm shift is AWAY from mythic religion (pre-modern paradigm), toward postmodernism (relativism, pluralism) – including acceptance of rights for homosexuals.

    Unless spiritual movements can adapt to the evolutionary issues, they become dysfunctional and irrelevant to future progress, or worse, fundamentalist and hostile to such “progress”.

    The basic problem with modernism and postmodernism is that they “deconstruct” the absolutes of pre-modern mythic paradigms, but do not replace the “meaning-making” aspects of mythic paradigm/religion with anything “authentic”. There is an associated problem with a lack of moral structure.

    The Tikkun.com community is one outstanding example of how people in one spiritual tradition (Jewish Renewal) have attempted to reconcile, or integrate, aspects of the authentic meanings in their spiritual tradition with postmodern, “liberal/progressive” ideals (such as acceptance of homosexuality).

    Rabbi Michael Learner (of Tikkun.com) is an advocate of Integral theory.

    In bahai terms, Integral Theory attempts to “harmonize” science and religion.

    In my opinion, the flaw in bahai theology regarding the “harmonization” of science and religion is that the mythic religious paradigm has to be “more important” than the scientific-modernist paradigm.

    In my opinion, the flaw in modernism is that it sees itself as being “more important” than spirituality.

    Integral theory atttempts to resolve the “conflict” inherent in earlier paradigms by placing them in a holistic, evolutionary context.

    As far as I can tell, there is no explanation for such a holistic, evolutionary context in bahai, or any other religion, that is based in a mythic paradigm.

    So, the question remains, what good is mythic religion if it can’t even explain emergent, holistic, postmodern, evolutionary phenomena?

    Again, this is not about “what is the best paradigm” (science VS. religion), it is about how to HARMONIZE (of integrate) paradigms.

    As far as I can tell, there is nothing in mythic religion that can inform the process of developing integral paradigms.

    Mythic religion’s primary purpose is to cause conformism to social rules/roles.

    Mythic religion is anti-democratic, and anti-progressive, and ALWAYS seeks to place itself in the SUPREME position, DOMINANT over other paradigms, belief systems, etc..

    Which is why people seeking rights for homosexuals (as part of postmodern culture) have such a problem with mythic religion.

    What Integral theory attempts to do is to stop one paradigm from imposing itself on others, and to stop the hostility and conflict between paradigms that are attempting to gain SUPREMACY over other paradigms.

    One of the basic requirements for the cessation of hostility between paradigms is to stop absolutism. Mythic religion is full of absolutism.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Purity myths are one of the basic components of premodern religion’s tendency toward absolutism.

    Any suggestion that a given religion can return to a more pure state is simply the beginning of fundamentalism.

    The bahai faith’s problems will not be solved by returning to a “more pure” paradigm, they are CAUSED by the idea of purity (and other elements of mythic spirituality).

    A form so AUTHENTIC spirituality has to develop in a HEALTHY relationship to modern, postmodern and holistic-integral values.

    Additional background re: “materialism”

    I have posted several times that the typical bahai rhetoric about “materialism” is unsophisticated, and instrumentalized, and romantacist.

    (This relates to the larger issue of spirituality in postmodern culture.)

    A more sophisticated perspective on how abuse of power and money has created widespread cultural and institutional dysfunctionality is given at the following web site, which presents an analysis of the ideas of philosopher Jugen Habermas.

    http://people.ucalgary.ca/~frank/habermas.html

    excerpts:

    Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action (published in two volumes, 1984, 1987).

    The central problem of contemporary societies is not how order is maintained (Parsons’ problem), but rather how to create conditions for what Habermas calls ?communicative action?. 

    As advanced capitalist societies have developed, the core integrative function of communication has been increasingly disabled (Habermas would say ?colonized?).  Thus the legitimation of social institutions, indeed of nation states, is in crisis.  By legitimation Habermas means citizens’ sense that the institutions within which they live are just, benevolent, in their best interest, and deserving of their support, loyalty, and adherence. 

    Habermas’s second criticism is that Parsons failed to understand the nature of the generalized media that he identified with each AGIL function.  Fill in these generalized media, as Parsons specified them:
    ·        Adaptation depends on the generalized medium of money,
    ·        Goal attainment depends on power (specified in votes),
    ·        I is influence, and
    ·        L is value-commitments. 
    Habermas makes a key observation about these media, and his the whole theory depends on this: there is a fundamental difference between two types of media. 
    ·        The A & G media, money and power (votes) are quantitative: both money and votes can be counted, and whoever has the most wins. 
    ·        The I & L media, by contrast, are qualitative: you can’t quantify influence or value-commitments, since these are only enacted in communication between persons. …

    With this difference in mind, you can understand what colonization means.  In social settings that formerly operated by communicative media (I & L), the quantitative media (A & G) now dominate.  Rather than communicative action—people talking about their differences and coming to a common understanding—one (person, party, or interest) dominates the other by having more money or votes.

     Crisis in Habermas’ specialized sense occurs when those qualitative media (influence and value-commitments) are too weak to generate the legitimacy of the quantitative media. 

    In the university, department meetings could, ideally, be a place where communicative action takes place and influence and value-commitments are regenerated.  We could, in those meetings, attempt to reach common understandings.  In one meeting we were discussing a proposed change to the curriculum.  I was trying to ask a colleague why s/he wanted this change; my ?communicative action? involved asking what s/he was trying to teach, how that teaching was going, and so forth.  The colleague’s response was: ?If you don’t like the change, vote against it.?  In other words, s/he didn’t want to talk, explain, or reach a common understanding.  Instead we would each gather votes and whoever had the most votes would win.  Systems media (power, votes) had pushed out lifeworld media (appeals to common value commitments as a basis of influencing colleagues to believe one option or the other best represented who we want to be, as a departmental community).  It’s important to understand that this colleague acted in a milieu that the university as a system creates: money and power dominate, and local understands don’t count for much.  The colleague was part of this colonization process, but s/he was only reflecting a larger process. 

    —end excerpts—

    Also see: Disinformocracy (Rheingold)

    http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/10.html

    See the section titled “The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere”.

    Please note that even if bahaism does not EXPLICITLY seek to establish a form of THEOCRACY, as long as its “organizational logic” is largely premised on the same dysfunctional assumptions as does centralized state bureaucracy, the effect is the same: religious dictatorship.

    Also note: just because a social institution calls itself “religious” or “spiritual” does not mean that it is immune to the problems that Habermas describes. Indeed, what you see bahaism is the open importation of “bad memes” from the “outer society”, at the very same time that resistance to “good memes” (reforms) is justified on the basis that the “good memes” (reforms) are “against the best interests” of maintaining the PURITY MYTHS underlying the religion!

    There is obviously a GIANT DISCONNECT going on when bahai administration allows itself to be “infected” by institutionally dysfunctionaol memes that are “socially popular” while at the very same time stating open opposition to reforms (such as ending review, acceptance of homosexuality, allowing women to be elected to the UHJ, etc.) on the basis that they are “outside” ideas that have no “scriptural” (internal) basis.

  • Craig Parke

    I love the Kitab-I-Iqan. Baha’u’llah presented a wonderful system of Daily Archetypal Insight into how things work on the human plane in the Cosmos in the unfolding of World Ages. But the problem seems to be that Shoghi Effendi apparently did not understand one world of it. He apparently was attracted to the human system of the 1930’s. Hitler had his Party. Stalin had his Party. J. Edgar Hoover had his FBI. Everybody had their organizations. It was all the rage in the 1930’s. So the Baha’i Faith had to have the Administrative Order to be in the club too. Maybe it was something in the drinking water in those days? But it was way premature. It has not worked. The problem is that there is no system of accountability in the Administrative order. The world wide electorate has failed in it’s duties to call people to account. Consequently, the Baha’i Faith is now run by a tiny handful of essentially self appointed lifetime incumbent clergy who have gamed the system. They completely own the Baha’i Faith as their private Satrap. So it is pretty much now the end of the road. It appears Baha’u’llah foretold all of this in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. I think the Faith will somehow straighten itself out in 600-800 years after everyone else on Earth has built the planetary civilization. The Baha’is are just not players at this time. The very LAST place on Earth where you can implement what Baha’u’llah brought is the Baha’i Faith. It is very, very sad. But this is how it has all turned out so far.

  • Fubar

    Craig,

    Excellent insights, as always.

    There is no question that rational models of organizational culture were one of the main products of late modernism. Indeed Habermas states that eventually this results in “systems colonizing lifeworld”.

    To be fair, this is how it started:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2289

    excerpt:

    “The way it is now, the modern world really is divided into two major and warring camps, science and liberalism on the one hand, and religion and conservatism on the other. And the key to getting these two camps together is first, to get religion past science, and then second, to get religion past liberalism, because both science and liberalism are deeply anti-spiritual.

    In one sense, of course, science and liberalism are right to be anti-spiritual, because most of what has historically served as spirituality is now prerational, magic or mythic, implicitly ethnocentric, fundamentalist dogma. Liberalism traditionally came into existence to fight the tyranny of prerational myth and that is one of its enduring and noble strengths (the freedom, liberty, and equality of individuals in the face of the often hostile or coercive collective). And this is why liberalism was always allied with science against fundamentalist, mythic, prerational religion (and the conservative politics that hung on to that religion)….

    The trick is to take the best of both, individual rights plus a spiritual orientation, and to do so by finding liberal humanistic values plugged into a transrational, not prerational, Spirit. This spirituality is transliberal, evolutionary and progressive, not preliberal, reactionary and regressive. It is also political, in the very broadest sense, in that its single major motivation, compassion, is pressed into social action. However, a postconservative, postliberal spirituality is not pressed into service as public policy, transrational spirituality preserves the rational separation of church and state, as well as the liberal demand that the state will neither protect nor promote a favorite version of the good life. Those who would transform the world by having all of us embrace their new paradigm, or particular God or Goddess, or their version of Gaia, or their favorite mythology, these are all, by definition, reactionary and regressive in the worst of ways: preliberal, not transliberal, and thus their particular versions of the witch hunt are never far removed from their global agenda. A truly transliberal spirituality exists instead as a cultural encouragement, a background context that neither prevents nor coerces, but rather allows genuine spirituality to arise….

    —end excerpts—

    I have a good article by an IT guy that explains precisely, in conventional terms, why modernist rationalism become dysfunctional, without even resorting to integral theory. I’ll forward it later, if I remember. 🙂

    Similarly, Bernie Neville @ Latrobe (Australia) explains, using Jungian concepts, why “rational people become irrational” in organizations. Basically it is because of “shadow”, “projection”, and so forth.
     
    In evolutionary terms, human beings are social-tribal organisms. Social bonding is in our DNA to a far greater extent that is rationalism. Modern organizations operate on the assumption that rationalism is the solution to everything. There is an unhealthy obsolutism involved that denies the meaning-making nature of human social bonding (which of course includes spirituality and religion).

    http://www.gebser.org/publications/IntegrativeExplorationFiles/Neville.Structures.pdf

    A more enlightened, holistic paradigm would integrate the “non-rational”, spiritual and bonding rituals necessary for human groups to avoid dysfunctional versions of rational organizational culture.

    What is really necessary is for leaders of organizations to understand how to do “shadow work”, which is basically an individual and collective form of “therapy” and consciousness raising about the forces that destory well intention (compassion/altruism), and the natural human desire to be creative, dynamic, and selfless.

    Christopher Alexander, “father of pattern languages”, has deep insight into the problems with creating a better world.

    http://www.natureoforder.com/library/commentary-for-readers-of-book2.htm

    excerpt:

    But a real paradigm change – a way of thinking which really and truly changes our ideas about war, equality, money, jobs, leisure, family… all that may be easy to say, but is nevertheless very hard to DO. It is frightening to do, because to do it, we really have to change the things we are comfortable with. We may, yes indeed, be conscious of the fact that we are screwed up, and we may wish for better things for ourselves and for our children – but we remain enmeshed in a system which makes us secure (relatively), happy (relatively), morally OK (perhaps), and protected from starvation and disease (if we belong to the privileged 10% of the world’s population who are economically OK in the world today).
    But, we ourselves are enmeshed, deeply enmeshed, in the production of ugliness, zoning, banking, transportation, corporate America, making warplanes, destroying beautiful land by permitting and encouraging construction of freeways for our cars, and by permitting and encouraging the ravages of commercial development and strip malls. No matter how much we look down on it, and criticize it as bad, evil, and harmful – still we ourselves live off the product of this kind of America we hate. It is therefore easier to keep walking as a cripple with a pair of crutches, than it is to throw the crutches away, and take the huge effort of actually learning to walk again.

    We are part of that which we criticize and part of that which we hate. Yet we are sustained by that of which we are a part.

    So talking about a paradigm shift is nice stuff for armchair reading, but very much harder to DO.

    —end—

    Of course bahai culture has miserably failed to engage the issue of “DO” because of fear of failure.

    may good, beauty and the light of truth be with you in all things

  • Craig Parke

    Keep posting these insights Fubar. I am going to start posting up here links to people who are ACTUALLY DOING what the Baha’is were supposed to be doing if it had not all been hijacked by passive-aggressive dysfunctional Admin-O-Centric completely failed sociopaths.

    Here is a good one:

    David C. Korten is a visionary proponent of a planetary system of local living economies. His now-classic bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World, was called “a must-read” by commentators ranging from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Londons Financial Times. Dr. Kortens most recent book is The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. Following his presentation, Korten answers questions from conference participants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3QJJcgAwi4

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Korten

    http://www.amazon.com/David-C.-Korten/e/B001JP3MR8

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/

  • Fubar

    Craig,

    Very cool stuff, thanks.

    re: what happened to the Whole Earth Catalog people? (1960s)

    Of the 1,000,000+ NGO type groups in the world doing humanitarian, environmental/sustainable, transformational, holistic, paradigm-shifting work, most of which did not exist 25 to 50 years ago, you might find the following interesting:

    Also:

    STUNNING: Failed counter-insurgency policies of the american military-industrial complex:

    http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/26797/

    | Our tactics are an obstacle to victory in the Long War, as the| Darwinian Ratchet works against us| 19 April 2011
    | tags: darwinian ratchet, jj malevich| by Fabius Maximus
    | Summary:  Our wars in the Middle East show the rapid development of| military theory.  Unfortunately, most of this takes place in the minds| of our enemies — while we recycle different tactics from Vietnam and| the many other defeats since WWII of foreign armies by local| insurgents. 

    (The above may explain the growing popularity of anti-war sentiment amongst “tea party” types and those seeking their votes.)

    re: Why Corporations Always Die

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02011/jul/25/why-cities-keep-growing-corporations-always-die-and-life-gets-faster/

    excerpts:
    | cities are structurally immortal, while corporations are structurally
    | doomed. Scaling up always creates new problems; cities can innovate
    | faster than the problems indefinitely, while corporations cannot.
    |
    | These revolutionary findings come from Geoffrey West’s examination
    | of vast quantities of data on the metabolic/economic behavior of
    | organisms and organizations. A theoretical physicist, West was
    | president of Santa Fe Institute from 2005 to 2009 and founded the
    | high energy physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1187290,00.html

    http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Richerson/evolutioninstitutions.pdf

    | INSTITUTIONAL EVOLUTION IN THE HOLOCENE: THE RISE| OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES
    Peter J. Richerson
    Department of Environmental Science and Policy
    University of California Davis

    Robert Boyd
    Department of Anthropology
    University of California Los Angeles
    Summary: The evolution of complex societies began when agricultural subsistence systems raised human population densities to levels that would support large scalecooperation, and division of labor. All agricultural origins sequences postdate 11,500years ago probably because late Pleistocene climates we extremely variable, dry, and theatmosphere was low in carbon dioxide. Under such conditions, agriculture was likelyimpossible. However, the tribal scale societies of the Pleistocene did acquire, by geneculturecoevolution, tribal social instincts that simultaneously enable and constrain theevolution of complex societies. Once agriculture became possible, a competitive ratchetdrove further improvements in subsistence and in scale of social organization .: The evolution of complex societies began when agricultural subsistence systems raised human population densities to levels that would support large scale
    cooperation, and division of labor. All agricultural origins sequences postdate 11,500
    years ago probably because late Pleistocene climates we extremely variable, dry, and the
    atmosphere was low in carbon dioxide. Under such conditions, agriculture was likely
    impossible. However, the tribal scale societies of the Pleistocene did acquire, by geneculture
    coevolution, tribal social instincts that simultaneously enable and constrain the
    evolution of complex societies. Once agriculture became possible, a competitive ratchet
    drove further improvements in subsistence and in scale of social organization ….
    We attempt a taxonomy of the
    processes that regulate rates of institutional evolution, cause reversals of complexity
    against the ratchet, and impose historical contingency on institutional evolution…

    Dr. West recently referenced the work of a couple of California
    anthropologists (above) who have done preliminary work on how culture was formed during late human evolution (50,000-10,000 year ago), and how that kind of “culture” might have become imbedded in human DNA.

    If they are correct, then the most “natural” cultural state for human beings to live in is an eqalitarian clan/tribe setting rich in rituals, awe of the universe, compassion, altruism, etc.

    It may also mean that all of the “great civilizations” (empires) are nothing but chaotic attempts at creating unnatural and organizationally unstable “super tribes”.

    (This does not portend well for any belief/theory about establishing a “world order”.)

    Gota run, later.

  • Fubar

    This was supposed to be at the beginning of the above post:

    http://www.wiserearth.org/article/About

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02007/jun/08/the-new-great-transformation/

    excerpt:

    He began actively building a now-public database, WiserEarth.org , which includes social justice and indigenous rights organizations because he found they indivisibly overlap in their values and activities.
    The database now has 105,000 such organizations. The still-emerging taxonomy of their ?areas of focus? has 414 categories, amounting to a ?curriculum of the 21st century?— Acid Rain, Living Wages, Tropical Moist Forests, Peacemaking, Democratic Reform, Sustainable Cities, Environmental Toxicology, Watershed Management, Human Trafficking, Mountaintop Removal, Pesticides, Climate Change, Refugees, Women’s Safety, Eco-villages, Fair Trade… Extrapolating from carefully inventoried regions to those yet to be tallied, he estimates there are over 1,000,000 such organizations in the world, adding up to the largest and fastest growing Movement in history.

    The phenomenon has been overlooked because it lacks the customary hallmarks of a movement— no charismatic leaders, no grand theory or ideology, no ?ism,? no defining events. The new activist groups are about dispersing power rather than aggregating power. Their focus is on ideas rather than ideology— ideologies are clung to, but ideas can be tried and tossed or improved. The point is to solve problems, usually from the bottom up. The movement can never be divided because it is already atomized.

    What’s going on? Hawken wondered if humanity might have some collective intelligence that we don’t yet understand. The metaphor he finds most useful is the immune system, which is the most complex system in our body— more complex than the entire Internet— massive, distributed, subtle, ingenious, and effective. The opposite of a hierarchical army, its power is in the density of its network. It deals with problems not through frontal attack but complex negotiation and rapprochement.

    Much of the new movement, Hawken said, was inspired, at root, by the slavery abolitionists and by the Transcendentalists Emerson and his student Thoreau. Emerson declared that ?everything is connected,? and Thoreau wound up going to jail (and making it cool) by taking that idea seriously in social-justice terms.

    Now, as in the Axial Age, activism comes from acting on the realization that ?all life is sacred.?

    Also see:
    http://longnow.org/seminars/02006/mar/10/long-term-trends-in-the-scientific-method/
     
    http://www.kk.org/

  • Fubar

    The Decline of Scientific Rationalism
    http://www.techcast.org/Commentary.aspx?ID=94

    excerpt:

    The Decline of Scientific Rationalism by John Artz
    Sunday, Feb 24, 2002

    …During the later half of the 20th century, scholars worshipped at the altar of scientific rationalism, the belief that knowledge is obtained through objective empirical observation of physical phenomenon. This prevailing view held that the world is out there to study independent of our perception and understanding — our goal was to understand reality as it exists. Things like emotions and social relations were meaningless because they cannot be studied objectively as independent empirical phenomenon.Indeed, most lay people in the 20th century would agree that scientific realism yields reliable truth. It is our dominant epistemology because we value its findings and ignore its vast deficiencies. Science has been an enormously productive epistemology. The advances in knowledge provided by the scientific method are unparalleled in history, not even on the same scale as previous attempts to understand the world.The problem is that the success of science has led to the erroneous belief that scientific knowledge is the only kind of knowledge. Whereas, the fact is that science is only good at physical and natural kinds of truth, while failing miserably at other kinds of truth. Although we have gained enormous power to control our environment in ways that would be inconceivable to previous generations, we have no idea what to do with this power. Knowledge for its own sake has always been the battle cry of the scientific rationalism, but nothing in the scientific method will provide the slightest hint regarding what to do with this knowledge. Science does not tell us how to prevent wars. It does not tell us how to live. It does not tell us what to strive for.In short, science has improved the physical aspects of the human condition, but this very progress has caused a great epistemological disequilibrium as these more subtle human questions are pushed to fore, demanding some type of correction during the next century. And once we begin to value other kinds of knowledge, scientific realism will gracefully recede to its rightful place in our worldview…

  • Fubar

    A more subtle approach to the issue of the problem with scientific rationalism: “The Dictatorship of Reason in the West” (1992)
    (apologies if this was already posted in this thread, or if you have already seen it elsewhere.)

    http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/saul.html

    excerpts:

    Saul: Well, I think that Voltaire and all his friends were caught up in a very close battle, and it was a battle against arbitrary power and superstition — the king and the Church. We have misinterpreted what they were saying. They weren’t saying, “Go out there and build a society based on reason.” They were saying, “Go out there and build a humanist society — but you have a couple of weapons that are particularly good for a public fight.” There are a lot of weapons that are kind of hard to use in a public fight, whereas reason is something that you can walk out the door with everyday — you can pull it out of its scabbard and stab people with it. It’s very, very effective. You can knock down archbishops and popes with reason and they can’t figure out what to do. The trouble is, they can knock you down with reason too. This is what people like Voltaire forgot.

    I think that what they imagined was that when the Revolution, so to speak, was over, everybody would relax and reason would withdraw into its proper role as just another one of the qualities. There would be room to use the other qualities. Instead of that, of course, reason went mad and took over — and eliminated, if you like, the other qualities.

    London: There have been a lot of books questioning rationalism in recent years. Many of them take issue with what has been passed down from the Enlightenment. Descartes talked about the clockwork universe and Francis Bacon advanced the ideal of scientific neutrality, for example. These ideas have been enormously influential in shaping our Western worldview, for better and for worse.

    Saul: I think the way I would put it is that reason has done as much evil as good in this century. But I could also say that reason has done as much evil as common sense has in this century, or intuition, or ethics, or memory. So, for example, now you are seeing governments being elected (as in Canada recently) on things like “common sense revolution.” That’s ideology! It’s not common sense, it’s ideology. They want to do away with reason and have common sense. It will be just as stupid as reason on its own, and just as non-commonsensical.

    Saul: I have enormous confidence in the individual as citizen. I don’t think there is any proof in our 2,500 years of history that the elites do a good job without the close involvement of the citizenry. And I know that the way out of our problems is to reactivate the participation of the citizenry. I’m sure that’s the way. In fact, I put it in a more pessimistic way — we do not have any other way out. What are the other ways out? The elites proved they can’t do it. We keep looking for these heroic leaders. Well, that’s a return to the kings. The Camelot approach to leadership is garbage. It would be a return to the false heroes of dictatorship. Do we want to be in a democracy or not? We don’t need heroic leaders. They don’t work.

    London: You once said, “There’s no convincing evidence that writers can do their jobs by being nice.”

    Saul: There’s a great unwillingness to be rude in intellectual debate. I’m afraid I belong to the seventeenth-eighteenth-century tradition in which if you’re not rude in intellectual debate, then you’re probably not debating — you’re just patting each other on the back.

    Also see: http://www.scottlondon.com/reviews/saul.html

    Saul’s central message can be summed up as follows. Voltaire and his contemporaries believed that reason was the best defense against the arbitrary power of monarchs and the superstitions of religious dogma. It was the key not only to challenging the powers of kings and aristocracies but also to creating a more just and humane civilization. While the emphasis on reason has become one of the hallmarks of modern thought, today’s rational society bears little resemblance to the visions of the great 17th and 18th century humanist thinkers, according to Saul. Our ruling elites justify themselves in the name of reason, but all too often their power and their methodology is based on specialized knowledge and the manipulation of rational “structures” rather than reason. Today the link between reason and justice has been severed and our decision-makers, bereft of a viable ethical framework, have turned rational calculation into something short-sighed and self-serving. The result, Saul observes, is that we live in a society fixated on rational solutions, management, expertise, and professionalism in almost all areas, from politics and economics to education and cultural affairs.

    The great schism between the principles of democracy and the practices of modern rational governments has brought about not only widespread public frustration and anger, but also a general contempt among the ruling elites for the citizenry. While they cooperate with the established representational systems of democracy, Saul says, they do not believe in the value of the public’s contribution. Nor do they believe in the existence of a public moral code. “This means that in dealing with the public, they find it easier to appeal to the lowest common denominator within each of us. That this often succeeds reinforces their contempt for a public apparently capable of nothing better.”

  • Gladden

    Fubar, I am interested in contacting you to discuss the correlation of the Bahai Faith and Integral theory (Wilber). If you have time could you contact me at gladden@gmail.com

  • Fubar

    Gladden,

    Unfortunately, due to security concerns, at the moment I do not usually disclose my personal email to people that I don’t know.

    In case it matters, I’m an ex-bahai. I requested a withdrawal from membership in protest of a capricious abuse of power by a bahai administrator about 7 or 8 years ago. Bahai administration disregarded the protest, and as far as I know, never bothered to look into the specifics of the abuse (the abuser had old family and social connections to people high in bahai administration). They attempted to get me to admit that a personal flaw of some kind was the real reason for my withdrawal, which I refused to do. This attempt at getting people requesting withdraw to admit to an inability to “follow laws” due to a personal spiritual deficiency is apparently  “boilerplate” that is used as a final insult to those resigning because of mistreatment. I later indicated to bahai administration that since I had originally been coerced into signing my declaration card by a bahai missionary as a teenager, that I saw no need to respond to their boilerplate.

    Anyways, this is the only direct correlation that I’m aware of:

    http://bahai-library.com/uhj/scholars.internet.html

    “The House of Justice feels confident that, with patience,self-discipline, and unity of faith, Baha’i academics will be able tocontribute to a gradual forging of the more integrative paradigms ofscholarship which thoughtful minds in the international community areincreasingly calling.”(1997)

    The term “Integrative” has been used variously. For instance Dr. Andrew Weil uses the phrase “Integrative Medicine” to refer to “east-west” approaches, “mind-body”, and other attempts to bring together conventional scientific medicine and “spiritual practices” (yoga or meditation) or “traditional” (herbal) remedies.

    This is roughly similar to “Holistic” approaches.

    “Integral” theory (or philosophy) is basically the same thing, except that it more narrowly refers to a body of work associated with several “schools” of Integralism. The early schools were started by “integral pioneers” Sri Aurobindo and Jean Gebser.

    Some include Rudolph Steiner (Waldorf schools) as an Integral Pioneer, as well as other european philosophers that similarly influenced similar “east-west” thinking, making “holistic” between scientific rationalism and mysticism. 

    While the attempt at defining a “harmony of science and religion” is shared between bahaism and integralism, some integralists from buddhist background, such as Wilber, do not accept the bahai idea of a “mystical unity of religion” given the rejection of the validity of “pagan” (and all other non-monotheistic) spiritual traditions in the judeo-christian-islamic (and bahai) religions.

    Integralists also are much more open in their enbrace of evolutionary theory than are bahais.

    (I heard a rumor that Wilber had been in an intimate relationship with a bahai woman in the mid or late 90s for at least a year or so, so Wilber presumably has a basic understanding of bahaism.)

    There were some bahais at Naropa or Noetic institute that attempted communication with Wilber about 10 years ago, but I don’t think it went anywhere.)

    Wilber’s ideas were part of an attempt at an interesting reform process based on community building:

    http://bahai-library.com/conferences/common.threads.html

    I met the authors (Suggs and Deahl-Coy) about 10 years ago in northern california.

    They were open about the problems in the bahai community such as disconnect over spiritual, social and intellectual needs of many bahais, growing fundamentalism, abuse of authority by administration, hostility toward scholarship, and so forth.

  • Fubar

    Another person more or less associated with early integralism was Teilhard de Chardin .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noosphere

    An important later influence from systems theory:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holon_(philosophy)

    http://www.panarchy.org/koestler/holon.1969.html

    Arthur KoestlerSome general properties of
    self-regulating open hierarchic order (SOHO)(1969)| The concept of the holon is intended to reconcile the atomistic and| holistic approaches….| generally, the term “holon” may be applied to any stable biological| or social sub-whole which displays rule-governed behaviour and/or| structural Gestalt-constancy. Thus organelles and homologous| organs are evolutionary holons; morphogenetic fields are| ontogenetic holons; the ethologist’s “fixed action-patterns” and| the sub-routines of acquired skills are behavioural holons;| phonemes, morphemes, words, phrases are linguistic holons;| individuals, families, tribes, nations are social holons.”…| Every holon has the dual tendency to preserve and assert its| individuality as a quasi-autonomous whole; and to function as an| integrated part of an (existing or evolving) larger whole. This| polarity between the Self-Assertive (S-A) and Integrative (INT)| tendencies is inherent in the concept of hierarchic order; and a| universal characteristic of life.| The S-A tendencies are the dynamic expression of the holon’s| wholeness, the INT tendencies of its partness.| An analogous polarity is found in the interplay of cohesive and| separative forces in stable inorganic systems, from atoms to| galaxies….

  • Gladden

    Many thanks for your response and the links you have given. Im sorry that you’ve had such a nasty experience with the Bahai Faith. I’m a Bahai and have found Wilber’s work personally very useful in supplementing my Faith or providing a philosophical framework to understand it, hence my interest in others who know the Bahai Faith and Wilber’s Integral theory. I have also run up against the evolution question and wrote to UHJ about it. The essence of my question was that the inexhaustible mountain of evidence points to the tree of life understanding ie that we are cousins of the great apes and the rest of life; so how do we reconcile the facts with SAQs. UHJ basically encouraged me to pursue the broad understanding that I was after and pointed me to a couple of papers which had that broader understanding.  Anyway I don’t want to open a new topic in this particular thread.  Thanks again for the links. cheers

  • Anonymous

    Since Desir and others brought the Bible into this discussion in the King James version (which is the most accepted and widely used) it says in Luke:

    “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In
    that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the
    house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the
    field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”And then it continues:
    “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

    As you’d expect there is quite a bit of disagreement on whether the Bible says two men or two people. And whether two wo/men sleeping together in one bed necessarily conotates sexual intimacy.

    The Old Testament does in multiple places condemn homosexuality but Luke, it would seem, does not. For more, see this discussion.

  • Sam

    Yes, I read your post. I found it very informative. As I
    mentioned previously, it led me to the opposite conclusion as it has you. Let
    me try to explain why.

     

    Before watching the “dancing boys” documentary, I
    had always found the language used in the Aqdas to condemn homosexuality to be
    somewhat strange. The reference to “boys” seemed to me to be
    “out of left field”. After watching the documentary (and even more
    after reading your post here), the reference seems less strange to me.  It makes sense in the  historical context of 19th century Persia, where  bache bazi was the prevalent form of male
    homosexuality. Your reference seems to confirm this. The quote in Jafary’s book
    from Dr. Polak is informative in this regard: ” Tribady – or tabaq – among
    women is widespread, though not to the same extent as pederasty [among men]. ” There is a symmetry in
    that sentence:  tribady (old-fashioned
    word for lesbianism) among women – 
    pedastery (bache bazi) among men. 
    Reflect on that symmetry. It seems to give further support to
    “boys” being the contextually-relevant and efficient terminology for
    homosexuality.

     

    You seem to suggest that since “sisterhood sighe”
    (which included a component of lesbianism) existed,  and since the Aqdas doesn’t explicitly condemn
    “sisterhood sighe”, then the Aqdas condones lesbianism.  I’m not so sure I can follow that argument. Among
    the many things not explicitly forbidden in the Aqdas:  cocaine, crystal meth, cannibalism,
    carjacking, ….( and I’m just on the “c”s….)  The law-giving portions of the Aqdas are
    concise and use efficient terminology. Baha’u’llah does not make long
    “laundry lists” of forbidden things.  

     

    For me, “the matter of boys”, once a mysterious
    and odd reference, now makes more sense as the efficient way to refer to
    homosexuality in language understandable at the time. (Apologies for  my earlier comment that it was “the only
    language available”  the
    “only” is too strong.) 

  • Desir0101

    Hello Baquia,
    Nice intervention.
    These lines depict events of suffering, separation and destruction.

    Surely there are disagreement on whether “” two men ,two people or two person”

    And “”two women shall be grinding together””, and as far as my vocabulary is correct “‘grinding” has nothing to do whether far or near with sex or love.

    BUT ONE THING IS CLEAR AND EVIDENT TO EVERY ONE, that these two men and two women no matter how you interpret the “”act” are unaccepted and will be SEPARATED..
    So. if they will be SEPARATED means that the act they are offering to are condemned by LUKE (peace be upon HIm).

    And you will observe that there will be then two couples of one man and one woman left and one couple one man and one woman taken away.

    GOD create every thing in pair and couple.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Baquia this is a great article that I finally got a chance to read.  It’s always wonderful to understand the Bahai Writings in the historical context in which they were written. Unfortunately too many Bahais today don’t do that. They just accept it as the Word of God devoid of any association with history – as if it were written in a vacuum.  Thanks again!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_topics_and_Islam

    Wikipedia gives a nice article on the Islamic context.

    Despite the formal disapproval of religious authority, the
    segregation of women in Muslim societies and the strong emphasis on
    virility leads adolescents and unmarried young men to seek sexual
    outlets with males younger than themselves – in one study in Morocco,
    with boys in the age-range 7 to 13,[18]
    and Muslim culture allows, or at least condones, men to have sex with
    other males so long as they are the penetrators and their partners are
    boys, or in some cases effeminate men.[19] It is not so much “getting fucked” as enjoying it that is considered bad: enjoying it increases the stigma.[20]
    But deep shame attaches to the passive partner: “for this reason men
    stop getting layed at the age of 15 or 16 and ‘forget’ that they ever
    allowed/suffered/enjoyed it earlier.” Similar sexual sociologies are
    reported for other Muslim societies from North Africa to Pakistan and
    the Far East.[21]
    Not all sodomy is homosexual: one Moroccan sociologist, in a study of
    sex education in his native country, notes that for many young men
    heterosexual sodomy is considered better than vaginal penetration, and
    female prostitutes likewise report the demand for anal penetration from
    their (male) clients.[22]

    Liwat is regarded as a temptation,[23]
    and anal intercourse is not seen as repulsively unnatural so much as
    dangerously attractive: “one has to avoid getting buggered precisely in
    order not to acquire a taste for it and thus become addicted.”[24]
    In practise, the segregation of women and the strong emphasis on
    virility can lead to adolescents and unmarried young men seeking sexual
    outlets with males younger than themselves – in one study in Morocco,
    with boys in the age-range 7 to 13.[25] But deep shame attaches to the passive partner.[24] Similar sexual sociologies are reported for other Muslim societies from North Africa to Pakistan and the Far East.[26] In Afghanistan in 2009, the British Army
    was forced to commission a report into the sexuality of the local men
    after British soldiers reported the discomfort at witnessing adult males involved in sexual relations with boys. The report stated that though illegal, there was a tradition of such relationships in the country, known as “bache bazi” or boy play, and that it was especially strong around Kandahar.[27]

    Raphael Patai in The Arab Mind, has argued that among some Arabs and Turks
    homosexuality can be justified as an expression of power. The ?active
    homosexual act is considered as an assertion of one’s aggressive
    masculine superiority, while the acceptance of the role of the passive
    homosexual is considered extremely degrading and shameful because it
    casts the man or youth into a submissive, feminine role?.[28]
     

  • Baquia

    peyamb, you’re welcome. This is but an imperfect beginning to my own personal attempts to understand this topic. As we push aside the superficial and delve into it a bit deeper, the issue becomes much more complex than at first glance. There is much more to write and share so hopefully I will gather the time to submit my current thoughts to you soon.

  • The note about the subject of boys says that Shoghi Effendi interpreted that passage as “a prohibition on all homosexual relationships.” Has anyone seen that statement anywhere in the writings of Shoghi Effendi, or any specific reference to where that statement appears in the published or unpublished writings of Shoghi Effendi?

    I wrote to the Baha’i World Center asking specifically for such a reference, and did not receive any. No quote from his writings, containing that statement, and no reference to any source in his writings for that statement. All I received in response was:
    – a description of a cross-reference in Shoghi Effendi’s notes for the codification of the Aqdas, between “homosexuality” and the passage on the subject of boys.
    – some of the quotations from Shoghi Effendi’s letters that have already been widely quoted, in which there is no mention of the subject of boys, and no occurrence of the expression “all homosexual relations.”

  • Baquia

    Jim, please share the letter from the UHJ. Writing a loose rewording of the UHJ is not helpful and in fact leads to more confusion.

  • I can’t find it. If it matters to anyone, they can write to the World Center themselves. I only said that to explain why I’m asking the question. I can’t get an answer to this question, even from the World Center. If Shoghi Effendi actually said that the passage on the subject of boys is “a prohibition on all homosexual relations,” then why haven’t we seen that, ever, anywhere? Maybe it hasn’t been published. Okay then, if it’s really there, then it can be quoted with a reference like “From an unpublished …” If that comes from the writings of Shoghi Effendi, then whoever wrote that note saw it. Why is there no reference of any kind to where that came from in his writings?

    Simple question: Does anybody have any evidence that Shoghi Effendi ever wrote that the passage on the subject of boys is “a prohibition on all homosexual relations”?

    If anyone has, I would like to know.

  • Baquia

    Jim, let’s follow your logic: you paraphrase a letter from the UHJ. When I ask that you to share the actual letter and words from the UHJ you say you can’t find it. I find that hard to believe since letters from the UHJ to Baha’is sent as answers to questions they have posed as you have said in this case are precious and are never “lost” or “misplaced”. Today they are sent via email attachment (as pdf documents) making it practically impossible to lose.

    In any case, let’s move on. Then you say, I can’t find it and suggest people contact the UHJ for the actual information. So you are encouraging people to take up the time and resources of the BWC when they have already answered the question once! Duplicating their expenditures this way doesn’t make sense. And then you ask others to clarify the exact same question you say you originally posed to the UHJ.

    Again, let me get this straight. You asked something from the House. They answered you but you don’t have the letter itself (you’ve misplaced it or can’t find it). Instead of asking them to resend you the letter or writing them again to clarify the issue you yourself say you raised, you are here asking people who know less than you?

    Can you see how that is rather silly and not at all fruitful?

  •  Yes. I think I see very well how silly and fruitless it is. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  • Baquia

    No worries. I suggest you follow your own advice and contact the House to re-send you the letter and to clarify the question for you further. At that point please share and enlighten the rest of us!

  • Bird

    Jim, I encourage you to ask for a copy of the letter, Baquai is correct, they will email it to you. I think it is a good question & would love to see it discussed here.

  • Pingback: Pathology of Homosexuality | Baha'i Rants()

  • Steve

    The Research Department at the Bahai World Centre has confirmed that theGuardian’s manuscript notes for the Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas,which includes in the list of prohibition the word ?homosexuality,? are inhis own handwriting in English. Furthermore, Shoghi Effendi’s handwrittennotes in Persian clearly cross-referenced this entry to the specific termin the Kitab-i-Aqdas concerning ?the subject of boys? (Hukm-i-Ghilman).
    (Universal House of Justice to an individual, 22 December 2010 )As such, the Guardian has interpreted the “subject of boys” matter to mean a prohibition on homosexuality. Does this not end the matter? Unless of course, you believe that your interpretation of the statement trumps that of the Guardian.

  • Baquia

    Steve, the only letter from that date that I could find is the one replying to Brent Poirer. Is this the one you’re referring to? Can you please post it in full because afaik it makes no mention of what you cite.

    The leap you are making is too spectacular to be logical: that because there was a ‘mark’ on a page, you know the intention of the Guardian regarding this matter even though he wrote nothing explicitly about it.

  • Steve

    This is sourced from http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/email-archive/same-sex-marriages-5/. As I have no reason to believe that Sen would distort / fabricate letters from the House of Justice, I have some faith in believing it is an actual message. In any event, I sent a letter to the Universal House of Justice asking to verify the message and I strongly encourage you do as well. While we wait for this technicality to be resolved, you reduce the codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas (or rather the interpretations of the Guardian) to mere “marks” on the page. If the quote is valid and true, it clearly states that the Guardian’s notes for the Kitab-i-Aqdas include a prohibition on homosexuality with a clear cross-reference to the quote “subject of boys”. This is also in his own handwriting .

    I also do not feel the need to go into other letters (on his behalf) written by the Guardian’s secretaries stating that homosexuality is contrary to the teachings of the Cause. The very fact that the Guardian approves all messages (without exception) sent from his office should resolve this matter.

  • Baquia

    Steve, yes, I assumed that was the letter but I wanted to make sure. The issue is that we don’t know exactly what the ‘reference’ mark made looks like and more importantly, why Shoghi Effendi made it. I’ve already written about this here: Pathology of Homosexuality.

    “The intentions of Shoghi Effendi on this topic are much less clear than
    suggested. The connection of that cryptic phrase from the Aqdas
    regarding the heinous activity of pederasty (ghelmaan and bache bazi)
    and homosexuality is tenuous and little understood. Supposedly it is a
    hand-made mark jotted down on the margin of his personal copy of the
    Aqdas. That’s it. Nothing more. As such it is not clear if this was
    meant to be a personal note, a reminder for further research, or for
    some other reason.”

    It would be helpful for the Research Department to share the document..

    Read Sen’s own comment to his post. In any case, there isn’t much point in hair-splitting because the Guardian’s sphere of authority does not include laws but interpretation. The UHJ has the authority to create and modify Baha’i law.

  • Steve

    You mention that “Supposedly it is a hand-made mark jotted down”. However, the Research Department clearly states that the prohibition of homosexuality is cross-referenced to the phrase “subject of boys” as part of the Guardian’s Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas (in his own handwriting). The fact that this has also been elaborated in various messages on behalf of the Guardian attest to this matter. If neither instance (that being the Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas nor letters from the Guardian’s office) stand on their own right, surely you must agree that the combination of the two along holds some weight.

    You also mention that “the Guardian’s sphere of authority does not include laws but interpretation”. It is clear that the Guardian is not creating a new law rather he is interpreting a phrase penned by Baha’u’llah. This is clearly within his sphere of authority and as he is the infallible interpreter of Baha’u’llah’s Writings, it is treated as such.

    Finally, you mention that it “would be helpful for the Research Department to share the document”. Have you asked them to do so? I would highly encourage you to do so if what is already available (confirmation by the Research Department on the matter, various letters on behalf of the Secretary, clear statements by the Universal House of Justice) do not satisfy your search for truth. In fact, you suggested this to someone else on another message board in April.

  • This is an amazing article, it covers so much and you are a wonderful writer 🙂

  • mulattome

    This was a very cute attempt of manipulation and misinterpretation of the Word of God. It’s very clear that Homosexuality is forbidden in the Bahai faith. Here are many examples, the last example being the most direct!

    ..But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.
    (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 365)

    Certainly the problem confronting you is a difficult one. However, its solution lies within your power, for Bahá’u’lláh has assured us that God “will never deal unjustly with anyone, neither will He task a soul beyond its power.” And again, “Whensoever he hath fulfilled the conditions implied in the verse: whoso maketh efforts for Us, he shall enjoy the blessings conferred by the words: ‘In Our Way shall We assuredly guide him”‘. You can be confident that with the help of doctors, by prayer and meditation, by self-abnegation and by giving as much time as possible to serving the Cause in your community you can eventually succeed in overcoming your problem.
    (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality).

    If you are sincerely intent on overcoming your problem, you must yourself determine to resist wayward impulses each time they arise and the House of Justice feels that there is no better way than to turn to the Writings to divert our thoughts into spiritual channels , perhaps to concentrate on what we may do to help others along the way to discovering the Bahá’í Faith. The more we occupy ourselves with teaching the Cause and serving our fellowman in this way, the stronger we become in resisting that which is abhorrent to our spiritual selves.
    (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality)

    In attempting to reconcile what may appear to be conflicting obligations, it is important to understand that the Bahá’í community does not seek to impose its values on others, nor does it pass judgment on others on the basis of its own moral standards. It does not see itself as one among competing social groups and organizations, each vying to establish its particular social agenda. In working for social justice, Bahá’ís must inevitably distinguish between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Bahá’í Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage. Such distinctions are unavoidable when addressing any social issue. For example, Bahá’ís actively work for the establishment of world peace but, in the process, do not engage in partisan political activities directed against particular governments.
    (Universal House of Justice, 27 October 2010 to an individual believer)

    The Bahá’í Writings state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that sexual relations are restricted to a couple who are married to each other. Other passages from the Writings state that the practice of homosexuality is not permitted. The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh on personal morality are binding on Bahá’ís, who strive, as best they can, to live up to the high standards He has established.
    (Universal House of Justice, 27 October 2010 to an individual believer)

    The House of Justice was sorry to learn from your letter that your son has recently informed you that he is a homosexual. It commends your attitude of compassion and your efforts to both maintain harmony in your marriage and to keep open the lines of communication to your son.
    (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality, p. 10)

    With respect to your question concerning the position Bahá’ís are to take regarding homosexuality and civil rights, we have been asked to convey the following. The purpose of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race, and Bahá’ís are enjoined to eliminate from their lives all forms of prejudice and to manifest respect towards all. Therefore, to regard those with a homosexual orientation with prejudice or disdain would be against the spirit of the Faith. Furthermore, a Bahá’í is exhorted to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression”, and it would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.
    (Universal House of Justice, 27 October 2010 to an individual believer)

    You write that you cannot explain to a friend why her way of love, homosexual love, is wrong and that your lack of understanding on this point also hampers your teaching efforts. Until there is wide recognition of Bahá’u’lláh as the Revealer of the Divine Will, there is no answer that will satisfy all questioners, particularly one who has a vested interest in maintaining that his behavior is innocuous. Homosexuality has been forbidden by Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Laws, just as it was forbidden by other Prophets of God.
    (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality, p. 10)

  • mulattome

    Conclusion

    Homosexual attraction is likely a congenital disorder that influences behavior. Despite its “naturalness”, its expression represents an over-exaggeration of the importance of the sex drive. Behavior can be controlled, and it is not impossible for such a person to have a heterosexual marriage. Every socially-conscious and responsible person should strive to have a successful marriage and produce children, if possible. Outside of marriage the sex drive should be restrained and controlled, and anyone who never marries should remain celibate. Such a level of self-control is quite difficult, but so is restraining the natural desire for food, alcohol, gambling, and other behaviors that have addictive qualities, which if taken to extremes have a destructive effect on the individual afflicted, who must strive to overcome them. The social implications of such an attitude are very important.

    “You write that you cannot explain to a friend why her way of love, homosexual love, is wrong and that your lack of understanding on this point also hampers your teaching efforts. Until there is wide recognition of Bahá’u’lláh as the Revealer of the Divine Will, there is no answer that will satisfy all questioners, particularly one who has a vested interest in maintaining that his behavior is innocuous. Homosexuality has been forbidden by Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Laws, just as it was forbidden by other Prophets of God.”
    (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality, p. 10)

  • Baquia

    “Conclusion
    Homosexual attraction is likely a congenital disorder that influences behavior….”

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions. No matter how ill informed or wrong. However, what everyone is not entitled to is their own facts.

  • mulattome

    And these are facts I’m stating! As a baha’i and a person in the medical field! And the reason the world is in the shape it’s in, is because people Think it’s okay to have the wrong opinions just to have an opinion. There is wrong and there is right, why refuse a fact? To be politically correct? Baha’ullah has stated clearly thanks forbidden, and science has proven it is indeed like any congenital disorder. and indeed, you are not entitled to your own facts! The Bahai writings are clear, and whoever wrote this will have to face Gods judgement.

  • Baquia

    re the science “proving congenital disorder”, please provide reputable scientific research papers that are peer reviewed and published in a journal of repute.

    Let me save you the trouble. You won’t be able to because to prove “congenital disorder” you have to provide pathology, which the scientific community has not been able to do after decades of research.

    Instead every single country and global scientific organization has come to the opposite conclusion: that it is not a disorder.

    re Baha’i, Baha’u’llah never mentioned anything about homosexuality. It seems you didn’t read the blog post you are commenting on.

  • Dawnbreaking

    What you quoted here:

    “purchasing or hiring a boy as a servant for the exclusive sexual pleasure of the master (in middle-class or elite homes) was permissible. Here a man could hire a boy as his long-term servant/concubine without any social recrimination.”

    is very similar to what Baha’u’llah says in the Aqdas, in the last sentence of the following quote:
    “God hath prescribed matrimony unto you. Beware that ye take not unto yourselves more wives than two. Whoso contenteth himself with a single partner from among the maidservants of God, both he and she shall live in tranquillity. And he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety”

    What sense does it make to speak about taking a maid into service when speaking about marriage? Baha’u’llah does not speak about maids in the original Arabic, he uses the word ‘Bikr’ which means ‘virgin’. This what the Arabic says:
    “man ‘ittakhadha bikran li khidmatih la ba’sa `alayh.”
    Which means:
    “He who takes a virgin to serve him it would be permissible for him”
    And is to a great extent different from the official translation:
    “And he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety”

    I believe Baha’u’llah was giving permission for a virgin concubine not maid.

  • Baquia

    Interesting but incorrect. In the Q/A section of the Aqdas you will find this explanation:

    “This is solely for service such as is performed by any other class of servants, be they young or old, in exchange for wages; such a maiden is free to choose a husband at whatever time she pleaseth, for it is forbidden either that women should be purchased, or that a man should have more wives than two.”

    Also worthy of note is that Baha’u’llah married Gawhar Khanum, the maid to Asiyih Khanum. However, all three marriages were before the revelation of the Aqdas.

  • Dawnbreaking

    Yes. I’ve seen that, but what is the relevance of a serving “virgin” when speaking about marriage? The more I read it the less sense it makes. Why has the translation been twisted in such a way that shows a meaning different from what was uttered in the original Arabic?

  • AmadodeDios

    Hi, Dawnbreaking. I understand that the idea is that a Bahai man can employ a virgin / maid and be expected not to take advantage of her sexually. A Muslim was obliged to marry her, assuming that she would have to provide full service to the master, and – if required to perform as another wife – should have the legal rights of a wife. The Bahai Law gives the employer the responsibility of behaving himself, rather than assuming he will not!

  • ivans

    Hi baquia,
    I say and confirm that you are wrong.
    regards.