Fahrenheit 145

Here is the latest letter of the Universal House of Justice – via the Secretariat – to the National Spritual Assemblies of the World (if you nod off, try to wake up by the last two paragraphs):

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT
Bah??’? World Centre . P.O. Box 155 . 31 001 Haifa, Israel
Tel: 972 (4) 835 8358 . Fax: 972 (4) 835 8280 . Email: secretariat@bwc.org

14 November 2005

Transmitted by email

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bah??’? Friends,

Recently, questions have arisen which have prompted the Universal House of Justice to comment further on matters treated in the compilation “Issues Related to the Study of the Bah??’? Faith”.

The Bah??’? principle calling for investigation of reality encourages an unfettered search for knowledge and truth by whoever wishes to engage in it. When applied to the Revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h, it inevitably gives rise to a wide range of responses. Some, attracted to the Message, embrace the Cause as their own. Some may respond positively to certain precepts or principles and willingly collaborate toward shared aims. Some may find it to be an interesting social phenomenon worthy of study. Still others, content with their own beliefs, may reject its claims. Bah??’?s are taught to be respectful of the views of others, believing that conscience should not be coerced.

Upon becoming a Bah??’?, one accepts certain fundamental beliefs; but invariably one’s knowledge of the Teachings is limited and often mixed with personal ideas. Shoghi Effendi explains that “an exact and thorough comprehension of so vast a system, so sublime a revelation, so sacred a trust, is for obvious reasons beyond the reach and ken of our finite minds.” Over time, through study, prayerful reflection, and an effort to live a Bah??’? life, immature ideas yield to a more profound understanding of Bah??’u’ll??h’s Revelation. Service to the Cause plays a particular role in the process, for the meaning of the Text is clarified as one translates insights into effective action. As a matter of principle, individual understanding or interpretation should not be suppressed, but valued for whatever contribution it can make to the discourse of the Bah??’? community. Nor should it, through dogmatic insistence of the individual, be allowed to bring about disputes and arguments among the friends; personal opinion must always be distinguished from the explicit Text and its authoritative interpretation by ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? and Shoghi Effendi and from the elucidations of the Universal House of Justice on “problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not
expressly recorded in the Book”.

In searching for understanding, Bah??’?s naturally acquaint themselves with published materials from a variety of sources. A book written by a disinterested non-Bah??’? scholar about the Faith, even if it reflects certain assumptions and puts forward conclusions acceptable within a given discipline but which are at variance with Bah??’? belief, poses no particular problem for Bah??’?s, who would regard these perceptions as an honest attempt to explore a religious phenomenon as yet little understood generally. Any non-biased effort to make the Faith comprehensible to a thoughtful readership, however inadequate it might appear, would evoke genuine Bah??’? appreciation for the perspective offered and research skill invested in the project. The matter is wholly different, however, when someone intentionally attacks the Faith.

An inescapable duty devolves upon the friends so to situate themselves in the knowledge of the Teachings as to be able to respond appropriately to such a challenge as it arises and thus uphold the integrity of the Faith. The words of Bah??’u’ll??h Himself shed light on the proper attitude to adopt. He warns the believers “not to view with too critical an eye the sayings and writings of men”. “Let them”, He instructs, “rather approach such sayings and writings in a spirit of open-mindedness and loving sympathy. Those men, however, who, in this may, have been led to assail, in their inflammatory writings, the tenets of the Cause of God, are to be treated differently. It is incumbent upon all men, each according to his ability, to refute the arguments of those that have attacked the Faith of God.”

A different type of challenge arises when an individual or group, using the privilege of Bah??’? membership, adopts various means to impose personal views or an ideological agenda on the Bah??’? community. In one recent instance, for example, an individual has declared himself a “Bah??’? theologian, writing from and for a religious community,” whose aim is “to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bah??’? community, to enable Bah??’?s to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world”. Assertions of this kind go far beyond expressions of personal opinion, which any Bah??’? is free to voice. As illustrated, here is a claim that lies well outside the framework of Bah??’? belief and practice. Bah??’u’ll??h has liberated human minds by prohibiting within His Faith any caste with ecclesiastical prerogatives that seeks to foist a self-assumed authority upon the thought and behavior of the mass of believers. Indeed, He has prescribed a system that combines democratic practices with the application of knowledge through consultative processes.

The House of Justice is confident that the principles herein presented will enable the friends to benefit from diverse contributions resulting from exploration of the manifold implications of Bah??’u’ll??h’s vast Revelation, while remaining impervious to the efforts of those few who, whether in an explicit or veiled manner, attempt to divert the Bah??’? community from essential understandings of the Faith.

With loving Bah??’? greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

**************

Eventhough the letter doesn’t explicitly say who the quoted author is, there is only one recently published work which qualifies: Church and State: A Postmodern Political Theology by Sen McGlinn (previously mentioned in here).

Now, I’ve got a crazy idea! Let’s turn to the author’s own words to see if we can understand better what is going on here. Maybe the context or the full sentences used may yield some further enlightenment. I know, I know, you’re nervous. After all, shouldn’t we just go with the quote snippets provided in the UHJ’s letter? why would we need to do any more reading? reading is hard! why not just take the letter at face value and go and make some guacamole and kick back? Somehow, I think you will find the courage to postpone guacamole time when you remind yourself what Baha’u’llah said about justice:

O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words of Bah??’u’ll??h

Are you ready? Here is the full and unadulterated text from McGlinn:

This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings on some issues that are now critically important to the Bahai community and its relations with the world. My approach has been enriched by my Christian background and education, my studies of theology and church history at Knox Theological Hall and Holy Cross Seminary in Dunedin, New Zealand, and studies of Persian and Islamic Studies at Leiden University, in the Netherlands.

I should declare at the outset that my stance is not that of a historian or academic scholar of the science of religion, but of a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community, and I speak as if the reader shares the concerns of that community. As a Bahai theologian, I seek to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free. I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world. The reader who is used to academic studies of religion that avoid such value judgements will have to make the necessary adjustments here and there. I do not however write as an apologist: the goal is a serious study that can aid the Bahai community and others to discover the potential for contemporary religious life which lies within the Bahai scriptures, rather than simply to repackage the Bahai Faith in a palatable form for present needs.

from foreword of Church and State

Hmmm. Now, lets see. I don’t know about you but I need a dictionary to know exactly what theology (or a theologian) is all about – especially since the author uses it twice in the above paragraph, as well as in the secondary title of the book.

Main Entry: the·ol·o·gy
Pronunciation: thE-’?-l&-jE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -gies
Etymology: Middle English theologie, from Latin theologia, from Greek, from the- + -logia -logy
1 : the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

Alright. Assuming that’s a correct definition, a theologian would be someone who studies or practices theology. And so basically the author is stating that he is a Baha’i theologian, someone who is dedicated to “the study of religious faith, practice and experience…”. I don’t see anything out of sorts there. Anyone who studies the Baha’i Faith can make the same assertion and they would be correct. Albeit within polite Baha’i circles you are more apt to hear the phrase Baha’i scholar but Baha’i theologian isn’t incorrect. Apart from that, in the foreword section quoted above, the author seems to be taking great pains to set out clearly his bias and perspective on the subject. He furthermore sets out his intentions and goals in creating the work the reader is about to explore. This is rather admirable because it at least shows an acknowledgment of bias and an honest admission of partiality.

Nowhere does the author make any claims of status, station or rank. He rather simply clarifies what his shortcomings are and what his end purpose is. This is rather interesting when it is contrasted to what the Secretariat claims he is doing – asserting an ecclesiastical rank or station.

I apologize beforehand but I’m not good with big words so I had to crack open my dictionary again. It tells me that “ecclesiastic” pertains to the institution of clergy… a cleric in other words. Not once does the author use the word ecclesiastical nor make any allusions to it. It is in fact the Secretariat which introduces this loaded word and promptly places it in McGlinn’s mouth. The Secretariat is building a strawman argument (and taking great relish in knocking it down).

Of course, everything the Secretariat says regarding the absence of clergy within the Baha’i Faith is true. But it is also true that McGlinn never makes such a claim nor even alludes to “foisting a self-assumed authority upon the thought and behavior of the mass of believers.” In fact, one could very well argue that it is the Secretariat that is engaging in such behavior since this letter is such a strongly worded smear of a scholar’s work that it will probably result in less Baha’is reading it. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing that we won’t see any study circles devoted to Church and State anytime soon.

Either the Secretariat lacks a common household dictionary (and the requisite intelligence to use it) or they have misinterpreted McGlinn’s words with malicious intent. I’m not really sure which it is but it doesn’t really matter because as you’ll agree, either is as bad as the other.

Its also interesting that the Secretariat sees itself as a gatekeeper obligated to tell Baha’is what is and what isn’t “essential understanding of the Faith”. According to Baha’i scriptures this is outside of the purview of the UHJ and the Secretariat. In any case, aren’t Baha’is entrusted with this responsibility themselves? Shouldn’t they themselves decide what is and what isn’t “essential”?

It never ceases to impress me that with all the workload the House of Justice has, they somehow (miraculously?) find the time to do book reviews. Something like the ongoing abuse of a young Baha’i girl at the hands of her father (who is an NSA member and chairperson) can be left unaddressed for four years – until there is risk of public exposure and humiliation – but a book that dares question or illuminate must be pounced upon posthaste. One day I’d like to risk madness and take a peek behind the curtain at the logic which creates such lopsided priorities.

And would it be cynical for me to point out that whenever the House of Justice lobs a bombshell it is outsourced to the Secretariat? What is the Secretariat anyway? (apart from a horse who could run really really fast) Isn’t it simply the mouthpiece of the House? Can the Secretariat distribute any letters without the approval of the House? Is it an independent organ? Yes, no and no. And if you recall, it was also used to lob the “spiritually corrosive” letter which explicitly identified four people and labeled them as such. Until then I had no idea that the Secretariat was able to peek into the very souls of men and judge their spiritual worth. Live and learn, I suppose. In the end, the use of the Secretariat makes it very convenient for the House of Justice and its defenders to disavow any responsibility by pointing out that it wasn’t them but rather the wayward Secretariat writing the letter in question. I’ll leave it to you to decide if this defense is adequate.

Now if you’re really feeling naughty you may wish to take a peek at another recently published book: The Baha’i Faith in America by William Garlington. I can’t wait to read the jeremiad from the Secretariat about it.

Related Links:

Check out Karen’s post on the October 14th 2005 letter.

  • Anonymous

    don’t you mean fahrenheit 451?

  • Anonymous

    don’t you mean fahrenheit 451?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    No, I mean 145. Its just on preheat. Atleast for now.

    I do wonder whether such a book would even be allowed to be published in a theocratic society ruled by the UHJ.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    No, I mean 145. Its just on preheat. Atleast for now.

    I do wonder whether such a book would even be allowed to be published in a theocratic society ruled by the UHJ.

  • Anonymous

    Early days. The field “Bahai theology” hasnt really developed yet, and the Bahai community is so small. As the Bahai becomes larger I guess ‘thing will change’

  • Anonymous

    Early days. The field “Bahai theology” hasnt really developed yet, and the Bahai community is so small. As the Bahai becomes larger I guess ‘thing will change’

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    You may be right. In any case, this is no way to encourage the development of Baha’i theology.

    And don’t think that non-Baha’is (academics or otherwise) do not see such acts without forming a negative view of the Faith.

    There is tremendous damage done to the image and prestige of the Faith when a person’s academic work causes them to be punished by expulsion from their faith community.

    And yet, I share your optimism and hope that indeed, things will improve.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    You may be right. In any case, this is no way to encourage the development of Baha’i theology.

    And don’t think that non-Baha’is (academics or otherwise) do not see such acts without forming a negative view of the Faith.

    There is tremendous damage done to the image and prestige of the Faith when a person’s academic work causes them to be punished by expulsion from their faith community.

    And yet, I share your optimism and hope that indeed, things will improve.

  • Anonymous

    No matter what personal opinions one may have, the following quotes cannot be ignored by those who claim to adhere to the Faith of Baha’u’llah:

    “…the believers need to be deepened in their knowledge and appreciation of the Covenants of both Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. This is the stronghold of the Faith of every Baha’i, and that which enables him to withstand every test and the attacks of the enemies outside the Faith, and the far more dangerous, insidious, lukewarm people inside the Faith who have no real attachment to the Covenant, and consequently uphold the intellectual aspect of the teachings while at the same time undermining the spiritual foundation upon which the whole Cause of God rests.
    He feels you and your dear family should do all you can to teach the believers the Will and Testament to strengthen their understanding of its important provisions; for all the authority of the administrative bodies, as well as of the Guardian himself, is mainly derived from this tremendous document.”
    Shoghi Effendi: Light of Divine Guidance Vol.2, Page: 84

    ..And so we go back to the Will & Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, which says the one thing which should give every detractor of the Universal House of Justice shivers (or leave them gasping for air):

    “The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty… Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God…”
    `Abdu’l-Baha: Will and Testament, Page: 11

    What could say it better? What is left for argument when faced with these words? How could *anyone* who accepts the Divinely appointed authority of the beloved Abd’l-Baha believe that they have the right to challenge, question, or even utter a single word against this Divinely-appointed body?

    But just as Abdu’l-Baha said: “These agitations of the violators are no more than the foam of the ocean, which is one of its inseparable features; but the ocean of the Covenant shall surge and shall cast ashore the bodies of the dead, for it cannot retain them.”
    `Abdu’l-Baha, Selections Page: 210

  • Anonymous

    No matter what personal opinions one may have, the following quotes cannot be ignored by those who claim to adhere to the Faith of Baha’u’llah:

    “…the believers need to be deepened in their knowledge and appreciation of the Covenants of both Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. This is the stronghold of the Faith of every Baha’i, and that which enables him to withstand every test and the attacks of the enemies outside the Faith, and the far more dangerous, insidious, lukewarm people inside the Faith who have no real attachment to the Covenant, and consequently uphold the intellectual aspect of the teachings while at the same time undermining the spiritual foundation upon which the whole Cause of God rests.
    He feels you and your dear family should do all you can to teach the believers the Will and Testament to strengthen their understanding of its important provisions; for all the authority of the administrative bodies, as well as of the Guardian himself, is mainly derived from this tremendous document.”
    Shoghi Effendi: Light of Divine Guidance Vol.2, Page: 84

    ..And so we go back to the Will & Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, which says the one thing which should give every detractor of the Universal House of Justice shivers (or leave them gasping for air):

    “The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty… Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God…”
    `Abdu’l-Baha: Will and Testament, Page: 11

    What could say it better? What is left for argument when faced with these words? How could *anyone* who accepts the Divinely appointed authority of the beloved Abd’l-Baha believe that they have the right to challenge, question, or even utter a single word against this Divinely-appointed body?

    But just as Abdu’l-Baha said: “These agitations of the violators are no more than the foam of the ocean, which is one of its inseparable features; but the ocean of the Covenant shall surge and shall cast ashore the bodies of the dead, for it cannot retain them.”
    `Abdu’l-Baha, Selections Page: 210

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your message. I’m tempted to let the irony pass unnoticed. But perhaps not; you’re a member (perhaps one of the moderators) of Encuentros Baha’i – a group which did not allow me to remain a member because I choose to write under a pseudonym, but here you are writing anonymously.

    Nevertheless, I shall address the points which you seem to bring up. Its a bit difficult since it seems you have a bad case of ‘quoteitis’ but I’ll soldier on.

    What could say it better? What is left for argument when faced with these words? How could *anyone* who accepts the Divinely appointed authority of the beloved Abd’l-Baha believe that they have the right to challenge, question, or even utter a single word against this Divinely-appointed body?

    For one, you may assist yourself by understanding the Will & Testament of Abdu’l-Baha better. For example, I have a distinct impression that you misinterpret ‘whatsoever’ to mean a blanket and absolute infallibility and authority. This is not so. Othes much more eloquent than I have explained this in detail so I’ll refrain from attempting the same and simply point you to them (Marshall and Schaefer’s essays on infallibility)

    I fear you are misunderstanding my critiques of actions and decisions to be critiques of authority and station. This is an all too common error and rest assured that you are not the first to make this mistake. Unfortunately you have much company.

    I recognize and respect the authority and station of the institutions of the Faith. This is separate from using my own God given mind to have ideas regarding their actions and decisions.

    I do however agree with you, the small group of fundamentalist and close minded people who have control of the Baha’i community today will be eventually expelled by the great ocean that is Baha’u’llah’s Faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your message. I’m tempted to let the irony pass unnoticed. But perhaps not; you’re a member (perhaps one of the moderators) of Encuentros Baha’i – a group which did not allow me to remain a member because I choose to write under a pseudonym, but here you are writing anonymously.

    Nevertheless, I shall address the points which you seem to bring up. Its a bit difficult since it seems you have a bad case of ‘quoteitis’ but I’ll soldier on.

    What could say it better? What is left for argument when faced with these words? How could *anyone* who accepts the Divinely appointed authority of the beloved Abd’l-Baha believe that they have the right to challenge, question, or even utter a single word against this Divinely-appointed body?

    For one, you may assist yourself by understanding the Will & Testament of Abdu’l-Baha better. For example, I have a distinct impression that you misinterpret ‘whatsoever’ to mean a blanket and absolute infallibility and authority. This is not so. Othes much more eloquent than I have explained this in detail so I’ll refrain from attempting the same and simply point you to them (Marshall and Schaefer’s essays on infallibility)

    I fear you are misunderstanding my critiques of actions and decisions to be critiques of authority and station. This is an all too common error and rest assured that you are not the first to make this mistake. Unfortunately you have much company.

    I recognize and respect the authority and station of the institutions of the Faith. This is separate from using my own God given mind to have ideas regarding their actions and decisions.

    I do however agree with you, the small group of fundamentalist and close minded people who have control of the Baha’i community today will be eventually expelled by the great ocean that is Baha’u’llah’s Faith.

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  • Adam

    I have a hard time understanding you Fahrenheit.
    You should be a Baha’i because You accept that what Bahaullah has written is from God. therefore who are you to pick and choose what you want and don’t want to believe. It is all or nothing. If Bahaullah says that the Universal House of Justice is to be obeyed than obey, or don’t believe in Bahaullah. One does not sacrifice Independent investigation of the truth. No! We will always search for reason in the elements of this revelation that are not understand. But without faith one would stand helpless on the shores ignorance, lost in reasoning, trying to persuade others to join in.
    First comes acceptance of Divine Truth, than the spirit of faith is born, and than true knowledge. Note the order. Don’t get them confused.

  • http://None Adam

    I have a hard time understanding you Fahrenheit.
    You should be a Baha’i because You accept that what Bahaullah has written is from God. therefore who are you to pick and choose what you want and don’t want to believe. It is all or nothing. If Bahaullah says that the Universal House of Justice is to be obeyed than obey, or don’t believe in Bahaullah. One does not sacrifice Independent investigation of the truth. No! We will always search for reason in the elements of this revelation that are not understand. But without faith one would stand helpless on the shores ignorance, lost in reasoning, trying to persuade others to join in.
    First comes acceptance of Divine Truth, than the spirit of faith is born, and than true knowledge. Note the order. Don’t get them confused.

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  • Daniel

    To Adam,

    We are tired of muslim and Iran Ayatollah Police States, we dont need a UHJ police state to replace them by.

    P.S. Gift idea to give to the UHJ for Ayyam-i-Ha. A latest edition dictionary. Perhaps the UHJ has been so busy with persecuting their own bahais they dont have time to go downtown Haifa and buy a dictionary. We need to send them one.*wink* *biggrin*

  • Daniel

    To Adam,

    We are tired of muslim and Iran Ayatollah Police States, we dont need a UHJ police state to replace them by.

    P.S. Gift idea to give to the UHJ for Ayyam-i-Ha. A latest edition dictionary. Perhaps the UHJ has been so busy with persecuting their own bahais they dont have time to go downtown Haifa and buy a dictionary. We need to send them one.*wink* *biggrin*

  • Christopher Herring

    thanks for this website. I really think that the faith was supposed to be a mix of top-down control and grassroots action. Being a dissident is integral to the faith i think. i have two words to everyone that will read this….AYN RAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christopher Herring

    thanks for this website. I really think that the faith was supposed to be a mix of top-down control and grassroots action. Being a dissident is integral to the faith i think. i have two words to everyone that will read this….AYN RAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Adib

    I recently read in Nader Saeidi's book (on Writings of the Bab which has just been published) that his earlier book (on the Writings of Baha'u'llah) was an exercise in "theology" of the Baha'i Faith. He uses the word "theology." Now, have his administrative rights been removed since by implication he means that he is a "theologian" as well? If not, why not?

  • Adib

    I recently read in Nader Saeidi's book (on Writings of the Bab which has just been published) that his earlier book (on the Writings of Baha'u'llah) was an exercise in "theology" of the Baha'i Faith. He uses the word "theology." Now, have his administrative rights been removed since by implication he means that he is a "theologian" as well? If not, why not?

  • Craig Parke

    I just stumbled across this post. I was working 15 hour days 177 weeks ago and was not on-line much. I wish to say I 100% agree with Anonymous on this point in total support. The Universal House of Justice of the Baha'i Faith in accordance with their Divine Powers has top down commanded from their own personal ideological Mt. Olympus without consultation with anyone on the ground the use of methods of teaching the Baha'i Faith that will eventually result in the TOTAL and COMPLETE failure of the Baha'i Faith everywhere and in every culture on Earth within one or two generations

    As Anonymous has dutifully pointed out every Baha'i MUST, REPEAT, MUST FEARFULLY FULLY SUPPORT this decision or risk Personal Divine Retribution which often is not pretty. So, yes. we MUST SUPPORT TOTAL DIVINELY DECREED FAILURE and the TOTAL DIVINELY DECREED MIND BENDING DESTRUCTION of the Baha'i Faith as good fearful and trembling members of the rank and file. Again, I agree with our friend Anonymous in his prescient and always timely fearful admonishment to all of us!

    The only escape is the question of whether the current version of the Universal House of Justice is "universally elected and established" since it is elected from a completely closed list of candidates who nominate each other from their ideological litmus test which is a kind of pre-vote ideological purity selection process. Everyone is "equal" only some are "more equal than others". In my opinion it is the same old, same old. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt since I was a totally dedicated Baha'i for 32 straight years until 2004 and I will 100% support them in their Divinely Guided Decision to command TOTAL TOP DOWN OBEDIENCE to achieve TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

    Please, no one here turn me in to an ABM or AABM for doctrinal interrogation Abu Greb style because I am hereby publicly acknowledging fearful compliant support as a good member of the rank and file.

  • Craig Parke

    I just stumbled across this post. I was working 15 hour days 177 weeks ago and was not on-line much. I wish to say I 100% agree with Anonymous on this point in total support. The Universal House of Justice of the Baha'i Faith in accordance with their Divine Powers has top down commanded from their own personal ideological Mt. Olympus without consultation with anyone on the ground the use of methods of teaching the Baha'i Faith that will eventually result in the TOTAL and COMPLETE failure of the Baha'i Faith everywhere and in every culture on Earth within one or two generations

    As Anonymous has dutifully pointed out every Baha'i MUST, REPEAT, MUST FEARFULLY FULLY SUPPORT this decision or risk Personal Divine Retribution which often is not pretty. So, yes. we MUST SUPPORT TOTAL DIVINELY DECREED FAILURE and the TOTAL DIVINELY DECREED MIND BENDING DESTRUCTION of the Baha'i Faith as good fearful and trembling members of the rank and file. Again, I agree with our friend Anonymous in his prescient and always timely fearful admonishment to all of us!

    The only escape is the question of whether the current version of the Universal House of Justice is "universally elected and established" since it is elected from a completely closed list of candidates who nominate each other from their ideological litmus test which is a kind of pre-vote ideological purity selection process. Everyone is "equal" only some are "more equal than others". In my opinion it is the same old, same old. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt since I was a totally dedicated Baha'i for 32 straight years until 2004 and I will 100% support them in their Divinely Guided Decision to command TOTAL TOP DOWN OBEDIENCE to achieve TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

    Please, no one here turn me in to an ABM or AABM for doctrinal interrogation Abu Greb style because I am hereby publicly acknowledging fearful compliant support as a good member of the rank and file.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SteveMarshall SteveMarshall

    Ditto for Jack Mclean, who wrote Prolegomena to a Baha'i Theology.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SteveMarshall SteveMarshall

    Ditto for Jack Mclean, who wrote Prolegomena to a Baha'i Theology.

  • Matt

    That's a good question, Adib.

  • Matt

    That's a good question, Adib.

  • Grover

    You shouldn't go putting in plugs for Ruhi and stuff where its not relevant to the question at hand.

  • Grover

    You shouldn't go putting in plugs for Ruhi and stuff where its not relevant to the question at hand.

  • peyamb

    You should be a Baha'i because You accept that what Bahaullah has written is from God. therefore who are you to pick and choose what you want and don't want to believe.
    ———————
    And Adam, I guess you have chosen fanaticism- something specifically forbidden in the Faith. Shame that you are willing to also choose to not follow things like reason and science that are so extolled in the Bahai Faith. Unfortunately, people like you pick and choose l- you just don't see it.

  • peyamb

    You should be a Baha'i because You accept that what Bahaullah has written is from God. therefore who are you to pick and choose what you want and don't want to believe.
    ———————
    And Adam, I guess you have chosen fanaticism- something specifically forbidden in the Faith. Shame that you are willing to also choose to not follow things like reason and science that are so extolled in the Bahai Faith. Unfortunately, people like you pick and choose l- you just don't see it.

  • farhan

    Adib wrote: He uses the word "theology." Now, have his administrative rights been removed since by implication he means that he is a "theologian" as well?

    Adib, I am not sure that it is the word “Bahá’í theologian” which is objectionable as much as the idea is that being a Baha’i theologian, the autor feels in a position to guide the non theologian part of the community with an aim “to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahá’í community, to enable Bahá’ís to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world.”

    When we speak or write, we all hope of course that we are being useful, but again the UHJ gives precisions: “Bahá’u'lláh has liberated human minds by prohibiting within His Faith any caste with ecclesiastical prerogatives that seeks to foist a self-assumed authority upon the thought and behavior of the mass of believers.”

    I have been through some of the Ruhi books several times and each session with new participants is a brand new experience. It is amazing how very humble and apparently unread individuals can react to the writings and come up with gems they draw from their own walk of life that a well-read person would have been unable to imagine. I think this brings about humility and a readiness to learn unexpected realities, instead of adopting an attitude of the guru shepherd tending his sheep. This is I believe the idea when the UHJ reminds of: “Indeed, He has prescribed a system that combines democratic practices with the application of knowledge through consultative processes.”

    This is no doubt one aspect of Ruhi that helps all those who wish, reflect and find practical applications to the Holy Writings and hence act as “Baha’i theologians” in their own lives.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Adib wrote: He uses the word "theology." Now, have his administrative rights been removed since by implication he means that he is a "theologian" as well?

    Adib, I am not sure that it is the word “Bahá’í theologian” which is objectionable as much as the idea is that being a Baha’i theologian, the autor feels in a position to guide the non theologian part of the community with an aim “to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahá’í community, to enable Bahá’ís to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world.”

    When we speak or write, we all hope of course that we are being useful, but again the UHJ gives precisions: “Bahá’u'lláh has liberated human minds by prohibiting within His Faith any caste with ecclesiastical prerogatives that seeks to foist a self-assumed authority upon the thought and behavior of the mass of believers.”

    I have been through some of the Ruhi books several times and each session with new participants is a brand new experience. It is amazing how very humble and apparently unread individuals can react to the writings and come up with gems they draw from their own walk of life that a well-read person would have been unable to imagine. I think this brings about humility and a readiness to learn unexpected realities, instead of adopting an attitude of the guru shepherd tending his sheep. This is I believe the idea when the UHJ reminds of: “Indeed, He has prescribed a system that combines democratic practices with the application of knowledge through consultative processes.”

    This is no doubt one aspect of Ruhi that helps all those who wish, reflect and find practical applications to the Holy Writings and hence act as “Baha’i theologians” in their own lives.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    I am sorry but upon this revelation of your personal experience with Ruhi, I am going to have to report you to the proper disciplinary authorities in the Faith! It is absolutely forbidden in the Ruhi Courses for anyone to give their personal opinion about anything whatsoever in the Writings. As you have previously pointed out, to do so is blatant "Guruism". If anyone has a personal interpretation of the Writings and speaks it in a Ruhi session, that is clearly in complete violation of the very clear guidelines which are as follows:

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

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

    "TO THE COLLABORATORS" – Ruhi Book One

    How much clearer can things be?

    You had better rethink your actions! Your revealed sessions clearly violate the Ruhi Guidelines that are now the veritable Word of God in the entire worldwide Baha'i Faith since the UHJ has completely infallibly approved every word of the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses including the Guidelines. And, as I was told by a Persian AABM, the UHJ is the Voice of God On Earth. So, therefore, your use of the material in this way was "innovation" and "shameful personal social interpretation" of the clear instructions. This is shameful manifest self and passion, Farhan! This is being influenced by corrupting "individualistic" Western thinking and ideas of reason and "individualistic" personal conscience since the Renaissance. According to BOTH Peter Khan and Douglas Martin in the deepening materials they once developed for the Canadian Baha'i Community years ago, personal individual human conscience is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN in the Baha'i Faith.

    "We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is supreme is equivalent to 'taking partners with God' which is abhorrent
    to the Teachings of the Faith."
    – Douglas Martin
    Retired Member of the Universal House of Justice
    Baha'i Faith

    To have a conscience that may influence personal social interpretation of very clear "Guidelines" is to make yourself "partners with God". The ONLY individual "conscience" allowed in the Baha'i Faith is what the UHJ SAYS TO DO. And what they have said to do here through the Ruhi Institute is very clear!

    I am sorry but I am going to have to report you to the NSA of France as a "theologian" or something. Or whatever the new "code word" is for "heretic"?

    I am shocked, I tell you, Farhan, absolutely shocked at you taking these kinds of liberties with the Ruhi materials! When I took the course I was clearly instructed that you are ONLY to write down answers as you fill in the blanks within the prescribed limits. Absolutely no thoughts outside the lines! Only the pre-authorized answers are, well, authorized! And anyone who comes up with any other answers will be declared a Covenant Breaker and immediately ex-communicated from the Faith for very, very, very serious thought crimes.

    This is an absolutely shocking revelation on your part! I am really quite shaken!

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    I am sorry but upon this revelation of your personal experience with Ruhi, I am going to have to report you to the proper disciplinary authorities in the Faith! It is absolutely forbidden in the Ruhi Courses for anyone to give their personal opinion about anything whatsoever in the Writings. As you have previously pointed out, to do so is blatant "Guruism". If anyone has a personal interpretation of the Writings and speaks it in a Ruhi session, that is clearly in complete violation of the very clear guidelines which are as follows:

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

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

    "TO THE COLLABORATORS" – Ruhi Book One

    How much clearer can things be?

    You had better rethink your actions! Your revealed sessions clearly violate the Ruhi Guidelines that are now the veritable Word of God in the entire worldwide Baha'i Faith since the UHJ has completely infallibly approved every word of the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses including the Guidelines. And, as I was told by a Persian AABM, the UHJ is the Voice of God On Earth. So, therefore, your use of the material in this way was "innovation" and "shameful personal social interpretation" of the clear instructions. This is shameful manifest self and passion, Farhan! This is being influenced by corrupting "individualistic" Western thinking and ideas of reason and "individualistic" personal conscience since the Renaissance. According to BOTH Peter Khan and Douglas Martin in the deepening materials they once developed for the Canadian Baha'i Community years ago, personal individual human conscience is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN in the Baha'i Faith.

    "We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is supreme is equivalent to 'taking partners with God' which is abhorrent
    to the Teachings of the Faith."
    – Douglas Martin
    Retired Member of the Universal House of Justice
    Baha'i Faith

    To have a conscience that may influence personal social interpretation of very clear "Guidelines" is to make yourself "partners with God". The ONLY individual "conscience" allowed in the Baha'i Faith is what the UHJ SAYS TO DO. And what they have said to do here through the Ruhi Institute is very clear!

    I am sorry but I am going to have to report you to the NSA of France as a "theologian" or something. Or whatever the new "code word" is for "heretic"?

    I am shocked, I tell you, Farhan, absolutely shocked at you taking these kinds of liberties with the Ruhi materials! When I took the course I was clearly instructed that you are ONLY to write down answers as you fill in the blanks within the prescribed limits. Absolutely no thoughts outside the lines! Only the pre-authorized answers are, well, authorized! And anyone who comes up with any other answers will be declared a Covenant Breaker and immediately ex-communicated from the Faith for very, very, very serious thought crimes.

    This is an absolutely shocking revelation on your part! I am really quite shaken!

  • farhan

    Grover wrote : You shouldn't go putting in plugs for Ruhi and stuff where its not relevant to the question at hand.

    Grover, I am sorry you don’t see the connection between a course designed to initiate every one in theology, helping them to learn, how to study and apply the writings by themselves, and in turn help others to study and understand by themselves, and a current behavior of those who consider that they know better than others and who condescend to share their knowledge with those who don’t know.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Grover wrote : You shouldn't go putting in plugs for Ruhi and stuff where its not relevant to the question at hand.

    Grover, I am sorry you don’t see the connection between a course designed to initiate every one in theology, helping them to learn, how to study and apply the writings by themselves, and in turn help others to study and understand by themselves, and a current behavior of those who consider that they know better than others and who condescend to share their knowledge with those who don’t know.

  • farhan

    Craig quoted : …we are helping to nurture the development of communities which
    look first to the Writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever they are faced with a question.

    Craig, here we are looking into the practical implications of the writings, and not on our personal implications. This is all the difference between trying to impose on others our personal views, for example on infallibility, and trying to look for the practical implications of the actual writings on community life.

    In one case we are trying to establish our intellectual ascendancy on others, in the other, we are seeking together divine guidance for a line of action.

    BTW, Craig, please report this posting and others of its like to the UHJ

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig quoted : …we are helping to nurture the development of communities which
    look first to the Writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever they are faced with a question.

    Craig, here we are looking into the practical implications of the writings, and not on our personal implications. This is all the difference between trying to impose on others our personal views, for example on infallibility, and trying to look for the practical implications of the actual writings on community life.

    In one case we are trying to establish our intellectual ascendancy on others, in the other, we are seeking together divine guidance for a line of action.

    BTW, Craig, please report this posting and others of its like to the UHJ

  • farhan

    Craig quoted : ..In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions.

    Craig, there is again a difference between abandoning critical thought, and making concessions for the sake of unity. I might have a different opinion of what Mozart or Beethoven intended for a piece of music, but for the sake of unity, sacrifice my opinion so that the orchestra will function. When I get home, I can play for my friends and family the version I prefer. If beyond the sharing of my opinion, I try to forcibly impose my opinion against that of others in the orchestra, I will be joining partners with Mozart and Beethoven.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig quoted : ..In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions.

    Craig, there is again a difference between abandoning critical thought, and making concessions for the sake of unity. I might have a different opinion of what Mozart or Beethoven intended for a piece of music, but for the sake of unity, sacrifice my opinion so that the orchestra will function. When I get home, I can play for my friends and family the version I prefer. If beyond the sharing of my opinion, I try to forcibly impose my opinion against that of others in the orchestra, I will be joining partners with Mozart and Beethoven.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    Please give an example of a "practical implication" of the writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever "the community" is faced with a question?

    And, yes, I will definitely be reporting your answer to the UHJ so you can be put under surveillance for thought crimes if anything looks out of line. Especially if I detect you are trying to establish your intellectual ascendancy on others by giving ANY ANSWER using reason from your actual life experience as a doctor! That is completely forbidden in the New Improved Baha'i Faith. You can only read from pre-authorized and sanctioned answers from the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses. Anything else is self and passion (especially if you bring up some insight from being a medical doctor) ! If I detect this, I will make the judgment call to report you. A file will be kept on you in an air conditioned vault in Haifa and when the Baha'i AO come to worldwide full blown political and military, uh, I mean "religious" power in the world you will be one of the first doctors sent to a Year Zero Humility Camp with a hoe to, well, learn humility. So be very careful what you say in your answer here! The whole world is watching.

    Do not use any examples from insights you have attained from your actual life experience as a medical doctor as you have in the past in these pages. To bring them up may risk your wife and daughters being give hoes too in a Year Zero Humility Camp, even though they are not really "official" Baha'is. But, well, free thought just cannot be allowed to flower anywhere in wars of orthodoxy in rooting out thought crimes. As Peter Khan always says in his endless (TM) speeches on every topic know to man, every Baha'i must fear every other Baha'i lest they slip and fatally loose their orthodox thinking and thereby lose their Faith and hence their eternal soul. So be afraid, be very, very afraid of me as the Mighty Khan always advises every Baha'i to do. Fear everyone! So think very carefully before you give an example.

    How about this one:

    Abdu'l-Baha says it is OK to "tell a lie" if it helps someone feel better and encourages them in a medical situation. Let's say someone in the community at one of the Year Zero Humility Camps in the future has been bitten by a poisonous snake and has three days to live. They are facing certain death. But the Year Zero Internment Camp Spiritual Assembly holds a meeting and wants you as a recognized medical person to tell this person and his/her family that they will be just fine to cheer them up even though they are going to certain death. How about a "practical implication" of the writings on this situation? What do you do? Do you lie or do you tell the truth? And, remember, ANY PERSONAL INSIGHTS from your personal life experience as a doctor is COMPLETELY FORBIDDEN as the Ruhi Guidance says! You must quickly decide what to do based solely on the Writings. Remember, the Assembly has other pressing duties, like arranging for the funeral coming up in just three days!

    Let's put the Ruhi Guidance as the New Worldwide Sacred Top Down Word of God into play here. What do you do in this situation: lie or tell the patient the truth?

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    Please give an example of a "practical implication" of the writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever "the community" is faced with a question?

    And, yes, I will definitely be reporting your answer to the UHJ so you can be put under surveillance for thought crimes if anything looks out of line. Especially if I detect you are trying to establish your intellectual ascendancy on others by giving ANY ANSWER using reason from your actual life experience as a doctor! That is completely forbidden in the New Improved Baha'i Faith. You can only read from pre-authorized and sanctioned answers from the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses. Anything else is self and passion (especially if you bring up some insight from being a medical doctor) ! If I detect this, I will make the judgment call to report you. A file will be kept on you in an air conditioned vault in Haifa and when the Baha'i AO come to worldwide full blown political and military, uh, I mean "religious" power in the world you will be one of the first doctors sent to a Year Zero Humility Camp with a hoe to, well, learn humility. So be very careful what you say in your answer here! The whole world is watching.

    Do not use any examples from insights you have attained from your actual life experience as a medical doctor as you have in the past in these pages. To bring them up may risk your wife and daughters being give hoes too in a Year Zero Humility Camp, even though they are not really "official" Baha'is. But, well, free thought just cannot be allowed to flower anywhere in wars of orthodoxy in rooting out thought crimes. As Peter Khan always says in his endless (TM) speeches on every topic know to man, every Baha'i must fear every other Baha'i lest they slip and fatally loose their orthodox thinking and thereby lose their Faith and hence their eternal soul. So be afraid, be very, very afraid of me as the Mighty Khan always advises every Baha'i to do. Fear everyone! So think very carefully before you give an example.

    How about this one:

    Abdu'l-Baha says it is OK to "tell a lie" if it helps someone feel better and encourages them in a medical situation. Let's say someone in the community at one of the Year Zero Humility Camps in the future has been bitten by a poisonous snake and has three days to live. They are facing certain death. But the Year Zero Internment Camp Spiritual Assembly holds a meeting and wants you as a recognized medical person to tell this person and his/her family that they will be just fine to cheer them up even though they are going to certain death. How about a "practical implication" of the writings on this situation? What do you do? Do you lie or do you tell the truth? And, remember, ANY PERSONAL INSIGHTS from your personal life experience as a doctor is COMPLETELY FORBIDDEN as the Ruhi Guidance says! You must quickly decide what to do based solely on the Writings. Remember, the Assembly has other pressing duties, like arranging for the funeral coming up in just three days!

    Let's put the Ruhi Guidance as the New Worldwide Sacred Top Down Word of God into play here. What do you do in this situation: lie or tell the patient the truth?

  • Grover

    Farhan, stop trying to draw attention away from the fact that you were rather shamelessly advertising Ruhi.

    What does Ruhi have to do with Sen's situation with the UHJ? Absolutely nothing, so don't try your funny Persian tricks on me.

  • Grover

    Farhan, stop trying to draw attention away from the fact that you were rather shamelessly advertising Ruhi.

    What does Ruhi have to do with Sen's situation with the UHJ? Absolutely nothing, so don't try your funny Persian tricks on me.

  • farhan

    Grover, there is nothing shameless in asserting that in a religion that has abolished priesthood, the Institute Process is designed for providing basic theological skills at grass roots, which in fact undermines power issues brought up by self-appointed experts in Baha'i theology who would guide and purify the Baha'i community, including the elected supreme body. This is "the great reversal" announced by all the religions of the past and by Tahirih in Badasht.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Grover, there is nothing shameless in asserting that in a religion that has abolished priesthood, the Institute Process is designed for providing basic theological skills at grass roots, which in fact undermines power issues brought up by self-appointed experts in Baha'i theology who would guide and purify the Baha'i community, including the elected supreme body. This is "the great reversal" announced by all the religions of the past and by Tahirih in Badasht.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    farhan, I can’t tell if you’re talking about the Ruhi zealots like yourself that set themselves up as a quasi-clergy class within the Baha’i Faith or if you’re somehow trying to smear the important work of academics. The funny thing is the ‘supreme’ body is guided by theologians constantly as they refer matters to the Research Department in Haifa.
    Something else which is funny is that you neglect to see that Ruhi is bursting at the seams with errors of all kinds. So glaring is this that even fundamentalists like Dr. Maneck acknowledge it. And this is somehow supposed to provide ‘basic theological skills’? LoL
    You’re comparing the rubish that is Ruhi to the years of seminary school that clergy go through? Seriously? I never thought I’d be defending the clergy!
    And self appointed? Actually, academics go through a rigorous process called study at places called universities and they publish things called papers in peer review journals (instead of being appointed to head Ruhi indoctrination classes). You say you’re a doctor but for some strange reason you have very little respect for education or the scientific process.
    re ‘power issues’ – if you happened to actually, you know, read McGlinn’s trenchant book on Church and State you’d discover that he meticulously showcases the awe inspiring ignorance of sitting members of the UHJ on that topic. Funny how when you expose such things you get branded a heretic. Who’s the one with power issues? A dry academic toiling away in obscurity or the persons that are in constant adulation and public eye because of their membership on institutions? which has more to lose? and more to protect?
    Ah yes, the ‘great reversal’ this is where people who have barely finished high school get to critique and censor the publication of PhD scholars works (Salmani’s Memoirs) – this is called ‘review’. Tell me, how would you like it if a teenager who had finished their first dissection of a frog in biology class told you how and when to perform your duties as a doctor?
    And if you object, would you be having ‘power issues’?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    farhan, I can’t tell if you’re talking about the Ruhi zealots like yourself that set themselves up as a quasi-clergy class within the Baha’i Faith or if you’re somehow trying to smear the important work of academics. The funny thing is the ‘supreme’ body is guided by theologians constantly as they refer matters to the Research Department in Haifa.
    Something else which is funny is that you neglect to see that Ruhi is bursting at the seams with errors of all kinds. So glaring is this that even fundamentalists like Dr. Maneck acknowledge it. And this is somehow supposed to provide ‘basic theological skills’? LoL
    You’re comparing the rubish that is Ruhi to the years of seminary school that clergy go through? Seriously? I never thought I’d be defending the clergy!
    And self appointed? Actually, academics go through a rigorous process called study at places called universities and they publish things called papers in peer review journals (instead of being appointed to head Ruhi indoctrination classes). You say you’re a doctor but for some strange reason you have very little respect for education or the scientific process.
    re ‘power issues’ – if you happened to actually, you know, read McGlinn’s trenchant book on Church and State you’d discover that he meticulously showcases the awe inspiring ignorance of sitting members of the UHJ on that topic. Funny how when you expose such things you get branded a heretic. Who’s the one with power issues? A dry academic toiling away in obscurity or the persons that are in constant adulation and public eye because of their membership on institutions? which has more to lose? and more to protect?
    Ah yes, the ‘great reversal’ this is where people who have barely finished high school get to critique and censor the publication of PhD scholars works (Salmani’s Memoirs) – this is called ‘review’. Tell me, how would you like it if a teenager who had finished their first dissection of a frog in biology class told you how and when to perform your duties as a doctor?
    And if you object, would you be having ‘power issues’?

  • farhan

    Craig asked : Please give an example of a "practical implication" of the writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever "the community" is faced with a question?

    Farhan: For example, an LSA will provide guidance on how to conduct door to door invitation to activities so as not to violate the rules of independent search for truth by providing actual quotes and not relying on the opinion of some outstanding Baha’i.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig asked : Please give an example of a "practical implication" of the writings as the principal basis of consultation whenever "the community" is faced with a question?

    Farhan: For example, an LSA will provide guidance on how to conduct door to door invitation to activities so as not to violate the rules of independent search for truth by providing actual quotes and not relying on the opinion of some outstanding Baha’i.

  • farhan

    Craig asked: Let's put the Ruhi Guidance as the New Worldwide Sacred Top Down Word of God into play here. What do you do in this situation: lie or tell the patient the truth?

    Craig, first of all Ruhi is the exact opposite of a “Top own Word”. When you establish a curriculum for imparting teaching skills to school teachers, you will require a standard simplified basis on which the students can then build up their own research and accomplishments. It is necessary that some formal framework should be provided so as the students might acquire skills for a “bottom-up” collective enterprise under the harmonizing guidance of institutions.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig asked: Let's put the Ruhi Guidance as the New Worldwide Sacred Top Down Word of God into play here. What do you do in this situation: lie or tell the patient the truth?

    Craig, first of all Ruhi is the exact opposite of a “Top own Word”. When you establish a curriculum for imparting teaching skills to school teachers, you will require a standard simplified basis on which the students can then build up their own research and accomplishments. It is necessary that some formal framework should be provided so as the students might acquire skills for a “bottom-up” collective enterprise under the harmonizing guidance of institutions.

  • farhan

    As for the framework of my profession that is closely defined by legal and deontological rules, I clearly avoid telling an untruth to my patients although I find ways of avoiding providing a patient with information he has not asked for. I am sometimes very uncomfortably trapped by inadequate information that my colleagues or the family have provided.

    As to Abdul’l-Baha’s words in the context of explaining that God has not created “evil” and that “evil” is relative to our intent and purpose, I have no guidance to provide for the inderstanding of the words from SAQ chap 57

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    As for the framework of my profession that is closely defined by legal and deontological rules, I clearly avoid telling an untruth to my patients although I find ways of avoiding providing a patient with information he has not asked for. I am sometimes very uncomfortably trapped by inadequate information that my colleagues or the family have provided.

    As to Abdul’l-Baha’s words in the context of explaining that God has not created “evil” and that “evil” is relative to our intent and purpose, I have no guidance to provide for the inderstanding of the words from SAQ chap 57

  • farhan

    “Therefore, it is clear that creation is purely good. Consider that the worst of qualities and most odious of attributes, which is the foundation of all evil, is lying. No worse or more blameworthy quality than this can be imagined to exist; it is the destroyer of all human perfections and the cause of innumerable vices. There is no worse characteristic than this; it is the foundation of all evils. Notwithstanding all this, if a doctor consoles a sick man by saying, “Thank God you are better, and there is hope of your recovery,” though these words are contrary to the truth, yet they may become the consolation of the patient and the turning point of the illness. This is not blameworthy. (SAQ Chapter 57)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    “Therefore, it is clear that creation is purely good. Consider that the worst of qualities and most odious of attributes, which is the foundation of all evil, is lying. No worse or more blameworthy quality than this can be imagined to exist; it is the destroyer of all human perfections and the cause of innumerable vices. There is no worse characteristic than this; it is the foundation of all evils. Notwithstanding all this, if a doctor consoles a sick man by saying, “Thank God you are better, and there is hope of your recovery,” though these words are contrary to the truth, yet they may become the consolation of the patient and the turning point of the illness. This is not blameworthy. (SAQ Chapter 57)

  • farhan

    Baquia, knowledge is of two kinds; one is factual and rational knowledge which are highly praised in the writings as a pathway to God, and the other is emotional or affective knowledge which is the realm of culture, faith and religion. Science accepts these two capacities that are measured by the IQ and the EQ (or AQ). It’s all about the left brain and the right brain, about the tears of joy and the tears of pain I presented some time back.

    Danah Zohar and Ian Marshal (Bloomsbury editions) even go further and introduce the spiritual intelligence (SQ) which is our capacity to develop our own EQ. We can disharmony between the two: those lost in their dreams and superstitions, and those prisoners of their rationale and lacking empathy and emotional expertise. Back to your biology class, I would be as offended by the students comments on my expertise, than he would be if I made comments on his love affairs.

    To my understanding, the Baha’i institutions are not a reference for scientific knowledge and never pretend to replace them. They work in close collaboration with science and erudition, and consider these as tools for the wellbeing of humanity which need the EQ to canalise and harmonise them for the wellbeing of humanity and not for domination. Their area of competence is affective knowledge and the canalising of Divine Revelation to all humanity. My professional expertise is of the first category, and since my medical thesis in 1976, I am in a constant endeavour for harmonising the two.

    I am not a ?Ruhi fan? and for practical reasons, which I regret, Ruhi has been only a small part of my activities, but after a few years of thought and search, I have become totally convinced that the Institute Process is a fantastic machine for developing the EQ and the SQ.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Baquia, knowledge is of two kinds; one is factual and rational knowledge which are highly praised in the writings as a pathway to God, and the other is emotional or affective knowledge which is the realm of culture, faith and religion. Science accepts these two capacities that are measured by the IQ and the EQ (or AQ). It’s all about the left brain and the right brain, about the tears of joy and the tears of pain I presented some time back.

    Danah Zohar and Ian Marshal (Bloomsbury editions) even go further and introduce the spiritual intelligence (SQ) which is our capacity to develop our own EQ. We can disharmony between the two: those lost in their dreams and superstitions, and those prisoners of their rationale and lacking empathy and emotional expertise. Back to your biology class, I would be as offended by the students comments on my expertise, than he would be if I made comments on his love affairs.

    To my understanding, the Baha’i institutions are not a reference for scientific knowledge and never pretend to replace them. They work in close collaboration with science and erudition, and consider these as tools for the wellbeing of humanity which need the EQ to canalise and harmonise them for the wellbeing of humanity and not for domination. Their area of competence is affective knowledge and the canalising of Divine Revelation to all humanity. My professional expertise is of the first category, and since my medical thesis in 1976, I am in a constant endeavour for harmonising the two.

    I am not a ?Ruhi fan? and for practical reasons, which I regret, Ruhi has been only a small part of my activities, but after a few years of thought and search, I have become totally convinced that the Institute Process is a fantastic machine for developing the EQ and the SQ.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    farhan, try reading what I wrote. You’ve gone and muddied the waters again with irrelevant points – as usual. If you really are a doctor, you’ve missed your true calling in politics. Karl Rove would cower in a corner at your skills of ‘spin’.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    farhan, try reading what I wrote. You’ve gone and muddied the waters again with irrelevant points – as usual. If you really are a doctor, you’ve missed your true calling in politics. Karl Rove would cower in a corner at your skills of ‘spin’.

  • farhan

    Baquia, the discussion between us is like that of a gardener complaining that his flowers are withering, the plants drooping and the leaves turning yellow, and yet finds it irrelevant when he is told that all this is a lack of water for which he will need pipes, geologists for finding water, machines for digging the well and electricity for pumping the water.

    I am telling you that all the problems that assail humanity are due to a lack of spirituality, and we need much more EQ and SQ in the administrative order, and you would believe that we need more IQ and PHDs on the UHJ.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Baquia, the discussion between us is like that of a gardener complaining that his flowers are withering, the plants drooping and the leaves turning yellow, and yet finds it irrelevant when he is told that all this is a lack of water for which he will need pipes, geologists for finding water, machines for digging the well and electricity for pumping the water.

    I am telling you that all the problems that assail humanity are due to a lack of spirituality, and we need much more EQ and SQ in the administrative order, and you would believe that we need more IQ and PHDs on the UHJ.

  • farhan

    Once again, Baquia, the Faith is not an enterprise for scientific education which we are expected to acquire elsewhere as a necessary complement to our spiritual development, but an enterprise for developing our spiritual capacities. What I expect from the UHJ is not to to be a substitute for my intellect, but to guide my intellectual efforts into fields that are a priority for humanity at this time. Some of Hands of God were indeed illiterate but recognised the vital need for spiritual development.

    I suggest you look up the need for SQ development :

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

    And as I suggested before, left-brain right-brain issues:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_tay

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Once again, Baquia, the Faith is not an enterprise for scientific education which we are expected to acquire elsewhere as a necessary complement to our spiritual development, but an enterprise for developing our spiritual capacities. What I expect from the UHJ is not to to be a substitute for my intellect, but to guide my intellectual efforts into fields that are a priority for humanity at this time. Some of Hands of God were indeed illiterate but recognised the vital need for spiritual development.

    I suggest you look up the need for SQ development :

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

    And as I suggested before, left-brain right-brain issues:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_tay

  • Grover

    I think you'll find that Farhan has a psychological disorder (probably due to an imbalance between his IQs, SQs and EQs).

  • Grover

    I think you'll find that Farhan has a psychological disorder (probably due to an imbalance between his IQs, SQs and EQs).

  • farhan

    Most of us have an imbalance, Grover, and this is what makes us search, advance and evolve. A permanently balanced person is static or regressing, if not dead.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Most of us have an imbalance, Grover, and this is what makes us search, advance and evolve. A permanently balanced person is static or regressing, if not dead.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    Why do you not understand that there are other people and other communities of people on this planet that are FAR MORE ADVANCED SPIRITUALITY than the Baha'i Community?

    One example would be the Boy Scouts. Another would be the 101st Airborne of the Armed Forces of the United States. In terms of Glenford Mitchell's mentality, they are really, really good at "doing God's work" for starters. And I am sure they pray a lot more than the Baha'is when facing violent death daily in impaired Middle Eastern cultures inflected by teenage Muslim boys who cannot get a date.

    I am sure that at various times the Baha'i Community was cutting edge and on the forefront of personal and collective spiritual development. But that depended on the people themselves at various times in the history of the Faith. It did not depend on anything at all from the "Administrative Order". The "Administrative Order" of the Baha'i Faith has never contributed anything whatsoever to the spirituality of anyone. Zero. Nada. Zippo. In fact, from my experience, it is an impediment to human spirituality. Even Satanic.

    Spirituality comes from one's personal connection to the Cosmos in one's heart, mind, and spirit and not through one's connection to Institutions run by lifetime incumbent hacks of zero personal spirituality themselves that have shamelessly gamed the electoral processes.

    Spirituality is not found in a workbook. It cannot be taught. It comes from one's personal being in the journey of life. To think it can be top down micromanaged and taught in coloring books is ludicrous and utter folly.

    Through these insane and completely dysfunctional straight jacketed methods the precious spirituality of the Baha'is of the world has been set back centuries, while everyone else who is free to think on their own with their own heart and mind is advancing hour by hour in accord with the innate powers of the World Age.

    What has been done to the rank and file Baha'is of the world by the Institutions of the Baha'i Faith top down controlled by a very, very tiny clique of people from the ITC fraternity is absolutely criminal and will be seen as such by every person on Earth in the future.

    there are many souls on this planet far more spiritual and far more in touch with the Divine Forces of the universe than the cookie cutter top down micromanaged groupthink paint-by-numbers straight jacketed workbook spirituality of the Baha'is.

    Why can' t you see this truth? You need to get out more. Meet some new people. Read some new books. Many good spiritual things are happening in the world while the Baha'is fall further and further behind in impaired top down micromanaged groupthink baloney that is shamefully robbing Baha'is worldwide of their own innate God given spirituality.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    Why do you not understand that there are other people and other communities of people on this planet that are FAR MORE ADVANCED SPIRITUALITY than the Baha'i Community?

    One example would be the Boy Scouts. Another would be the 101st Airborne of the Armed Forces of the United States. In terms of Glenford Mitchell's mentality, they are really, really good at "doing God's work" for starters. And I am sure they pray a lot more than the Baha'is when facing violent death daily in impaired Middle Eastern cultures inflected by teenage Muslim boys who cannot get a date.

    I am sure that at various times the Baha'i Community was cutting edge and on the forefront of personal and collective spiritual development. But that depended on the people themselves at various times in the history of the Faith. It did not depend on anything at all from the "Administrative Order". The "Administrative Order" of the Baha'i Faith has never contributed anything whatsoever to the spirituality of anyone. Zero. Nada. Zippo. In fact, from my experience, it is an impediment to human spirituality. Even Satanic.

    Spirituality comes from one's personal connection to the Cosmos in one's heart, mind, and spirit and not through one's connection to Institutions run by lifetime incumbent hacks of zero personal spirituality themselves that have shamelessly gamed the electoral processes.

    Spirituality is not found in a workbook. It cannot be taught. It comes from one's personal being in the journey of life. To think it can be top down micromanaged and taught in coloring books is ludicrous and utter folly.

    Through these insane and completely dysfunctional straight jacketed methods the precious spirituality of the Baha'is of the world has been set back centuries, while everyone else who is free to think on their own with their own heart and mind is advancing hour by hour in accord with the innate powers of the World Age.

    What has been done to the rank and file Baha'is of the world by the Institutions of the Baha'i Faith top down controlled by a very, very tiny clique of people from the ITC fraternity is absolutely criminal and will be seen as such by every person on Earth in the future.

    there are many souls on this planet far more spiritual and far more in touch with the Divine Forces of the universe than the cookie cutter top down micromanaged groupthink paint-by-numbers straight jacketed workbook spirituality of the Baha'is.

    Why can' t you see this truth? You need to get out more. Meet some new people. Read some new books. Many good spiritual things are happening in the world while the Baha'is fall further and further behind in impaired top down micromanaged groupthink baloney that is shamefully robbing Baha'is worldwide of their own innate God given spirituality.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: there are other people and other communities of people on this planet that are FAR MORE ADVANCED SPIRITUALITY than the Baha'i Community?

    Farhan: This might well be so, but what we need is to confederate all these wonderful people into one common enterprise.

    Craig: Why can' t you see this truth? You need to get out more

    Farhan: I am doing just that, Craig, travelling all around the planet, oceans and country side; I am far less in contact with the Baha'i community which I see as very different from the one you describe. I also happen to evaluate what I see in the light of God's revelation and I realise that it is in the Baha'i community that I encounter the widest possible scope of acceptation.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig wrote: there are other people and other communities of people on this planet that are FAR MORE ADVANCED SPIRITUALITY than the Baha'i Community?

    Farhan: This might well be so, but what we need is to confederate all these wonderful people into one common enterprise.

    Craig: Why can' t you see this truth? You need to get out more

    Farhan: I am doing just that, Craig, travelling all around the planet, oceans and country side; I am far less in contact with the Baha'i community which I see as very different from the one you describe. I also happen to evaluate what I see in the light of God's revelation and I realise that it is in the Baha'i community that I encounter the widest possible scope of acceptation.

  • fubar

    RE: FARHAN – STOP THE FANATICAL LIES/DECEPTION

    farhan said:
    | Farhan: This might well be so, but what we need is to confederate all these
    | wonderful people into one common enterprise.

    No we don't. What you and other similar/worse bahai fanatics want to do is to impose CONFORMITY. And THOUGHT POLICING. bahai seeks to turn free people into "spiritual" slaves, and halt cultural and "real" spiritual evolution.

    You (fanatic bahais) worship the "system" of administration, and the false god of prophetic revelation, which is contrary to evolutionary and integral theory.

    As a (XL-ex-bahai), I have no interest in a bahai/inspired "confederation" that would doom the world to backward persano-bahai cultural imperialism and brainwashing.

    please stop the blatant lies and deception: they are PROHIBITED BY YOUR RELIGION!

  • fubar

    RE: FARHAN – STOP THE FANATICAL LIES/DECEPTION

    farhan said:
    | Farhan: This might well be so, but what we need is to confederate all these
    | wonderful people into one common enterprise.

    No we don't. What you and other similar/worse bahai fanatics want to do is to impose CONFORMITY. And THOUGHT POLICING. bahai seeks to turn free people into "spiritual" slaves, and halt cultural and "real" spiritual evolution.

    You (fanatic bahais) worship the "system" of administration, and the false god of prophetic revelation, which is contrary to evolutionary and integral theory.

    As a (XL-ex-bahai), I have no interest in a bahai/inspired "confederation" that would doom the world to backward persano-bahai cultural imperialism and brainwashing.

    please stop the blatant lies and deception: they are PROHIBITED BY YOUR RELIGION!

  • Grover

    So Farhan, you admit that you have a compulsive need to comment on absolutely everything, probably indicating an obsessive compulsive disorder. The fact that you obviously can't see anything wrong with your compulsion indicates psychosis. Or, you have an obsessive need for attention, probably because no one listens to you at work or at home. Why don't you go see a psychiatrist?

  • Grover

    So Farhan, you admit that you have a compulsive need to comment on absolutely everything, probably indicating an obsessive compulsive disorder. The fact that you obviously can't see anything wrong with your compulsion indicates psychosis. Or, you have an obsessive need for attention, probably because no one listens to you at work or at home. Why don't you go see a psychiatrist?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    “you would believe that we need more IQ and PHDs on the UHJ.”

    when did I say this? Please, for one second STOP the fantasies about what you think I say and r e a d what I’ve actually written.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    “you would believe that we need more IQ and PHDs on the UHJ.”

    when did I say this? Please, for one second STOP the fantasies about what you think I say and r e a d what I’ve actually written.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: …you have a compulsive need to comment on absolutely everything, probably indicating an obsessive compulsive disorder.

    Interesting comment, Grover. In fact you might be suggesting another way of spelling the word LOVE that can be considered as an obsessive-compulsive behaviour:

    http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060120_lov
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-an

    The difference between a BEHAVIOUR and a DISORDER is what determines if we need psychiatric assistance. If a behaviour is correctly harmonised with a fruitful way of life, it is an asset. If it becomes counterproductive and destructive to ourselves, our families and society, it becomes a disorder. We can say that the love of Christ was destructive to his physical self and family, but a great asset to humanity.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Grover wrote: …you have a compulsive need to comment on absolutely everything, probably indicating an obsessive compulsive disorder.

    Interesting comment, Grover. In fact you might be suggesting another way of spelling the word LOVE that can be considered as an obsessive-compulsive behaviour:

    http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060120_lov

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-an

    The difference between a BEHAVIOUR and a DISORDER is what determines if we need psychiatric assistance. If a behaviour is correctly harmonised with a fruitful way of life, it is an asset. If it becomes counterproductive and destructive to ourselves, our families and society, it becomes a disorder. We can say that the love of Christ was destructive to his physical self and family, but a great asset to humanity.

  • Pey

    Maybe the problems assailing the Bahai community and specifically it's adminstrative order is also due to the lack of spirituality. Are you willing to admit that Farhan?

  • Pey

    Maybe the problems assailing the Bahai community and specifically it's adminstrative order is also due to the lack of spirituality. Are you willing to admit that Farhan?

  • Name

    The word 'theologian' is not the problem, in case you completely missed the point of the letter. The problem is the way author appointed himself as clarifier, purifier, strengthener, and criticiser of Baha'i ideas; problematic also was his self-appointment as writer for the Baha'i community.

    This is really very simple, and there is nothing to discuss.

  • Baquia

    Name, if you actually read what the author wrote, rather than foisting your own bias on the words, you realize that he is saying that he 'seeks to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community'. How is this different from what you or I do whenever we participate in consultation at feast? or when other theologians write or do research? Clearly, explicitly stating that one has such intentions is at worst benign and at best, actually laudable.

    From your message, it is clear that you interpret what the author wrote as 'appointing himself' to a rank or station. Can you please tell me where the author says this? Also, where does he 'self-appoint' himself as the writer for the Baha'i community?

    The distinction you are making is a false and artificial one. You are adding something which is not there. You are saying that the author has appointed himself as the 'writer for the Baha'i community'. I could also make the same bombastic and asinine charge the next time you get up to make a suggestion to your LSA or asking them a question.

    Who do you think you are? setting yourself up as the 'questioner'? do you think you know better? etc.

    I hope you see where you lead yourself off the path of common sense. Whenever you would like to come back and join the rest of us, we'll be glad to have your company.

  • Craig Parke

    Name,

    If you actually get Sen McGlinn's book and read it, you will see that the spin in the “unnamed usurper person” letter from the auspices of the UHJ is completely incorrect and completely unfair. The spin that he was asserting himself over other Baha'is in some way is not what he said at all if you read the three pages context in the actual book. In the context of his thesis to an academic audience of fellow scholars he was trying to be up front and say that he admittedly wrote the book as an actual believer in the Baha'i Faith and not as some disinterested scholar who was not a Baha'i! THAT is all he was saying. He was saying this in a scholarly context to a scholarly audience of University peers.

    The Institutions of the Baha'i Faith spun a small portion of what he wrote into something out of the Salem Witch Trials! It had the odor of breathless old crones down at the beauty shop gossiping about the new school marm. The whole episode was completely ridiculous. This letter and Sen then being summarily kicked out of the Faith made the Universal House of Justice look like the Universal House of Injustice in world history.

    The one thing I really liked in Ruhi Book One was about the moral and spiritual consequences of lying. Spinning out of context is lying. Spinning out of context is bearing false witness. People who do such things are LIARS plain and simple and this will reflect very badly on the Universal House of Justice to future bewildered souls who come upon this incident and the out right lie at it's core.

    The book “Church and State” is in print. Anyone can read the true statement and context Sen said both now and 1,000 years from now when the next Manifestation of God pulls the plug on these people five minutes into the next New Revelation. Meanwhile, the next one thousand years is pure Divine Judgment on the clueless souls that cannot practice what they preach with the cameras rolling 24/7/365/1000. The Abrahamic religions are the gift that just keeps on giving! It is all about Divine Judgment upon Spiritual Archetypes in the Heart of Man from World Age to World Age. The grade so far on us is “F”. Just the same old, same old. People deserved something far better. But I do not think the authoritarian fundamentalist mindsets of the Middle East that destroyed Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can ever be overcome. From Jesus to Torquemada it is still the same old road.

    So it goes.

    But the rise of the Internet just might still change the equation this time out. It may change it indeed.

  • senmcglinn

    dear Name,
    In _Church and State_, I write for the Bahai community, not for a general public. I assume some knowledge of the Bahai Faith and don't give references for things like “Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian” to prove he really was the Guardian. I take such basics for granted. The book is long enough without sourcing and footnoting the obvious.

    On my blog
    http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/
    I often do give references for really basic things, for instance with links to wikipedia articles or the BIC's reference library, because on the blog I write for the general public.

    I gather you are willing to accept that there can be “Bahai theology” and therefore Bahai theologians who write it or teach it. If Bahai theology is a legitimate study, then it must have a purpose, for if it served no purpose it would be one of those things that begin with words and end with words, ie not a legitimate study.

    If Bahai theology does serve some useful purpose, one has to define that purpose, to know whether a partuclar example is good theology or bad theology. I have stated what I think the purpose of Bahai theology is, in the foreword to Church and State, which you can read on scibed here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/3172445/Church-and-St
    or as a pdf document here:
    http://www.sonjavank.com/sen/pdfs/cs_intro.pdf
    (You can also buy the book from Amazon or Kalimat, just follow the links at http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/publications/ )

    Note that the page begins by saying that the book represents my own understanding, that I point out later that other Bahais have different ideas, and on the next page I say that my views are not authoritative or definitive.

    But to get back to the purpose of theology: in Church and State I defined my purposes as ?to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world.? The list is not exhaustive, but I am not persuaded that it is wrong.

    Criticism refers to theology’s self-critical method, and to criticism in the sense that the word is used in ?literary criticism.’

    Clarification follows from the systematic and critical method of theology, which exposes vague expressions used without thought about their meaning, and uncovers muddles. (see my blog for some examples!) Church and State addressed the Baha’i teachings concerning the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, which had been conflated in footnotes to the earliest translations of Some Answered Questions and in some influential early Baha’i books. As soon as it is noticed that two separate things are being discussed, the texts themselves become largely self-explanatory, because the apparent contradictions were due to approaching the texts with a confusion of concepts.

    Purification is an aspect of theology’s self-critical method: as we study the Bahai texts in a systematic way, it becomes evident that some of what we thought were ?Bahai teachings’ are contaminations, resulting from the adoption by Bahais, in various generations, of assumptions accepted in their various societies and political environments. It is difficult to detect and escape the gravitational pull of our philosophical, religious and cultural backgrounds, but we can try to do so by returning to the scriptural texts in a systematic way.

    Finally, theology strengthens the ideas of the Bahai community, first by removing muddles, and then by locating the scriptural roots of the various teachings so distinguished. But more important is the role of any open discussion: what is discussed remains alive and lived, while what is merely taken as a given quickly becomes a dead letter. Thus a good theology is not necessarily one that brings about a change in ideas. A theology which takes what is known and ?makes it new’ has also strengthened the ideas of the community.

    ~~ Sen McGlinn

  • senmcglinn

    Dear Farhan,

    please excuse me if I adopt a satirical tone: think of it as satire as a literary genre, not directed at you personally.

    I would be interested to hear some ideas on how someone could “forcibly impose” their ideas on the others, specifically on the mass of the Bahai believers. I've been plotting this for years, and the best plan I've come up with so far requires
    - an organisation spread at the grassroots around the world,
    - supported by Counsellors at least and preferably by a decision of the UHJ to give my system a monopoly for a decade or so,
    - a comprehensive set of teaching materials that embody my ideas in simple language,
    - a rote learning system to ensure people don't think too much and criticise my ideas,
    - qualified and monotored tutors to lead small groups studying the material,
    - a system to train the tutors and area coordinators to keep them flying straight, and
    - a pyramid motivation system to get people to buy in, by promising that if they work up through the levels they too can become qualified tutors and eventually area coordindators, or summer school speakers and that sort of thing: a sort of ecclesiastical hierarchy in fact.

    The problem with my plan is that the Ruhi people are already doing it, which has rather spoiled the market for ecclesiastical hierarchies. So if anyone can suggest any other way for an individual without any special standing in the community to impose his ideas on other Bahais, do let me know

    Sen

  • Kurt

    Rock on, Sen!

    The first time I read Church and State I didn't know what Sen was going on and on about. The second time I read Church and State I thanked God that something written by a Bahai surprisingly had some meat on its bones. The third time I read Church and State I finally knew what Baha'u'llah meant by “Protect us, we beseech Thee, O my Lord, from the hosts of idle fancies and vain imaginations.” They're rampant. A bahai woman tutoring Ruhi in my house about jumped out of her skin when she spotted Church and State on my bookshelf. Her braying embarrassed everyone. Good thing it wasn't fatal. The fourth time I read Church and State I realized how much I would prefer it if the UHJ recruited such talent to Haifa for the study of the Sacred Texts or some other purpose rather than vilified such skill. Still, I believe history will look upon Church and State kindly even if someone on Mount Carmel did not.

  • Craig Parke

    Kurt,

    Spot on post, brother! That is exactly how I felt. I absolutely loved that book. A book about the Baha'i Faith that actually had a pulse! Sen makes the case with stunning solid irrefutable scholarship. There is no intellect currently in Haifa that could come near what he laid out step by step in an analysis of both the historical thought currents in Islam and what Baha'u'llah actually wrote in the documented sacred scripture of the Faith. It was beautiful. It was magnificent. It made the potential of the Faith into the most beautiful and tender vision of a human society imaginable. A world where all that is good and wondrous comes from the potential of the individual human soul and not a top down theocracy of dysfunctional Orwellian dunces addicted to lowest common denominator mind bending degraded groupthink. To clearly see that this other vision is what Baha'u'llah actually taught and Himself explained how it would build proper spiritual spheres of a decentralized society made me want to play my guitar again with my Fender Twin Reverb on 10 to drive the neighbors nuts in utter joy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzBlR2jt_L0

    I wrote to him that if he took the small potatoes Baha'i material out all together (at this point no one in the world is really interested on what the official “Baha'is” think about anything on anything whatsoever because the free thinker open souls are already carrying out the actual Spirit of the Maid of Heaven in the Planetary Cosmic Visitation) and expanded the chapters on the extremely interesting thought currents in the history of Islam on these key issues, he would have a run away best seller all across the world given the times we are living in. People in every society really want to know about the various thought currents in the history of Islam on these issues.

    The fact that the paranoid BAO turned away someone of this steady intellectual and patient ability in a witch hunt right out of a the worst chapters of the now fading Abrahamic religions is all anyone needs to know to be able to predict the fate of the Baha'i Faith for the foreseeable future.

    His tour de force presentation of the ideas and principles actually taught by Baha'u'llah made me remember why I once was electrified by the Baha'i Faith! Baha'u'llah taught in the Kitab-I-Iqan a very simple spiritual idea and practice of daily archetypal Sufi insight that could have been incredibly useful in transforming the world very, very rapidly. Instead everything went into the hands of clearly mentally ill people who used the Teachings for their own psychiatric ward ends in creating a now completely predatory and horrifically brutal and emotionally coercive top down organization right out of Dostoevsky on LSD.

    I also loved the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha that i had never seen before that put him up there with our beloved Thomas Paine on some of the most vital issues facing mankind.

    Wow did I love the Baha'i Faith documented in clear minute detail that book!

    History will eventually shine a very kindly light on that book. And the endless breathless lectures finding fault with everybody and everything on Earth by extremely unhappy and miserable PK and all those of his ilk will go into the trash compactor of history in utter hack disgrace.

  • Mary

    Nice try at diverting attention, but reading the WHOLE sentence, “As a Bahai theologian, I seek to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, …”

    It isn't the term “theologian” that is the problem, it's the arrogance of claiming authority to “clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Baha'i community”.

    That takes some serious ego to think he has the right to do any of those things.

  • Baquia

    Mary, I've already addressed this here. And Sen has addressed it here.

    Sen is simply stating his goal. And they are laudable. How perverse to call it egotistical and claim that he is seeking 'authority'. It is really sad when fellow Baha'is like yourself do not stop to consider for one minute how in the world a scholar who is merely writing to state his personal bias and goals – which is actually transparency and humility – can be doing the opposite.

    The next time you speak up at feast to offer an idea or feedback, please stop and pause to consider that you are potentially criticizing, or purifying (that is clarifying) or strengthening the ideas of the Baha'i community.

  • Mary

    Nice try at diverting attention, but reading the WHOLE sentence, “As a Bahai theologian, I seek to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, …”

    It isn't the term “theologian” that is the problem, it's the arrogance of claiming authority to “clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Baha'i community”.

    That takes some serious ego to think he has the right to do any of those things.

  • Baquia

    Mary, I've already addressed this here. And Sen has addressed it here.

    Sen is simply stating his goal. And they are laudable. How perverse to call it egotistical and claim that he is seeking 'authority'. It is really sad when fellow Baha'is like yourself do not stop to consider for one minute how in the world a scholar who is merely writing to state his personal bias and goals – which is actually transparency and humility – can be doing the opposite.

    The next time you speak up at feast to offer an idea or feedback, please stop and pause to consider that you are potentially criticizing, or purifying (that is clarifying) or strengthening the ideas of the Baha'i community.

  • robert

    I just don't quite get what some of you folk are on about. If the following quote is incorrect or an invention, please tell me the source proof for incorrectness. If it is true, where is your point of dissent ? I have found that if one corresponds with the Universal House of Justice with the respect due to it, there is no problem. I respect Sen's considerable intellectual capacity, but there are other scholars of equal or greater capacity that the UHJ can seek opinions from, and, if necessary, peer review Sen's or others viewpoints and publications. What would I do in Sen's position ? Would I withdraw the book ? I don't know. But I would seriously, as a Baha'i reflect on the negative UHJ response to my assertion of clarifying what is “true” about the Faith.
    “The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty… Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God…”
    `Abdu'l-Baha: Will and Testament, Page: 11
    Perhaps some may say that the system of election is wrong. Yet did not the Hands establish this process themselves when it was decided there could be no other Guardian ? Did they not have the authority to do this ? Does the UHJ genuinely exist or not ? I am not saying that one cannot be personally disappointed with any individual decision they make. Certainly one can be disappointed and feel that the decision MAY NEED TO BE REVIEWED in the future (they can be asked to reverse a decision over time). A UHJ decision may be reversed. I think sometimes God is testing us for our humility.

  • fubar

    robert,

    what is being tested is the relevancy of a medieval/premodern paradigm in a world that now contains modernism, postmodernism and integralism.

    the haifan bahai tradition is full of outmoded metaphysical constructs, contradictions and has become a system of worship of bureacuracy and fundamentalism.

    all that is a massive violation of many spiritual ideas/values that bahai imported from sufism that are the basis for bahaism as a universalist and socially progressive religion.

    the focus on authority in the haifan bahai tradition is obsessive, psychologically unhealthy, dishonest, politicall and sociologically backward and SOUL KILLING.

    it is contrary to advances in neuroscience, cognitive studies, consciousness studies, and integral theory.

  • robert

    Disqus

    I understand your concern. I have to respond to you as a member of the Baha'i Faith who accepts the UHJ as the legitimate Institution proclaimed by Baha'u'llah, and confirmed by Abdul Baha, even though it is yet in its infancy. I do not see the UHJ as just representative of a “haifan bahai tradition”, but rather as a Divinely established Institution.
    I am myself, among other things, a poet, and I have penned some rather outrageous passages about religion, but it is not for me to throw these words in the face of authority in a defiant or provocative way. Let my views emerge with the passage of time, perhaps both during, and after my existence in this human dimension, and, hopefully, be examined in the course of time by an intelligent, reflective, and compassionate audience. I am in no hurry for my 15 minutes, or more, of fame or importance.
    Further to this discussion let me say that religious establishments such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglicans and the Jehovah's Witnesses (just to name a small selection) that are based on incomplete understandings of Scripture, have, with the exposure of errors, been reforming their establishments and are now hopefully attempting to focus on the beneficent teachings of Jesus, and provide services and succor to to human society through the compassion of their members, their education and wit, and their expertise (whichever of these may be their strength), despite any impediments of their doctrinal rigidities. As with art and science and literature we gain nothing, indeed we lose a lot, if we just reject the past as a worthless irrelevancy, and attempt to just dismantle structures as if they had no worth whatsoever. If we do this we can end up with a new paradigm established by theorists who proclaim their “realities” on the flimsy foundation of whatever “brilliant” mindset takes the populist fancy. I suppose Lenin was a good example of this. I believe on the contrary we must work soundly and intelligently through structures that have been presented to us from the Abha Kingdom, but which, we would all agree, need to be guided and moulded into perfection through the persistent efforts of all of us, but in a respectful way. We do this ultimately through mutual interaction and consultation, not simply through malevolent criticism of things with which we do not currently find in our view to be wholly correct or acceptable. The sensible input of all of us is required to achieve the best result. I am not opposed therefore to the premises of your concerns, but rather the nature of their expression. We should not return insult (real or perceived) with insult in return. That is not the way of God. Surely ? No matter how slow the process, it is better to work within established guidelines, and within the established framework of the Divinely ordained Institutions. Anything else, with respect, is human folly.

  • laliluleulz

    well said brother

  • fubar

    haifan bahaism has imported lot of bad ideas and “folly”, and repackaged it as “brilliant” stuff. there is a constant process of bureaucratic reinvention that baha administration engages in.

    unfortunately, few “good” ideas are similarly imported.

    the idea that any institution is “divinely ordained” is folly.

    witness the long history of resistance of such institutions to the reform processes you reference.

    thanks