Meet the New Universal House of Justice

The scrutineers where scrutinizing so hard they are still squinting, the counters were counting (and re-counting), Counsellor Penny Walker, as chairperson of the convention, kept imploring the tellers to not actually look at the ballots because they didn’t need to use their own eyes, they could just look through the eyes of the UHJ!

Thankfully they paid her as much attention as those kitschy drapes behind the main stage. And the results:

Farzam Arbab, Kiser Barnes, Peter Khan, Hooper Dunbar, Firaydoun Javaheri, Paul Lample, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, and Gustavo Correa.

I’m shocked! SHOCKED I tell ya!!

Who could have ever imagined this surprising upset?

All seven incumbents: re-elected. And in place of the two retirees? who are the two new entrants?

Both previous members of the International Teaching Center – in turn previously appointed by the Universal House of Justice.

By the way, since usually the names are announced in descending order of votes, we can see that the two new ITC, oops! I mean UHJ members are the ones with the least votes.

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read this excerpt from the official Baha’i News Service:

During the voting, a number of procedures were taken to ensure the integrity of the balloting process – some of which were visible and others less so.

Foremost, the current Universal House of Justice was seated as a body, front and center, as obvious observers to the process.

Yes! What a strategic technique to insure integrity and remove any hint of electioneering or campaigning! Sitting prominently in visual range of everyone who is about to cast a ballot. That is the best way not to influence anyone in any way to vote for the incumbents.

I’ve put together the membership details of the Universal House of Justice from its inception, up to and including this new election. The details include the individual members, when they were elected, how long they served, how they departed (death or retirement) and what their prior position was within the Baha’i Administration:

I’ve hastily scribbled some thoughts below the data. You are welcome to study it and arrive at your own. Especially one which contradicts mine.

For those taking note, the trend that many had observed within the membership, namely moving away from National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) members to International Teaching Center (ITC) is now complete.

This is the first year – please mark it down on your calendar – that all of the members of the Universal House of Justice have been plucked from the ITC.

Which, I need not remind you, is itself appointed by the UHJ. So we now have come full circle. A bit like recycling I suppose. Hey, I’m all for helping the environment and recycling. Except in this case, what is being recycled, in a closed loop, are ideas.

Related:

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Burning Berni,
    after having smelling salts liberally applied – I nehe’ever considered that Dr. Maneck could in any way be wrong about anything – I am wide awake yet again. Please don’t shock me like that again.
    I do have to grudgingly give you credit though… although, Dr. Maneck is always right… she must be! what is my world coming to?
    Hope you made some coin with the bookies ;-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Burning Berni,
    after having smelling salts liberally applied – I nehe’ever considered that Dr. Maneck could in any way be wrong about anything – I am wide awake yet again. Please don’t shock me like that again.
    I do have to grudgingly give you credit though… although, Dr. Maneck is always right… she must be! what is my world coming to?
    Hope you made some coin with the bookies ;-)

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla Gilman

    This chart is great—the whole thing laid out. Thanks.

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla Gilman

    This chart is great—the whole thing laid out. Thanks.

  • Bird

    Baquia you are a clever and wonderful soul. I did catch that article from 2005 last year and wondered if your predictions would come true.
    Can you tell me who is going to win the US election? LOL…

    I am truly sorry to find muse in it all but how can anyone not. Funny assesment about Susan…

    Priscilla – love the energy from your blog too..

    People like you keeping the coals lit.

    Bird

  • Bird

    Baquia you are a clever and wonderful soul. I did catch that article from 2005 last year and wondered if your predictions would come true.
    Can you tell me who is going to win the US election? LOL…

    I am truly sorry to find muse in it all but how can anyone not. Funny assesment about Susan…

    Priscilla – love the energy from your blog too..

    People like you keeping the coals lit.

    Bird

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Baquia,

    I admit that those guys at the BWC do have some fancy buildings for admin and stuff. But when a big event comes up, they have to hire a hall just like the rest of us. That’s reassuring. And I think the Haifa Conference Centre was done up real nice. Unlike you, I reckon the drapes are lovely. They give a solid marble-column look, but without the cost or the pesky flakiness. Appearance is everything at these events.

    Check out the big image of the drapes and the voting process. The momentous event is evidently providing hours of excitement for the audience. As you can see, some people are eagerly photographing or video-recording the proceedings — you can see the glow of tiny LSD viewfinders in the darkened auditorium.

    I’ve enhanced part of the big image, so you can just make out what’s displayed on one of the LCD screens. Maybe the display I’ve focused on is not from a camera, though. It seems to be displaying a rather familiar web-page…

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Baquia,

    I admit that those guys at the BWC do have some fancy buildings for admin and stuff. But when a big event comes up, they have to hire a hall just like the rest of us. That’s reassuring. And I think the Haifa Conference Centre was done up real nice. Unlike you, I reckon the drapes are lovely. They give a solid marble-column look, but without the cost or the pesky flakiness. Appearance is everything at these events.

    Check out the big image of the drapes and the voting process. The momentous event is evidently providing hours of excitement for the audience. As you can see, some people are eagerly photographing or video-recording the proceedings — you can see the glow of tiny LSD viewfinders in the darkened auditorium.

    I’ve enhanced part of the big image, so you can just make out what’s displayed on one of the LCD screens. Maybe the display I’ve focused on is not from a camera, though. It seems to be displaying a rather familiar web-page…

  • Christie

    Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?

  • Christie

    Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?

  • anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?[/quote]

    intellectual and human curiosity always seem to be the motivating factor in asking such questions. I always like to think that the next manifestation of God would be a women…She comes to the UHJ and says, ok, now women can join. So God decrees…

    I honestly think of it as a test. Despite the urge to write that off as simple religious apathy, why not have faith in the simplicity of the answer and move on. Why, do you want to be on the UHJ?

  • anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?[/quote]

    intellectual and human curiosity always seem to be the motivating factor in asking such questions. I always like to think that the next manifestation of God would be a women…She comes to the UHJ and says, ok, now women can join. So God decrees…

    I honestly think of it as a test. Despite the urge to write that off as simple religious apathy, why not have faith in the simplicity of the answer and move on. Why, do you want to be on the UHJ?

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia:
    Before Craig jumps in here with his usual wit, let me be the First:
    ‘Greet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss’ (referring to the newly re-cycled UHJ)
    and to respond to anonymuz’ statement regarding the very intelligent question from Christie as to why those among us who are cloven not crested are denied Service on that August Body…
    Yes Dammit..I would like the CHOICE to Serve, thank you very much.
    Shanti
    WH

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia:
    Before Craig jumps in here with his usual wit, let me be the First:
    ‘Greet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss’ (referring to the newly re-cycled UHJ)
    and to respond to anonymuz’ statement regarding the very intelligent question from Christie as to why those among us who are cloven not crested are denied Service on that August Body…
    Yes Dammit..I would like the CHOICE to Serve, thank you very much.
    Shanti
    WH

  • Anonymous

    Although I suspected as much before, it is now my firm conviction that Bah??’?s are not familiar with their own authoritative and holy writ; otherwise, they would not be surprised with its male bias, lack of term limits, and impossibility of female prophets.

    To wit, anonymuz writes:

    I always like to think that the next manifestation of God would be a women…She comes to the UHJ and says, ok, now women can join. So God decrees…

    This is a pitiful abnegation of moral conscience commonly expressed by Bah??’?s who see the inequity of the current male-only scheme but would rather wait idly by for God to confirm what they already know to be true: that men and women are equal (not in the lame sense of “equal” as employed by the Bah??’? Faith, but really equal). I for one say, Why should we have to wait for God to confirm what we already know to be moral?! I say, If God hasn’t the courage to embody full gender equality in his Earthly institutions, then I say to hell with God. But I’m getting off track. My point is that beyond being an abnegation of moral conscience, this is also an expression of pure ignorance and unfamiliarity with the Bah??’? writings.

    For as ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? did write:

    As regards the holy verse, the intention of the reference to ‘male, not female’, is the first-born son, for in all the Divine Dispensations the first-born son hath enjoyed a special distinction. Refer ye to the Torah and the Gospel, and likewise to the traditions related from aforetime. Read ye the story of Esau, Jacob and the sons of Isaac in the Torah, that it may become apparent that in all the divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright, let alone the vanities of this world. Even the just laws current amongst civilized states and peoples have also accorded to the first-born son a special distinction.

    It’s really quite simple, people: If your religion is not moral, then you have a moral obligation to leave your religion. Morality, like politics, is not something that you take-or-leave in a package. That is the epitome of the lazy person’s way to forming their ethical (or political) decisions.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Although I suspected as much before, it is now my firm conviction that Bah??’?s are not familiar with their own authoritative and holy writ; otherwise, they would not be surprised with its male bias, lack of term limits, and impossibility of female prophets.

    To wit, anonymuz writes:

    I always like to think that the next manifestation of God would be a women…She comes to the UHJ and says, ok, now women can join. So God decrees…

    This is a pitiful abnegation of moral conscience commonly expressed by Bah??’?s who see the inequity of the current male-only scheme but would rather wait idly by for God to confirm what they already know to be true: that men and women are equal (not in the lame sense of “equal” as employed by the Bah??’? Faith, but really equal). I for one say, Why should we have to wait for God to confirm what we already know to be moral?! I say, If God hasn’t the courage to embody full gender equality in his Earthly institutions, then I say to hell with God. But I’m getting off track. My point is that beyond being an abnegation of moral conscience, this is also an expression of pure ignorance and unfamiliarity with the Bah??’? writings.

    For as ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? did write:

    As regards the holy verse, the intention of the reference to ‘male, not female’, is the first-born son, for in all the Divine Dispensations the first-born son hath enjoyed a special distinction. Refer ye to the Torah and the Gospel, and likewise to the traditions related from aforetime. Read ye the story of Esau, Jacob and the sons of Isaac in the Torah, that it may become apparent that in all the divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright, let alone the vanities of this world. Even the just laws current amongst civilized states and peoples have also accorded to the first-born son a special distinction.

    It’s really quite simple, people: If your religion is not moral, then you have a moral obligation to leave your religion. Morality, like politics, is not something that you take-or-leave in a package. That is the epitome of the lazy person’s way to forming their ethical (or political) decisions.

  • Grover

    I think women are just as capable as men at being on the UHJ. The reason why no reason was ever given as to why women should not be on the UHJ was because there was never any good reason.

    The question is: how can you be a convincing advocate for equality between men and women and not let women be on the UHJ?

  • Grover

    I think women are just as capable as men at being on the UHJ. The reason why no reason was ever given as to why women should not be on the UHJ was because there was never any good reason.

    The question is: how can you be a convincing advocate for equality between men and women and not let women be on the UHJ?

  • anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]I think women are just as capable as men at being on the UHJ. The reason why no reason was ever given as to why women should not be on the UHJ was because there was never any good reason.

    The question is: how can you be a convincing advocate for equality between men and women and not let women be on the UHJ?[/quote]

    Mavvaddatt et al,

    you have to believe in God first before you can say to hell with him. I get a real kick out of how much people attempt to explain through their fancy terms learned in philosophy class the apparent discrepancies within the writings. Following the path of Ahmad Sohrab, Kheyrullah, does not really appeal to me. I have read their reasoning and there is nothing different from what is being talked about 100 yrs later.

    If you desire to serve on the UHJ then I would recommend first serving on an assembly of some sort. The members usually are reluctant because its tedious, long, and stressful work. Frankly I have no desire to serve on an assembly because I feel my strengths lie elsewhere…usually those who do serve are very capable administrators…not fluffy internet commentators that smack of ego.

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected “intellectuals” does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!

    Lastly, the most wasteful, hurtful, pointless and ultimately useless action that can be taken by believers in the Baha’i faith, former and current, is to sit around and talk about it. Why don’t you make a sacrifice and help out in a developing country for the rest of your life instead of blowing hot air? Those who do nothing but talk and waste time trying to convince other people of their point of view are no better than the likes of Ann Coulter or Bill Oreilly.

    In all honesty I respect your search for truth, and ultimately your desire to be correct. It is obvious you each have your own respective ways of going about it and you are indeed entitled. I have been down this path of hyper skepticism myself and questioned my own soul, faith, family, religion, etc…I even called Haifa in the middle of the night once and talked to a member of the UHJ for an hour, had never personally met him before either. No joke. Ultimately, to find serenity, peace within yourself and the world around you, which is arguably the goal of life, you have to be reserved and look to the next life because this one is really screwed up. I have heart felt concern and I sincerely pray for those I read about online who describe their struggles with the Faith, its administration, God etc…I wish I could be there to give them a hug. But, I learned the only way to get through it and return to a healthy spiritual existence is to be able to let go of what you think you know.

  • anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]I think women are just as capable as men at being on the UHJ. The reason why no reason was ever given as to why women should not be on the UHJ was because there was never any good reason.

    The question is: how can you be a convincing advocate for equality between men and women and not let women be on the UHJ?[/quote]

    Mavvaddatt et al,

    you have to believe in God first before you can say to hell with him. I get a real kick out of how much people attempt to explain through their fancy terms learned in philosophy class the apparent discrepancies within the writings. Following the path of Ahmad Sohrab, Kheyrullah, does not really appeal to me. I have read their reasoning and there is nothing different from what is being talked about 100 yrs later.

    If you desire to serve on the UHJ then I would recommend first serving on an assembly of some sort. The members usually are reluctant because its tedious, long, and stressful work. Frankly I have no desire to serve on an assembly because I feel my strengths lie elsewhere…usually those who do serve are very capable administrators…not fluffy internet commentators that smack of ego.

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected “intellectuals” does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!

    Lastly, the most wasteful, hurtful, pointless and ultimately useless action that can be taken by believers in the Baha’i faith, former and current, is to sit around and talk about it. Why don’t you make a sacrifice and help out in a developing country for the rest of your life instead of blowing hot air? Those who do nothing but talk and waste time trying to convince other people of their point of view are no better than the likes of Ann Coulter or Bill Oreilly.

    In all honesty I respect your search for truth, and ultimately your desire to be correct. It is obvious you each have your own respective ways of going about it and you are indeed entitled. I have been down this path of hyper skepticism myself and questioned my own soul, faith, family, religion, etc…I even called Haifa in the middle of the night once and talked to a member of the UHJ for an hour, had never personally met him before either. No joke. Ultimately, to find serenity, peace within yourself and the world around you, which is arguably the goal of life, you have to be reserved and look to the next life because this one is really screwed up. I have heart felt concern and I sincerely pray for those I read about online who describe their struggles with the Faith, its administration, God etc…I wish I could be there to give them a hug. But, I learned the only way to get through it and return to a healthy spiritual existence is to be able to let go of what you think you know.

  • Andrew

    Oh them fancy philosophy class terms!

    Mavaddat *is* doing something truly productive for humanity:

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZMWMgkhF3g

  • Andrew

    Oh them fancy philosophy class terms!

    Mavaddat *is* doing something truly productive for humanity:

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZMWMgkhF3g

  • Andrew

    White Hanky wrote:

    “Greet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss”

    This is also what Tahirih challenged. See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ6TrvvoJUA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0agCqpnXIwI

  • Andrew

    White Hanky wrote:

    “Greet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss”

    This is also what Tahirih challenged. See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ6TrvvoJUA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0agCqpnXIwI

  • Anonymous

    anonymuz writes,

    you have to believe in God first before you can say to hell with him.

    No, not really. If God exists and doesn’t have the courage to perscribe real gender equality, then such a God would not be a moral God and to him I would say, To hell with you, sir.

    I get a real kick out of how much people attempt to explain through their fancy terms learned in philosophy class the apparent discrepancies within the writings.

    The vocabulary I employ is fancy, eh? So… Have you ever actually read anything by Shoghi Effendi? Bah??’u’ll??h? Ever heard of them? Hm? This only further proves my point: Bah??’?s are completely ignorant of their own holy writ.

    Following the path of Ahmad Sohrab, Kheyrullah, does not really appeal to me. I have read their reasoning and there is nothing different from what is being talked about 100 yrs later.

    I gather here that you think I’m advocating for some kind of alternative authority to the UHJ. I’m not. I’m suggesting maybe it’s time to give up our child-like need for infallible adult figures and grow up. Grow up.

    If you desire to serve on the UHJ …

    I don’t.

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected ?intellectuals? does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!

    Again, our poster demonstrates his or her tottering ignorance of the Bah??’? writings. For those even marginally familiar with the Bah??’? writings, it is clear that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was an advocate and employer of the Socratic method. For example, regarding the demonstration of what our ignorant friend calls a “waste of time”, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? writes:

    First of all, let us determine whether these Prophets were valid or not by using rational proofs and shining arguments, not simply by quoting traditionary evidences, because traditions are divergent and the source of dissension.

    And regarding Socrates, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? writes:

    As to deistic philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, they are indeed worthy of esteem and of the highest praise, for they have rendered distinguished services to mankind.

    And also:

    The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.

    Compare that to the sentiment put in the mouth of Socrates by Plato in his famous dialogue, The Republic:

    What, then, we thought we saw there [justice in the state] we must refer back to the individual [interpersonal justice] and, if it is confirmed, all will be well. But if something different manifests itself in the individual, we will return again to the state and test it there and it may be that, by examining them side by side and rubbing them against one another, as it were from the fire-sticks we may cause the spark of justice to flash forth, and when it is thus revealed confirm it in our own minds.

    In fact, ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s own philosophy was so closely resembling the Platonic picture of Socrates that I would say he was an unconscious plagiarist of that school of thought. So much for our poster’s disparaging of the Socratic method.

    Lastly, the most wasteful, hurtful, pointless and ultimately useless action that can be taken by believers in the Baha’i faith, former and current, is to sit around and talk about it.

    Once again showing your profound ignorance with the Bah??’? writings. You not only contradict yourself by doing precisely what you say is a waste of time (i.e., sitting around and talking about the Bah??’? Faith), but you also contradict all the proselytizing and indoctrination efforts that are promoted by the Bah??’? Faith and its authorities, which are nothing more than sitting around and talking. Alright. I’m done with this.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    anonymuz writes,

    you have to believe in God first before you can say to hell with him.

    No, not really. If God exists and doesn’t have the courage to perscribe real gender equality, then such a God would not be a moral God and to him I would say, To hell with you, sir.

    I get a real kick out of how much people attempt to explain through their fancy terms learned in philosophy class the apparent discrepancies within the writings.

    The vocabulary I employ is fancy, eh? So… Have you ever actually read anything by Shoghi Effendi? Bah??’u’ll??h? Ever heard of them? Hm? This only further proves my point: Bah??’?s are completely ignorant of their own holy writ.

    Following the path of Ahmad Sohrab, Kheyrullah, does not really appeal to me. I have read their reasoning and there is nothing different from what is being talked about 100 yrs later.

    I gather here that you think I’m advocating for some kind of alternative authority to the UHJ. I’m not. I’m suggesting maybe it’s time to give up our child-like need for infallible adult figures and grow up. Grow up.

    If you desire to serve on the UHJ …

    I don’t.

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected ?intellectuals? does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!

    Again, our poster demonstrates his or her tottering ignorance of the Bah??’? writings. For those even marginally familiar with the Bah??’? writings, it is clear that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was an advocate and employer of the Socratic method. For example, regarding the demonstration of what our ignorant friend calls a “waste of time”, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? writes:

    First of all, let us determine whether these Prophets were valid or not by using rational proofs and shining arguments, not simply by quoting traditionary evidences, because traditions are divergent and the source of dissension.

    And regarding Socrates, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? writes:

    As to deistic philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, they are indeed worthy of esteem and of the highest praise, for they have rendered distinguished services to mankind.

    And also:

    The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.

    Compare that to the sentiment put in the mouth of Socrates by Plato in his famous dialogue, The Republic:

    What, then, we thought we saw there [justice in the state] we must refer back to the individual [interpersonal justice] and, if it is confirmed, all will be well. But if something different manifests itself in the individual, we will return again to the state and test it there and it may be that, by examining them side by side and rubbing them against one another, as it were from the fire-sticks we may cause the spark of justice to flash forth, and when it is thus revealed confirm it in our own minds.

    In fact, ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s own philosophy was so closely resembling the Platonic picture of Socrates that I would say he was an unconscious plagiarist of that school of thought. So much for our poster’s disparaging of the Socratic method.

    Lastly, the most wasteful, hurtful, pointless and ultimately useless action that can be taken by believers in the Baha’i faith, former and current, is to sit around and talk about it.

    Once again showing your profound ignorance with the Bah??’? writings. You not only contradict yourself by doing precisely what you say is a waste of time (i.e., sitting around and talking about the Bah??’? Faith), but you also contradict all the proselytizing and indoctrination efforts that are promoted by the Bah??’? Faith and its authorities, which are nothing more than sitting around and talking. Alright. I’m done with this.

  • anonymuz

    Mavaddat,

    I agree with you in the irony of us sitting here going back and forth. But, in my own defense at work we spend all day on the computer and have free access to the net with no restrictions. In any case, guilty as charged.

    But, I have to say that its not my ignorance of the writings that leads me to say what I said. I have read it all and although that does not make me an expert, it does entitle me to claim that if you use the writings, as you have in proving your points, then you should acknowledge that there are passages and verses that are supportive of more authoritative positions. I could easily find the quotes to support my own arguments and maybe I should start doing so.

    The way you quote Abdul’Baha to ultimately belittle the Faith and what its rules are, is unfortunate. You also blanket statement Baha’is in general which is also a sign of your deep seated dissatisfaction. I believe the Socratic references he uses are in support of coming to productive and divine conclusions. I have faith in that. If you have come to the conclusions you have, whatever they may be, although they appear to be unproductively skeptical, then you have only yourself and your faculty to share that with. Remember–one passage may mean many things to many people.

    In the end, The Baha’i Faith is young and so are its institutions, adherents and positions. Giving in to such dismissal of God and religion at such a young age and with such little experience gives me hope that you will come around.

  • anonymuz

    Mavaddat,

    I agree with you in the irony of us sitting here going back and forth. But, in my own defense at work we spend all day on the computer and have free access to the net with no restrictions. In any case, guilty as charged.

    But, I have to say that its not my ignorance of the writings that leads me to say what I said. I have read it all and although that does not make me an expert, it does entitle me to claim that if you use the writings, as you have in proving your points, then you should acknowledge that there are passages and verses that are supportive of more authoritative positions. I could easily find the quotes to support my own arguments and maybe I should start doing so.

    The way you quote Abdul’Baha to ultimately belittle the Faith and what its rules are, is unfortunate. You also blanket statement Baha’is in general which is also a sign of your deep seated dissatisfaction. I believe the Socratic references he uses are in support of coming to productive and divine conclusions. I have faith in that. If you have come to the conclusions you have, whatever they may be, although they appear to be unproductively skeptical, then you have only yourself and your faculty to share that with. Remember–one passage may mean many things to many people.

    In the end, The Baha’i Faith is young and so are its institutions, adherents and positions. Giving in to such dismissal of God and religion at such a young age and with such little experience gives me hope that you will come around.

  • http://kaweah.com/blog Dan Jensen

    Bravo Baquia. Very cool chart. It seems like just yesterday I was joyously opening the BWC gates for all those holy guys, back when Pete K. was a mere UHJ apprentice at the ITC. Back then (1986-87) we had three IBC vets, and were looking to a future of purely elected UHJs. Whoops! Sueprize! Fast-forward a generation and presto! 100% self-appointed UHJ! My have we come a long way in no time at all.

  • http://kaweah.com/blog Dan Jensen

    Bravo Baquia. Very cool chart. It seems like just yesterday I was joyously opening the BWC gates for all those holy guys, back when Pete K. was a mere UHJ apprentice at the ITC. Back then (1986-87) we had three IBC vets, and were looking to a future of purely elected UHJs. Whoops! Sueprize! Fast-forward a generation and presto! 100% self-appointed UHJ! My have we come a long way in no time at all.

  • Andrew

    “In the end, The Baha’i Faith is young and so are its institutions, adherents and positions. Giving in to such dismissal of God and religion at such a young age and with such little experience gives me hope that you will come around.”

    “Woe betide thee, O quarrelsome disbeliever in the manifold proofs of the resplendent Daystar of the ancient splendor, the splenderous ancient! For verily it behooveth thee to parketh thy brain at the manifest door of the Blessed Beauty, that thou mayest thoroughly lobotomize thyself through thy total immersion in the most sacred and august writings of the most august and sacred Personage, more moster than the mostest most of the mostest. We haveth hope that thou shalt indeed come around, for verily, we haven’t much else of substance to offer.” Ba’howl’la la la, “Kitab-i-Mavaddat”

  • Andrew

    “In the end, The Baha’i Faith is young and so are its institutions, adherents and positions. Giving in to such dismissal of God and religion at such a young age and with such little experience gives me hope that you will come around.”

    “Woe betide thee, O quarrelsome disbeliever in the manifold proofs of the resplendent Daystar of the ancient splendor, the splenderous ancient! For verily it behooveth thee to parketh thy brain at the manifest door of the Blessed Beauty, that thou mayest thoroughly lobotomize thyself through thy total immersion in the most sacred and august writings of the most august and sacred Personage, more moster than the mostest most of the mostest. We haveth hope that thou shalt indeed come around, for verily, we haven’t much else of substance to offer.” Ba’howl’la la la, “Kitab-i-Mavaddat”

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “Although I suspected as much before, it is now my firm conviction that Bah??’?s are not familiar with their own authoritative and holy writ; otherwise, they would not be surprised with its male bias, lack of term limits, and impossibility of female prophets. To wit, anonymuz writes…”

    let me see if I understand this correctly. You have a SUSPICION that Baha’is are not familiar with their own holy writ. This suspicion has been CONFIRMED by a post by anonymuz – one person. This is your scientific/philosophical/rational approach? Suspicions confirmed by posts? Do you have empirical data which would be support your general conclusion about Baha’is?

    I suppose this global community who are all ignorant includes not only everyone in every country and at every level of involvement but scholars including Momen, Schaefer, Rafati and many others? I am sure you are aware that if you made any such statement about any group in one of yourstudent essays your professors would require you to back it up with empiricaldata. Suspicions confirmed by your assumptions simply are not adequate.

    But why should I be surprised? Andrew claimed that atheists are the fastest growing group in the world. he still has not cited any reference to data which supports his claim. He also invoked postmodernity as his basis for refuting the Faith but could not provide a satisfactory answer to Mills’ or Chomsky’s criticisms of postmodernity which I provided.

    “The criticism of postmodernism as ultimately meaningless rhetorical gymnastics was demonstrated in the Sokal Affair, where Alan Sokal, a physicist, proposed and delivered for publication an article purportedly about interpreting physics and mathematics in terms of postmodern theory, which he had deliberately written in a completely nonsensical fashion, including several in-jokes mocking postmodernism. It was nevertheless published by Social Text, a “cultural studies” journal active in the field of postmodernism, as a serious postmodernist work. Sokal arranged for the simultaneous publication of another article describing the former as a successful experiment to see whether a postmodernist journal would publish any nonsensical article with big words that flattered the editors’ political views, triggering an academic scandal. Sokal later published a book with Jean Bricmont called Intellectual Impostures, which expands upon his criticism of postmodernism.”

    “Biologist Richard Dawkins believes that postmodernists generally are intellectual charlatans who deliberately obscure weak or nonsensical ideas with ostentatious and difficult to understand verbiage.”

    If, as a Baha’i, I am being told that what I believe is nonsense based on current fashionable thinking I do expect at least a minimal effort to defend that intellectualposition (especially considering the many problems with postmodernity).

    If it seems improbable to link your comment based on suspicion with Andrew it is because I find that, likeAndrew and other critics,your logic is sometimes flawed when used in critiquing not only the Baha’is but religion in general. Instead, point this out are dismissed for their “screed” as Andrew categorized my points in his “agent provacateur” role.

    Mavaddat, I would really like to see some data which supports your suspicions. Andrew, I would really also appreciate some data which supports your assertions about the growth of atheism. Some defence of postmodernism would also be appreciated if you expect me to “DEAL WITH IT” as you pointedly put it.

    The problem with the tone of the assertions I read here is that we Baha’is are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” If we are as ignorant of our holy writ as Mavaddat claims we are a bunch of moral midgets. If the Ruhi method is implemented to ensure Baha’is become more knowledgeable about the Faith we are accused of “indoctrination” and brain-washing. Okay, I know this is a rants site but I expect some minimal degree of support when blanket statements are made andr intellectual currents of thought are cited as the basis for criticisms.

    Carmen

    I link Andrew’s

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “Although I suspected as much before, it is now my firm conviction that Bah??’?s are not familiar with their own authoritative and holy writ; otherwise, they would not be surprised with its male bias, lack of term limits, and impossibility of female prophets. To wit, anonymuz writes…”

    let me see if I understand this correctly. You have a SUSPICION that Baha’is are not familiar with their own holy writ. This suspicion has been CONFIRMED by a post by anonymuz – one person. This is your scientific/philosophical/rational approach? Suspicions confirmed by posts? Do you have empirical data which would be support your general conclusion about Baha’is?

    I suppose this global community who are all ignorant includes not only everyone in every country and at every level of involvement but scholars including Momen, Schaefer, Rafati and many others? I am sure you are aware that if you made any such statement about any group in one of yourstudent essays your professors would require you to back it up with empiricaldata. Suspicions confirmed by your assumptions simply are not adequate.

    But why should I be surprised? Andrew claimed that atheists are the fastest growing group in the world. he still has not cited any reference to data which supports his claim. He also invoked postmodernity as his basis for refuting the Faith but could not provide a satisfactory answer to Mills’ or Chomsky’s criticisms of postmodernity which I provided.

    “The criticism of postmodernism as ultimately meaningless rhetorical gymnastics was demonstrated in the Sokal Affair, where Alan Sokal, a physicist, proposed and delivered for publication an article purportedly about interpreting physics and mathematics in terms of postmodern theory, which he had deliberately written in a completely nonsensical fashion, including several in-jokes mocking postmodernism. It was nevertheless published by Social Text, a “cultural studies” journal active in the field of postmodernism, as a serious postmodernist work. Sokal arranged for the simultaneous publication of another article describing the former as a successful experiment to see whether a postmodernist journal would publish any nonsensical article with big words that flattered the editors’ political views, triggering an academic scandal. Sokal later published a book with Jean Bricmont called Intellectual Impostures, which expands upon his criticism of postmodernism.”

    “Biologist Richard Dawkins believes that postmodernists generally are intellectual charlatans who deliberately obscure weak or nonsensical ideas with ostentatious and difficult to understand verbiage.”

    If, as a Baha’i, I am being told that what I believe is nonsense based on current fashionable thinking I do expect at least a minimal effort to defend that intellectualposition (especially considering the many problems with postmodernity).

    If it seems improbable to link your comment based on suspicion with Andrew it is because I find that, likeAndrew and other critics,your logic is sometimes flawed when used in critiquing not only the Baha’is but religion in general. Instead, point this out are dismissed for their “screed” as Andrew categorized my points in his “agent provacateur” role.

    Mavaddat, I would really like to see some data which supports your suspicions. Andrew, I would really also appreciate some data which supports your assertions about the growth of atheism. Some defence of postmodernism would also be appreciated if you expect me to “DEAL WITH IT” as you pointedly put it.

    The problem with the tone of the assertions I read here is that we Baha’is are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” If we are as ignorant of our holy writ as Mavaddat claims we are a bunch of moral midgets. If the Ruhi method is implemented to ensure Baha’is become more knowledgeable about the Faith we are accused of “indoctrination” and brain-washing. Okay, I know this is a rants site but I expect some minimal degree of support when blanket statements are made andr intellectual currents of thought are cited as the basis for criticisms.

    Carmen

    I link Andrew’s

  • Carm-again

    If I had the time I would start an atheism rants site except that I am not an atheist ;( I just recalled a major study published in Scientific American circa 1971/72 in which a number of scientists attempted to calculate the probability of creation as we know it having come into being by chance. Alhough the results didn’t change their own belief or disbelief in a First Cause the probability that there wasn’t a Creator was so unlikely that the analogy they came up with was that of tossing all the letters in a dictionary up into the air and expecting them to land in perfect order arranged as in a dictionary from A-Z.

    This reminds me of John Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” I think He is very much alive and well despite the current popularity of some atheist scientists :)

    Carmen

  • Carm-again

    If I had the time I would start an atheism rants site except that I am not an atheist ;( I just recalled a major study published in Scientific American circa 1971/72 in which a number of scientists attempted to calculate the probability of creation as we know it having come into being by chance. Alhough the results didn’t change their own belief or disbelief in a First Cause the probability that there wasn’t a Creator was so unlikely that the analogy they came up with was that of tossing all the letters in a dictionary up into the air and expecting them to land in perfect order arranged as in a dictionary from A-Z.

    This reminds me of John Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” I think He is very much alive and well despite the current popularity of some atheist scientists :)

    Carmen

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="49510"]

    Anonymuz Wrote:

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected “intellectuals” does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!
    [/quote]

    You seem to be quite judgmental of people here. How do you know what anyone’s here’s service has been in the Baha’i Faith? You come across as very young and insufferably middle class. You come across as someone who has never been tested in life.

    I served faithfully, steadfastly, and honorably in many capacities for almost FOUR DECADES in the Baha’i Faith. I voted in 32 straight elections in person until 4 years ago when I realized I can no longer sit in the same room with people who allowed their religion to be brutally sodomized like this by a tiny group of people who have gamed the electoral process to achieve lifetime incumbency for their own petty personal psychological needs and personal neurotic system of self-definition.

    As to “sacrifice”, the Baha’is of the world, including the Iranian Baha’is in the diaspora on my dime as a U.S. military veteran, cannot spell the word! There is zero sacrifice in the Baha’i Faith compared to the hell the soldiers of the nations of the world were sent into in the 20th Century.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPU4p7UQOtU

    They were essentially slaughtered because the hapless Baha’is of the world for the last 100 years could not teach their religion out of a paper bag decade after decade while the world was destroyed TWICE! It is a religion of talentless, uncreative, passive-agressive cowards, who could not run a shift at McDonalds. The new Ruhi system of blind rote indoctrination won’t work either. It is a Theocracy of Dunces.

    But the World Age WILL go on and find life in the hearts of PEOPLE WHO HAVE GUTS and can get things done whether they have ever heard of Baha’u’llah (or Jesus or Buddha or Krishna for that matter either) or not.

    My oldest sister and brother-in-law along with many other fine and brave souls including several young women from the U.S., Canada, and Japan (3 of whom lost their lives there) have been ON THE GROUND in Afghanistan for the last 7 years running the medical relief effort for the ENTIRE United States of America there. DEEDS NOT WORDS. My sister and the 3 women that perished had more CAN DO GUTS in their little fingers than any current male member of the election gamed UHJ Little Lord Fonteroy Theorist Boys Club.

    So if you want to go to Afghanistan just say the word and my sister can get you to the Frontier Quarter with Pakistan. You’ll be dead within 48 hours. But she speaks fluent Farsi and can enquire about your fate. Just tell her where to send your body.

    Or I will be glad to drive you to the U.S. Armed Forces recruiting office and you can fight and die in Iraq. Maybe you’ll learn about “S A C R I F I C E” there when you come back with no arms or legs or blinded for life. There are now about 150 blinded for life from their severe wounds. Maybe you will be number the 151st?

    The Baha’i Faith is a religion of people whose greatest trauma they have ever faced in their sheltered little lives is getting a “C” on a term paper.

    I’m sick of it. And I am sick of limited people who come on these sites and try to dismiss people who post here as being “disaffected intellectuals” who did no service compared to those who “truly have sacrificed” for the Faith.

    You don’t know a thing about anyone here or the history of their long service in the Faith.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="49510"]

    Anonymuz Wrote:

    All in all this largely western group of disaffected “intellectuals” does no service to those who truly have sacrificed for the Faith. Your attempts at socratic methods to analyze something that is essentially unknowable are a waste of time. Why dont you try to do something truly productive for your fellow man..or woman?!
    [/quote]

    You seem to be quite judgmental of people here. How do you know what anyone’s here’s service has been in the Baha’i Faith? You come across as very young and insufferably middle class. You come across as someone who has never been tested in life.

    I served faithfully, steadfastly, and honorably in many capacities for almost FOUR DECADES in the Baha’i Faith. I voted in 32 straight elections in person until 4 years ago when I realized I can no longer sit in the same room with people who allowed their religion to be brutally sodomized like this by a tiny group of people who have gamed the electoral process to achieve lifetime incumbency for their own petty personal psychological needs and personal neurotic system of self-definition.

    As to “sacrifice”, the Baha’is of the world, including the Iranian Baha’is in the diaspora on my dime as a U.S. military veteran, cannot spell the word! There is zero sacrifice in the Baha’i Faith compared to the hell the soldiers of the nations of the world were sent into in the 20th Century.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPU4p7UQOtU

    They were essentially slaughtered because the hapless Baha’is of the world for the last 100 years could not teach their religion out of a paper bag decade after decade while the world was destroyed TWICE! It is a religion of talentless, uncreative, passive-agressive cowards, who could not run a shift at McDonalds. The new Ruhi system of blind rote indoctrination won’t work either. It is a Theocracy of Dunces.

    But the World Age WILL go on and find life in the hearts of PEOPLE WHO HAVE GUTS and can get things done whether they have ever heard of Baha’u’llah (or Jesus or Buddha or Krishna for that matter either) or not.

    My oldest sister and brother-in-law along with many other fine and brave souls including several young women from the U.S., Canada, and Japan (3 of whom lost their lives there) have been ON THE GROUND in Afghanistan for the last 7 years running the medical relief effort for the ENTIRE United States of America there. DEEDS NOT WORDS. My sister and the 3 women that perished had more CAN DO GUTS in their little fingers than any current male member of the election gamed UHJ Little Lord Fonteroy Theorist Boys Club.

    So if you want to go to Afghanistan just say the word and my sister can get you to the Frontier Quarter with Pakistan. You’ll be dead within 48 hours. But she speaks fluent Farsi and can enquire about your fate. Just tell her where to send your body.

    Or I will be glad to drive you to the U.S. Armed Forces recruiting office and you can fight and die in Iraq. Maybe you’ll learn about “S A C R I F I C E” there when you come back with no arms or legs or blinded for life. There are now about 150 blinded for life from their severe wounds. Maybe you will be number the 151st?

    The Baha’i Faith is a religion of people whose greatest trauma they have ever faced in their sheltered little lives is getting a “C” on a term paper.

    I’m sick of it. And I am sick of limited people who come on these sites and try to dismiss people who post here as being “disaffected intellectuals” who did no service compared to those who “truly have sacrificed” for the Faith.

    You don’t know a thing about anyone here or the history of their long service in the Faith.

  • P

    Hi Anonymuz, here is another little story for you. Since the Iranian revolution, more people have been imprisoned, tortured and executed for the crime of homosexuality in Iran- than have Bahais. When was the last time you heard any Persian Bahai or heck anyone from Bahai administration condemned such persecution in Iran. I never have. In fact, I have heard many Persian Bahais (including my own mother) get offended at the thought of equating these two atrocities. I guess to Persian Bahais the blood of a 17 year old boy being hanged for being gay just isn’t as important as the story that you posted. I sympathize for the Bahais in Iran, I just wish Bahais would sympathize for others.

  • P

    Hi Anonymuz, here is another little story for you. Since the Iranian revolution, more people have been imprisoned, tortured and executed for the crime of homosexuality in Iran- than have Bahais. When was the last time you heard any Persian Bahai or heck anyone from Bahai administration condemned such persecution in Iran. I never have. In fact, I have heard many Persian Bahais (including my own mother) get offended at the thought of equating these two atrocities. I guess to Persian Bahais the blood of a 17 year old boy being hanged for being gay just isn’t as important as the story that you posted. I sympathize for the Bahais in Iran, I just wish Bahais would sympathize for others.

  • Craig Parke

    Anonymuz,

    8 million soldiers died in World War I just on the Western front alone.

    Where were the Baha’is?

    NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

    Just pulling on their puds in endless, dysfunctional meetings, completely cut off from Almighty God.

    100 million human beings died in World War II.

    Where were the Baha’is?

    NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

    Just pulling on their puds in endless, dysfunctional meetings, completely cut off from Almighty God.

    Shoghi Effendi honored the ashes of the Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the blood of the millions of soldiers of the Allied Nations that fell in battle, and the pennies of widows and orphans in the Great Depression who built the Baha’i Faith by taking their money and flying to London on the lam to buy cheap furniture and dying there without having appointed a Living Guardian in his lifetime or written a Will and Testament of ANY KIND as he was SUPPOSED TO DO if he was going to be FAITHFUL TO THE COVENANT as EXPRESSLY STATED in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. He WAS NOT FAITHFUL to his SACRED TASK. He completely failed his duty to all future Baha’is which we are now. This was a DIRECT COSMIC INSULT to the sacrifice of millions of human beings in World War II for a better future world as expressed by Abdu’l-Baha in 1912 and the hopes of the poor who had put their hopes in the Faith in those long years.

    It’s time to tell the truth and speak frankly.

    The Administrative Order did NOT live up to the hopes of the rank and file in ANY Era so far.

    As to your story, I am tired of hearing the sob stories of the limp wristed weak passive-aggressive personality Baha’is in Iran. Get over it. If 300,000 Iranian Bahai’s would have GONE TO THE WALL for the last 100 years in a MASSIVE RIVER of NEVER ENDING BLOOD against the bad karma of their own first civilization of slaughter in human history (The Persian Empire invented crucifixion don cha know…) and the hapless tribal clan dick measuring contest “civilizations” of illiterate Bedouin, maybe American soldiers would not have to be in the Middle East right now and the American people spend a trillion dollars to fight your wars for you. Maybe the people of Iraq should have gotten off their knees themselves and overthrown Saddam if they had any guts as a nation. They didn’t because they are A NATION OF SHEEP AND COWARDS. Same when they were being slaughtered in the Iran-Iraq War. You get the government you deserve. The same is true of us as Americans in the nightmare we are currently in.

    If you are Iranian, which I now think you are, and you are in the West with freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech to post on this blog, then thank somebody in the West! Thank Thomas Jefferson who basically believed that all organized religion is a fraud and all “religious” people are profoundly mentally ill. I knew William Sears, Mr. Furatan, and Dr. Ruhe. They were all tremendous human beings. Very, very fine men. I loved the faith when it had intelligent and real people in it. But the Baha’i Faith has not yet produced one Thomas Jefferson. That slave owning, slave banging U.S. Founding Father has done far more good than anyone will in the Baha’i Faith for the next 500 years and counting.

    Ask yourself what is wrong with a culture that produces a “Sarbazan Gumnam Imam Zaman (the unknown soldiers of the Lord of the Age)”? The people of the Middle East can take their neurotic martyrdom cultures and jam them where the sun don’t shine. The Baha’is too. The Middle East will never produce a decent rock guitarist or a starting Quarterback in the NFL who can audible a play on the spur of the moment at the line of scrimmage. The Middle East are cultures of teenage boys with weapons who can’t get a date. Why? Because religion in these cultures is toxic brain chemistry. I’m sick of it. Let all the Baha’is be martyrs in their exact same culture of their own making.

    You and I are apparently both Baha’is! Times have changed.

    I will never take anything you say seriously until you have the guts to post your real name. This is my real name. I don’t give a shit anymore. So be it. I fear no one. If the “Administrative Order” doesn’t like how I think, they know where to find me.

    No more group think anywhere on Earth.

    There was a lot of good in the Baha’i Writings. Too bad it all went into the hands of organizational psychopaths and sociopaths as all organized religions did that have gone before it.

    Too bad it came from Iran.

  • Craig Parke

    Anonymuz,

    8 million soldiers died in World War I just on the Western front alone.

    Where were the Baha’is?

    NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

    Just pulling on their puds in endless, dysfunctional meetings, completely cut off from Almighty God.

    100 million human beings died in World War II.

    Where were the Baha’is?

    NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

    Just pulling on their puds in endless, dysfunctional meetings, completely cut off from Almighty God.

    Shoghi Effendi honored the ashes of the Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the blood of the millions of soldiers of the Allied Nations that fell in battle, and the pennies of widows and orphans in the Great Depression who built the Baha’i Faith by taking their money and flying to London on the lam to buy cheap furniture and dying there without having appointed a Living Guardian in his lifetime or written a Will and Testament of ANY KIND as he was SUPPOSED TO DO if he was going to be FAITHFUL TO THE COVENANT as EXPRESSLY STATED in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. He WAS NOT FAITHFUL to his SACRED TASK. He completely failed his duty to all future Baha’is which we are now. This was a DIRECT COSMIC INSULT to the sacrifice of millions of human beings in World War II for a better future world as expressed by Abdu’l-Baha in 1912 and the hopes of the poor who had put their hopes in the Faith in those long years.

    It’s time to tell the truth and speak frankly.

    The Administrative Order did NOT live up to the hopes of the rank and file in ANY Era so far.

    As to your story, I am tired of hearing the sob stories of the limp wristed weak passive-aggressive personality Baha’is in Iran. Get over it. If 300,000 Iranian Bahai’s would have GONE TO THE WALL for the last 100 years in a MASSIVE RIVER of NEVER ENDING BLOOD against the bad karma of their own first civilization of slaughter in human history (The Persian Empire invented crucifixion don cha know…) and the hapless tribal clan dick measuring contest “civilizations” of illiterate Bedouin, maybe American soldiers would not have to be in the Middle East right now and the American people spend a trillion dollars to fight your wars for you. Maybe the people of Iraq should have gotten off their knees themselves and overthrown Saddam if they had any guts as a nation. They didn’t because they are A NATION OF SHEEP AND COWARDS. Same when they were being slaughtered in the Iran-Iraq War. You get the government you deserve. The same is true of us as Americans in the nightmare we are currently in.

    If you are Iranian, which I now think you are, and you are in the West with freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech to post on this blog, then thank somebody in the West! Thank Thomas Jefferson who basically believed that all organized religion is a fraud and all “religious” people are profoundly mentally ill. I knew William Sears, Mr. Furatan, and Dr. Ruhe. They were all tremendous human beings. Very, very fine men. I loved the faith when it had intelligent and real people in it. But the Baha’i Faith has not yet produced one Thomas Jefferson. That slave owning, slave banging U.S. Founding Father has done far more good than anyone will in the Baha’i Faith for the next 500 years and counting.

    Ask yourself what is wrong with a culture that produces a “Sarbazan Gumnam Imam Zaman (the unknown soldiers of the Lord of the Age)”? The people of the Middle East can take their neurotic martyrdom cultures and jam them where the sun don’t shine. The Baha’is too. The Middle East will never produce a decent rock guitarist or a starting Quarterback in the NFL who can audible a play on the spur of the moment at the line of scrimmage. The Middle East are cultures of teenage boys with weapons who can’t get a date. Why? Because religion in these cultures is toxic brain chemistry. I’m sick of it. Let all the Baha’is be martyrs in their exact same culture of their own making.

    You and I are apparently both Baha’is! Times have changed.

    I will never take anything you say seriously until you have the guts to post your real name. This is my real name. I don’t give a shit anymore. So be it. I fear no one. If the “Administrative Order” doesn’t like how I think, they know where to find me.

    No more group think anywhere on Earth.

    There was a lot of good in the Baha’i Writings. Too bad it all went into the hands of organizational psychopaths and sociopaths as all organized religions did that have gone before it.

    Too bad it came from Iran.

  • Bird

    Baquia for some reason I am not getting the follow ups to the convo, could you check on this for me?

    Love the whole dialog.

    Just read about Ruth White today, first time, wow, did that lady give Shoghi Effendi a run for his money. The best bit in it all was the the part, let me get it.. brb… here it is

    “Shoghi Effendi does not attribute much importance to those who deny the authenticity of the Will because their attitude is not due to a desire to seek the truth, but merely oppose and bring doubt to others.”

    I didn’t get that from her Libray of Congress additions. Wow, will the fun ever end?

  • Bird

    Baquia for some reason I am not getting the follow ups to the convo, could you check on this for me?

    Love the whole dialog.

    Just read about Ruth White today, first time, wow, did that lady give Shoghi Effendi a run for his money. The best bit in it all was the the part, let me get it.. brb… here it is

    “Shoghi Effendi does not attribute much importance to those who deny the authenticity of the Will because their attitude is not due to a desire to seek the truth, but merely oppose and bring doubt to others.”

    I didn’t get that from her Libray of Congress additions. Wow, will the fun ever end?

  • Carm-again

    This reminds me of John Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” I think He is very much alive and well despite the current popularity of some atheist scientists :)

    I had wanted to provide some comments on Lennox’s book but I was too sleepy. I recall that Mavddat had promised to provide a refutation of Hatcher’s attempts to prove God’s existence in “Minimalism: A Bridge between Classical Philosophy and the Baha’i Revelation” so I will wait patiently for that and then respond to it. In the interim re Lennox’s book:

    “In this very readable and well-researched book John Lennox does a brilliant job of exposing the real issues involved in any discussion of the relationship between science and religion. The fundamental point, which he makes so well, is that the debate is NOT about science VERSUS religion, but has to do with different world views (namely naturalism – the view that there is nothing but nature and the material world – contrasted with theism – the view that there is a God ) and the relationship of each with science. Dr Lennox then asks the all-important question: Which world view sits most comfortably with science?

    What is so important about this book is that it does not counter the popular rhetoric and sloganeering (characteristic of many of those who believe that naturalism is the world view that is the logical consequence of science) with more of the same. In his careful and systematic examination of the scientific evidence Dr Lennox shows that science is not only highly consistent with a theistic world view, but even points towards it. To this end he takes us on a journey that considers the history and limits of science, as well as many of its most up-to-date findings including modern evolutionary theory, design theory, irreducible complexity and information theory. Bringing to bear his analytical and logical skills as a research mathematician, he also exposes many fallacious arguments that are often used to “prove” that science has buried God.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who seriously wishes both to understand the real nature of the debate that is currently receiving much exposure in the media, and to come to a conclusion based on evidence and reason rather than prejudice and emotion.”

    Nigel Cutland
    Professor of Pure Mathematics
    University of York, UK

    Another reviewer: ” After reading The God Delusion a year ago I became gripped and eventually spellbound by the God vs. no god debate that seems more and more to be occupying the collective attention of our culture. In my desire to gain a fuller understanding of both perspectives, I’ve since immersed myself in the most popular literature on the subject (penned by Harris, Dawkins, Hutchings, Davis, Flew, McGrath, Collins, DeSuza etc.). The arguments and lines of reasoning expressed in John Lennox’s book entitled “God’s Undertaker” are, by far, the most deep and insightful I’ve read on the subject to date.

    Lennox begins God’s Undertaker by making a critical distinction between science and materialist/naturalist philosophy that, in and of itself, provides a resounding response in the negative to the question posed in the book’s subtitle (Has science buried God?). Lennox explains that science in an uncontaminated form seeks exclusively to explore the universe by examining its physical properties and apparent laws without making claims about what might or might not exist beyond its own domain. Science therefore neither rules out nor affirms the existence of the supernatural. Naturalism, on the other hand, is philosophically bound to a preconceived notion regarding the nature of reality; namely that it is limited exclusively to the substantial and, consequently, that truth can only be found through an examination of material phenomenon. In short, it is naturalism, not science, which is at odds with theism.

    Lennox goes on to illustrate the importance of making such a distinction by pointing out the deceptive and duplicitous way in which materialists use the well earned respect of science to cloak arguments against the existence of God that not only lack scientific support but are in fact faith based and not scientific at all! Lennox hammers home the irony of this point, giving no slack to the likes of Dawkins who, while blindly ascribing god-like qualities to neutrons and electrons, mockingly portray theists as deluded dunces who base their lives on a completely imaginary deity.

    Lennox is no enemy of science. He is a purist who believes that what science points to is equally as important as what it explicitly reveals. Consequently, he is not only in awe of what science has achieved but he enthusiastically declares the important role science has played in the development of his own belief in God. Anchored by the very science that has been high jacked by Dawkins and company, Lennox demonstrates that belief in a single all powerful God is not only rational but is in fact the best conclusion one can draw from the known physical universe. Lennox does this in the heart of God’s Undertaker by engaging the scientific arguments used by materialists head-on in an “ask for no quarter, give no quarter” fashion that pays homage to his Celtic heritage.

    Specifically, Lennox confronts the naturalist’s take on cosmology, microbiology, evolution, and biogenesis and mounts a particularly robust argument for an intelligently designed universe in later chapters devoted to information science. While it is beyond the scope of this review to elucidate each of Lennox’s arguments, I will state that I found them to be well-balanced and, in most cases, compelling. I highly endorse this read for anyone interested in the origins of our universe.”

    Carmen

  • Carm-again

    This reminds me of John Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” I think He is very much alive and well despite the current popularity of some atheist scientists :)

    I had wanted to provide some comments on Lennox’s book but I was too sleepy. I recall that Mavddat had promised to provide a refutation of Hatcher’s attempts to prove God’s existence in “Minimalism: A Bridge between Classical Philosophy and the Baha’i Revelation” so I will wait patiently for that and then respond to it. In the interim re Lennox’s book:

    “In this very readable and well-researched book John Lennox does a brilliant job of exposing the real issues involved in any discussion of the relationship between science and religion. The fundamental point, which he makes so well, is that the debate is NOT about science VERSUS religion, but has to do with different world views (namely naturalism – the view that there is nothing but nature and the material world – contrasted with theism – the view that there is a God ) and the relationship of each with science. Dr Lennox then asks the all-important question: Which world view sits most comfortably with science?

    What is so important about this book is that it does not counter the popular rhetoric and sloganeering (characteristic of many of those who believe that naturalism is the world view that is the logical consequence of science) with more of the same. In his careful and systematic examination of the scientific evidence Dr Lennox shows that science is not only highly consistent with a theistic world view, but even points towards it. To this end he takes us on a journey that considers the history and limits of science, as well as many of its most up-to-date findings including modern evolutionary theory, design theory, irreducible complexity and information theory. Bringing to bear his analytical and logical skills as a research mathematician, he also exposes many fallacious arguments that are often used to “prove” that science has buried God.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who seriously wishes both to understand the real nature of the debate that is currently receiving much exposure in the media, and to come to a conclusion based on evidence and reason rather than prejudice and emotion.”

    Nigel Cutland
    Professor of Pure Mathematics
    University of York, UK

    Another reviewer: ” After reading The God Delusion a year ago I became gripped and eventually spellbound by the God vs. no god debate that seems more and more to be occupying the collective attention of our culture. In my desire to gain a fuller understanding of both perspectives, I’ve since immersed myself in the most popular literature on the subject (penned by Harris, Dawkins, Hutchings, Davis, Flew, McGrath, Collins, DeSuza etc.). The arguments and lines of reasoning expressed in John Lennox’s book entitled “God’s Undertaker” are, by far, the most deep and insightful I’ve read on the subject to date.

    Lennox begins God’s Undertaker by making a critical distinction between science and materialist/naturalist philosophy that, in and of itself, provides a resounding response in the negative to the question posed in the book’s subtitle (Has science buried God?). Lennox explains that science in an uncontaminated form seeks exclusively to explore the universe by examining its physical properties and apparent laws without making claims about what might or might not exist beyond its own domain. Science therefore neither rules out nor affirms the existence of the supernatural. Naturalism, on the other hand, is philosophically bound to a preconceived notion regarding the nature of reality; namely that it is limited exclusively to the substantial and, consequently, that truth can only be found through an examination of material phenomenon. In short, it is naturalism, not science, which is at odds with theism.

    Lennox goes on to illustrate the importance of making such a distinction by pointing out the deceptive and duplicitous way in which materialists use the well earned respect of science to cloak arguments against the existence of God that not only lack scientific support but are in fact faith based and not scientific at all! Lennox hammers home the irony of this point, giving no slack to the likes of Dawkins who, while blindly ascribing god-like qualities to neutrons and electrons, mockingly portray theists as deluded dunces who base their lives on a completely imaginary deity.

    Lennox is no enemy of science. He is a purist who believes that what science points to is equally as important as what it explicitly reveals. Consequently, he is not only in awe of what science has achieved but he enthusiastically declares the important role science has played in the development of his own belief in God. Anchored by the very science that has been high jacked by Dawkins and company, Lennox demonstrates that belief in a single all powerful God is not only rational but is in fact the best conclusion one can draw from the known physical universe. Lennox does this in the heart of God’s Undertaker by engaging the scientific arguments used by materialists head-on in an “ask for no quarter, give no quarter” fashion that pays homage to his Celtic heritage.

    Specifically, Lennox confronts the naturalist’s take on cosmology, microbiology, evolution, and biogenesis and mounts a particularly robust argument for an intelligently designed universe in later chapters devoted to information science. While it is beyond the scope of this review to elucidate each of Lennox’s arguments, I will state that I found them to be well-balanced and, in most cases, compelling. I highly endorse this read for anyone interested in the origins of our universe.”

    Carmen

  • Christie

    Thank you to everyone who gave their opinions regarding my comment re: women and the UHJ. I didn’t personally agree with everything said, but that’s what is fantastic about this forum, and as usual I found many of your comments fascinating and thought-provoking.
    In answer to your question Anonymuz, yes, I desperately want to be on the UHJ and the my lack of dangly bits is ruining my life and future aspirations! (only joking). I found it a bit disappointing that a lot of your criticism was more like a personal attack on people you know nothing about than reasoned argument. Doesn’t seem very Baha’i to me.
    Thank you for the many helpful suggestions about what I could do with my life. I have served on many Assemblies, thank you, not that it would bring me any closer to the UHJ (no dangly bits, you see, same problem). I live and work within a disadvantaged community and have done for the past twenty odd years, living simply, a “Back to Basics” Baha’i as I like to call it. No, I’m not telling you this because I think I’m so fantastic and deserve a medal for my self-sacrifice, what I’m doing is absolutely nothing compared to the people Craig is talking about. I’m just telling you to point out that it is unwise to frame your defences of your faith as personal attacks which make presumptions about people you know absolutely nothing about. I’m not making any assumptions about what you do or don’t do for the Baha’i Faith, so please give me the same courtesy.
    Yes, I could have faith in the simplicity of the answer about women and the UHJ, and many Baha’is do, that is fine and I have no problem with that. But you can’t have it both ways. Baha’is cannot then turn around and proclaim that one of the core principles of the Faith is “equality of men and women”, because that is simply not born out in the teachings about inheritence rights or administration. It is a total misrepresentation to use this core principle to attract people to the Faith without making them aware of the teachings on this issue, and this is unfortunately what happens.
    Craig, so much of what you say resonates with me. “Paris Talks” was my initial introduction into the Baha’i Faith. I have read it innumerable times now, and each time I cannot help thinking to myself “What happened? Where did it all go wrong?”

  • Christie

    Thank you to everyone who gave their opinions regarding my comment re: women and the UHJ. I didn’t personally agree with everything said, but that’s what is fantastic about this forum, and as usual I found many of your comments fascinating and thought-provoking.
    In answer to your question Anonymuz, yes, I desperately want to be on the UHJ and the my lack of dangly bits is ruining my life and future aspirations! (only joking). I found it a bit disappointing that a lot of your criticism was more like a personal attack on people you know nothing about than reasoned argument. Doesn’t seem very Baha’i to me.
    Thank you for the many helpful suggestions about what I could do with my life. I have served on many Assemblies, thank you, not that it would bring me any closer to the UHJ (no dangly bits, you see, same problem). I live and work within a disadvantaged community and have done for the past twenty odd years, living simply, a “Back to Basics” Baha’i as I like to call it. No, I’m not telling you this because I think I’m so fantastic and deserve a medal for my self-sacrifice, what I’m doing is absolutely nothing compared to the people Craig is talking about. I’m just telling you to point out that it is unwise to frame your defences of your faith as personal attacks which make presumptions about people you know absolutely nothing about. I’m not making any assumptions about what you do or don’t do for the Baha’i Faith, so please give me the same courtesy.
    Yes, I could have faith in the simplicity of the answer about women and the UHJ, and many Baha’is do, that is fine and I have no problem with that. But you can’t have it both ways. Baha’is cannot then turn around and proclaim that one of the core principles of the Faith is “equality of men and women”, because that is simply not born out in the teachings about inheritence rights or administration. It is a total misrepresentation to use this core principle to attract people to the Faith without making them aware of the teachings on this issue, and this is unfortunately what happens.
    Craig, so much of what you say resonates with me. “Paris Talks” was my initial introduction into the Baha’i Faith. I have read it innumerable times now, and each time I cannot help thinking to myself “What happened? Where did it all go wrong?”

  • Anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]But you can’t have it both ways. Baha’is cannot then turn around and proclaim that one of the core principles of the Faith is “equality of men and women”, because that is simply not born out in the teachings about inheritance rights or administration. It is a total misrepresentation to use this core principle to attract people to the Faith without making them aware of the teachings on this issue, and this is unfortunately what happens.
    [/quote]

    Dear Christie,

    I read your initial reply and felt sorry that something I said may have offended you personally. But then I re-read and I didn’t see where I actually said something specifically. In any case, I think thats what you mean, don’t be so general. OK. I will use my own experiences. I do apologize if my comments were interpreted the wrong way.

    I do want to address the underlying theme that so many of the disaffected folks seem to bring up again and again.

    Ours is the duty to ponder these things in our heart, to strive to widen our vision, and to deepen our comprehension of this Cause, and to arise, resolutely and unreservedly, to play our part, however small, in this greatest drama of the world’s spiritual history.

    — Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h, p. 26

    Make no mistake that this is a struggle of a spiritual and divine kind. The answers we try to unwrap on the blogs, forums, etc, are our worldly attempts at tackling what is ultimately nothing more than a test. We vent our frustrations and articulate our opinions with knowledge and historical examples and experience. I often ask myself, how much easier all this would have been if Shoghi Effendi would have left a will, or if women were on the House of Justice, or if we the resources to make political moves like Craig seems so upset we haven’t. But, then I am reminded that each of these instances have provided an opportunity to test the Faith of the believers. Yes, TEST YOUR FAITH. Faith is Faith is Faith is Faith.

    On these forums and blogs we are mostly debating and searching for intellectually satisfying answers. These answers have been mostly un-helpful for most because they are seated with their own intellectual positions and are not really interested in changing their minds. Only trying to question and convince people of their own. What a merry-go-round.

    The daily action we take in our lives as Baha’is in our communities are in my opinion, not really sacrifices. I do not feel terribly burdened by cleaning up after feast, or by preparing the writings, or even by pioneering. Its all small potatoes. Easy stuff. My struggle is in trying to help others with their struggles. I sincerely care with all my heart about the feelings and souls that seem to be hurt by what they see happening in the community, then they come online and make it worse. In any case, I take satisfaction in knowing that the online medium works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t to help with others in their journey. Last night at the Center there was a new Baha’i and we had a very productive talk about what comes next…

    maid-servant of God! Chant the Words of God and, pondering over their meaning, transform them into actions! I ask God to cause thee to attain a high station in the Kingdom of Life forever and ever.

    — `Abdu’l-Bah??, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bah??, p. 85

    The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not achieved and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved. The students must show the results of their study in lives. Now the friends must so live and conduct themselves as to bring greater glory and results to the religion of God. To them the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men and not question of meetings, committees, futile discussions, unnecessary debate and political wire-pulling.

    — `Abdu’l-Bah??, Star of the West, 7, no.18[7 Feb. 1917], 178

    Now surely, if ever, is the time for us, the chosen ones of Bah??’u’ll??h and the bearers of His Message to the world, to endeavor by day and by night, to deepen, first and foremost, the Spirit of His Cause in our own individual lives, and then labor, and labor incessantly to exemplify in all our dealings with our fellow-men that noble Spirit of which His beloved Son `Abdu’l-Bah?? has been all the days of His life a true and unique exponent. … Let us, with a pure heart, with humility and earnestness, turn afresh to His counsels and exhortations, and seek from that Source of Celestial Potency all the guidance, the spirit, the power which we shall need for the fulfillment of our mission in this life.

    — Shoghi Effendi, Bah??’? Administration, p. 35

  • Anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]But you can’t have it both ways. Baha’is cannot then turn around and proclaim that one of the core principles of the Faith is “equality of men and women”, because that is simply not born out in the teachings about inheritance rights or administration. It is a total misrepresentation to use this core principle to attract people to the Faith without making them aware of the teachings on this issue, and this is unfortunately what happens.
    [/quote]

    Dear Christie,

    I read your initial reply and felt sorry that something I said may have offended you personally. But then I re-read and I didn’t see where I actually said something specifically. In any case, I think thats what you mean, don’t be so general. OK. I will use my own experiences. I do apologize if my comments were interpreted the wrong way.

    I do want to address the underlying theme that so many of the disaffected folks seem to bring up again and again.

    Ours is the duty to ponder these things in our heart, to strive to widen our vision, and to deepen our comprehension of this Cause, and to arise, resolutely and unreservedly, to play our part, however small, in this greatest drama of the world’s spiritual history.

    — Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h, p. 26

    Make no mistake that this is a struggle of a spiritual and divine kind. The answers we try to unwrap on the blogs, forums, etc, are our worldly attempts at tackling what is ultimately nothing more than a test. We vent our frustrations and articulate our opinions with knowledge and historical examples and experience. I often ask myself, how much easier all this would have been if Shoghi Effendi would have left a will, or if women were on the House of Justice, or if we the resources to make political moves like Craig seems so upset we haven’t. But, then I am reminded that each of these instances have provided an opportunity to test the Faith of the believers. Yes, TEST YOUR FAITH. Faith is Faith is Faith is Faith.

    On these forums and blogs we are mostly debating and searching for intellectually satisfying answers. These answers have been mostly un-helpful for most because they are seated with their own intellectual positions and are not really interested in changing their minds. Only trying to question and convince people of their own. What a merry-go-round.

    The daily action we take in our lives as Baha’is in our communities are in my opinion, not really sacrifices. I do not feel terribly burdened by cleaning up after feast, or by preparing the writings, or even by pioneering. Its all small potatoes. Easy stuff. My struggle is in trying to help others with their struggles. I sincerely care with all my heart about the feelings and souls that seem to be hurt by what they see happening in the community, then they come online and make it worse. In any case, I take satisfaction in knowing that the online medium works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t to help with others in their journey. Last night at the Center there was a new Baha’i and we had a very productive talk about what comes next…

    maid-servant of God! Chant the Words of God and, pondering over their meaning, transform them into actions! I ask God to cause thee to attain a high station in the Kingdom of Life forever and ever.

    — `Abdu’l-Bah??, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bah??, p. 85

    The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not achieved and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved. The students must show the results of their study in lives. Now the friends must so live and conduct themselves as to bring greater glory and results to the religion of God. To them the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men and not question of meetings, committees, futile discussions, unnecessary debate and political wire-pulling.

    — `Abdu’l-Bah??, Star of the West, 7, no.18[7 Feb. 1917], 178

    Now surely, if ever, is the time for us, the chosen ones of Bah??’u’ll??h and the bearers of His Message to the world, to endeavor by day and by night, to deepen, first and foremost, the Spirit of His Cause in our own individual lives, and then labor, and labor incessantly to exemplify in all our dealings with our fellow-men that noble Spirit of which His beloved Son `Abdu’l-Bah?? has been all the days of His life a true and unique exponent. … Let us, with a pure heart, with humility and earnestness, turn afresh to His counsels and exhortations, and seek from that Source of Celestial Potency all the guidance, the spirit, the power which we shall need for the fulfillment of our mission in this life.

    — Shoghi Effendi, Bah??’? Administration, p. 35

  • P

    Anonymouz said: Those who do nothing but talk and waste time trying to convince other people of their point of view are no better than the likes of Ann Coulter or Bill Oreilly.
    ——————————
    Talk and waste time trying to convince others? Sounds like committe meetings and firesides to me. :p

  • P

    Anonymouz said: Those who do nothing but talk and waste time trying to convince other people of their point of view are no better than the likes of Ann Coulter or Bill Oreilly.
    ——————————
    Talk and waste time trying to convince others? Sounds like committe meetings and firesides to me. :p

  • p

    Being 5 generations Bahai, I’ve had the luxury of living in 8 communities in N. America, Europe and Latin America. I’ve only been in one that came close to your experience. The rest- nice people and we tried hard- but the meetings were boring and worthless- amounting to just about doing nothing. In the end, I didn’t see the Bahais making any significant difference in their communities. All I saw was a community becoming more and more invward looking- believing that nothing will happen until the whole world falls apart and then people turn to our dysfunctional communities as an example of how run the world. Oh brother. Glad you live in a great Bahai community that is uplifting the poor, improving race relations, making sure the minorities in your city are getting better job opportunites and more educating for their kids, cleaning up the environment, helping lower crime in your city, building homes for the downtrodden, etc. etc. I’m assuming you are doing all that, right? Or is just ruhi classes and dicussing where to hold the next holiday celebration and what type of food/drinks to bring.

  • p

    Being 5 generations Bahai, I’ve had the luxury of living in 8 communities in N. America, Europe and Latin America. I’ve only been in one that came close to your experience. The rest- nice people and we tried hard- but the meetings were boring and worthless- amounting to just about doing nothing. In the end, I didn’t see the Bahais making any significant difference in their communities. All I saw was a community becoming more and more invward looking- believing that nothing will happen until the whole world falls apart and then people turn to our dysfunctional communities as an example of how run the world. Oh brother. Glad you live in a great Bahai community that is uplifting the poor, improving race relations, making sure the minorities in your city are getting better job opportunites and more educating for their kids, cleaning up the environment, helping lower crime in your city, building homes for the downtrodden, etc. etc. I’m assuming you are doing all that, right? Or is just ruhi classes and dicussing where to hold the next holiday celebration and what type of food/drinks to bring.

  • tiny

    Baquia, thanks for your post, amazing how much dialog it has caused. I have one small question to you and would love to hear your honest take on the matter.
    Do you think that the “immaturity” of the community to elect only ITC members minimizes the authority of the House of Justice? Or would you assume that as the Faith is very young this is merely a slow growing process and we need time?

    look forward to your thoughts,
    tiny

  • tiny

    Baquia, thanks for your post, amazing how much dialog it has caused. I have one small question to you and would love to hear your honest take on the matter.
    Do you think that the “immaturity” of the community to elect only ITC members minimizes the authority of the House of Justice? Or would you assume that as the Faith is very young this is merely a slow growing process and we need time?

    look forward to your thoughts,
    tiny

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="49582"]Do you think that the “immaturity” of the community to elect only ITC members minimizes the authority of the House of Justice? Or would you assume that as the Faith is very young this is merely a slow growing process and we need time?[/quote]

    tiny, thank you for your question. I was going to write a reply in the comments but it got so large that I’m going to take some more time to gather my thoughts and write a full post. What you hint at is ultimately the corollary… why did this happen? what now? how can we “fix” this? Give me a few days (I’ll try to remember to email you to let you know but you can also subscribe to my feed to not miss the update)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="49582"]Do you think that the “immaturity” of the community to elect only ITC members minimizes the authority of the House of Justice? Or would you assume that as the Faith is very young this is merely a slow growing process and we need time?[/quote]

    tiny, thank you for your question. I was going to write a reply in the comments but it got so large that I’m going to take some more time to gather my thoughts and write a full post. What you hint at is ultimately the corollary… why did this happen? what now? how can we “fix” this? Give me a few days (I’ll try to remember to email you to let you know but you can also subscribe to my feed to not miss the update)

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:

    “who are the two new entrants? Both previous members of the International Teaching Center – in turn previously appointed by the Universal House of Justice.”

    Baquia,

    Many replies can be offered, but as far as I am concerned, the crux of the problem is that delegates are free to vote and obviously the members of the previous UHJ and of the ITC are to them obvious candidates, whether or not in view.

    We should move towards the idea of Baha’i administrators as _servants_ whose function is to facilitate and canalise the efforts of individual Baha’is throughout tyhe world, and not to carry on the concepts current in our contemporary world of self-serving rulers.

    The function of Counsellors and of the ITC and the elective process of the UHJ no doubt promote stability, in a world where suspicion of self-serving motives would wish us to promote change and instability.

    The fact that the Hands of the Cause requested not to be elected to the UHJ displayed the wish to serve in the field defined by the Guardian a request that was not continued by ITC members who must seem to the delegates to be in a good position to persue the work already accomplished in the ITC.

    This whole administrative structure is un precedented in religious history and incomparable to whatever we might have already experienced:

    “We have said in an earlier letter that “the existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals (Counsellors) who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Baha’i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past.” (The Universal House of Justice, May 19, 1994)

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:

    “who are the two new entrants? Both previous members of the International Teaching Center – in turn previously appointed by the Universal House of Justice.”

    Baquia,

    Many replies can be offered, but as far as I am concerned, the crux of the problem is that delegates are free to vote and obviously the members of the previous UHJ and of the ITC are to them obvious candidates, whether or not in view.

    We should move towards the idea of Baha’i administrators as _servants_ whose function is to facilitate and canalise the efforts of individual Baha’is throughout tyhe world, and not to carry on the concepts current in our contemporary world of self-serving rulers.

    The function of Counsellors and of the ITC and the elective process of the UHJ no doubt promote stability, in a world where suspicion of self-serving motives would wish us to promote change and instability.

    The fact that the Hands of the Cause requested not to be elected to the UHJ displayed the wish to serve in the field defined by the Guardian a request that was not continued by ITC members who must seem to the delegates to be in a good position to persue the work already accomplished in the ITC.

    This whole administrative structure is un precedented in religious history and incomparable to whatever we might have already experienced:

    “We have said in an earlier letter that “the existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals (Counsellors) who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Baha’i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past.” (The Universal House of Justice, May 19, 1994)

  • tiny

    Dear Baquia,

    thank you for your response, I look forward to your post and thoughts on the matter. I will be sure to keep a close tab on the activities here. :-)

    more later.
    tiny

  • tiny

    Dear Baquia,

    thank you for your response, I look forward to your post and thoughts on the matter. I will be sure to keep a close tab on the activities here. :-)

    more later.
    tiny

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Sen McGlinn is in New Zealand visiting his family. Alison and I caught up with him last weekend. One fascinating thing he said (if I remember it correctly) was that any Catholic could be elected Pope. Yes, even a lay Catholic. Wiki seems to back this up. And I thought only cardinals were eligible… According to Wiki, “Urban VI in 1378 was the last Pope elected from outside the cardinals”, so I feel better about my mistake. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what papal conclaves might tell us about international Baha’i conventions.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Sen McGlinn is in New Zealand visiting his family. Alison and I caught up with him last weekend. One fascinating thing he said (if I remember it correctly) was that any Catholic could be elected Pope. Yes, even a lay Catholic. Wiki seems to back this up. And I thought only cardinals were eligible… According to Wiki, “Urban VI in 1378 was the last Pope elected from outside the cardinals”, so I feel better about my mistake. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what papal conclaves might tell us about international Baha’i conventions.

  • Anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]Sen McGlinn is in New Zealand visiting his family. Alison and I caught up with him last weekend. One fascinating thing he said (if I remember it correctly) was that any Catholic could be elected Pope. Yes, even a lay Catholic. Wiki seems to back this up. And I thought only cardinals were eligible… According to Wiki, “Urban VI in 1378 was the last Pope elected from outside the cardinals”, so I feel better about my mistake. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what papal conclaves might tell us about international Baha’i conventions.[/quote]

    Dear Steve,

    I have trouble with your analogy given the structure of the Catholic church. Only cardinals elect a pope and they are appointed. Baha’i delegates are elected through several stages and House members are not elected for life. Moreover, the catholic church was establish by men. The House of Justice was created by the Manifestation for this day. Moreover, this is 2008, not 1378.

  • Anonymuz

    [quote comment=""]Sen McGlinn is in New Zealand visiting his family. Alison and I caught up with him last weekend. One fascinating thing he said (if I remember it correctly) was that any Catholic could be elected Pope. Yes, even a lay Catholic. Wiki seems to back this up. And I thought only cardinals were eligible… According to Wiki, “Urban VI in 1378 was the last Pope elected from outside the cardinals”, so I feel better about my mistake. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what papal conclaves might tell us about international Baha’i conventions.[/quote]

    Dear Steve,

    I have trouble with your analogy given the structure of the Catholic church. Only cardinals elect a pope and they are appointed. Baha’i delegates are elected through several stages and House members are not elected for life. Moreover, the catholic church was establish by men. The House of Justice was created by the Manifestation for this day. Moreover, this is 2008, not 1378.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Carmen,

    Could you tell me where you had that discussion with Andrew about the merits of post-modernism? I’m interested to know how it began and what it was about.

    Personally, I’m always skeptical whenever anyone says they are critical or in support of “post-modernism”… I think the phrase Post-modernism is a catch-all that really means very little concretely. It is meant to deride a whole class of thinkers and authors who have very little in common, except the fact that they reject the dogmas of modernism. So it is really a very amorphous thing to debate.

    But anyway, I’m still interested in what it was all about. I’m confident that Andrew’s point was much better than you’re letting on, although I will reserve judgement…

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat at School

    Hi Carmen,

    Could you tell me where you had that discussion with Andrew about the merits of post-modernism? I’m interested to know how it began and what it was about.

    Personally, I’m always skeptical whenever anyone says they are critical or in support of “post-modernism”… I think the phrase Post-modernism is a catch-all that really means very little concretely. It is meant to deride a whole class of thinkers and authors who have very little in common, except the fact that they reject the dogmas of modernism. So it is really a very amorphous thing to debate.

    But anyway, I’m still interested in what it was all about. I’m confident that Andrew’s point was much better than you’re letting on, although I will reserve judgement…

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “Could you tell me where you had that discussion with Andrew about the merits of post-modernism? I’m interested to know how it began and what it was about.”

    It’s archived somewhere here in the blog. Oh, I’ve been searching and just found what I hope is most of it. See below. I just wanted to be a bit of an agent provacateur with Andrew since his appeal to post-modernism seemed to me to ignore its problematic issues. In fact, he could have criticized my point without resorting to the ‘support’ of post-modernism. Ace those term papers!

    Carmen

    “Carmen wrote:

    ?Christians, Jews, Moselms, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus and members of several other religions are not perfect.?

    That’s no excuse for willful ignorance or misrepresentation, Carmen. When Christians, Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, Buddhists, and Hindus make stupid statements and engage in duplicitous practices, they will be called on it. The free ride is over. It’s called post-modernism. Deal with it.”

    Andrew

    Andrew wrote: ?The free ride is over. It’s called post-modernism. Deal with it.?

    Andrew, I don’t have to deal with it although, as I said, it has some value. Several eminent scholars are re-evaluating postmodernism’s importance and relevance. Perhaps you need to update your reading and deal with that? Just one example of many examples:

    ?I am in some sympathy with postmodernism…- the iconoclastic challenge to orthodox theory, the tipping over of the white marble busts in the museum of Great Western Thinkers – but ultimately, I see it as an EPISTEMOLOGICAL and THEORETICAL DEAD END, itself SYMPTOMATIC rather than diagnostic OF THE PROBLEMS OF THE GLOBE as we approach the millenium.?* Charles W. Mills, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Northwestern University (former UIC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy).

    Carmen
    p.s. * Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract, pp. 129. 1997 – capitalizations are mine – for emphasis.

    Andrew wrote: ?For the record, I’m not an atheist, but I sympathize with their goals. A vast improvement over what most forms of religion have to offer.?

    You mean a ?vast improvement? from your postmodernist perspective? As Mills noted, that’s a ?dead end.? Chomsky has suggested that postmodernism is meaningless because it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge. He asks why postmodernist intellectuals won’t respond as ?people in physics, math, biology, linguistics, and other fields are happy to do when someone asks them, seriously, what are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn’t already obvious, etc? These are fair requests for anyone to make. If they can’t be met, then I’d suggest recourse to Hume’s advice in similar circumstances: to the flames.

    You should also look close to home in your field of comparative religion: ?A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age’. As one reviewer points out, ?The need for a fresh look at the area of comparative religions should be apparent to anyone with any connection to the field. In the time that post-modernism has become the fin de siecle intellectual establishment, challenge to its orthodoxy has become unthinkable. However it is now obvious that a radical change of intellectual style is much overdue. . . . we must critique post-modernism from within the mind set of the period. This book does just that, filling a yawning gap in the literature of the field.? Ralph Slotten, Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions, Dickinson College

    Carmen

    “The criticism of postmodernism as ultimately meaningless rhetorical gymnastics was demonstrated in the Sokal Affair, where Alan Sokal, a physicist, proposed and delivered for publication an article purportedly about interpreting physics and mathematics in terms of postmodern theory, which he had deliberately written in a completely nonsensical fashion, including several in-jokes mocking postmodernism. It was nevertheless published by Social Text, a “cultural studies” journal active in the field of postmodernism, as a serious postmodernist work. Sokal arranged for the simultaneous publication of another article describing the former as a successful experiment to see whether a postmodernist journal would publish any nonsensical article with big words that flattered the editors’ political views, triggering an academic scandal. Sokal later published a book with Jean Bricmont called Intellectual Impostures, which expands upon his criticism of postmodernism.

    Biologist Richard Dawkins believes that postmodernists generally are intellectual charlatans who deliberately obscure weak or nonsensical ideas with ostentatious and difficult to understand verbiage.”

    Carmen

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “Could you tell me where you had that discussion with Andrew about the merits of post-modernism? I’m interested to know how it began and what it was about.”

    It’s archived somewhere here in the blog. Oh, I’ve been searching and just found what I hope is most of it. See below. I just wanted to be a bit of an agent provacateur with Andrew since his appeal to post-modernism seemed to me to ignore its problematic issues. In fact, he could have criticized my point without resorting to the ‘support’ of post-modernism. Ace those term papers!

    Carmen

    “Carmen wrote:

    ?Christians, Jews, Moselms, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus and members of several other religions are not perfect.?

    That’s no excuse for willful ignorance or misrepresentation, Carmen. When Christians, Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, Buddhists, and Hindus make stupid statements and engage in duplicitous practices, they will be called on it. The free ride is over. It’s called post-modernism. Deal with it.”

    Andrew

    Andrew wrote: ?The free ride is over. It’s called post-modernism. Deal with it.?

    Andrew, I don’t have to deal with it although, as I said, it has some value. Several eminent scholars are re-evaluating postmodernism’s importance and relevance. Perhaps you need to update your reading and deal with that? Just one example of many examples:

    ?I am in some sympathy with postmodernism…- the iconoclastic challenge to orthodox theory, the tipping over of the white marble busts in the museum of Great Western Thinkers – but ultimately, I see it as an EPISTEMOLOGICAL and THEORETICAL DEAD END, itself SYMPTOMATIC rather than diagnostic OF THE PROBLEMS OF THE GLOBE as we approach the millenium.?* Charles W. Mills, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Northwestern University (former UIC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy).

    Carmen
    p.s. * Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract, pp. 129. 1997 – capitalizations are mine – for emphasis.

    Andrew wrote: ?For the record, I’m not an atheist, but I sympathize with their goals. A vast improvement over what most forms of religion have to offer.?

    You mean a ?vast improvement? from your postmodernist perspective? As Mills noted, that’s a ?dead end.? Chomsky has suggested that postmodernism is meaningless because it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge. He asks why postmodernist intellectuals won’t respond as ?people in physics, math, biology, linguistics, and other fields are happy to do when someone asks them, seriously, what are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn’t already obvious, etc? These are fair requests for anyone to make. If they can’t be met, then I’d suggest recourse to Hume’s advice in similar circumstances: to the flames.

    You should also look close to home in your field of comparative religion: ?A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age’. As one reviewer points out, ?The need for a fresh look at the area of comparative religions should be apparent to anyone with any connection to the field. In the time that post-modernism has become the fin de siecle intellectual establishment, challenge to its orthodoxy has become unthinkable. However it is now obvious that a radical change of intellectual style is much overdue. . . . we must critique post-modernism from within the mind set of the period. This book does just that, filling a yawning gap in the literature of the field.? Ralph Slotten, Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions, Dickinson College

    Carmen

    “The criticism of postmodernism as ultimately meaningless rhetorical gymnastics was demonstrated in the Sokal Affair, where Alan Sokal, a physicist, proposed and delivered for publication an article purportedly about interpreting physics and mathematics in terms of postmodern theory, which he had deliberately written in a completely nonsensical fashion, including several in-jokes mocking postmodernism. It was nevertheless published by Social Text, a “cultural studies” journal active in the field of postmodernism, as a serious postmodernist work. Sokal arranged for the simultaneous publication of another article describing the former as a successful experiment to see whether a postmodernist journal would publish any nonsensical article with big words that flattered the editors’ political views, triggering an academic scandal. Sokal later published a book with Jean Bricmont called Intellectual Impostures, which expands upon his criticism of postmodernism.

    Biologist Richard Dawkins believes that postmodernists generally are intellectual charlatans who deliberately obscure weak or nonsensical ideas with ostentatious and difficult to understand verbiage.”

    Carmen

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Carmen. I suspected as much: You are looking to the academic tricks and Richard Dawkins for your analysis of philosophy.

    I actually had the honour of meeting and talking to Prof. Dawkins a few days ago, at a reception following a sold-out lecture he gave on my campus. My friend whom I was with asked Dr. Dawkins how he felt about Thomas Kuhn’s theory of the subjective element in scientific revolutions. Here I was witness to Dawkins’ analysis of what he termed “post-modernism”:

    Dawkins to my friend: Have you ever had anyone tell you what ‘post-modernism’ is?My friend: No.Dawkins: Then if someone talks to you of post-modernism, you can tell them to “Fuck off”.

    Although it was indeed an honour, Dawkins’ lumping of any disagreeable philosophy into the term ‘post-modernism’ left something to be desired…

    The problem is, you are using the phrase “post-modernism” as if signified one coherent school of thought. But in reality, it refers to a mish-mash of disconnected and unrelated methods and ideas. Some post-modernism is logical and analytic (like William James, W.V.O. Quine, Richard Rorty, Paul Feyerabend, etc.) and some is unstructed and aimed at undermining logic (like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, et al).

    So the path you’ve trodden (invoking the Sokal affair as a refutation of all of post-modernism) is silly.

    It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism, and specifically what philosophy within post-modernism he thought leant itself best to his thesis (which, by the way, seems to be the rather radical and outrageous idea that we should actually hold religious people accountable for their professed beliefs–insane!).

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat at School

    Thanks Carmen. I suspected as much: You are looking to the academic tricks and Richard Dawkins for your analysis of philosophy.

    I actually had the honour of meeting and talking to Prof. Dawkins a few days ago, at a reception following a sold-out lecture he gave on my campus. My friend whom I was with asked Dr. Dawkins how he felt about Thomas Kuhn’s theory of the subjective element in scientific revolutions. Here I was witness to Dawkins’ analysis of what he termed “post-modernism”:

    Dawkins to my friend: Have you ever had anyone tell you what ‘post-modernism’ is?My friend: No.Dawkins: Then if someone talks to you of post-modernism, you can tell them to “Fuck off”.

    Although it was indeed an honour, Dawkins’ lumping of any disagreeable philosophy into the term ‘post-modernism’ left something to be desired…

    The problem is, you are using the phrase “post-modernism” as if signified one coherent school of thought. But in reality, it refers to a mish-mash of disconnected and unrelated methods and ideas. Some post-modernism is logical and analytic (like William James, W.V.O. Quine, Richard Rorty, Paul Feyerabend, etc.) and some is unstructed and aimed at undermining logic (like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, et al).

    So the path you’ve trodden (invoking the Sokal affair as a refutation of all of post-modernism) is silly.

    It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism, and specifically what philosophy within post-modernism he thought leant itself best to his thesis (which, by the way, seems to be the rather radical and outrageous idea that we should actually hold religious people accountable for their professed beliefs–insane!).

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism, and specifically what philosophy within post-modernism he thought leant itself best to his thesis (which, by the way, seems to be the rather radical and outrageous idea that we should actually hold religious people accountable for their professed beliefs–insane!).”

    That’s it!

    Hence my references to Bill Maher’s upcoming film “Religulous.” See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRO-LVi1FKU

    I place post-modernism in the context of skeptical philosophy …

    “Who is a post-modernist, and what is post-modernism? Post-modernism can be defined as the thoughtful study of scientific inquiry, the origins and reputation of unreasonable prejudices, and the ambiguities of language. Some predominant element of post-modernist writing are an obsession with ‘low culture,’ this being things such as television, movies, and sex. Some other elements characteristic of post-modern writers are an obsession with text, rejection of the ‘grand narrative,’ and the critique of modernity. In contemporary literature there are selected authors who use ‘low culture’ as a basis for their writing. Authors such as Kathy Acker express their post-modernistic attitudes by making things such as sex and violence a major component in their writing. This fascination with controversial societal issues highlights the post modernist resistance of societal standards.”

    The central tenet of post-modernism (as defined by Lyotard) is the rejection of the meta-narrative: an essentially anti-foundationalist and anti-essentialist account of the world. That is, because of semiotics and the nature of language, the world is utterly liquid, we cannot pin down concepts well enough, particularly in the absence of governing narratives which define truth and falsehood. Religion in general rests on a series of essentialist and foundationalist assumptions about the world: the existence of God, the divinity of (fill in the blank). These can most probably be never really compatible with a post-modern worldview. Additionally post-modern suspicions towards the exclusion of The Other (i.e. Atheism) might not allow for most religions to be postmodern.

    “Postmodern existence occurs where individuals are able to surmount repressive modern forms of identity and status to become desiring nomads in a constant process of becoming and transforming.” (Tim Woods, “Beginning Postmodernism”)

    As for the rest … I have no further desire to argue with Baha’i apparatchiks. For these I recommend the film “Innocence” by Lucile Hadzihalilovic: “Obedience is the only path to happiness.” This might have been a Baha’i horror film … er … I mean “instructional video.”

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism, and specifically what philosophy within post-modernism he thought leant itself best to his thesis (which, by the way, seems to be the rather radical and outrageous idea that we should actually hold religious people accountable for their professed beliefs–insane!).”

    That’s it!

    Hence my references to Bill Maher’s upcoming film “Religulous.” See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRO-LVi1FKU

    I place post-modernism in the context of skeptical philosophy …

    “Who is a post-modernist, and what is post-modernism? Post-modernism can be defined as the thoughtful study of scientific inquiry, the origins and reputation of unreasonable prejudices, and the ambiguities of language. Some predominant element of post-modernist writing are an obsession with ‘low culture,’ this being things such as television, movies, and sex. Some other elements characteristic of post-modern writers are an obsession with text, rejection of the ‘grand narrative,’ and the critique of modernity. In contemporary literature there are selected authors who use ‘low culture’ as a basis for their writing. Authors such as Kathy Acker express their post-modernistic attitudes by making things such as sex and violence a major component in their writing. This fascination with controversial societal issues highlights the post modernist resistance of societal standards.”

    The central tenet of post-modernism (as defined by Lyotard) is the rejection of the meta-narrative: an essentially anti-foundationalist and anti-essentialist account of the world. That is, because of semiotics and the nature of language, the world is utterly liquid, we cannot pin down concepts well enough, particularly in the absence of governing narratives which define truth and falsehood. Religion in general rests on a series of essentialist and foundationalist assumptions about the world: the existence of God, the divinity of (fill in the blank). These can most probably be never really compatible with a post-modern worldview. Additionally post-modern suspicions towards the exclusion of The Other (i.e. Atheism) might not allow for most religions to be postmodern.

    “Postmodern existence occurs where individuals are able to surmount repressive modern forms of identity and status to become desiring nomads in a constant process of becoming and transforming.” (Tim Woods, “Beginning Postmodernism”)

    As for the rest … I have no further desire to argue with Baha’i apparatchiks. For these I recommend the film “Innocence” by Lucile Hadzihalilovic: “Obedience is the only path to happiness.” This might have been a Baha’i horror film … er … I mean “instructional video.”

  • http://kaweah.com/blog Dan Jensen

    Andrew,

    That sounds a bit like existentialism. If you don’t mind, how would you distinguish your definition of post-modernism from existentialism? I ask this because I’m fond of existentialism but the mere mention of the word “post-modernism” sends me running for the medicine cabinet.

    -Dan

  • http://kaweah.com/blog Dan Jensen

    Andrew,

    That sounds a bit like existentialism. If you don’t mind, how would you distinguish your definition of post-modernism from existentialism? I ask this because I’m fond of existentialism but the mere mention of the word “post-modernism” sends me running for the medicine cabinet.

    -Dan

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “The problem is, you are using the phrase “post-modernism” as if signified one coherent school of thought.But in reality, it refers to a mish-mash of disconnected and unrelated methods and ideas…So the path you’ve trodden (invoking the Sokal affair as a refutation of all of post-modernism) is silly…It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism…”

    Mavaddat, thanks. For such an “amorphous” (as you put it) thing, since Andrew introduced it first in critiquing a point I made, don’t you think it might have been useful if He had clarified what he meant? Why should I have had to ask him?

    I used Mills, Chomsky, Sokal, et al as illustrations that there is a measure of disatisfaction with postmodernism and not to dismiss it altogether. If you read my very first comment in reply to him you will note I stated:” I don’t have to deal with it although, as I said, it has some value.” I was clearly not dismissing ALL of postmodernism as you suggest or I would not have said it has some value! I don’t see how you could possibly infer my example of Sokal in th eoverall context of my statements.

    However, when Andrew or anyone else invokes postmodernism and does not clarify what he means I have the right to point out that this is problematic and he should clarify and defend his position without my having to ask him what he means. This is particularly important when, as you rightly point out, he has invoked “a catch-all that really means very little concretely.”Sorry, but the Maher film does not convey what he only now says was a context of skeptical philosophy.

    Andrew failed to clarify what he meant by using such a catch-all that means very little and I don’t see why theo nus was on me to ask him to clarify what he meant. He could easily have done so more than a week ago in response to my Mills quote.

    Carmen

    p.s. I find that Andrew is easily peeved when he is challenged by “Baha’i apparatchiks.” He makes comments and expects them to be accepted without a critical response. For example, he asserted that atheism is the fastest growing belief movement in the world but he has not yet produced any data to support his assertion in reponse to my challenge to do so.

  • Carm-again

    Mavaddat wrote: “The problem is, you are using the phrase “post-modernism” as if signified one coherent school of thought.But in reality, it refers to a mish-mash of disconnected and unrelated methods and ideas…So the path you’ve trodden (invoking the Sokal affair as a refutation of all of post-modernism) is silly…It would have been far more productive to ask Andrew what he meant by post-modernism…”

    Mavaddat, thanks. For such an “amorphous” (as you put it) thing, since Andrew introduced it first in critiquing a point I made, don’t you think it might have been useful if He had clarified what he meant? Why should I have had to ask him?

    I used Mills, Chomsky, Sokal, et al as illustrations that there is a measure of disatisfaction with postmodernism and not to dismiss it altogether. If you read my very first comment in reply to him you will note I stated:” I don’t have to deal with it although, as I said, it has some value.” I was clearly not dismissing ALL of postmodernism as you suggest or I would not have said it has some value! I don’t see how you could possibly infer my example of Sokal in th eoverall context of my statements.

    However, when Andrew or anyone else invokes postmodernism and does not clarify what he means I have the right to point out that this is problematic and he should clarify and defend his position without my having to ask him what he means. This is particularly important when, as you rightly point out, he has invoked “a catch-all that really means very little concretely.”Sorry, but the Maher film does not convey what he only now says was a context of skeptical philosophy.

    Andrew failed to clarify what he meant by using such a catch-all that means very little and I don’t see why theo nus was on me to ask him to clarify what he meant. He could easily have done so more than a week ago in response to my Mills quote.

    Carmen

    p.s. I find that Andrew is easily peeved when he is challenged by “Baha’i apparatchiks.” He makes comments and expects them to be accepted without a critical response. For example, he asserted that atheism is the fastest growing belief movement in the world but he has not yet produced any data to support his assertion in reponse to my challenge to do so.

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  • Bird

    Get it here first:

    ….. via email to the USNSA

    With joyful hearts we announce the appointment of the members of the International Teaching Centre for the five-year term beginning 23 May 2008: Uransaikhan Baatar, Stephen Birkland, Stephen Hall, Joan Lincoln, Juan Francisco Mora, Rachel Ndegwa, Zenaida Ramirez, Ayman Rouhani, and Penelope Walker. We are profoundly grateful to Rolf von Czekus and Violette Haake for the outstanding contribution they have made, during so critical a period in the fortunes of the Faith, to the development of this vital institution.

    The Universal House of Justice

    I bet, since I can gamble again, that Stephen Birkland will be on the UHJ in the next 5 years? Any takers?

    Much love… Bird

  • Bird

    Get it here first:

    ….. via email to the USNSA

    With joyful hearts we announce the appointment of the members of the International Teaching Centre for the five-year term beginning 23 May 2008: Uransaikhan Baatar, Stephen Birkland, Stephen Hall, Joan Lincoln, Juan Francisco Mora, Rachel Ndegwa, Zenaida Ramirez, Ayman Rouhani, and Penelope Walker. We are profoundly grateful to Rolf von Czekus and Violette Haake for the outstanding contribution they have made, during so critical a period in the fortunes of the Faith, to the development of this vital institution.

    The Universal House of Justice

    I bet, since I can gamble again, that Stephen Birkland will be on the UHJ in the next 5 years? Any takers?

    Much love… Bird

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote:
    “I place post-modernism in the context of skeptical philosophy …”

    Andrew, thanks for this explanation that is within the reach of a non-philosopher limited in English philosophical terminology

    What you describe is what here in France we call “mai soixantehuitard” or “May 1968″ philosophy: anti-consumer society, forbidden to forbid, imagine all those people… just living their lives, an taking a puff when life becomes stiff…

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew wrote:
    “I place post-modernism in the context of skeptical philosophy …”

    Andrew, thanks for this explanation that is within the reach of a non-philosopher limited in English philosophical terminology

    What you describe is what here in France we call “mai soixantehuitard” or “May 1968″ philosophy: anti-consumer society, forbidden to forbid, imagine all those people… just living their lives, an taking a puff when life becomes stiff…

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  • Mehyar

    Wow! what a bitter website and even more bitter-about-life subscribers who from the sound of it have not had to organise anything even a “drink up at a brewery”! By the way, I parachuted into this site at Mr Google’s suggestion! Having said the above the chart (without its “brilliant” commentary!) can be useful for the future delegates…
    A few thoughts to share with you! It is obvious that in an atmosphere of no-campaigning/electioneering the majority of the delegates will most likely be familiar with the internationally known Baha’is (eg members of international bodies such as ITC, Counsellors, BICs, famous NSAs, famous Baha’i authors). Who do you want the delegates to vote for? Baquia?!!! With all respect, no thanks!
    As to the ITCs membership chosen by the House of Justice, are you proposing its selection through lottery, election by Baha’is who are not on any institution, or what?! All these friends serving on ITC had served and helped with the growth of their communities (1000 times more than you and I) before being invited to serve in that capacity? What do you want? ITC members to be chosen from amongst the least active Baha’is and those who are the most rantful?! ;-) Again, no thanks!
    The challenge that all we Baha’is have (I’m not addressing the non-Baha’is here) is to aware ourselves more and more about the sacredness of the Baha’i election and to familiarise ourselves during the year(s) with people suited to serve on our institutions (yes Local Assembly is also an institution!). Hence the recent letter from the House of Justice re importance of LSA election procedure has been a very important step towards this… something which we knew from before from the beloved Guardian’s letters but had to see it all again inside one message coming from the World Centre!
    I say: Stop Ranting! Start Doing! :-)
    Lots of love to you all,
    Mehyar

    ps I think Baquia among other things missing the point re why House members sit together at the front during the election. Imagine its members sitting randomly among the delegates at the Convention. That would be seen more as “I’m watching you back, pal!” than when sitting in front invisible to the delegates until when they come to vote. After all, during the casting of the ballots delegates don’t look at the conference audience like a celebrity receiving the Oscars! Just stop this rant business and you’ll see wisdom in everything coming from the World Centre. Much more to write… maybe I should start a blog of my own called BahaiAndWithoutRants.com!

  • Mehyar

    Wow! what a bitter website and even more bitter-about-life subscribers who from the sound of it have not had to organise anything even a “drink up at a brewery”! By the way, I parachuted into this site at Mr Google’s suggestion! Having said the above the chart (without its “brilliant” commentary!) can be useful for the future delegates…
    A few thoughts to share with you! It is obvious that in an atmosphere of no-campaigning/electioneering the majority of the delegates will most likely be familiar with the internationally known Baha’is (eg members of international bodies such as ITC, Counsellors, BICs, famous NSAs, famous Baha’i authors). Who do you want the delegates to vote for? Baquia?!!! With all respect, no thanks!
    As to the ITCs membership chosen by the House of Justice, are you proposing its selection through lottery, election by Baha’is who are not on any institution, or what?! All these friends serving on ITC had served and helped with the growth of their communities (1000 times more than you and I) before being invited to serve in that capacity? What do you want? ITC members to be chosen from amongst the least active Baha’is and those who are the most rantful?! ;-) Again, no thanks!
    The challenge that all we Baha’is have (I’m not addressing the non-Baha’is here) is to aware ourselves more and more about the sacredness of the Baha’i election and to familiarise ourselves during the year(s) with people suited to serve on our institutions (yes Local Assembly is also an institution!). Hence the recent letter from the House of Justice re importance of LSA election procedure has been a very important step towards this… something which we knew from before from the beloved Guardian’s letters but had to see it all again inside one message coming from the World Centre!
    I say: Stop Ranting! Start Doing! :-)
    Lots of love to you all,
    Mehyar

    ps I think Baquia among other things missing the point re why House members sit together at the front during the election. Imagine its members sitting randomly among the delegates at the Convention. That would be seen more as “I’m watching you back, pal!” than when sitting in front invisible to the delegates until when they come to vote. After all, during the casting of the ballots delegates don’t look at the conference audience like a celebrity receiving the Oscars! Just stop this rant business and you’ll see wisdom in everything coming from the World Centre. Much more to write… maybe I should start a blog of my own called BahaiAndWithoutRants.com!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Mehyar, what can I say? I’m humbled that you have discovered my carefully crafted ruse… to get elected to the UHJ/ITC. Darn it! And I was *this* close too.

    But seriously, the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers. That is to say, campaigning without overtly campaigning. Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?” (actual quote from Lample).

    oh and re the “brilliant” commentary on the data sheet… can you name one single fact there that is not true? I accept your apology :)

    Now run along. Don’t you have a blog to start or something?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Mehyar, what can I say? I’m humbled that you have discovered my carefully crafted ruse… to get elected to the UHJ/ITC. Darn it! And I was *this* close too.

    But seriously, the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers. That is to say, campaigning without overtly campaigning. Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?” (actual quote from Lample).

    oh and re the “brilliant” commentary on the data sheet… can you name one single fact there that is not true? I accept your apology :)

    Now run along. Don’t you have a blog to start or something?

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    …the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers. That is to say, campaigning without overtly campaigning. Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?” (actual quote from Lample).

    Baquia, although do I agree that we do have some Baha’is who carry on the hierarchal structure of society to within the Faith, and who tend to value people by referring to their social ranks, and we see titles such as ?Doctor? blooming here and there, I am sure that most Baha’is clearly understand that those who are at grass roots are the ones that really count in the sight of God and administrators chosen from the rank of believers for some period of time, are only there to do the boring (but vital) administrative work by synchronising and harmonising the efforts of individuals like us.

    This is in fact the whole aim of the institute process: empowering each and every individual at grass roots and avoiding the up – down dominating attitudes current in our societies and especially in religious communities.

    The ?pyramid? Paul Lample is referring to is the level of empowerment for action attained through the institute and not the level of empowerment for dominating others.

    The compilation by the UHJ ?Unlocking the power of action? clearly explains this.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:
    …the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers. That is to say, campaigning without overtly campaigning. Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?” (actual quote from Lample).

    Baquia, although do I agree that we do have some Baha’is who carry on the hierarchal structure of society to within the Faith, and who tend to value people by referring to their social ranks, and we see titles such as ?Doctor? blooming here and there, I am sure that most Baha’is clearly understand that those who are at grass roots are the ones that really count in the sight of God and administrators chosen from the rank of believers for some period of time, are only there to do the boring (but vital) administrative work by synchronising and harmonising the efforts of individuals like us.

    This is in fact the whole aim of the institute process: empowering each and every individual at grass roots and avoiding the up – down dominating attitudes current in our societies and especially in religious communities.

    The ?pyramid? Paul Lample is referring to is the level of empowerment for action attained through the institute and not the level of empowerment for dominating others.

    The compilation by the UHJ ?Unlocking the power of action? clearly explains this.

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

    [quote comment="57606"]..who from the sound of it have not had to organise anything even a “drink up at a brewery”![/quote]

    Hey, that’s my culture you’re mangling!

    For a start, it’s “piss up” not “drink up”.

    More importantly, the saying began as a pithy, “couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery“. Slight variations on that theme are permissible. As below:

    Man fails to organise piss up in brewery.

    Sorry we’re so negative. We’ll try to follow your good example from now on.

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    [quote comment="57606"]..who from the sound of it have not had to organise anything even a “drink up at a brewery”![/quote]

    Hey, that’s my culture you’re mangling!

    For a start, it’s “piss up” not “drink up”.

    More importantly, the saying began as a pithy, “couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery“. Slight variations on that theme are permissible. As below:

    Man fails to organise piss up in brewery.

    Sorry we’re so negative. We’ll try to follow your good example from now on.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...] I’m humbled that you have discovered my carefully crafted ruse… to get elected to the UHJ/ITC. Darn it! And I was *this* close too. [/quote]
    I suspected it all along! ;-)

    [quote comment=""] the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers.[/quote]
    Now that you know what it takes to get elected to the House, I suggest you to go for it. 4 years to go: slowly “see the light”, talk about pyramids and hey presto, an overview of the Monumental Gardens! Start packing! :-) One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members? In any case, according to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, the Body elected by the NSAs (called secondary Houses of Justice formed in all countries) is that Body which is called the Universal House of Justice with the powers given to it by Baha’u’llah. I propose even if the NSAs elect you and I to the House, His Will will continue to unfold even through us two exceptionally wonderful and eligible Baha’is. The election procedure outlined by Abdu’l-Baha is to me understood as like the procedure to fertilise an egg, follow the steps and the result is a baby!

    [quote comment=""]Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?”[/quote]
    God bless the Petras and the like! However, please don’t underestimate also the efforts of those who do go and meet with the friends at the grass-root level as well as the local, national and regional institutions who are mostly given a tough time by people such as those who have left their comments on this page. It’s not all fun at the top, since we live in skeptical times and don’t like authorities and this gets reflected in the way we treat the friends who are serving on the institutions. It can be quite a peaceful life to sit and do your thing!

    [quote comment=""]oh and re the “brilliant” commentary on the data sheet… can you name one single fact there that is not true? I accept your apology :)[/quote]
    Sorry I offended you. As I said I do like the chart. I remember something similar (actually a long detailed analysis) was done in the UK many years back by the late Rama Krishnan, which was published in the UK’s Baha’i Journal. That helped change the voting pattern in the UK. Your chart can be of benefit to the delegates as I’ve already said. The brilliance referred to two areas only: the “feedback loop” conclusion and ECBC membership being “not technically ITC”?!

    [quote comment=""]Now run along. Don’t you have a blog to start or something?[/quote]
    Well actually this ranting business is quite therapeutic! I’ve cancelled the thought of having my own blog now! ;-)

    All the best and appreciating your sense of humor in your above reply,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...] I’m humbled that you have discovered my carefully crafted ruse… to get elected to the UHJ/ITC. Darn it! And I was *this* close too. [/quote]
    I suspected it all along! ;-)

    [quote comment=""] the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers.[/quote]
    Now that you know what it takes to get elected to the House, I suggest you to go for it. 4 years to go: slowly “see the light”, talk about pyramids and hey presto, an overview of the Monumental Gardens! Start packing! :-) One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members? In any case, according to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, the Body elected by the NSAs (called secondary Houses of Justice formed in all countries) is that Body which is called the Universal House of Justice with the powers given to it by Baha’u’llah. I propose even if the NSAs elect you and I to the House, His Will will continue to unfold even through us two exceptionally wonderful and eligible Baha’is. The election procedure outlined by Abdu’l-Baha is to me understood as like the procedure to fertilise an egg, follow the steps and the result is a baby!

    [quote comment=""]Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like “What does the pyramid look like in our cluster?”[/quote]
    God bless the Petras and the like! However, please don’t underestimate also the efforts of those who do go and meet with the friends at the grass-root level as well as the local, national and regional institutions who are mostly given a tough time by people such as those who have left their comments on this page. It’s not all fun at the top, since we live in skeptical times and don’t like authorities and this gets reflected in the way we treat the friends who are serving on the institutions. It can be quite a peaceful life to sit and do your thing!

    [quote comment=""]oh and re the “brilliant” commentary on the data sheet… can you name one single fact there that is not true? I accept your apology :)[/quote]
    Sorry I offended you. As I said I do like the chart. I remember something similar (actually a long detailed analysis) was done in the UK many years back by the late Rama Krishnan, which was published in the UK’s Baha’i Journal. That helped change the voting pattern in the UK. Your chart can be of benefit to the delegates as I’ve already said. The brilliance referred to two areas only: the “feedback loop” conclusion and ECBC membership being “not technically ITC”?!

    [quote comment=""]Now run along. Don’t you have a blog to start or something?[/quote]
    Well actually this ranting business is quite therapeutic! I’ve cancelled the thought of having my own blog now! ;-)

    All the best and appreciating your sense of humor in your above reply,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]Hey, that’s my culture you’re mangling! [...][/quote]
    Thank you Steve for the cultural/linguistic background to the phrase!

    [quote comment=""]Sorry we’re so negative. We’ll try to follow your good example from now on.[/quote]
    You sweet talker, you! :-)

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]Hey, that’s my culture you’re mangling! [...][/quote]
    Thank you Steve for the cultural/linguistic background to the phrase!

    [quote comment=""]Sorry we’re so negative. We’ll try to follow your good example from now on.[/quote]
    You sweet talker, you! :-)

  • farhan

    Mehyar wrote:

    One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members?

    Thanks, Mehyar, for bringing up this very obvious argument that we easily forget. We are not in this world to save a senile and absent minded God from oblivion, but God is there to guide and educate us before the auto-programmed disaster our hands have wrought send us to oblivion.

    All this ranting gives much food for thought, but there is a danger of becoming overweight in the head and forgetting the most elementary basis of religious belief: God is there to help us and not us to save Him..

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mehyar wrote:

    One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members?

    Thanks, Mehyar, for bringing up this very obvious argument that we easily forget. We are not in this world to save a senile and absent minded God from oblivion, but God is there to guide and educate us before the auto-programmed disaster our hands have wrought send us to oblivion.

    All this ranting gives much food for thought, but there is a danger of becoming overweight in the head and forgetting the most elementary basis of religious belief: God is there to help us and not us to save Him..

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]All this ranting gives much food for thought, but there is a danger of becoming overweight in the head and forgetting the most elementary basis of religious belief: God is there to help us and not us to save Him..[/quote]
    Well said Farhan! About this ranting business, whenever reading/hearing the saying and writings of people, these Words of Baha’u’llah always come to my mind:
    [quote comment=""]“Warn … the beloved of the one true God, not to view with too critical an eye the sayings and writings of men. Let them rather approach such sayings and writings in a spirit of open-mindedness and loving sympathy.”[/quote]
    The tone of the above article (haven’t read other articles but I think I’ve got a general feeling now) and the comments that it’s generated so far however demanded a response in a similar tone.
    If something bothers me I bring it up openly and in a respectful way and wait and pray that I’d be guided to hear my answer… no need to rant! It’s worked so far for me and I humbly suggest the same to others.
    Loving greeting,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]All this ranting gives much food for thought, but there is a danger of becoming overweight in the head and forgetting the most elementary basis of religious belief: God is there to help us and not us to save Him..[/quote]
    Well said Farhan! About this ranting business, whenever reading/hearing the saying and writings of people, these Words of Baha’u’llah always come to my mind:
    [quote comment=""]“Warn … the beloved of the one true God, not to view with too critical an eye the sayings and writings of men. Let them rather approach such sayings and writings in a spirit of open-mindedness and loving sympathy.”[/quote]
    The tone of the above article (haven’t read other articles but I think I’ve got a general feeling now) and the comments that it’s generated so far however demanded a response in a similar tone.
    If something bothers me I bring it up openly and in a respectful way and wait and pray that I’d be guided to hear my answer… no need to rant! It’s worked so far for me and I humbly suggest the same to others.
    Loving greeting,
    Mehyar

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

    [quote comment="57621"]One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members?[/quote]

    Good point. Here’s what Baha’u’llah says:

    “For instance, the Universal House of Justice, if it be established under the necessary conditions – with members elected from all the people – that House of Justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God.”
    (`Abdu’l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, Page: 172)

    What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being “elected from all the people”. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.

    With the results we see today.

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    [quote comment="57621"]One little factor that is missing in the equation of yours is…. Baha’u’llah&Bab! Do you think that The Twin Manifestations who are clearly mentioned as Ones guiding the Universal House of Justice would have nothing also to do with the election of its members?[/quote]

    Good point. Here’s what Baha’u’llah says:

    “For instance, the Universal House of Justice, if it be established under the necessary conditions – with members elected from all the people – that House of Justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God.”
    (`Abdu’l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, Page: 172)

    What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being “elected from all the people”. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.

    With the results we see today.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    Steve,

    When you say:

    “What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”

    You hit the nail on the head.

    But why is this? My guess is that an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable. The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.

    Do you agree?

    Frank

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    Steve,

    When you say:

    “What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”

    You hit the nail on the head.

    But why is this? My guess is that an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable. The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.

    Do you agree?

    Frank

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...]“What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”[/quote]
    Please lets leave dear Baquia out of this! From his/her earlier comments he/she would only be happy with the election of a person who does not serve on the institutions – as otherwise he would be promoting himself, right?! Whether we like it or not, membership on the House of Justice requires administrative and not only charity experience!

    [quote comment=""]The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.[/quote]
    The way the House of Justice is elected is explicitly defined by the Master, so not much room for leeway there! With the creation of more and more international institutions (eg recently we have a new international Board for Huquq, with more surely to follow), together with more contact between the NSAs (eg at the international convention there are continental conferences and delegates are encouraged to come earlier and get to know each other) to name but two combined with delegates awareness of their sacred duty, will surely make the pool to choose from larger and larger.
    What’s all this worry about the closed loop stuff anyway?! With this kind of talk aren’t you moving towards advocating voting based on a persons proposed agenda (eg against Ruhi, against Plans, against everything!). Isn’t this against the spirit and principles of the Baha’i election?
    Please lets first look at into own local communities and see when voting for the LSAs and unit conventions (if applicable Councils and NSAs) if we ourselves are following the Baha’i principles! Doubt it very much!
    Finally lets be patient with the evolving nature of the Administrative Order… lots of changes will be made till the Administrative Order becomes the World Order of Baha’u’llah! Till then rest assured and happy!
    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...]“What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”[/quote]
    Please lets leave dear Baquia out of this! From his/her earlier comments he/she would only be happy with the election of a person who does not serve on the institutions – as otherwise he would be promoting himself, right?! Whether we like it or not, membership on the House of Justice requires administrative and not only charity experience!

    [quote comment=""]The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.[/quote]
    The way the House of Justice is elected is explicitly defined by the Master, so not much room for leeway there! With the creation of more and more international institutions (eg recently we have a new international Board for Huquq, with more surely to follow), together with more contact between the NSAs (eg at the international convention there are continental conferences and delegates are encouraged to come earlier and get to know each other) to name but two combined with delegates awareness of their sacred duty, will surely make the pool to choose from larger and larger.
    What’s all this worry about the closed loop stuff anyway?! With this kind of talk aren’t you moving towards advocating voting based on a persons proposed agenda (eg against Ruhi, against Plans, against everything!). Isn’t this against the spirit and principles of the Baha’i election?
    Please lets first look at into own local communities and see when voting for the LSAs and unit conventions (if applicable Councils and NSAs) if we ourselves are following the Baha’i principles! Doubt it very much!
    Finally lets be patient with the evolving nature of the Administrative Order… lots of changes will be made till the Administrative Order becomes the World Order of Baha’u’llah! Till then rest assured and happy!
    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

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

    [quote comment="57643"]My guess is that an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable. The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.

    Do you agree?[/quote]

    Hi Frank,

    I prefer to wait until attempts have been made to observe the principle before commenting on whether it works or not.

    But yes, it’s a big challenge to follow Baha’i principles rather than “priests of error who have hindered the progress of the people in past dispensations and who will continue to do so in future cycles” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, paragraph 54)

    Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
    Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a very good idea.

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    [quote comment="57643"]My guess is that an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable. The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.

    Do you agree?[/quote]

    Hi Frank,

    I prefer to wait until attempts have been made to observe the principle before commenting on whether it works or not.

    But yes, it’s a big challenge to follow Baha’i principles rather than “priests of error who have hindered the progress of the people in past dispensations and who will continue to do so in future cycles” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, paragraph 54)

    Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
    Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a very good idea.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House. Unfortunately, the membership on the House requires administrative/consultative capacity… whether one likes it or not! The same with membership on the ITC, NSA, LSA, …! After all, what use is there to have a person on a committee who although very “spiritual” cannot articulate, consult, see the truth in others’ sayings,…?
    [quote comment=""][...]Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.[/quote]
    Sorry, but I have to point out what is subtly implied when we make such a statement with reference to “House appointees”: that we don’t trust the intention/decision of the House of Justice in appointing someone to serve in a certain capacity! Isn’t this the beginning of the sawing the seed of doubt in ones heart? Anyway, no big deal, serving on the House of Justice is not the only way to serve!

    As to the “tiny nomination pool”, the pool is that of all the male Baha’is over 21 in the world! That, many delegates turn to the ITC as the first place is understandable. They are the right hand of the House of Justice, for goodness sake! :-) Now also we have the Board of Trustees of Huquq which can also serve as a future “pool”! In the future we will have many more such additions. However, if still not happy with these friends being appointed by the “source of all good and freed from all error” (ie House of Justice!) then when anyone of us becomes a delegate (=NSA member) in 2012 then we should start worrying! Till then why worry and waste precious time?! This time the worry is about the House members coming from the ITC, next Convention the worry will be that there are no changes on the House,… worrying it seems never stops for some people! :-)
    [quote comment=""][...] an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable.[/quote]
    Election from all the people is not what was envisioned by Baha’u’llah. Abdu’l-Baha’s reference to “all the people” made in Some Answered Questions and quoted by Steve is further clarified in His Will and Testament:
    [quote comment=""]House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred…[/quote]
    All that’s being done by the House of Justice is in strict accordance with the guidance in the tablets and letters of the Central Figures of the Faith. If the election of the House was to take place through direct election by all the believers wouldn’t have we already had it for the past 40 years?!
    [quote comment=""]The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.[/quote]
    The approach to elections is also: very simple! It however requires more responsibility on behalf of the voter and a larger pool of “human resource”. Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah… relax and stay tuned!

    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""][...]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House. Unfortunately, the membership on the House requires administrative/consultative capacity… whether one likes it or not! The same with membership on the ITC, NSA, LSA, …! After all, what use is there to have a person on a committee who although very “spiritual” cannot articulate, consult, see the truth in others’ sayings,…?
    [quote comment=""][...]Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.[/quote]
    Sorry, but I have to point out what is subtly implied when we make such a statement with reference to “House appointees”: that we don’t trust the intention/decision of the House of Justice in appointing someone to serve in a certain capacity! Isn’t this the beginning of the sawing the seed of doubt in ones heart? Anyway, no big deal, serving on the House of Justice is not the only way to serve!

    As to the “tiny nomination pool”, the pool is that of all the male Baha’is over 21 in the world! That, many delegates turn to the ITC as the first place is understandable. They are the right hand of the House of Justice, for goodness sake! :-) Now also we have the Board of Trustees of Huquq which can also serve as a future “pool”! In the future we will have many more such additions. However, if still not happy with these friends being appointed by the “source of all good and freed from all error” (ie House of Justice!) then when anyone of us becomes a delegate (=NSA member) in 2012 then we should start worrying! Till then why worry and waste precious time?! This time the worry is about the House members coming from the ITC, next Convention the worry will be that there are no changes on the House,… worrying it seems never stops for some people! :-)
    [quote comment=""][...] an election from all the people as Baha’ullah envisioned is not practicable.[/quote]
    Election from all the people is not what was envisioned by Baha’u’llah. Abdu’l-Baha’s reference to “all the people” made in Some Answered Questions and quoted by Steve is further clarified in His Will and Testament:
    [quote comment=""]House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred…[/quote]
    All that’s being done by the House of Justice is in strict accordance with the guidance in the tablets and letters of the Central Figures of the Faith. If the election of the House was to take place through direct election by all the believers wouldn’t have we already had it for the past 40 years?!
    [quote comment=""]The Baha’i approach to elections is very high minded but doesn’t seem to work in practice.[/quote]
    The approach to elections is also: very simple! It however requires more responsibility on behalf of the voter and a larger pool of “human resource”. Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah… relax and stay tuned!

    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]But yes, it’s a big challenge to follow Baha’i principles rather than “priests of error who have hindered the progress of the people in past dispensations and who will continue to do so in future cycles” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, paragraph 54)[/quote]
    Steve! I don’t know who who and you are referring to by “priests of error”, but from its context in the Tablet itself those priests/learned/”ulama” who prevent the recognition of the next Manifestation of God are implied. The Tablet was also revealed before Baha’u’llah’s proclamation in Iraq… there were a few “priests of error” at that time as there are now!
    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

  • Mehyar

    [quote comment=""]But yes, it’s a big challenge to follow Baha’i principles rather than “priests of error who have hindered the progress of the people in past dispensations and who will continue to do so in future cycles” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, paragraph 54)[/quote]
    Steve! I don’t know who who and you are referring to by “priests of error”, but from its context in the Tablet itself those priests/learned/”ulama” who prevent the recognition of the next Manifestation of God are implied. The Tablet was also revealed before Baha’u’llah’s proclamation in Iraq… there were a few “priests of error” at that time as there are now!
    Loving greetings,
    Mehyar

  • Werdna the Wizard

    “Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”

    Yes, there will be many changes; but first, High Commander Megazord must return from his sojourn to his home planet Gamma Vile to help usher in the age when all humankind will acknowledge the revelations of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III.

    In the interim, we can all enjoy relax and enjoy a good joke:

    http://www.deism.com/bahaitodeist.htm

    Religion from Man, not from God! Oh, these silly Deists! Just wait until they meet Queen Ghazopo Soghi Shebigizh and Her Divine Consort Kufor Xer Ghunub, and then they will know the Holy Power Terror Redemption Ray of vogaxo suqi vejolheph jelhulhu mahe faxepozh!

  • Werdna the Wizard

    “Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”

    Yes, there will be many changes; but first, High Commander Megazord must return from his sojourn to his home planet Gamma Vile to help usher in the age when all humankind will acknowledge the revelations of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III.

    In the interim, we can all enjoy relax and enjoy a good joke:

    http://www.deism.com/bahaitodeist.htm

    Religion from Man, not from God! Oh, these silly Deists! Just wait until they meet Queen Ghazopo Soghi Shebigizh and Her Divine Consort Kufor Xer Ghunub, and then they will know the Holy Power Terror Redemption Ray of vogaxo suqi vejolheph jelhulhu mahe faxepozh!

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="57673"]“Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”

    Yes, there will be many changes; but first, High Commander Megazord must return from his sojourn to his home planet Gamma Vile to help usher in the age when all humankind will acknowledge the revelations of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III.

    In the interim, we can all enjoy relax and enjoy a good joke:

    http://www.deism.com/bahaitodeist.htm

    Religion from Man, not from God! Oh, these silly Deists! Just wait until they meet Queen Ghazopo Soghi Shebigizh and Her Divine Consort Kufor Xer Ghunub, and then they will know the Holy Power Terror Redemption Ray of vogaxo suqi vejolheph jelhulhu mahe faxepozh![/quote]

    Man, I just love Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”. Keep it by my bedside and read it every morning and evening. I really do. Where did I get that habit? Sometimes I meditate on a passage and then listen to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wG6Cgmgn5U

    Henry McCullough’s famous version with that overdrive C-D-E intro lick always makes me feel better. That’s him om his Gibson Les Paul Gold Body back in ’69.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FMq0iDX1yE

    As to all this discussion on here of late about the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith, you can end all the anguish by just switching over to a more Shirley MacLaine oriented analysis. Baha’u’llah was a person in the 19th century who went through a New World Age Cosmic Stargate. No big wup. That was then. This is now after two tragic World Wars and endless growth of the Military Industrial Complexes of all the nation state systems out there. It is all about the innate powers of the souls of people born into this world now to deal with this situation with nuclear weapons and institutionalized dysfunctional fundamentalist and ideological stupidity everywhere. It is all basically about brain chemistry. Who is on the “paper” physical “Universal House of Justice” is completely irrelevant now. All that is all even a kind of cosmic joke now. Just a study in esoteric archetypal dofussness.

    What counts is the SPIRITUAL Cosmic Universal House of Justice. That Cosmic membership is everywhere and changes hourly. That is the nine best souls on the planet at any given time who are ACTUALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING! ANYTHING! Today, for me, it is the nine best guitarists on the planet. Monday when I go to work it will be the nine best software engineers on the planet whose handiwork on the Internet is bringing down all systems of people with their heads completely up their asses regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. And that includes deluded people of impaired cosmic perception who think they are serving on the “actual” Institutions of the Baha’i Faith. The “Baha’is” are the people doing the ACTUAL WORK of the World Age whether they ever heard of Shirley MacLaine or not.

    I spent all last night in a restaurant talking at an impromptu dinner with eleven Obama campaign workers. It was like being in the Baha’i Faith back in 1971! What an empowering evening! I think I will spend today playing my guitar.

    Everyone have a nice weekend!

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="57673"]“Be patient friends! There will be a lot of changes on the way before the Administrative Order evolves into the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”

    Yes, there will be many changes; but first, High Commander Megazord must return from his sojourn to his home planet Gamma Vile to help usher in the age when all humankind will acknowledge the revelations of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III.

    In the interim, we can all enjoy relax and enjoy a good joke:

    http://www.deism.com/bahaitodeist.htm

    Religion from Man, not from God! Oh, these silly Deists! Just wait until they meet Queen Ghazopo Soghi Shebigizh and Her Divine Consort Kufor Xer Ghunub, and then they will know the Holy Power Terror Redemption Ray of vogaxo suqi vejolheph jelhulhu mahe faxepozh![/quote]

    Man, I just love Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”. Keep it by my bedside and read it every morning and evening. I really do. Where did I get that habit? Sometimes I meditate on a passage and then listen to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wG6Cgmgn5U

    Henry McCullough’s famous version with that overdrive C-D-E intro lick always makes me feel better. That’s him om his Gibson Les Paul Gold Body back in ’69.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FMq0iDX1yE

    As to all this discussion on here of late about the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith, you can end all the anguish by just switching over to a more Shirley MacLaine oriented analysis. Baha’u’llah was a person in the 19th century who went through a New World Age Cosmic Stargate. No big wup. That was then. This is now after two tragic World Wars and endless growth of the Military Industrial Complexes of all the nation state systems out there. It is all about the innate powers of the souls of people born into this world now to deal with this situation with nuclear weapons and institutionalized dysfunctional fundamentalist and ideological stupidity everywhere. It is all basically about brain chemistry. Who is on the “paper” physical “Universal House of Justice” is completely irrelevant now. All that is all even a kind of cosmic joke now. Just a study in esoteric archetypal dofussness.

    What counts is the SPIRITUAL Cosmic Universal House of Justice. That Cosmic membership is everywhere and changes hourly. That is the nine best souls on the planet at any given time who are ACTUALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING! ANYTHING! Today, for me, it is the nine best guitarists on the planet. Monday when I go to work it will be the nine best software engineers on the planet whose handiwork on the Internet is bringing down all systems of people with their heads completely up their asses regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. And that includes deluded people of impaired cosmic perception who think they are serving on the “actual” Institutions of the Baha’i Faith. The “Baha’is” are the people doing the ACTUAL WORK of the World Age whether they ever heard of Shirley MacLaine or not.

    I spent all last night in a restaurant talking at an impromptu dinner with eleven Obama campaign workers. It was like being in the Baha’i Faith back in 1971! What an empowering evening! I think I will spend today playing my guitar.

    Everyone have a nice weekend!

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

    [quote comment="57668"][quote comment=""][...]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House.[/quote]

    You’re mistaken. Baquia’s last response is here and he says no such thing.

    [quote]Unfortunately, the membership on the House requires administrative/consultative capacity… whether one likes it or not! The same with membership on the ITC, NSA, LSA, …! After all, what use is there to have a person on a committee who although very “spiritual” cannot articulate, consult, see the truth in others’ sayings,…?[/quote]

    That’s not what you were saying earlier:

    [quote]“I propose even if the NSAs elect you [Baquia] and I to the House, His Will will continue to unfold even through us two exceptionally wonderful and eligible Baha’is. The election procedure outlined by Abdu’l-Baha is to me understood as like the procedure to fertilise an egg, follow the steps and the result is a baby!”[/quote]

    [quote][quote comment=""][...]Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.[/quote]
    Sorry, but I have to point out what is subtly implied when we make such a statement with reference to “House appointees”: that we don’t trust the intention/decision of the House of Justice in appointing someone to serve in a certain capacity! Isn’t this the beginning of the sawing the seed of doubt in ones heart?[/quote]

    Nonsense. I’m stating a fact in neutral language. The ITC members are appointed by the House, and, effectively, that’s the pool from which new House members have been coming from. This isn’t about who is appointed; it’s about the results at election time. Any negative implications you may see in the appointment process — which no-one has commented on, except you — are yours alone.

    [quote]As to the “tiny nomination pool”, the pool is that of all the male Baha’is over 21 in the world![/quote]

    I agree, although I’d add “in good standing” to your list of requirements. What I’m talking about is the effective nominating pool. Your comprehension will improve if you don’t skip important words.

    [quote]However, if still not happy with these friends being appointed by the “source of all good and freed from all error” (ie House of Justice!)…[/quote]

    Again, no-one has expressed unhappiness with the appointments. The problem is that these appointments have effectively become a nominating pool, resulting in ideas being recycled in a closed loop, as Baquia puts it.

    [quote]All that’s being done by the House of Justice is in strict accordance with the guidance in the tablets and letters of the Central Figures of the Faith. If the election of the House was to take place through direct election by all the believers wouldn’t have we already had it for the past 40 years?![/quote]

    Tautology.

    My advice to you: Try to see the words that do exist, and try to miss the words that don’t exist.

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    [quote comment="57668"][quote comment=""][...]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House.[/quote]

    You’re mistaken. Baquia’s last response is here and he says no such thing.

    [quote]Unfortunately, the membership on the House requires administrative/consultative capacity… whether one likes it or not! The same with membership on the ITC, NSA, LSA, …! After all, what use is there to have a person on a committee who although very “spiritual” cannot articulate, consult, see the truth in others’ sayings,…?[/quote]

    That’s not what you were saying earlier:

    [quote]“I propose even if the NSAs elect you [Baquia] and I to the House, His Will will continue to unfold even through us two exceptionally wonderful and eligible Baha’is. The election procedure outlined by Abdu’l-Baha is to me understood as like the procedure to fertilise an egg, follow the steps and the result is a baby!”[/quote]

    [quote][quote comment=""][...]Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.[/quote]
    Sorry, but I have to point out what is subtly implied when we make such a statement with reference to “House appointees”: that we don’t trust the intention/decision of the House of Justice in appointing someone to serve in a certain capacity! Isn’t this the beginning of the sawing the seed of doubt in ones heart?[/quote]

    Nonsense. I’m stating a fact in neutral language. The ITC members are appointed by the House, and, effectively, that’s the pool from which new House members have been coming from. This isn’t about who is appointed; it’s about the results at election time. Any negative implications you may see in the appointment process — which no-one has commented on, except you — are yours alone.

    [quote]As to the “tiny nomination pool”, the pool is that of all the male Baha’is over 21 in the world![/quote]

    I agree, although I’d add “in good standing” to your list of requirements. What I’m talking about is the effective nominating pool. Your comprehension will improve if you don’t skip important words.

    [quote]However, if still not happy with these friends being appointed by the “source of all good and freed from all error” (ie House of Justice!)…[/quote]

    Again, no-one has expressed unhappiness with the appointments. The problem is that these appointments have effectively become a nominating pool, resulting in ideas being recycled in a closed loop, as Baquia puts it.

    [quote]All that’s being done by the House of Justice is in strict accordance with the guidance in the tablets and letters of the Central Figures of the Faith. If the election of the House was to take place through direct election by all the believers wouldn’t have we already had it for the past 40 years?![/quote]

    Tautology.

    My advice to you: Try to see the words that do exist, and try to miss the words that don’t exist.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="57668"][quote comment=""]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House.
    Mehyar[/quote]

    [quote comment="57661"][quote comment=""][...]“What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”[/quote]
    Please lets leave dear Baquia out of this![/quote]

    Ummm… I’m a little confused. You want to leave me out of this but then go ahead and ascribe motivations and aspirations to me?

    Just so that it is clear, all I’m doing is pointing out a factual, historical event: that the highest elected Baha’i administrative body has moved from one where it was comprised of NSA members to one where it is comprised of ITC members.

    This is relevant and important change to be cognizant of for primarily one reason: the UHJ itself appoints the ITC members which creates an organization which has its tail firmly planted in its mouth.

    As well as not being appointed but elected by Baha’is of each ountry, the NSA pool is a much larger one than the ITC one.

    I fail to see how you have deduced my private thoughts about who should be elected to the UHJ. What I’m pointing out is a much more important and broader theme.

    As a corollary, I’m also interested to know what, if any, effects such a change in organizational behavior will bring to bear upon the wider Baha’i world.

    One which is self evident is a narrower and narrower focus on activities which are dictated from the ITC/UHJ whereas before Baha’is would undertake projects and teaching efforts based on the needs of the country and region. As well, we are confronting a potentially damaging ossification of Baha’i culture when fewer and fewer ideas are allowed to enter the administrative bodies because of their closed loop nature.

    In effect, this is creating the real possibility of “group think”. The same fallacy which lead the US government to “make up” evidence and to disregard opposing evidence in the run-up to the Iraq war. I bring that analogy up with reluctance because I fear it will be misinterpreted. But as a case study of group think, the Bush administration is above none.

    [quote comment="57621"]Sorry I offended you. As I said I do like the chart. I remember something similar (actually a long detailed analysis) was done in the UK many years back by the late Rama Krishnan, which was published in the UK’s Baha’i Journal. That helped change the voting pattern in the UK. Your chart can be of benefit to the delegates as I’ve already said. The brilliance referred to two areas only: the “feedback loop” conclusion and ECBC membership being “not technically ITC”?![/quote]

    I wasn’t offended but thank you for your consideration Mehyar :) What I was pointing out was that it was all factual. The feedback loop is real. It is a fact. Whether you think it is a good thing or a bad thing or neutral is another matter. It is however, very real and based on the evidence. As well, the ECBC is not the ITC “technically” but it does act with similar purpose and it is similarly, appointed, not elected. Hence, Adib Taherzadeh was, as I wrote: “Adib Taherzadeh – member of ECBC (also appointed by the UHJ but not technically member of ITC)”

    Perhaps my wording is clumsy but again what I wrote is 100% factual. I get the impression that you don’t like the facts and therefore wish to ascribe some sort of negative motivation to me. But I could be wrong there :)

    If you want to share the document, feel free. You can embed it, email it, print it, etc. Check out the tools and menu options.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="57668"][quote comment=""]What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?.[/quote]
    That’s not what s/he wants (see his/her last response). S/he won’t be happy until someone who is not on the Baha’i administration gets elected to the House.
    Mehyar[/quote]

    [quote comment="57661"][quote comment=""][...]“What Baquia is pointing out is that the members are not being ?elected from all the people?. Effectively, a tiny nomination pool of House appointees are the ones being elected.”[/quote]
    Please lets leave dear Baquia out of this![/quote]

    Ummm… I’m a little confused. You want to leave me out of this but then go ahead and ascribe motivations and aspirations to me?

    Just so that it is clear, all I’m doing is pointing out a factual, historical event: that the highest elected Baha’i administrative body has moved from one where it was comprised of NSA members to one where it is comprised of ITC members.

    This is relevant and important change to be cognizant of for primarily one reason: the UHJ itself appoints the ITC members which creates an organization which has its tail firmly planted in its mouth.

    As well as not being appointed but elected by Baha’is of each ountry, the NSA pool is a much larger one than the ITC one.

    I fail to see how you have deduced my private thoughts about who should be elected to the UHJ. What I’m pointing out is a much more important and broader theme.

    As a corollary, I’m also interested to know what, if any, effects such a change in organizational behavior will bring to bear upon the wider Baha’i world.

    One which is self evident is a narrower and narrower focus on activities which are dictated from the ITC/UHJ whereas before Baha’is would undertake projects and teaching efforts based on the needs of the country and region. As well, we are confronting a potentially damaging ossification of Baha’i culture when fewer and fewer ideas are allowed to enter the administrative bodies because of their closed loop nature.

    In effect, this is creating the real possibility of “group think”. The same fallacy which lead the US government to “make up” evidence and to disregard opposing evidence in the run-up to the Iraq war. I bring that analogy up with reluctance because I fear it will be misinterpreted. But as a case study of group think, the Bush administration is above none.

    [quote comment="57621"]Sorry I offended you. As I said I do like the chart. I remember something similar (actually a long detailed analysis) was done in the UK many years back by the late Rama Krishnan, which was published in the UK’s Baha’i Journal. That helped change the voting pattern in the UK. Your chart can be of benefit to the delegates as I’ve already said. The brilliance referred to two areas only: the “feedback loop” conclusion and ECBC membership being “not technically ITC”?![/quote]

    I wasn’t offended but thank you for your consideration Mehyar :) What I was pointing out was that it was all factual. The feedback loop is real. It is a fact. Whether you think it is a good thing or a bad thing or neutral is another matter. It is however, very real and based on the evidence. As well, the ECBC is not the ITC “technically” but it does act with similar purpose and it is similarly, appointed, not elected. Hence, Adib Taherzadeh was, as I wrote: “Adib Taherzadeh – member of ECBC (also appointed by the UHJ but not technically member of ITC)”

    Perhaps my wording is clumsy but again what I wrote is 100% factual. I get the impression that you don’t like the facts and therefore wish to ascribe some sort of negative motivation to me. But I could be wrong there :)

    If you want to share the document, feel free. You can embed it, email it, print it, etc. Check out the tools and menu options.

  • Andrew

    Here is a link to an article that offers an excellent analysis of the current state of Baha’i (realistic observation rather than wishful thinking)

    “Declaring Covenant breakers becomes effectively uniformity rather than unity … The Bah??’?s cannot allow such diversity. Yet diversity is a product of maturity and confidence … In a hundred years there may be less paranoia in the Bah??’? community, that is within its make-up, coming from having excommunicated so many competitors for leadership in its reasonably short history and its subsequent maintenance of uniformity from the time of Shogi Effendi.”

    Baha’i Boosters will howl, of course. If a dog barks in the woods, and a tree falls on it, how will a True Believer react when he burns his tongue on his porridge?

  • Andrew

    Here is a link to an article that offers an excellent analysis of the current state of Baha’i (realistic observation rather than wishful thinking)

    “Declaring Covenant breakers becomes effectively uniformity rather than unity … The Bah??’?s cannot allow such diversity. Yet diversity is a product of maturity and confidence … In a hundred years there may be less paranoia in the Bah??’? community, that is within its make-up, coming from having excommunicated so many competitors for leadership in its reasonably short history and its subsequent maintenance of uniformity from the time of Shogi Effendi.”

    Baha’i Boosters will howl, of course. If a dog barks in the woods, and a tree falls on it, how will a True Believer react when he burns his tongue on his porridge?

  • Mehyar

    Please pardon my lack of correct ending of quotations with its resulting consequence… maybe a preview button would be good! Anyway, dear Baquia, I hope you can remove my previous message. Thanks.

    Dear Baquia,
    Thanks for your kind response.
    [quote comment=""]I fail to see how you have deduced my private thoughts about who should be elected to the UHJ.[/quote]
    Sorry, but my conclusion was based on the following section of your email in which you basically reduced the work of the ITC/counsellors to those mostly “social climbers” attending “endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon” unlike those who are “busy actually doing something to help the world” in which you gave the example of a friend doing charity work. Most of the friends on administration are by the way also talking about the “pyramids” (and not the ones in Egypt) so most of them are by this token like the counsellors. Hence we are left with the “ones who are busy actually doing something to help the world”, ie the charity workers.
    [quote comment=""]the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers[...]Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like ?What does the pyramid look like in our cluster??[/quote]
    Anyway, why not make the same charge of “social climbers” against the members of the NSA, Council, LSA, committee, etc?! Sometimes I think if the “holy people” foretold by Baha’u’llah (http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAB/sab-205.html) were to appear now in our communities there would be the same accusations against them. :-( As to the NSA members that you regard so highly from which you suggest the House members should be elected, let’s not forget that they are the same ones who vote in the House members… maybe we should trust their decision a little bit, no? … or do we have a problem with them too?! :-) Finally, as to this NSA pool, could it be that the ones most highly regarded and visible by the Baha’ world (UK, USA, Canada and India in the absence of an Iranian NSA) don’t have any suitable candidates serving on them at present?!
    [quote comment=""]is a narrower and narrower focus on activities which are dictated from the ITC/UHJ whereas before Baha’is would undertake projects and teaching efforts based on the needs of the country and region. As well, we are confronting a potentially damaging ossification of Baha’i culture when fewer and fewer ideas are allowed to enter the administrative bodies because of their closed loop nature.[/quote]
    Sorry, but when was the last time you were involved in your cluster activities?! Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years! The core activities are not to the exclusion of other activities and they have been named as “portals to entry by troops”… what’s wrong with focusing on opening our devotional meetings, children’s classes, study of the Word of God (Study Circles), junior youth groups to all the people?… many had been doing that for years now the World Centre is asking all the friends to develop experience in these areas and to share their successes with others so that a new Baha’i can faster and with more confidence and skill be involved in the life of the community and its expansion and consolidation…. that the past 10 years of guidance regarding the “advancement in the process of entry by troops” has been caused by membership to the House of Justice of ITC members is simply to ignore the urgency of the times that we are living in and lack of appreciation of the maturity of the friends around the globe to take charge of the Faith in their back yard without meeting with this or that LSA or committee… anyway that’s another subject of contention it seems!
    [quote comment=""]I get the impression that you don’t like the facts and therefore wish to ascribe some sort of negative motivation to me. But I could be wrong there[/quote]
    What I notice, is how nicely you’ve written your responses (at least to me) compared to, may I say, sensationalist way you write your articles in general! :-) Nothing wrong with the facts, actually much appreciate them, my personal problem is just with the tone of the articles and the subsequent responses it attracts which I notice includes those from a learned Wizard… I suppose the site would not be Baha’i Rants otherwise, ha?! ;-)
    Take care dear Baquia, good luck and stay well,
    With loving greetings,
    Mehyar

    ps thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinion… I wish you were in my community… we could do with your critical thinking (a little bit mellowed out would do no harm!) ;-)

  • Mehyar

    Please pardon my lack of correct ending of quotations with its resulting consequence… maybe a preview button would be good! Anyway, dear Baquia, I hope you can remove my previous message. Thanks.

    Dear Baquia,
    Thanks for your kind response.
    [quote comment=""]I fail to see how you have deduced my private thoughts about who should be elected to the UHJ.[/quote]
    Sorry, but my conclusion was based on the following section of your email in which you basically reduced the work of the ITC/counsellors to those mostly “social climbers” attending “endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon” unlike those who are “busy actually doing something to help the world” in which you gave the example of a friend doing charity work. Most of the friends on administration are by the way also talking about the “pyramids” (and not the ones in Egypt) so most of them are by this token like the counsellors. Hence we are left with the “ones who are busy actually doing something to help the world”, ie the charity workers.
    [quote comment=""]the majority of those serving on the ITC/counsellor, etc. have accomplished that position by being very good social climbers[...]Those that are busy actually doing something to help the world are far too busy to spend their valuable time in endless meetings and coming up with inane jargon like ?What does the pyramid look like in our cluster??[/quote]
    Anyway, why not make the same charge of “social climbers” against the members of the NSA, Council, LSA, committee, etc?! Sometimes I think if the “holy people” foretold by Baha’u’llah (http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAB/sab-205.html) were to appear now in our communities there would be the same accusations against them. :-( As to the NSA members that you regard so highly from which you suggest the House members should be elected, let’s not forget that they are the same ones who vote in the House members… maybe we should trust their decision a little bit, no? … or do we have a problem with them too?! :-) Finally, as to this NSA pool, could it be that the ones most highly regarded and visible by the Baha’ world (UK, USA, Canada and India in the absence of an Iranian NSA) don’t have any suitable candidates serving on them at present?!
    [quote comment=""]is a narrower and narrower focus on activities which are dictated from the ITC/UHJ whereas before Baha’is would undertake projects and teaching efforts based on the needs of the country and region. As well, we are confronting a potentially damaging ossification of Baha’i culture when fewer and fewer ideas are allowed to enter the administrative bodies because of their closed loop nature.[/quote]
    Sorry, but when was the last time you were involved in your cluster activities?! Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years! The core activities are not to the exclusion of other activities and they have been named as “portals to entry by troops”… what’s wrong with focusing on opening our devotional meetings, children’s classes, study of the Word of God (Study Circles), junior youth groups to all the people?… many had been doing that for years now the World Centre is asking all the friends to develop experience in these areas and to share their successes with others so that a new Baha’i can faster and with more confidence and skill be involved in the life of the community and its expansion and consolidation…. that the past 10 years of guidance regarding the “advancement in the process of entry by troops” has been caused by membership to the House of Justice of ITC members is simply to ignore the urgency of the times that we are living in and lack of appreciation of the maturity of the friends around the globe to take charge of the Faith in their back yard without meeting with this or that LSA or committee… anyway that’s another subject of contention it seems!
    [quote comment=""]I get the impression that you don’t like the facts and therefore wish to ascribe some sort of negative motivation to me. But I could be wrong there[/quote]
    What I notice, is how nicely you’ve written your responses (at least to me) compared to, may I say, sensationalist way you write your articles in general! :-) Nothing wrong with the facts, actually much appreciate them, my personal problem is just with the tone of the articles and the subsequent responses it attracts which I notice includes those from a learned Wizard… I suppose the site would not be Baha’i Rants otherwise, ha?! ;-)
    Take care dear Baquia, good luck and stay well,
    With loving greetings,
    Mehyar

    ps thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinion… I wish you were in my community… we could do with your critical thinking (a little bit mellowed out would do no harm!) ;-)

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  • Grover

    Mehyar wrote:

    [quote post="488"]Sorry, but when was the last time you were involved in your cluster activities?![/quote]

    Yay cluster meetings, one of the reasons I became inactive. Who wants to go to badly run happy clappy meetings where they make you do skits all the time, sing happy clappy songs, and draw pretty pictures, all the while getting badgered into dragging your poor innocent friends along to dreadful Baha’i activities for the sole purpose of conversion, doing more and more Ruhi, and praising the lord until the cows come home or entry by troops happens (the former is more likely). Yeah right!

    [quote post="488"]Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years![/quote]

    Bollocks! Needs of the clusters never came into it. It was always 5 year plan, 5 year plan, 5 year plan, and a bunch of dumb spuds up the front with their Ruhi pyramid preaching Ruhi, devotional meetings, and kiddies classes. And the concept of clusters has not been around for over ten years, it came into being during the last 5 year plan.

    [quote post="488"]The core activities are not to the exclusion of other activities and they have been named as ?portals to entry by troops?…[/quote]

    Bollocks! many good activities have been sacrificed in the name of the “three portals”.

    [quote post="488"]what’s wrong with focusing on opening our devotional meetings, children’s classes, study of the Word of God (Study Circles), junior youth groups to all the people?…[/quote]

    Oh yay, just what society needs, more born again Christians, oops, sorry Baha’is, preying on, oops, praying for their souls. When will we start door knocking? Oh no! for shame! we’ve already started! When will we start hand clapping? Oh no! for shame! Thats what we do at Cluster meetings! When will we start talking in tongues? oops, better keep quiet about that, but I’m sure some bright spark somewhere will be going “what a good idea!”

    [quote post="488"]many had been doing that for years now the World Centre is asking all the friends to develop experience in these areas and to share their successes with others so that a new Baha’i can faster and with more confidence and skill be involved in the life of the community and its expansion and consolidation….[/quote]

    Aka develop novel (if it is remotely possibly in the Baha’i Faith) or use existing indoctrination techniques (Aka Ruhi = Truth Study) for preying on the weak minded just like many charismatic churches. Watch out! watch out! Here come the drooling hoards of lobotomised Baha’i zombies on the prowl, wanting to feast on our flesh! Wife! wife! get me the shotgun now!

    [quote post="488"] that the past 10 years of guidance regarding the ?advancement in the process of entry by troops? [/quote]

    Rebranded from Entry by Troops because no masses were entering the Faith. Bugger, that really bolloxed up the Baha’is grand plans for conquest. When the world is fighting against obesity, Baha’is are promoting it because their definition of a person of capacity is someone with a large appetite for Tardiq (crispy bits in Persian rice if you didn’t know) [I borrowed this from somewhere, can't remember where, but if you invented the definition, full credit to you].

    [quote post="488"]urgency of the times that we are living in [/quote]

    Wooo, sounds like a Jehova’s Witness now. Good God! Knock knock! Hello! Do you believe the world is getting worse today? Join the Baha’i Faith. Would you like to read our Watchtower, oops sorry, Ruhi magazine?

    [quote post="488"]and lack of appreciation of the maturity of the friends around the globe to take charge of the Faith in their back yard without meeting with this or that LSA or committee… [/quote]

    Yes because we’re all horrible intellectual philosophisers with covenant breaking and independent thinking tendencies with a large capacity for Tardiq! Hence Ruhi and cluster meetings to break our spirits, lobotomise our brains and fill our minds with trash.

    Welcome to the real Baha’i Faith. Bright and glossy on the outside, rotten and ugly on the inside. You can shove your clusters and portals up where the sun don’t shine!

  • Grover

    Mehyar wrote:

    [quote post="488"]Sorry, but when was the last time you were involved in your cluster activities?![/quote]

    Yay cluster meetings, one of the reasons I became inactive. Who wants to go to badly run happy clappy meetings where they make you do skits all the time, sing happy clappy songs, and draw pretty pictures, all the while getting badgered into dragging your poor innocent friends along to dreadful Baha’i activities for the sole purpose of conversion, doing more and more Ruhi, and praising the lord until the cows come home or entry by troops happens (the former is more likely). Yeah right!

    [quote post="488"]Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years![/quote]

    Bollocks! Needs of the clusters never came into it. It was always 5 year plan, 5 year plan, 5 year plan, and a bunch of dumb spuds up the front with their Ruhi pyramid preaching Ruhi, devotional meetings, and kiddies classes. And the concept of clusters has not been around for over ten years, it came into being during the last 5 year plan.

    [quote post="488"]The core activities are not to the exclusion of other activities and they have been named as ?portals to entry by troops?…[/quote]

    Bollocks! many good activities have been sacrificed in the name of the “three portals”.

    [quote post="488"]what’s wrong with focusing on opening our devotional meetings, children’s classes, study of the Word of God (Study Circles), junior youth groups to all the people?…[/quote]

    Oh yay, just what society needs, more born again Christians, oops, sorry Baha’is, preying on, oops, praying for their souls. When will we start door knocking? Oh no! for shame! we’ve already started! When will we start hand clapping? Oh no! for shame! Thats what we do at Cluster meetings! When will we start talking in tongues? oops, better keep quiet about that, but I’m sure some bright spark somewhere will be going “what a good idea!”

    [quote post="488"]many had been doing that for years now the World Centre is asking all the friends to develop experience in these areas and to share their successes with others so that a new Baha’i can faster and with more confidence and skill be involved in the life of the community and its expansion and consolidation….[/quote]

    Aka develop novel (if it is remotely possibly in the Baha’i Faith) or use existing indoctrination techniques (Aka Ruhi = Truth Study) for preying on the weak minded just like many charismatic churches. Watch out! watch out! Here come the drooling hoards of lobotomised Baha’i zombies on the prowl, wanting to feast on our flesh! Wife! wife! get me the shotgun now!

    [quote post="488"] that the past 10 years of guidance regarding the ?advancement in the process of entry by troops? [/quote]

    Rebranded from Entry by Troops because no masses were entering the Faith. Bugger, that really bolloxed up the Baha’is grand plans for conquest. When the world is fighting against obesity, Baha’is are promoting it because their definition of a person of capacity is someone with a large appetite for Tardiq (crispy bits in Persian rice if you didn’t know) [I borrowed this from somewhere, can't remember where, but if you invented the definition, full credit to you].

    [quote post="488"]urgency of the times that we are living in [/quote]

    Wooo, sounds like a Jehova’s Witness now. Good God! Knock knock! Hello! Do you believe the world is getting worse today? Join the Baha’i Faith. Would you like to read our Watchtower, oops sorry, Ruhi magazine?

    [quote post="488"]and lack of appreciation of the maturity of the friends around the globe to take charge of the Faith in their back yard without meeting with this or that LSA or committee… [/quote]

    Yes because we’re all horrible intellectual philosophisers with covenant breaking and independent thinking tendencies with a large capacity for Tardiq! Hence Ruhi and cluster meetings to break our spirits, lobotomise our brains and fill our minds with trash.

    Welcome to the real Baha’i Faith. Bright and glossy on the outside, rotten and ugly on the inside. You can shove your clusters and portals up where the sun don’t shine!

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

    Mehyar wrote:[quote comment="57740"]Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years![/quote]

    Are you sure? My understanding is that the concept of clusters was introduced for general consumption by the House in 2001:

    “During the coming months, you will be helping national communities, whose circumstances differ widely, to formulate plans for systematic growth. There are many countries where increased institutional capacity, particularly at the level of the region, now makes it possible to focus attention on smaller geographical areas. Most of these will consist of a cluster of villages and towns, but sometimes, a large city and its suburbs may constitute an area of this kind. Among the factors that determine the boundaries of a cluster are culture, language, patterns of transport, infrastructure, and the social and economic life of the inhabitants. The areas into which a region divides will fall into various categories of development. Some will not yet be open to the Faith, while others will contain a few isolated localities and groups; in some, established communities will be gaining strength through a vigorous institute process; in a few, strong communities of deepened believers will be in a position to take on the challenges of systematic and accelerated expansion and consolidation.”
    9 January 2001, from THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

    I remember when that letter came out, and I thought, “Well that’s a big change from what we’ve been doing.”

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    Mehyar wrote:[quote comment="57740"]Projects and teaching efforts have been based on the needs of the clusters (much smaller than regions!) for more than 10years![/quote]

    Are you sure? My understanding is that the concept of clusters was introduced for general consumption by the House in 2001:

    “During the coming months, you will be helping national communities, whose circumstances differ widely, to formulate plans for systematic growth. There are many countries where increased institutional capacity, particularly at the level of the region, now makes it possible to focus attention on smaller geographical areas. Most of these will consist of a cluster of villages and towns, but sometimes, a large city and its suburbs may constitute an area of this kind. Among the factors that determine the boundaries of a cluster are culture, language, patterns of transport, infrastructure, and the social and economic life of the inhabitants. The areas into which a region divides will fall into various categories of development. Some will not yet be open to the Faith, while others will contain a few isolated localities and groups; in some, established communities will be gaining strength through a vigorous institute process; in a few, strong communities of deepened believers will be in a position to take on the challenges of systematic and accelerated expansion and consolidation.”
    9 January 2001, from THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

    I remember when that letter came out, and I thought, “Well that’s a big change from what we’ve been doing.”

    ka kite
    Steve

  • farhan

    Steve wrote:
    I remember when that letter came out, and I thought, “Well that’s a big change from what we’ve been doing.”

    Steve, I would say a great *addition* to what we have been doing, although by defining new priorities, we are obviously attracting people into new activities and crowding out (temporarily) from many previous activities.

    The structure of the elected and appointed pillars will continue unabated, but now, the teaching work is being systematised and organised. This new activity does not need to be systematised on administrative structures as before, but on practical basis of who can meet easily and work in small groups, within neighbourhoods, families and friends.

    In France it is working beautifully well and the teaching work is showing unprecedented growth. Fire-sides, study circles, children’s classes, devotional prayers are flourishing, and new Baha’is are no longer abandoned to themselves but swiftly empowered into activities.

    Dozens of previously inactive baha’is and non-Baha’is are taking the teaching work into their own hands. This is especially important amongst youth. Previously hardly 50% of kids from Baha’i families were becoming active, whereas now kids are dragging their parents into activities.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Steve wrote:
    I remember when that letter came out, and I thought, “Well that’s a big change from what we’ve been doing.”

    Steve, I would say a great *addition* to what we have been doing, although by defining new priorities, we are obviously attracting people into new activities and crowding out (temporarily) from many previous activities.

    The structure of the elected and appointed pillars will continue unabated, but now, the teaching work is being systematised and organised. This new activity does not need to be systematised on administrative structures as before, but on practical basis of who can meet easily and work in small groups, within neighbourhoods, families and friends.

    In France it is working beautifully well and the teaching work is showing unprecedented growth. Fire-sides, study circles, children’s classes, devotional prayers are flourishing, and new Baha’is are no longer abandoned to themselves but swiftly empowered into activities.

    Dozens of previously inactive baha’is and non-Baha’is are taking the teaching work into their own hands. This is especially important amongst youth. Previously hardly 50% of kids from Baha’i families were becoming active, whereas now kids are dragging their parents into activities.

  • David

    Baquia,

    Great chart. Thanks for putting it together. I believe there is one error though, Hugh Chance retired in 1993.

  • David

    Baquia,

    Great chart. Thanks for putting it together. I believe there is one error though, Hugh Chance retired in 1993.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Nice catch David. The year is written incorrectly as 1998 but the chart does show his service ending correctly on 1993.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Nice catch David. The year is written incorrectly as 1998 but the chart does show his service ending correctly on 1993.

  • John Rager

    [quote comment="49412"]Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?[/quote]
    [quote comment=""][...] To celebrate this and to “deliberate on its exigencies” the Universal House of Justice today called for 41 regional conferences to be held around the world. Check the last paragraph to see if your city is on the list. Each of the regional conferences will have 2 ITC counsellors as representatives of the UHJ. And Baha’is wonder why there is a revolving door between the two administrative bodies! [...][/quote]

    Perhaps the most reasonable explanation about the Men of the House of Justice was given to me in a personal conversation with Bill Hatcher. He suggested, which is all anyone can do from our positions of ignorance, that the emancipation of women would be resisted by traditional cultures around the world if it was seen, or argued to be simply a “feminist agenda”. The principle of the full emancipation of women in the Baha’i World Faith is driven at the highest administrative level by men.

    I will also take this opportunity to express my dismay and bewilderment at the tone of some of the comments I have read in this forum. There is a very good reason why the future is “unknown and unknowable” – it is in the Hands of the Creative Spirit of the Universe and will most likely bear little resemblance to anyone’s opinion.

  • John Rager

    [quote comment="49412"]Hi Baquia,
    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, as far as I’m concerned you and some of your regular commentator are the few remaining sensible voices in a Faith totally weighed down by its administration and ham-fisted attempts at indoctrination (eg Ruhi Process) which are in total contradiction to the Baha’i principles of equality and independent investigation of thought.
    Regarding the Universal House of Justice, I have to admit to me, as a woman, it will never be a true and transparent representation of all Baha’is because it can only ever be all male. Yes, yes, before everybody replies with various references to the Writings, I know that it has been decreed so and so it shall be. I also know that when asked to explain WHY, Shogi Effendi basically couldn’t give a straight answer, instead it was one of those we-can’t-explain-the-mystery-that-is-God replies. I’m interested to know what your thoughts are?[/quote]
    [quote comment=""][...] To celebrate this and to “deliberate on its exigencies” the Universal House of Justice today called for 41 regional conferences to be held around the world. Check the last paragraph to see if your city is on the list. Each of the regional conferences will have 2 ITC counsellors as representatives of the UHJ. And Baha’is wonder why there is a revolving door between the two administrative bodies! [...][/quote]

    Perhaps the most reasonable explanation about the Men of the House of Justice was given to me in a personal conversation with Bill Hatcher. He suggested, which is all anyone can do from our positions of ignorance, that the emancipation of women would be resisted by traditional cultures around the world if it was seen, or argued to be simply a “feminist agenda”. The principle of the full emancipation of women in the Baha’i World Faith is driven at the highest administrative level by men.

    I will also take this opportunity to express my dismay and bewilderment at the tone of some of the comments I have read in this forum. There is a very good reason why the future is “unknown and unknowable” – it is in the Hands of the Creative Spirit of the Universe and will most likely bear little resemblance to anyone’s opinion.

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  • Martin Mathews

    What do you hope to establish with your rants?

  • Baquia

    Martin, I’m not sure if you’re asking John (above comment) or me. Just in case, please refer to the about section.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonjavank

    You might find this article, The Service of Women on the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith, written in 1988 of interesthttp://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol3/wmnuhj.htm

  • http://twitter.com/iansdigby Ian Digby

    What is your point exactly? That the process is flawed? That you don’t like the outcome? You seem to be suggesting the former but are imputing dishonesty to other people, based on your own ignorance of the facts. Unjust.

  • AndrewTurvey

    Baquia – are you able to do an update? I notice the two new 2013 additions are also from the ITC.

  • Baquia

    Poof! your wish is my command. Also note the infographic has been updated.

  • Baquia

    Perhaps my point was lost in the snark. Put simply, the membership of the UHJ is drawn from the ITC as the ITC has come to act as a de facto nomination or a ‘farm team’ for the UHJ. This has several consequences. First of course is the fact that this is not the intention of the architect of Baha’i Administration. Second is that the feedback loop is self-reinforcing pulling the UHJ and therefore the whole Baha’i community into group think.

    We need not look far to see the practical effects of this. The whole Ruhi process and the constant drum-beat to do more Ruhi is evident in every Baha’i community – as is evident the lack of any real results that it yields.