Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Baha’is

Eric was a Baha’i from 1998 to 2002, at which point he left and became a Christian. You can read more about him and his views on his site. Momen, in his recent paper, lumped Stetson in with a few others as “apostates” because of their belligerence towards the Faith they once belonged to.

Recently he wrote a lengthy letter outlining a public apology to the Baha’is of the world. And he has approached several websites and blogs to distribute this apology further. I’m happy to oblige his request:

Between the years 2002 and 2008, I have gradually progressed from the point of condemning Baha’u’llah to hell (a judgment that only rebounded back upon myself while I believed it) to a recognition that, whether or not he was inspired by God and regardless of any specific mistakes he may have made, he was surely a man who was trying to make a positive difference in the world and deserves much credit for that.

So let me join the Baha’is this year, this day, in saying “Happy birthday Baha’u’llah!” The world is a better place and many souls have been lifted up to greater heights because you were born and lived on this earth and shared your spiritual message with its people. I love you — not in the way Baha’is do as a follower of the religion you founded, but as a fellow child of God who yearns to do good for my brothers and sisters in the human family and who appreciates the positive things you did in your life in the face of extraordinary trials.

I apologize for excessive and sometimes unfair criticisms I have voiced against Baha’u’llah, his successors, and the Baha’i community. I ask forgiveness from all of you — those who are in this world as well as those in the world beyond. I especially ask those who have been martyred for their Baha’i faith to forgive me. I know that you sacrificed yourselves for something worth dying for: a vision of humanity united in inclusive love, common purpose, and peace among nations and religions under One God. Let me have as much courage and strength to live for these ideals as you had to die for them.

I didn’t talk with Eric very much when he was active and seemingly angry at the Baha’i Faith online. I did join his online group briefly and left on amicable terms after taking part in a few discussions.

The history of the Baha’i Faith and polemics on the internet is quite rich and I’m sure at some point historians will wade through the archives or discussion groups, websites and blogs to write more about it.

At the beginning Baha’i activities online were mostly dominated by academics, mostly because it was they who had ready access to the internet and were at the forefront of adopting new technologies. Then as the internet became more widely available, a more diverse group of people entered the fray. For the most part, it remained a very small group of people.

Over time the discussion flowed from these smaller academic discussion groups to the wider newsgroups: soc.religion.bahai and talk.religion.bahai – the establishment of the latter is itself an interesting story.

From there the online presence branched off into many different discussion groups and then into separate Baha’i blogs, like the one you are reading. Many of the original forums are still ongoing, with Talisman, being one of the oldest. You can find a full list of online Baha’i communities and discussion groups to the right.

No one knows what the future holds, the only thing certain is that the nature of discourse has been forever changed. Whereas before Baha’is were confined by geographic locations and the ability to travel and perhaps on a limited basis, communicate via letters and books, now, we can instantly exchange ideas, share news and collaborate.

  • Craig Parke

    Through intimate, personal, deep global communication, the Internet will now change everything.

    It will now elect Presidents, Congresses, and Senators in many nations. It will topple governments. It is, so far, a virtual class action lawsuit in cyberspace against all religious hypocrites, half baked fakes, and incompetent hacks in organized religions and degraded spiritual movements everywhere. It is now the engine in the search for knowledge and truth. It will expose people for what they are and it will bring criminal charges upon criminals and it will convict the guilty in the court of public opinion. Every person on Earth is now their own New York Times. People in high places can run but they can’t hide. So be it. It is surely one of the great new powers of the new unfolding and individual soul empowering World Age.

    I, myself, accept Baha’u’llah’s claims. My spirit thought Abdu’l -Baha was a very fine man. I think Shoghi Effendi tried very hard but in the end he essentially completely and utterly pulled the plug on his entire life’s work by not writing a personal will as was required by direct Baha’i Law from Baha’u’llah and required in very clear writing by the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. The resulting organization has no checks and balances and has essentially lost all Spirit and all Contact with the powers of the Cosmos and is heading for mind numbing automaton oblivion.

    As a consequence, the powers of the World Age will now come through the unfettered photonic carrier of the square binary wave. It is pure worldwide thought and communication on tidings of light. It is called the Internet. This technology is the slowly forming of the first thought energy shells of the planetary atom for this World Age. The Baha’is completely shot themselves in the foot and missed the boat and are now no longer players in a terrible, terrible tragedy.

    But I offer my thanks to Baha’u’llah every day like Eric Stetson does here for his mighty effort to change Shia Islam. But in the end his religion became totally corrupted by the very same mindsets and systems of brain chemistry within Shia Islam that he railed against! And Baha’u’llah in his wonderful Scorpio personality did clearly rail in his anguish! But it now appears the impairments of fundamentalist brain chemistry just cannot be overcome in this world so far as witnessed by completely deranged events in India over the last two days.

    On a lesser scale of impairment in natural brain chemistry derangement, as the Faith has fallen further and further behind cutting edge thought and exploration of the Cosmos year after year many souls are just now too advanced as human beings for the Baha’i Faith organization as it now exists. People much more moral, much more intelligent, much more competent, and much more spiritual now refuse to be held back by the dysfunctional Baha’i Faith organization. With no term limits of any kind at at any level, the Baha’i Faith is now just a club for a very, very tiny group of lifetime incumbent people with ever more and more deranged brain chemistry.

    The Faith will never take a deep breath with the entire world now. It is completely cut off from the spiritual energies now going to other peoples and other communities of Spirit where souls are going for the powers of creative light.

    Tonight I will be reading some Kurt Vonnegut as my special Thanksgiving Treat.

    So it goes.

    Everyone keep posting!

  • Craig Parke

    Through intimate, personal, deep global communication, the Internet will now change everything.

    It will now elect Presidents, Congresses, and Senators in many nations. It will topple governments. It is, so far, a virtual class action lawsuit in cyberspace against all religious hypocrites, half baked fakes, and incompetent hacks in organized religions and degraded spiritual movements everywhere. It is now the engine in the search for knowledge and truth. It will expose people for what they are and it will bring criminal charges upon criminals and it will convict the guilty in the court of public opinion. Every person on Earth is now their own New York Times. People in high places can run but they can’t hide. So be it. It is surely one of the great new powers of the new unfolding and individual soul empowering World Age.

    I, myself, accept Baha’u’llah’s claims. My spirit thought Abdu’l -Baha was a very fine man. I think Shoghi Effendi tried very hard but in the end he essentially completely and utterly pulled the plug on his entire life’s work by not writing a personal will as was required by direct Baha’i Law from Baha’u’llah and required in very clear writing by the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. The resulting organization has no checks and balances and has essentially lost all Spirit and all Contact with the powers of the Cosmos and is heading for mind numbing automaton oblivion.

    As a consequence, the powers of the World Age will now come through the unfettered photonic carrier of the square binary wave. It is pure worldwide thought and communication on tidings of light. It is called the Internet. This technology is the slowly forming of the first thought energy shells of the planetary atom for this World Age. The Baha’is completely shot themselves in the foot and missed the boat and are now no longer players in a terrible, terrible tragedy.

    But I offer my thanks to Baha’u’llah every day like Eric Stetson does here for his mighty effort to change Shia Islam. But in the end his religion became totally corrupted by the very same mindsets and systems of brain chemistry within Shia Islam that he railed against! And Baha’u’llah in his wonderful Scorpio personality did clearly rail in his anguish! But it now appears the impairments of fundamentalist brain chemistry just cannot be overcome in this world so far as witnessed by completely deranged events in India over the last two days.

    On a lesser scale of impairment in natural brain chemistry derangement, as the Faith has fallen further and further behind cutting edge thought and exploration of the Cosmos year after year many souls are just now too advanced as human beings for the Baha’i Faith organization as it now exists. People much more moral, much more intelligent, much more competent, and much more spiritual now refuse to be held back by the dysfunctional Baha’i Faith organization. With no term limits of any kind at at any level, the Baha’i Faith is now just a club for a very, very tiny group of lifetime incumbent people with ever more and more deranged brain chemistry.

    The Faith will never take a deep breath with the entire world now. It is completely cut off from the spiritual energies now going to other peoples and other communities of Spirit where souls are going for the powers of creative light.

    Tonight I will be reading some Kurt Vonnegut as my special Thanksgiving Treat.

    So it goes.

    Everyone keep posting!

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  • Bird

    Interesting that Eric feels the need for a public apology. I don’t know the extent of his discourse in the BF but if his name made in a book he must be special! I will say if it were not for the internet it would have taken me 50 years instead of 10 to sift through books to get to the truth about the BF. In 1996 my LSA tried to attempt to restrict my internet study. �there is a lot of CB material out there Bird� Yea sure there is but the truth is better then fiction. Because of the internet, and technology, even all the volumes of the Star of the West are now pdf.

    I feel the same now about all organized religions, in some form or another attempts to achieve a mind control of the individual succumbed to the idea of salvation presented in the �religion�.

    But I did appreciate your blog Craig. Quite true about the internet being everyone’s NYT’s. It’s rough and tumble out there so I am standing on the sidelines.

    It’s just good to be me, no names, labels, just Bird.

  • Bird

    Interesting that Eric feels the need for a public apology. I don’t know the extent of his discourse in the BF but if his name made in a book he must be special! I will say if it were not for the internet it would have taken me 50 years instead of 10 to sift through books to get to the truth about the BF. In 1996 my LSA tried to attempt to restrict my internet study. �there is a lot of CB material out there Bird� Yea sure there is but the truth is better then fiction. Because of the internet, and technology, even all the volumes of the Star of the West are now pdf.

    I feel the same now about all organized religions, in some form or another attempts to achieve a mind control of the individual succumbed to the idea of salvation presented in the �religion�.

    But I did appreciate your blog Craig. Quite true about the internet being everyone’s NYT’s. It’s rough and tumble out there so I am standing on the sidelines.

    It’s just good to be me, no names, labels, just Bird.

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    There are many reasons why I felt the need for a public apology. One reason is this: It is impossible to have meaningful dialogue with someone who regards you as their enemy. At this pivotal and crucial time in world history, we simply cannot afford to have religious grudge matches with each other. We have to work together for the very survival of human civilization, and to do that requires the maturity of putting aside our differences and focusing on what common ground we can find with each other. There is not going to be one perfect religion that everyone joins and agrees on — not Christianity, not Islam, not Baha’i or anything else! — but there can be a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than of anger and divisiveness. It is the willingness to apologize to each other and forgive each other that is the starting point for building a new world of peaceful coexistence and true human progress.

    Eric

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    There are many reasons why I felt the need for a public apology. One reason is this: It is impossible to have meaningful dialogue with someone who regards you as their enemy. At this pivotal and crucial time in world history, we simply cannot afford to have religious grudge matches with each other. We have to work together for the very survival of human civilization, and to do that requires the maturity of putting aside our differences and focusing on what common ground we can find with each other. There is not going to be one perfect religion that everyone joins and agrees on — not Christianity, not Islam, not Baha’i or anything else! — but there can be a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than of anger and divisiveness. It is the willingness to apologize to each other and forgive each other that is the starting point for building a new world of peaceful coexistence and true human progress.

    Eric

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Craig,

    If you don’t mind, I would like to contact you privately. Could you send me an email from your current email address, so that I know where I can reach you? One of my email addresses can be found at the bottom of the page on http://www.bahai-faith.com

    Thanks,
    Eric

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Craig,

    If you don’t mind, I would like to contact you privately. Could you send me an email from your current email address, so that I know where I can reach you? One of my email addresses can be found at the bottom of the page on http://www.bahai-faith.com

    Thanks,
    Eric

  • Bird

    Eric-

    Good luck on the Bah?’?­â€™s not thinking you’re an enemy when you have been labeled one by their higher archery (intended word). Unless you had malice in your heart, which it does not sound by your communication, then the myth of God alone is your judge. My father always told me it is a “show me don’t tell me world Bird”, in the sense that talk is cheaper than actions. Your reactions to reconcile is noble indeed. Your communication was touching and I do identify with not wanting to be an enemy with your brothers and sisters but do you think you will ever turn such thinkers around with words, â€?you’re not an enemyâ€? when they have labeled you so? I’ll save you time and aggravation, words will do nothing but console your own heart.

    The bible says 7X7, Bah?’?­â€™s accept the bible. I’m sure any real Bah?’?­ would have forgiven you without you have to apologize for how you feel, but then I am not fully versed on your criticism of the Bah?’?­â€™s, regardless, I am sure we are simply talking about â€?wordsâ€? you used.

    I thought I was a Bah?’?­ for 14+ years then I knew I was not. When people came into chat rooms to bash the BF, it was okay with me, their right under our constitution, I remember one person called Shoghi a faggot, but I just considered the source and loved the chatter anyway. Many Bah?’?­â€™s thought because I did not shun the chatter, as they had, and I would not partake in insulting her back, as they did, that I must have agreed with her. Those people who called themselves Bah?’?­ and violated everything I thought was Bah?’?­ started me to realize I was NOT one of them.

    I will never be anything ever again but a free bird and I am not sorry for my right to free choice nor my right to freedom of speech. If you said something’s that you regret, you are among the majority who dwell in this troubled world we live in, you’ve made an error, welcome to the club! All you have today is the ability to choose not to error in that regard again. That is a real �show� of an apology.

  • Bird

    Eric-

    Good luck on the Bah?’?­â€™s not thinking you’re an enemy when you have been labeled one by their higher archery (intended word). Unless you had malice in your heart, which it does not sound by your communication, then the myth of God alone is your judge. My father always told me it is a “show me don’t tell me world Bird”, in the sense that talk is cheaper than actions. Your reactions to reconcile is noble indeed. Your communication was touching and I do identify with not wanting to be an enemy with your brothers and sisters but do you think you will ever turn such thinkers around with words, â€?you’re not an enemyâ€? when they have labeled you so? I’ll save you time and aggravation, words will do nothing but console your own heart.

    The bible says 7X7, Bah?’?­â€™s accept the bible. I’m sure any real Bah?’?­ would have forgiven you without you have to apologize for how you feel, but then I am not fully versed on your criticism of the Bah?’?­â€™s, regardless, I am sure we are simply talking about â€?wordsâ€? you used.

    I thought I was a Bah?’?­ for 14+ years then I knew I was not. When people came into chat rooms to bash the BF, it was okay with me, their right under our constitution, I remember one person called Shoghi a faggot, but I just considered the source and loved the chatter anyway. Many Bah?’?­â€™s thought because I did not shun the chatter, as they had, and I would not partake in insulting her back, as they did, that I must have agreed with her. Those people who called themselves Bah?’?­ and violated everything I thought was Bah?’?­ started me to realize I was NOT one of them.

    I will never be anything ever again but a free bird and I am not sorry for my right to free choice nor my right to freedom of speech. If you said something’s that you regret, you are among the majority who dwell in this troubled world we live in, you’ve made an error, welcome to the club! All you have today is the ability to choose not to error in that regard again. That is a real �show� of an apology.

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    My apology letter to the Baha’is is intended to be an olive branch to encourage any individual Baha’i who may want to reconcile with me, befriend me, or otherwise regard me as someone they can associate with and work with toward common goals for the benefit of humanity despite our religious disagreements. When I was an Evangelical Christian, I called Baha’u’llah a false christ and a false prophet, and made a very public effort to try to convince Baha’is to leave their faith, using my Bahai-Faith.com website as a prominent platform (it ranks in the top 10 of Google search results for the term “Baha’i Faith” and gets 100+ unique visitors to the front page every day). I’m sure that many Baha’is will either never hear of my apology or will disregard it if they do, and continue regarding me as among the unholy pantheon of “enemies of the Faith.” But some may be interested in dialoguing and connecting with me in a fruitful way — in a way that would not have been possible if I had not written that letter. Those who want to keep regarding me as a terrible apostate who must be shunned and scorned because I left their religion and publicly criticized it, well, that’s their choice and they are certainly free to think of me this way if they wish.

    Eric

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    My apology letter to the Baha’is is intended to be an olive branch to encourage any individual Baha’i who may want to reconcile with me, befriend me, or otherwise regard me as someone they can associate with and work with toward common goals for the benefit of humanity despite our religious disagreements. When I was an Evangelical Christian, I called Baha’u’llah a false christ and a false prophet, and made a very public effort to try to convince Baha’is to leave their faith, using my Bahai-Faith.com website as a prominent platform (it ranks in the top 10 of Google search results for the term “Baha’i Faith” and gets 100+ unique visitors to the front page every day). I’m sure that many Baha’is will either never hear of my apology or will disregard it if they do, and continue regarding me as among the unholy pantheon of “enemies of the Faith.” But some may be interested in dialoguing and connecting with me in a fruitful way — in a way that would not have been possible if I had not written that letter. Those who want to keep regarding me as a terrible apostate who must be shunned and scorned because I left their religion and publicly criticized it, well, that’s their choice and they are certainly free to think of me this way if they wish.

    Eric

  • Bird

    Eric, if you want to offer an olive branch, cease the domain name, Bahai-Faith.com and move on to a new subject in your life. Might do you both some good. Flying onward, have a nice life… Bird

  • Bird

    Eric, if you want to offer an olive branch, cease the domain name, Bahai-Faith.com and move on to a new subject in your life. Might do you both some good. Flying onward, have a nice life… Bird

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    I have a lot of interesting things to say about the Baha’i Faith, both positive and negative. It is a fascinating religion in many ways, and it played an important part in my life. Why would I want to give up a domain name that is within the top 10 on Google for its subject, when I have something worthwhile to say on that subject?

    When I first left the BF, some Baha’is I knew told me that I should give up my domain name because “if you’re not a Baha’i, you don’t need to say anything about the Baha’i Faith.” I found that attitude to be absurd. There are lots of people who are interested to hear about the BF from the point of view of a former member. The only difference is that now, my point of view is less negative and more balanced than it was a few years ago.

    If some Baha’is can’t handle the fact that I have something to say about the BF which is not limited to platitudes like “it’s great, everyone should join!” then I think the problem is theirs, not mine. I am an intellectual and I speak out on lots of religious subjects, including extensive criticism of my own chosen religion, Christianity. Religious people need to learn to accept honest discussion of their faith from all angles and all points of view, as long as it’s done in a respectful way.

    Here’s a thought: It is precisely because I still see some value in the BF that I continue to maintain my website on the subject. If I didn’t think the BF was worth discussing, I wouldn’t bother. So, at least Baha’is can be happy that I think their faith is a worthwhile subject to think about and talk about even for people who are not adherents.

    Eric

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Bird,

    I have a lot of interesting things to say about the Baha’i Faith, both positive and negative. It is a fascinating religion in many ways, and it played an important part in my life. Why would I want to give up a domain name that is within the top 10 on Google for its subject, when I have something worthwhile to say on that subject?

    When I first left the BF, some Baha’is I knew told me that I should give up my domain name because “if you’re not a Baha’i, you don’t need to say anything about the Baha’i Faith.” I found that attitude to be absurd. There are lots of people who are interested to hear about the BF from the point of view of a former member. The only difference is that now, my point of view is less negative and more balanced than it was a few years ago.

    If some Baha’is can’t handle the fact that I have something to say about the BF which is not limited to platitudes like “it’s great, everyone should join!” then I think the problem is theirs, not mine. I am an intellectual and I speak out on lots of religious subjects, including extensive criticism of my own chosen religion, Christianity. Religious people need to learn to accept honest discussion of their faith from all angles and all points of view, as long as it’s done in a respectful way.

    Here’s a thought: It is precisely because I still see some value in the BF that I continue to maintain my website on the subject. If I didn’t think the BF was worth discussing, I wouldn’t bother. So, at least Baha’is can be happy that I think their faith is a worthwhile subject to think about and talk about even for people who are not adherents.

    Eric

  • http://bahaisonline.net/tcb Steve Marshall

    Hi Bird,

    I welcome having Eric around. He’s not afraid of exploring the spiritual path or of modifying his views in the light of what he finds. When he writes about something, I know he’s thought about it and experienced it deeply, and is not parroting off what others have said. He may well move off to a new subject in his life in his own good time, but I don’t see it as good advice to encourage him to do so. Frankly, I think Eric and the Baha’i Faith are doing each other a heap of good right here and right now, and I hope the journey continues.

    Anyway, I’m sure Eric needs no advice from me about how to conduct his life. :-)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net/tcb Steve Marshall

    Hi Bird,

    I welcome having Eric around. He’s not afraid of exploring the spiritual path or of modifying his views in the light of what he finds. When he writes about something, I know he’s thought about it and experienced it deeply, and is not parroting off what others have said. He may well move off to a new subject in his life in his own good time, but I don’t see it as good advice to encourage him to do so. Frankly, I think Eric and the Baha’i Faith are doing each other a heap of good right here and right now, and I hope the journey continues.

    Anyway, I’m sure Eric needs no advice from me about how to conduct his life. :-)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Bird

    It was a professional suggestion Steve, nothing more, the whole dump the domain thing, honestly, I could not care less whether he keeps it or not, it’s his time with his life. The �have a nice life� is the key to my post suggestion. Life is short and we only have this one moment until we get another. I have seen the effects of laden resentment that literally robs people of happiness for years or even worse, their whole life time.

    I think everyone is a contribution to this blog Steve, it keeps things in here real and raw and more importantly it keeps Baquia going with it. This is the only Bah?’?­ contact I have and I feel among some pretty smart people with passion and compassion regardless of what position one is posting from.

  • Bird

    It was a professional suggestion Steve, nothing more, the whole dump the domain thing, honestly, I could not care less whether he keeps it or not, it’s his time with his life. The �have a nice life� is the key to my post suggestion. Life is short and we only have this one moment until we get another. I have seen the effects of laden resentment that literally robs people of happiness for years or even worse, their whole life time.

    I think everyone is a contribution to this blog Steve, it keeps things in here real and raw and more importantly it keeps Baquia going with it. This is the only Bah?’?­ contact I have and I feel among some pretty smart people with passion and compassion regardless of what position one is posting from.

  • http://bahaisonline.net/tcb Steve Marshall

    Hi Bird,

    I agree, in principle, with your observation about the importance of moving on and not getting “stuck”. I don’t see Eric as being in that place, but it’s useful advice to consider, nonetheless. I know I have to watch that I don’t just wallow in the depressing news that offers itself up for my inspection and selection when I’m compiling material for Bahais Online. In particular, I found this piece to be a real downer. I’m going to have to find ten positive stories to make up for that one!

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net/tcb Steve Marshall

    Hi Bird,

    I agree, in principle, with your observation about the importance of moving on and not getting “stuck”. I don’t see Eric as being in that place, but it’s useful advice to consider, nonetheless. I know I have to watch that I don’t just wallow in the depressing news that offers itself up for my inspection and selection when I’m compiling material for Bahais Online. In particular, I found this piece to be a real downer. I’m going to have to find ten positive stories to make up for that one!

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Bird

    Trust me Steve I eat my own words daily on the “little” things that I have to “let go” myself.

    I guess I was pretty lucky when I left the BF because I got to take away some great messages to all humanity in the writings and left more bewildered than bitter. I did learn how to not dwell on unpleasant things and focus of being a happy and joyful being. One of my kids was named Justice because I agree it is the best beloved in Gods eyes. It’s not easy to brush off injustices which are relevant and proportionate to the person who suffers them. It is not a practice one ever wants to master, letting go of injustices, however in the face of reality of the state our whole world is in, we each must learn to live and let go when holding on only takes us further down.

    (I was preach’n to myself with the above paragraph more than you, LOL)

    Eric, btw-I don’t think there’s anything wrong with blogging about how you feel; I do it all the time!:)

  • Bird

    Trust me Steve I eat my own words daily on the “little” things that I have to “let go” myself.

    I guess I was pretty lucky when I left the BF because I got to take away some great messages to all humanity in the writings and left more bewildered than bitter. I did learn how to not dwell on unpleasant things and focus of being a happy and joyful being. One of my kids was named Justice because I agree it is the best beloved in Gods eyes. It’s not easy to brush off injustices which are relevant and proportionate to the person who suffers them. It is not a practice one ever wants to master, letting go of injustices, however in the face of reality of the state our whole world is in, we each must learn to live and let go when holding on only takes us further down.

    (I was preach’n to myself with the above paragraph more than you, LOL)

    Eric, btw-I don’t think there’s anything wrong with blogging about how you feel; I do it all the time!:)

  • ep

    Eric S. & all,

    Bahai is dysfunctional and backward, is a waste of time, anchors people in ideas that have been discarded by those at the leading edge of cultural-spiritual evolution.

    Except for the misplaced devotion of the people that join, there isn’t much intelligent or “spiritually evolved” in bahai, and hasn’t been for a long time. There are so many other places where such devotion could be better developed and valued, staying in bahai is an invitation to being exploited.

    Eric S – thank you for trying to be nice, but also keep in mind that many people are attracted to bahai because they want to see social justice and oppression stop.

    As such, it is you obligation to continue pointing out that bahai rhetoric about social justice and truth is betrayed by actual practice within bahai.

    Again, people that join or stay in bahai are just being used and exploited by a system of culture that can not, and probably will never be able to deliver on it promises. The result is cynicism.

    The bureaucratic conformism and fundamentalism of bahai crushes spirit, whereas people wish for the liberation of spirit.

    Prophetology, including “progressive revelation”, are distorted, partial truths. I am very grateful that Eric Stetson argues against the idea that “Manifestations” are separate beings. Stetson’s idea that spirit manifests on a continuum, or a spectrum, seems much more logical and consistent with how the universe really works.

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2059

    Q| You want to integrate Freud with the Buddha, or, as you call
    Q| them, “depth psychology” with “height psychology.” Do you think
    Q| that without this integration both systems are incomplete?

    A| Well, I think everything is incomplete, because the Kosmos keeps
    A| moving on. New truths emerge, new revelations unfold, new
    A| Buddhas keep popping up, it is endless, no? Freud and Buddha are
    A| just two examples of some very important truths that can benefit
    A| from a mutual dialogue. Emptiness does not depend on either of
    A| them; but the manifest world is a big place, plenty of room for
    A| both of these pioneers. And yes, I think they can each help the
    A| other’s path proceed more rapidly.

    Q| You say the reasons are complicated, and I’m sure they are, but
    Q| could you briefly mention a few?

    A| Well, I’ll give you one, which is perhaps the most interesting.
    A| The early history of the Church was dominated by traveling
    A| “pneumatics,” those in whom “spirit was alive.” Their
    A| spirituality was based largely on direct experience, a type of
    A| Christ consciousness, we might suppose (“Let this consciousness
    A| be in you which was in Christ Jesus”). We might charitably say
    A| that the nirmanakaya physical body] of each pneumatic realized
    A| the dharmakaya [absolute body] of Christ via the sambhogakaya
    A| [body of bliss] of the transformative fire of the Holy Ghost-not
    A| to put too fine a point on it. But they were clearly alive to
    A| some very real, very direct experiences.

    A| But over a several hundred year span, with the codification of
    A| the Canon and the Apostle’s Creed, a series of necessary beliefs
    A| replaced actual experience. The Church slowly switched from the
    A| pneumatics to the ekklesia, the ecclesastic assembly of Christ,
    A| and the governor of the ekklesia was the local bishop, who
    A| possessed “right dogma,” and not the pneumatic or prophet, who
    A| might possess spirit but couldn’t be “controlled.” The Church
    A| was no longer defined as the assembly of realizers but as the
    A| assembly of bishops.

    A| With Tertullian the relationship becomes almost legal, and with
    A| Cyprian spirituality actually is bound to the legal office of
    A| the Church. You could become a priest merely by ordination, not
    A| by awakening. A priest was no longer holy (sanctus) if he was
    A| personally awakened or enlightened or sanctified, but if he held
    A| the office. Likewise, you could become “saved” not by waking up
    A| yourself, but merely by taking the legal sacraments. As Cyprian
    A| put it, “He who does not have the Church as Mother cannot have
    A| God as Father.”

    A| Well, that puts a damper on it, what? Salvation now belonged to
    A| the lawyers. And the lawyers said, basically, we will allow that
    A| one megadude became fully one with God, but that’s it! No more
    A| of that pure Oneness crap.

    Q| But why?

    A| This part of it was simple, raw, political power. Because, you
    A| know, the unsettling thing about direct mystical experience is
    A| that it has a nasty habit of going straight from Spirit to you,
    A| thus bypassing the middleman, namely, the bishop, not to mention
    A| the middleman’s collection plate. This is the same reason the
    A| oil companies do not like solar power, if you get my drift.

    A| And so, anybody who had a direct pipeline to God was thus
    A| pronounced guilty not only of religious heresy, or the violation
    A| of the legal codes of the Church, for which you could have your
    A| heavenly soul eternally damned, but also of political treason,
    A| for which you could have your earthly body separated into
    A| several sections.

    A| For all these reasons, the summum bonum of spiritual
    A| awareness-the supreme identity of Atman and Brahman, or ordinary
    A| mind and intrinsic spirit-was officially taboo in the West for a
    A| thousand years, more or less. All the wonderful currents that
    A| you mention, from Neoplatonism to Hermeticism, were definitely
    A| present but severely marginalized, to put it mildly. And thus
    A| the West produced an extraordinary number of subtle-level (or
    A| sambhogakaya) mystics, who only claimed that the soul and God
    A| can share a union; but very few causal (dharmakaya) and very few
    A| nondual (svabhavikakaya) mystics, who went further and claimed
    A| not just a union but a supreme identity of soul and God in pure
    A| Godhead, just that claim got you toasted.

    (IMO) The problem with most of the bahai dissent in the 1990s was that it was polemic, and specifically, failed to be self-critical of its own liberal/pluralist (“green meme”) ideological premises and biases.

    Bahai dissent was correct to object to conformism to backward ideas within the bahai community, bit it tended to fall into a similar “trap” wrt/ its own ideological premises and groupthink.

    Fortunately, since most bahai dissent defends rational thought and objective truth, it has tended to slowly self-correct, and recognise that intolerance in the name of tolerance (and other problems with pc/left ideology) is wrong.

    Bahai officialdom and its supporters (e.g. Momen) are terribly incoherent on all this, which simply reinforces the irrelevance of that form of bahai thought.

    I would urge all to consider an alternate approach to the exploration of truth and meaning, and check out Integral theory:

    http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2005/06/ken-wilbers-four-quadrants_12.html

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm/

    excerpts:

    Integral Post-Metaphysics

    In Excerpt A, “An Integral Age at the Leading Edge,” we saw evidence for the fact that, at this time, less than 2% of the adult population is at any stage, wave, or state of consciousness that could be called “integral.” However, the same evidence suggests that percentage is significantly increasing and may in fact reach 10% or more within a decade. Since much of that increase is concentrated in academia, the percentage of cultural thought leaders who are poised for integral consciousness may reach 20% or more. If so, this would constitute a profound shift in the capacity for integral thinking, feeling, and perception, which could be expected to have extensive social and cultural reverberations. We called this “An Integral Age at the Leading Edge.”

    Accordingly, we might expect a significant increase in the demand for Integral models of virtually everything (integral psychology, integral art and literary theory, integral business, integral medicine, integral ecology, etc.). One such Integral model is AQAL (short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types”), which is founded on a social practice of integral methodological pluralism (IMP), both of which are the focus of these Excerpts.

    In Excerpt B, “The Many Ways We Touch,” we saw that any integral metatheory might best be guided by three heuristic principles: nonexclusion, enactment, enfoldment.

    In Excerpt C, we focused the urgent necessity to create an Integral Post-Metaphysics, which possesses the explanatory power of the great metaphysical systems but without their ontological baggage (which cannot be sustained in modern and postmodern awareness—not philosophically, not critically, not phenomenologically, not scientifically). Instead of attacking the paucity of the modern and postmodern worldviews—which is the standard move by spiritual and new-paradigm advocates—it is perhaps more adept to reformulate and reconstruct the premodern interpretations of Spirit in light of modern and postmodern developments, such that the enduring fundamentals of the premodern, modern, and postmodern forms of Spirit’s own display can all be honored by trimming their absolutisms and acknowledging their true but partial natures (which is surely what Spirit does as it moves through its own manifestations in the premodern, modern, and postmodern world: just who did you think was authoring all that?).

    Although the premodern experiences of Spirit—by the great shamans, saints, and sages—were as authentic as authentic can get, the interpretations they gave those experiences were of necessity clothed in the fabric of their own time. And that fabric, in light of Spirit’s own subsequent displays, is now a bit worn and threadbare. The premodern interpretative frameworks all tended to be to be mythic, metaphysical, substance-oriented, and postulated a pantheon of pre-existing ontological structures (whether in the form of a Great Chain of Being or the form of a Great Web of Life)—which, ironically, is an interpretive framework that amounted to a type of higher, spiritual, transpersonal myth of the given—exactly the epistemology so effectively deconstructed by postmodernism—so that the typical new-paradigm approaches exalting such frameworks are actually advancing an epistemological prejudice no longer capable of generating respect.

    But my whole point is that you don’t need those metaphysical interpretations anyway (whether of a Great Chain or a pre-existing Great Web). By creating an Integral Post-Metaphysics, we can let the modern and postmodern world judge the merits of a spiritually integrative approach without their recoiling in ridicule at the package—the metaphysical package—in which the gift arrives. Same gift (the Great Perfection), but a different package (which is Spirit’s own skin today).

    One of the first and most important suggested changes in the development of postmetaphysics is that the idea of perception be replaced by perspective. The great wisdom traditions and philosopher-sages (from Plotinus to Shankara to Gautama Buddha to Hegel to Aurobindo to Whitehead) built much of their interpretive frameworks with the concept of perception (as awareness/consciousness): the nature of this moment perceives, grasps, or prehends various phenomena; these perceptions or moments of bare attention are the “building blocks” of a sentient, panpsychic world; the resultant network of perceptions is an Indra’s Net of mutually perceiving and interdependent relationships. The power, beauty, and goodness of those great metaphysical systems are, I believe, undeniable.

    But there are no perceptions anywhere in the real world; there are only perspectives. A subject perceiving an object is always already in a relationship of first-person, second-person, and third-person when it comes to the perceived occasions. If the manifest world is indeed panpsychic—or built of sentient beings (all the way up, all the way down)—then the manifest world is built of perspectives, not perceptions. Moving from perceptions to perspectives is the first radical step in the move from metaphysics to post-metaphysics.

    When humans take up various modes of inquiry, they disclose, highlight, bring forth, illumine, and express the various types of phenomena enacted by-and-from various perspectives. In these excepts, we are focusing on 8 of the major indigenous perspectives and the methodologies they support. Of course, by the time we get to humans, these 8 indigenous stances of being-in-the-world begin to complexify enormously. But the litmus test of any integral post-metaphysics is whether these indigenous perspectives can and do generate the well-known modes of inquiry that have already been adopted by human beings.

    (A Kuhnian “paradigm,” of course, is not a theory but a praxis, exemplar, injunction, or methodology…)

    in order to deny the legitimacy any of those methodologies, you have to violate their native perspectives and the sentient beings holding them. Integral Methodological Pluralism refuses such violence. Rather—following the integrative guidelines of nonexclusion, enactment, and enfoldment—Integral Methodological Pluralism attempts to construct a framework, after the fact, of that which sentient beings are already doing anyway, with the hope that such a framework, in making room for what the Kosmos already allows, will help us find our way more generously in such a roomy world.

    —end—

    Bye!
    Eric P.
    ex-bahai, 30+ years
    Sacramento

  • ep

    Eric S. & all,

    Bahai is dysfunctional and backward, is a waste of time, anchors people in ideas that have been discarded by those at the leading edge of cultural-spiritual evolution.

    Except for the misplaced devotion of the people that join, there isn’t much intelligent or “spiritually evolved” in bahai, and hasn’t been for a long time. There are so many other places where such devotion could be better developed and valued, staying in bahai is an invitation to being exploited.

    Eric S – thank you for trying to be nice, but also keep in mind that many people are attracted to bahai because they want to see social justice and oppression stop.

    As such, it is you obligation to continue pointing out that bahai rhetoric about social justice and truth is betrayed by actual practice within bahai.

    Again, people that join or stay in bahai are just being used and exploited by a system of culture that can not, and probably will never be able to deliver on it promises. The result is cynicism.

    The bureaucratic conformism and fundamentalism of bahai crushes spirit, whereas people wish for the liberation of spirit.

    Prophetology, including “progressive revelation”, are distorted, partial truths. I am very grateful that Eric Stetson argues against the idea that “Manifestations” are separate beings. Stetson’s idea that spirit manifests on a continuum, or a spectrum, seems much more logical and consistent with how the universe really works.

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2059

    Q| You want to integrate Freud with the Buddha, or, as you call
    Q| them, “depth psychology” with “height psychology.” Do you think
    Q| that without this integration both systems are incomplete?

    A| Well, I think everything is incomplete, because the Kosmos keeps
    A| moving on. New truths emerge, new revelations unfold, new
    A| Buddhas keep popping up, it is endless, no? Freud and Buddha are
    A| just two examples of some very important truths that can benefit
    A| from a mutual dialogue. Emptiness does not depend on either of
    A| them; but the manifest world is a big place, plenty of room for
    A| both of these pioneers. And yes, I think they can each help the
    A| other’s path proceed more rapidly.

    Q| You say the reasons are complicated, and I’m sure they are, but
    Q| could you briefly mention a few?

    A| Well, I’ll give you one, which is perhaps the most interesting.
    A| The early history of the Church was dominated by traveling
    A| “pneumatics,” those in whom “spirit was alive.” Their
    A| spirituality was based largely on direct experience, a type of
    A| Christ consciousness, we might suppose (“Let this consciousness
    A| be in you which was in Christ Jesus”). We might charitably say
    A| that the nirmanakaya physical body] of each pneumatic realized
    A| the dharmakaya [absolute body] of Christ via the sambhogakaya
    A| [body of bliss] of the transformative fire of the Holy Ghost-not
    A| to put too fine a point on it. But they were clearly alive to
    A| some very real, very direct experiences.

    A| But over a several hundred year span, with the codification of
    A| the Canon and the Apostle’s Creed, a series of necessary beliefs
    A| replaced actual experience. The Church slowly switched from the
    A| pneumatics to the ekklesia, the ecclesastic assembly of Christ,
    A| and the governor of the ekklesia was the local bishop, who
    A| possessed “right dogma,” and not the pneumatic or prophet, who
    A| might possess spirit but couldn’t be “controlled.” The Church
    A| was no longer defined as the assembly of realizers but as the
    A| assembly of bishops.

    A| With Tertullian the relationship becomes almost legal, and with
    A| Cyprian spirituality actually is bound to the legal office of
    A| the Church. You could become a priest merely by ordination, not
    A| by awakening. A priest was no longer holy (sanctus) if he was
    A| personally awakened or enlightened or sanctified, but if he held
    A| the office. Likewise, you could become “saved” not by waking up
    A| yourself, but merely by taking the legal sacraments. As Cyprian
    A| put it, “He who does not have the Church as Mother cannot have
    A| God as Father.”

    A| Well, that puts a damper on it, what? Salvation now belonged to
    A| the lawyers. And the lawyers said, basically, we will allow that
    A| one megadude became fully one with God, but that’s it! No more
    A| of that pure Oneness crap.

    Q| But why?

    A| This part of it was simple, raw, political power. Because, you
    A| know, the unsettling thing about direct mystical experience is
    A| that it has a nasty habit of going straight from Spirit to you,
    A| thus bypassing the middleman, namely, the bishop, not to mention
    A| the middleman’s collection plate. This is the same reason the
    A| oil companies do not like solar power, if you get my drift.

    A| And so, anybody who had a direct pipeline to God was thus
    A| pronounced guilty not only of religious heresy, or the violation
    A| of the legal codes of the Church, for which you could have your
    A| heavenly soul eternally damned, but also of political treason,
    A| for which you could have your earthly body separated into
    A| several sections.

    A| For all these reasons, the summum bonum of spiritual
    A| awareness-the supreme identity of Atman and Brahman, or ordinary
    A| mind and intrinsic spirit-was officially taboo in the West for a
    A| thousand years, more or less. All the wonderful currents that
    A| you mention, from Neoplatonism to Hermeticism, were definitely
    A| present but severely marginalized, to put it mildly. And thus
    A| the West produced an extraordinary number of subtle-level (or
    A| sambhogakaya) mystics, who only claimed that the soul and God
    A| can share a union; but very few causal (dharmakaya) and very few
    A| nondual (svabhavikakaya) mystics, who went further and claimed
    A| not just a union but a supreme identity of soul and God in pure
    A| Godhead, just that claim got you toasted.

    (IMO) The problem with most of the bahai dissent in the 1990s was that it was polemic, and specifically, failed to be self-critical of its own liberal/pluralist (“green meme”) ideological premises and biases.

    Bahai dissent was correct to object to conformism to backward ideas within the bahai community, bit it tended to fall into a similar “trap” wrt/ its own ideological premises and groupthink.

    Fortunately, since most bahai dissent defends rational thought and objective truth, it has tended to slowly self-correct, and recognise that intolerance in the name of tolerance (and other problems with pc/left ideology) is wrong.

    Bahai officialdom and its supporters (e.g. Momen) are terribly incoherent on all this, which simply reinforces the irrelevance of that form of bahai thought.

    I would urge all to consider an alternate approach to the exploration of truth and meaning, and check out Integral theory:

    http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2005/06/ken-wilbers-four-quadrants_12.html

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptD/part1.cfm/

    excerpts:

    Integral Post-Metaphysics

    In Excerpt A, “An Integral Age at the Leading Edge,” we saw evidence for the fact that, at this time, less than 2% of the adult population is at any stage, wave, or state of consciousness that could be called “integral.” However, the same evidence suggests that percentage is significantly increasing and may in fact reach 10% or more within a decade. Since much of that increase is concentrated in academia, the percentage of cultural thought leaders who are poised for integral consciousness may reach 20% or more. If so, this would constitute a profound shift in the capacity for integral thinking, feeling, and perception, which could be expected to have extensive social and cultural reverberations. We called this “An Integral Age at the Leading Edge.”

    Accordingly, we might expect a significant increase in the demand for Integral models of virtually everything (integral psychology, integral art and literary theory, integral business, integral medicine, integral ecology, etc.). One such Integral model is AQAL (short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types”), which is founded on a social practice of integral methodological pluralism (IMP), both of which are the focus of these Excerpts.

    In Excerpt B, “The Many Ways We Touch,” we saw that any integral metatheory might best be guided by three heuristic principles: nonexclusion, enactment, enfoldment.

    In Excerpt C, we focused the urgent necessity to create an Integral Post-Metaphysics, which possesses the explanatory power of the great metaphysical systems but without their ontological baggage (which cannot be sustained in modern and postmodern awareness—not philosophically, not critically, not phenomenologically, not scientifically). Instead of attacking the paucity of the modern and postmodern worldviews—which is the standard move by spiritual and new-paradigm advocates—it is perhaps more adept to reformulate and reconstruct the premodern interpretations of Spirit in light of modern and postmodern developments, such that the enduring fundamentals of the premodern, modern, and postmodern forms of Spirit’s own display can all be honored by trimming their absolutisms and acknowledging their true but partial natures (which is surely what Spirit does as it moves through its own manifestations in the premodern, modern, and postmodern world: just who did you think was authoring all that?).

    Although the premodern experiences of Spirit—by the great shamans, saints, and sages—were as authentic as authentic can get, the interpretations they gave those experiences were of necessity clothed in the fabric of their own time. And that fabric, in light of Spirit’s own subsequent displays, is now a bit worn and threadbare. The premodern interpretative frameworks all tended to be to be mythic, metaphysical, substance-oriented, and postulated a pantheon of pre-existing ontological structures (whether in the form of a Great Chain of Being or the form of a Great Web of Life)—which, ironically, is an interpretive framework that amounted to a type of higher, spiritual, transpersonal myth of the given—exactly the epistemology so effectively deconstructed by postmodernism—so that the typical new-paradigm approaches exalting such frameworks are actually advancing an epistemological prejudice no longer capable of generating respect.

    But my whole point is that you don’t need those metaphysical interpretations anyway (whether of a Great Chain or a pre-existing Great Web). By creating an Integral Post-Metaphysics, we can let the modern and postmodern world judge the merits of a spiritually integrative approach without their recoiling in ridicule at the package—the metaphysical package—in which the gift arrives. Same gift (the Great Perfection), but a different package (which is Spirit’s own skin today).

    One of the first and most important suggested changes in the development of postmetaphysics is that the idea of perception be replaced by perspective. The great wisdom traditions and philosopher-sages (from Plotinus to Shankara to Gautama Buddha to Hegel to Aurobindo to Whitehead) built much of their interpretive frameworks with the concept of perception (as awareness/consciousness): the nature of this moment perceives, grasps, or prehends various phenomena; these perceptions or moments of bare attention are the “building blocks” of a sentient, panpsychic world; the resultant network of perceptions is an Indra’s Net of mutually perceiving and interdependent relationships. The power, beauty, and goodness of those great metaphysical systems are, I believe, undeniable.

    But there are no perceptions anywhere in the real world; there are only perspectives. A subject perceiving an object is always already in a relationship of first-person, second-person, and third-person when it comes to the perceived occasions. If the manifest world is indeed panpsychic—or built of sentient beings (all the way up, all the way down)—then the manifest world is built of perspectives, not perceptions. Moving from perceptions to perspectives is the first radical step in the move from metaphysics to post-metaphysics.

    When humans take up various modes of inquiry, they disclose, highlight, bring forth, illumine, and express the various types of phenomena enacted by-and-from various perspectives. In these excepts, we are focusing on 8 of the major indigenous perspectives and the methodologies they support. Of course, by the time we get to humans, these 8 indigenous stances of being-in-the-world begin to complexify enormously. But the litmus test of any integral post-metaphysics is whether these indigenous perspectives can and do generate the well-known modes of inquiry that have already been adopted by human beings.

    (A Kuhnian “paradigm,” of course, is not a theory but a praxis, exemplar, injunction, or methodology…)

    in order to deny the legitimacy any of those methodologies, you have to violate their native perspectives and the sentient beings holding them. Integral Methodological Pluralism refuses such violence. Rather—following the integrative guidelines of nonexclusion, enactment, and enfoldment—Integral Methodological Pluralism attempts to construct a framework, after the fact, of that which sentient beings are already doing anyway, with the hope that such a framework, in making room for what the Kosmos already allows, will help us find our way more generously in such a roomy world.

    —end—

    Bye!
    Eric P.
    ex-bahai, 30+ years
    Sacramento

  • Loren

    [quote comment=””][…] Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Bahais at Bahai Rants […][/quote]

    Hi Eric,
    Since you’re on the Christian path now (a step in the right direction after your brief but amusing prophethood) I thought you could clarify a couple of things in your Christian view. For example, when Bird suggested giving up the bahai-faith.com domain name, you replied: “Why would I want to give up a domain name that is within the top 10 on Google for its subject, when I have something worthwhile to say on that subject?” Is this rather Machiavellian approach to spiritual outreach something that you are justify only for yourself, or do advocate such deception as a virtue in your peculiar brand of Christianity? When you were a Baha’i you may have come across this teaching of Baha’u’llah in the Aqdas: â€?Make not your deeds as snares wherewith to entrap the object of your aspiration…â€? I was wondering if you have any similar teaching in the Bible that might similarly preclude one from snaring an individual, who was actually intending to investigate the Baha’i religion. Well, certainly a top 10 Google hit is a pretty prize to give up even for a â€?man of God,â€? isn’t then? Baha’is seem to think they have a lot to say about Christianity and Christ too, yet as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, there are no Baha’i websites such as Christian-religion.com or some similar deception to lure a Christian to explore their views.

    Another point I would like you to clarify, is what â€?apologyâ€? means to you. Please give me your answer as a minister, and not as a web entrepreneur. You see, to me an apology is only needed when someone has committed a wrong, and wishes to make an amends for that wrong. When you said your apology was to: â€?encourage any individual Baha’i who may want to reconcile with me, befriend me, or otherwise regard me as someone they can associate with and work with toward common goals for the benefit of humanity despite our religious disagreements…I called Baha’u’llah a false christ and a false prophet, and made a very public effort to try to convince Baha’is to leave their faith, using my Bahai-Faith.com website as a prominent platform…in a way that would not have been possible if I had not written that letter.â€? As a web entrepreneur and as one who hopes to save â€?Baha’i soulsâ€? as it were, I can fully appreciate your image or â€?brandingâ€? problem, which your â€?apologyâ€? might solve in part, yet where is the apology? Isn’t it really only a publicity stunt to roll out your â€?new improvedâ€? lighter, friendlier web version? Please explain this all in the context of forgiveness and amends making in your faith.

    Lastly, I have a question concerning your assertion that the Bible and the Baha’i writings are irreconcilable over the station of Christ and Baha’u’llah. Let me say at the outset, that your representation of what Baha’is believe on this subject is not correct and you are either unknowledgeable on this aspect of Baha’i believes, or are deliberately oversimplifying it. I would invite you to get acquainted with what Baha’is do believe about this before you continue misrepresenting the matter to those who don’t know, and are perhaps trying to know. Having said that, my question is actually of a different but related matter. You have said that you do not except the Bible as inerrant or infallible scripture. If that is so, how is it that one of the key reasons for your rejection of Baha’u’llah is based your reading of the Bible and the station of Christ vs. your reading of what the Baha’i writings say about it? The accuracy or inaccuracy of the Bible is not a factor in how Baha’is explain the unity of Christ and Baha’u’llah, yet you have cited the Bible as a refutation of the claims of Baha’u’llah. Assuming you are reading the Bible correctly, how do you know you are reading a �valid� part of the Bible if you don’t uphold the entirety of it? You have called yourself a religious scholar, so if you advocate intuition and whim for all religious scholars. Certainly this methodology for determining the truth has led you down more than your fair share of spiritual paths over the years. Progressive revelation is one thing, but changing religions as often as one changes one’s shoes is something else!

  • Loren

    [quote comment=””][…] Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Bahais at Bahai Rants […][/quote]

    Hi Eric,
    Since you’re on the Christian path now (a step in the right direction after your brief but amusing prophethood) I thought you could clarify a couple of things in your Christian view. For example, when Bird suggested giving up the bahai-faith.com domain name, you replied: “Why would I want to give up a domain name that is within the top 10 on Google for its subject, when I have something worthwhile to say on that subject?” Is this rather Machiavellian approach to spiritual outreach something that you are justify only for yourself, or do advocate such deception as a virtue in your peculiar brand of Christianity? When you were a Baha’i you may have come across this teaching of Baha’u’llah in the Aqdas: â€?Make not your deeds as snares wherewith to entrap the object of your aspiration…â€? I was wondering if you have any similar teaching in the Bible that might similarly preclude one from snaring an individual, who was actually intending to investigate the Baha’i religion. Well, certainly a top 10 Google hit is a pretty prize to give up even for a â€?man of God,â€? isn’t then? Baha’is seem to think they have a lot to say about Christianity and Christ too, yet as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, there are no Baha’i websites such as Christian-religion.com or some similar deception to lure a Christian to explore their views.

    Another point I would like you to clarify, is what â€?apologyâ€? means to you. Please give me your answer as a minister, and not as a web entrepreneur. You see, to me an apology is only needed when someone has committed a wrong, and wishes to make an amends for that wrong. When you said your apology was to: â€?encourage any individual Baha’i who may want to reconcile with me, befriend me, or otherwise regard me as someone they can associate with and work with toward common goals for the benefit of humanity despite our religious disagreements…I called Baha’u’llah a false christ and a false prophet, and made a very public effort to try to convince Baha’is to leave their faith, using my Bahai-Faith.com website as a prominent platform…in a way that would not have been possible if I had not written that letter.â€? As a web entrepreneur and as one who hopes to save â€?Baha’i soulsâ€? as it were, I can fully appreciate your image or â€?brandingâ€? problem, which your â€?apologyâ€? might solve in part, yet where is the apology? Isn’t it really only a publicity stunt to roll out your â€?new improvedâ€? lighter, friendlier web version? Please explain this all in the context of forgiveness and amends making in your faith.

    Lastly, I have a question concerning your assertion that the Bible and the Baha’i writings are irreconcilable over the station of Christ and Baha’u’llah. Let me say at the outset, that your representation of what Baha’is believe on this subject is not correct and you are either unknowledgeable on this aspect of Baha’i believes, or are deliberately oversimplifying it. I would invite you to get acquainted with what Baha’is do believe about this before you continue misrepresenting the matter to those who don’t know, and are perhaps trying to know. Having said that, my question is actually of a different but related matter. You have said that you do not except the Bible as inerrant or infallible scripture. If that is so, how is it that one of the key reasons for your rejection of Baha’u’llah is based your reading of the Bible and the station of Christ vs. your reading of what the Baha’i writings say about it? The accuracy or inaccuracy of the Bible is not a factor in how Baha’is explain the unity of Christ and Baha’u’llah, yet you have cited the Bible as a refutation of the claims of Baha’u’llah. Assuming you are reading the Bible correctly, how do you know you are reading a �valid� part of the Bible if you don’t uphold the entirety of it? You have called yourself a religious scholar, so if you advocate intuition and whim for all religious scholars. Certainly this methodology for determining the truth has led you down more than your fair share of spiritual paths over the years. Progressive revelation is one thing, but changing religions as often as one changes one’s shoes is something else!

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    You seem to be more interested in attacking me and ascribing corrupt motives to me than anything else, but I will briefly answer a few of your questions.

    — I do not believe it is in any way “Machiavellian” or “deceptive” for me to own the Bahai-Faith.com web domain and maintain a website there which states my views about the Baha’i Faith. The site’s title and its contents make it explicitly clear that I am not a Baha’i, and that I am simply trying to express my ideas and opinions regarding a religion to which I formerly belonged and which has been an important part of my life and my spiritual journey. Where’s the deception or the cynical motive?

    — “Apology” means to me an attempt to seek forgiveness and make amends. In my case, I wished to tell Baha’is that I regretted some excessive and exaggerated criticisms of their religion I had made in the past, and that I am asking them to forgive me for this.

    — I have no interest in “saving Baha’i souls.” I don’t believe that anyone’s soul is lost. You could have figured that out by reading the first paragraph on my website, in which I explain that I am a Universalist and I have in fact written a book promoting Universalism as a Christian teaching.

    — The reason I follow (or “believe in” if you prefer) Christ and not Baha’u’llah is because I find Christ to be a more inspiring figure, agree with his teachings more, and think he has a more universal and timeless significance to human beings than Baha’u’llah has/had. Nobody can ever know for sure when a person or text is divinely inspired. People tend to go with their heart on these matters, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    — I do not call myself a religious scholar. I am an ordained minister, but not an academic.

    — I haven’t “changed religions” as often as you seem to think. I was interested in New Age spirituality when I was in high school. Then in college I became a Baha’i. After that I became a Christian, and have remained a Christian for the past 6+ years. My Christian beliefs have tended to become more liberal over time, as I have incorporated Universalist, Unitarian, and New Age concepts into my personal way of interpreting the Gospel. The spiritual progress in my life has followed quite a logical path, actually.

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    You seem to be more interested in attacking me and ascribing corrupt motives to me than anything else, but I will briefly answer a few of your questions.

    — I do not believe it is in any way “Machiavellian” or “deceptive” for me to own the Bahai-Faith.com web domain and maintain a website there which states my views about the Baha’i Faith. The site’s title and its contents make it explicitly clear that I am not a Baha’i, and that I am simply trying to express my ideas and opinions regarding a religion to which I formerly belonged and which has been an important part of my life and my spiritual journey. Where’s the deception or the cynical motive?

    — “Apology” means to me an attempt to seek forgiveness and make amends. In my case, I wished to tell Baha’is that I regretted some excessive and exaggerated criticisms of their religion I had made in the past, and that I am asking them to forgive me for this.

    — I have no interest in “saving Baha’i souls.” I don’t believe that anyone’s soul is lost. You could have figured that out by reading the first paragraph on my website, in which I explain that I am a Universalist and I have in fact written a book promoting Universalism as a Christian teaching.

    — The reason I follow (or “believe in” if you prefer) Christ and not Baha’u’llah is because I find Christ to be a more inspiring figure, agree with his teachings more, and think he has a more universal and timeless significance to human beings than Baha’u’llah has/had. Nobody can ever know for sure when a person or text is divinely inspired. People tend to go with their heart on these matters, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    — I do not call myself a religious scholar. I am an ordained minister, but not an academic.

    — I haven’t “changed religions” as often as you seem to think. I was interested in New Age spirituality when I was in high school. Then in college I became a Baha’i. After that I became a Christian, and have remained a Christian for the past 6+ years. My Christian beliefs have tended to become more liberal over time, as I have incorporated Universalist, Unitarian, and New Age concepts into my personal way of interpreting the Gospel. The spiritual progress in my life has followed quite a logical path, actually.

  • Loren

    [quote comment=””][…] Archives

    « Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Baha’is […][/quote]
    Of course you don’t believe you’re being deceptive. Hey, I never accused you of being Captain Obvious! But to the folks who expect their ministers to be principled, and who might be seeking what you have to offer, I doubt it shows Stetsonism in as favorable a light as you probably hope. Anyone who comes across your site by “accident” is not likely going to be interested in what you have to say since it was only a cheap trick that brought them there to begin with. If a similar stunt like yours brought me to a site I hadn’t been seeking at all (for example googling â€?Unitarian’ and finding a website like Unitarian.com which is a site by an ex Unitarian turned Baha’i who wants only to talk about Baha’is) I’d be suspect of anything I found there anway, since deception doesn’t exactly lend itself to credibility. I’m sure lots of people seeking a site like yours probably do appreciate what you have to say, and that’s wonderful! But why be sly about it? I don’t think a cheap deception will ultimately serve your ism well anyway. I asked you to provide some Bible teachings on honesty but you didn’t. Here are a few I found, let me know which of these are legitimate for you:

    Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

    Proverbs 11:3 “Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.”

    Proverbs 18:7 â€?A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soulâ€?

    Proverbs 16:11 “The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.”

    Proverbs 12:5 “The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.”

    1 Timothy 1:19 “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”

  • Loren

    [quote comment=””][…] Archives

    « Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Baha’is […][/quote]
    Of course you don’t believe you’re being deceptive. Hey, I never accused you of being Captain Obvious! But to the folks who expect their ministers to be principled, and who might be seeking what you have to offer, I doubt it shows Stetsonism in as favorable a light as you probably hope. Anyone who comes across your site by “accident” is not likely going to be interested in what you have to say since it was only a cheap trick that brought them there to begin with. If a similar stunt like yours brought me to a site I hadn’t been seeking at all (for example googling â€?Unitarian’ and finding a website like Unitarian.com which is a site by an ex Unitarian turned Baha’i who wants only to talk about Baha’is) I’d be suspect of anything I found there anway, since deception doesn’t exactly lend itself to credibility. I’m sure lots of people seeking a site like yours probably do appreciate what you have to say, and that’s wonderful! But why be sly about it? I don’t think a cheap deception will ultimately serve your ism well anyway. I asked you to provide some Bible teachings on honesty but you didn’t. Here are a few I found, let me know which of these are legitimate for you:

    Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

    Proverbs 11:3 “Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.”

    Proverbs 18:7 â€?A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soulâ€?

    Proverbs 16:11 “The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.”

    Proverbs 12:5 “The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.”

    1 Timothy 1:19 “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”

  • P

    Ok, when I google Bahai Faith, and Erik’s site comes up in the search engine, it says: “Bahai-Faith.com ~ Beyond the Baha’i Faith: An Ex-Baha’i Perspective”

    So what’s your beef Loren? The title says it all. You can choose to go to his website and learn his perspective or not. What’s deceptive about it?

    Stop looking for enemies against the Faith and actually start doing something constructive- oh I don’t know like helping the poor in your community. That would go a lot further in promoting/defending the Bahai Faith. My two cents worth.

  • P

    Ok, when I google Bahai Faith, and Erik’s site comes up in the search engine, it says: “Bahai-Faith.com ~ Beyond the Baha’i Faith: An Ex-Baha’i Perspective”

    So what’s your beef Loren? The title says it all. You can choose to go to his website and learn his perspective or not. What’s deceptive about it?

    Stop looking for enemies against the Faith and actually start doing something constructive- oh I don’t know like helping the poor in your community. That would go a lot further in promoting/defending the Bahai Faith. My two cents worth.

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    P’s comment above answers your charge of me being “deceptive” — I need not add anything to that. I am curious, however, about a couple of things you mentioned:

    — “Stetsonism” and “your ism”: I wasn’t aware that I have created a whole new ism. What do you see as the hallmarks of Stetsonism? Are you worried that this new ism, if in fact it exists, could eventually become as significant as Baha’ism, perhaps a competitor to it? Why or why not?

    — You said that you had asked me to “provide some Bible teachings on honesty but you didn’t.” I can’t find this request in your previous comment. Do you see the irony here?

    I will conclude with a thought of my own for you to reflect upon. One of the main purposes of my Bahai-Faith.com website is to encourage people who are studying and considering the Baha’i Faith to look at both the positive and the negative aspects of this religion and think about it from various sides and angles and points of view. In other words, I am trying to help people with their independent investigation of truth, by telling the story of my own independent investigation and where it led me in my spiritual journey. If the only information that’s available about the Baha’i Faith comes from Baha’is, then it would be very difficult for people to consider this religion objectively and make an informed decision about whether or not to be an adherent.

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    P’s comment above answers your charge of me being “deceptive” — I need not add anything to that. I am curious, however, about a couple of things you mentioned:

    — “Stetsonism” and “your ism”: I wasn’t aware that I have created a whole new ism. What do you see as the hallmarks of Stetsonism? Are you worried that this new ism, if in fact it exists, could eventually become as significant as Baha’ism, perhaps a competitor to it? Why or why not?

    — You said that you had asked me to “provide some Bible teachings on honesty but you didn’t.” I can’t find this request in your previous comment. Do you see the irony here?

    I will conclude with a thought of my own for you to reflect upon. One of the main purposes of my Bahai-Faith.com website is to encourage people who are studying and considering the Baha’i Faith to look at both the positive and the negative aspects of this religion and think about it from various sides and angles and points of view. In other words, I am trying to help people with their independent investigation of truth, by telling the story of my own independent investigation and where it led me in my spiritual journey. If the only information that’s available about the Baha’i Faith comes from Baha’is, then it would be very difficult for people to consider this religion objectively and make an informed decision about whether or not to be an adherent.

  • FreeBird

    You know guys I see both sides in this blog. I see Eric making an attempt to apologize for wrongs, however it does appear a little insincere that the apology letter is at the bottom of your page Eric, and Loren, you are probably a Bah?’?­ and it is your hearts desire to protect what you love so much.

    To you both, I posted earlier that the truth is better then fiction in the sense that I read the actual contradictions in the writings themselves to choose to leave the BF, pages like Eric’s would have no effect on me what-so-ever, it is obvious it is his page representing his ideas.

    However the truths within the revelation of Baha’u’llah and what is available through approved sites will teach anyone anything they want to know. About the only thing I have found not in the approved sited that should be in them are the Ruth White documents on the BF filed in the 1930’s. Shoghi Effendi’s signature is on the documents so why not list it as a real life battle between two brains and show the efforts of the battle and the truth in how it was won.

    I left the BF because I would have been kicked out and called a CB because if there is any validity in the myth called God, then I believe there is a high probability that Baha’u’llah was given divine words to share with the world, however I stop at the writings of Baha’u’llah and dabble in Abdul Baha to the point of his LWT. Past that is all about making money, obtaining power and manipulating hearts.

    I don’t have the energy nor the inclination like Eric to post my views to others about how I feel about the BF on my on website. In my case it’s quite embarrassing. And besides that, with Baquia doing such a great job with this site, why try to outdo perfection?

    Bird

  • FreeBird

    You know guys I see both sides in this blog. I see Eric making an attempt to apologize for wrongs, however it does appear a little insincere that the apology letter is at the bottom of your page Eric, and Loren, you are probably a Bah?’?­ and it is your hearts desire to protect what you love so much.

    To you both, I posted earlier that the truth is better then fiction in the sense that I read the actual contradictions in the writings themselves to choose to leave the BF, pages like Eric’s would have no effect on me what-so-ever, it is obvious it is his page representing his ideas.

    However the truths within the revelation of Baha’u’llah and what is available through approved sites will teach anyone anything they want to know. About the only thing I have found not in the approved sited that should be in them are the Ruth White documents on the BF filed in the 1930’s. Shoghi Effendi’s signature is on the documents so why not list it as a real life battle between two brains and show the efforts of the battle and the truth in how it was won.

    I left the BF because I would have been kicked out and called a CB because if there is any validity in the myth called God, then I believe there is a high probability that Baha’u’llah was given divine words to share with the world, however I stop at the writings of Baha’u’llah and dabble in Abdul Baha to the point of his LWT. Past that is all about making money, obtaining power and manipulating hearts.

    I don’t have the energy nor the inclination like Eric to post my views to others about how I feel about the BF on my on website. In my case it’s quite embarrassing. And besides that, with Baquia doing such a great job with this site, why try to outdo perfection?

    Bird

  • FreeBird

    I just want to clarify the last line about this site. I feel it is an open forum equal to all who participate and does not represent (1) persons view only. It is alive with input from many incredible people. I really appreciate it Baquia, I do.

    Bird

  • FreeBird

    I just want to clarify the last line about this site. I feel it is an open forum equal to all who participate and does not represent (1) persons view only. It is alive with input from many incredible people. I really appreciate it Baquia, I do.

    Bird

  • ep

    re: your insults of Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    I support what P, Steve and Bird said. Also……

    Eric Stetson has said more truth in one blog than a lot of (conformist) bahais will ever know in their lives.

    As noted above(?) in this blog, Mr. Stetson cites a very interesting section of the bible where Jesus seems to say that prophetology/manifestationology isn’t needed. This is enormously liberating. Outmoded metaphysics needed thousands of years in primitive cultures can be tossed out when they are no longer needed, or no longer explain emergent phenomena with sufficient authenticity.

    Once “progressive relevation” is seen as an outmoded metaphysical construct, a spiritual security blanket, peolpe can move on to more mature psychological models of spiritual development.

    The sad reality is that bahai is full of backward ideas, and they can’t easily be abandoned by the “true believers”. As a result, the religion tends to become dysfunctional as its internal “logic” unravels, a lack of accountability sets in, and so forth.

    Eric Stetson was brave enough to leave all the bahai junk behind and look for something better.

    I found his web site to be interesting and unusual, and was glad to have read about it on this blog.

    [quote comment=”60529″][quote comment=””][…] Archives

    « Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Baha’is […][/quote]
    Of course you don’t believe you’re being deceptive. Hey, I never accused you of being Captain Obvious!

    [/quote]

  • ep

    re: your insults of Eric Stetson

    Loren,

    I support what P, Steve and Bird said. Also……

    Eric Stetson has said more truth in one blog than a lot of (conformist) bahais will ever know in their lives.

    As noted above(?) in this blog, Mr. Stetson cites a very interesting section of the bible where Jesus seems to say that prophetology/manifestationology isn’t needed. This is enormously liberating. Outmoded metaphysics needed thousands of years in primitive cultures can be tossed out when they are no longer needed, or no longer explain emergent phenomena with sufficient authenticity.

    Once “progressive relevation” is seen as an outmoded metaphysical construct, a spiritual security blanket, peolpe can move on to more mature psychological models of spiritual development.

    The sad reality is that bahai is full of backward ideas, and they can’t easily be abandoned by the “true believers”. As a result, the religion tends to become dysfunctional as its internal “logic” unravels, a lack of accountability sets in, and so forth.

    Eric Stetson was brave enough to leave all the bahai junk behind and look for something better.

    I found his web site to be interesting and unusual, and was glad to have read about it on this blog.

    [quote comment=”60529″][quote comment=””][…] Archives

    « Eric Stetson: An Apology to the Baha’is […][/quote]
    Of course you don’t believe you’re being deceptive. Hey, I never accused you of being Captain Obvious!

    [/quote]

  • ep

    re:
    | As noted above(?) in this blog, Mr. Stetson cites a very
    | interesting section of the bible where Jesus seems to say that
    | prophetology/manifestationology isn’t needed. This is enormously
    | liberating.

    follow up / clarification:

    http://www.bahai-faith.com/

    —excerpt—


    Beyond the Baha’i Faith: “Manifestations of God”

    Baha’is believe that only the founders of the great religions are Manifestations of God, but that all other humans are mere servants. I disagree. I think all humans fall on a continuum of spiritual development, rather than being divided neatly into categories of “Manifestations” of the divine attributes or “Non-Manifestations”.

    All human beings are manifestations of divinity, because we were all created in the image of God and we are all God’s children. This teaching is found in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in the writings of many modern spiritual leaders. The Baha’i Faith draws an ontological distinction between Manifestations of God and regular human beings, but there is no such distinction. There may be a small number of people whose special role in history was to found religions, but they were imperfect and fallible like all other humans. All humans are on a journey which begins when one’s eternal spirit is birthed from the Womb of God, comes to earth in a physical body, and continues after death in other lifetimes and/or other dimensions of existence as we grow from spiritual infancy through stages of childhood, adolescence, and eventually adulthood. Given enough ages for development, everyone will ultimately reach the level of great spiritual masters such as Jesus, Buddha, etc. Even Jesus himself promised this! (see Luke 6:40).

    —end—

    And here is what it says in Luke 6:40

    [Luke 6 starts with a discussion of narrow, literal interpretation of previous religious law vs. following the broader spirit of the law. Jesus performs a healing miracle on the Sabbeth and offends the priests. He than retreats to pray, and upon returning, addresses his apostles and the masses, praising the downtrodden and oppressed, and warning the fortunate and favored. He says to turn the other cheek, give to the needy, treat others as you would expect to be treated.]

    —excerpt—

    [6] 39 And He also spoke a parable to them:

    �A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not
    both fall into a pit?

    [6] 40

    �A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has
    been fully trained, will be like his teacher. ”
    . . .

    [6] 46

    �Why do you call Me, �Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
    . . .

    —end—

    That is certainly a provocative section of the bible, but since I’m not a Christian, and have not studied the bible much, I do not know if there are other sections of the bible that contradict Luke 6:40.

    Bye!

  • ep

    re:
    | As noted above(?) in this blog, Mr. Stetson cites a very
    | interesting section of the bible where Jesus seems to say that
    | prophetology/manifestationology isn’t needed. This is enormously
    | liberating.

    follow up / clarification:

    http://www.bahai-faith.com/

    —excerpt—


    Beyond the Baha’i Faith: “Manifestations of God”

    Baha’is believe that only the founders of the great religions are Manifestations of God, but that all other humans are mere servants. I disagree. I think all humans fall on a continuum of spiritual development, rather than being divided neatly into categories of “Manifestations” of the divine attributes or “Non-Manifestations”.

    All human beings are manifestations of divinity, because we were all created in the image of God and we are all God’s children. This teaching is found in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in the writings of many modern spiritual leaders. The Baha’i Faith draws an ontological distinction between Manifestations of God and regular human beings, but there is no such distinction. There may be a small number of people whose special role in history was to found religions, but they were imperfect and fallible like all other humans. All humans are on a journey which begins when one’s eternal spirit is birthed from the Womb of God, comes to earth in a physical body, and continues after death in other lifetimes and/or other dimensions of existence as we grow from spiritual infancy through stages of childhood, adolescence, and eventually adulthood. Given enough ages for development, everyone will ultimately reach the level of great spiritual masters such as Jesus, Buddha, etc. Even Jesus himself promised this! (see Luke 6:40).

    —end—

    And here is what it says in Luke 6:40

    [Luke 6 starts with a discussion of narrow, literal interpretation of previous religious law vs. following the broader spirit of the law. Jesus performs a healing miracle on the Sabbeth and offends the priests. He than retreats to pray, and upon returning, addresses his apostles and the masses, praising the downtrodden and oppressed, and warning the fortunate and favored. He says to turn the other cheek, give to the needy, treat others as you would expect to be treated.]

    —excerpt—

    [6] 39 And He also spoke a parable to them:

    �A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not
    both fall into a pit?

    [6] 40

    �A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has
    been fully trained, will be like his teacher. ”
    . . .

    [6] 46

    �Why do you call Me, �Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
    . . .

    —end—

    That is certainly a provocative section of the bible, but since I’m not a Christian, and have not studied the bible much, I do not know if there are other sections of the bible that contradict Luke 6:40.

    Bye!