Reflections on 3 Years of Blogging

I can’t believe it has been 3 years since I started writing. I don’t make it a habit to lapse into navel gazing but since we are at a sort of road marker, perhaps you will be so kind as to overlook this weakness.

Yes, really. Its been three whole years (and a fraction more). This is what I wrote as my first foray into this uncharted territory: Introduction.

Since then, I’ve gotten a lot off my chest – as they say. Unfortunately, I’ve been given reason to say things. For example the whole Kalimat Press boycott, I’d rather not be handed such material by the Baha’i powers that be. However, when they do such knuckle-headed things, I can’t help but rant about it.

Positively Negative
I’m not sure how much I’ve ranted and how much I’ve been actually coherent. One thing I’d like to do is to be more positive and to see the lighter side of things. The primary reason why I haven’t done more of this is that there are already a plethora of wide eyed and bushy tailed Baha’i bloggers who do nothing but that.

I’d rather be a unique voice and stay true to myself. This doesn’t mean that I don’t see the good or that I don’t celebrate the positive events of my faith along with my fellow believers. But that I see no point in being the 16th blogger to write about Nouruz.

So what some may interpret as being excessively negative, is in reality my attempt to bring some sort of attention to things that I believe need attention desperately.

When I do write about positive things, you can bet it will be something no one else is mentioning ;-)

The Song Remains The Same
Sadly, not much has changed within the Baha’i community from three years ago. Oh sure, things have been rearranged but the change is superficial.

None of the really important issues which have made appearances on Baha’i Rants have been addressed. If anything, things have been going the other way.

That’s A Lot of Zeros
Which might explain a surprising fact: people are actually reading my blog.

To be specific, in 2006 Baha’i Rants got more than 200,000 pageviews. And in 2007, 400,000 pageviews. And every month the traffic is growing, even when I don’t write much. Or maybe because I don’t write much.

I certainly never thought this would happen nor that it would be even possible for such a micro-niche blog to get such traffic!

I’m not a competitive person, nor is this a race but my traffic easily trounces the largest and most well known traditional Baha’i blogs. I won’t mention them to protect the innocent – but they know who they are :-)

I don’t think it is a reflection on this blog, or the quality of its content but rather the interest that Baha’is have taken in this medium of communication. The search engine traffic and the keywords that bring people to my blog is astounding.

Baha’is find this blog because they feel the same way I do about things and are out here on the internet — the only open and free platform for exchange of ideas — seeking more information and perhaps like minded peers.

As Shoghi Effendi wrote in 1931:

A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.

They’re still working on the “national hinderances” in places like China and Iran. But as prophecies go, it’s a pretty darned good one. And here we are, you and I, communicating through it. It certainly is marvelous, isn’t it?

And just look at how many different countries you all come from!

All the large English speaking countries, as well as European ones (I guess they know English or use an online translator?) but also there are readers from the Middle East: UAE, Iran, Israel (big smile and wave to the good folks on top of Mount Carmel).

br-countriesI can understand the curiosity when this humble scribe is anonymous. If you are really curious and want to find out more, read “Who is Baquia?”

I just noticed that a fellow Baha’i blogger has plopped me down into the apostate category. Thanks Moojan! Lovely addition to the Baha’i lexicon and a wonderful legacy for yourself as a theologian.

Believe it or not, I’m a Baha’i. Fully enrolled and in good standing. But since when has that ever stopped a fellow Baha’i from casting stones?

Which brings us full circle because this whole thing, the blog, my thoughts, my anguish at the way the Baha’i Faith is careening outside the path it once travelled… it was all started quite innocuously when a fellow Baha’i by the name of Dr. Susan Maneck viciously attacked me in an online discussion.

I was taken aback by such treatment because online or off, no one had ever twisted my words, perverted my intentions and poured such personal hate on me. It caused me to wonder what was really under it all. The discussion we were engaged in was benign – so why such a harsh reaction?

That’s when I decided to give this more attention and stumbled in short order on such chapters of history as the LA Class in the 1970′s, the Dialogue magazine mess, the Talisman crackdown, the practice of “unenrollment” and others (Karen deals with most of the big ones here). So in essence I owe Dr. Maneck a heartfelt thank you. Her words on that day helped to open my eyes – when they may never have been. Who knows, I may have turned into one of those Ruhi-parroting “good” Baha’is. So thank you Dr. Maneck. THANK YOU !! :-)

Ah, well. Enough navel gazing for now.

  • Matt

    I just stumbled across this “little blog” of yours a few months ago, and it really was a fresh outpouring of honesty that its lack thereof had been suffocating for years. Sometimes the “insignificant” things in our eyes are huge in the eyes of others. From reading various posts in your archive folders, I eventually built up the courage to resign membership within the Baha’i Faith because I knew that I could never live up to all of the expectations of the institutions, plans, the fear of being “sanctioned” if I acted up in public and gave the Faith a “bad name”, the tight rope attitude of “breeching Covenant territory”…all of this hurts the Faith and its members. It really does. Sometimes it takes years for someone to get over all of it. And sometimes they never do…But, as the powerful always eventually says “Who cares if a few individuals get hurt if it helps the Greater Whole?” If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book “The Wave”, I think you would get something out of it. You can find it on Google Video.

    And the fact that Baha’is I have respected since I began investigating the Faith would consider me an apostate if he knew about me, really saddens and disappoints me.

    It really sucks that resigning from the Faith was the best choice I could make, and is a sign of my strength and not my weakness….It really does suck..

  • Matt

    I just stumbled across this “little blog” of yours a few months ago, and it really was a fresh outpouring of honesty that its lack thereof had been suffocating for years. Sometimes the “insignificant” things in our eyes are huge in the eyes of others. From reading various posts in your archive folders, I eventually built up the courage to resign membership within the Baha’i Faith because I knew that I could never live up to all of the expectations of the institutions, plans, the fear of being “sanctioned” if I acted up in public and gave the Faith a “bad name”, the tight rope attitude of “breeching Covenant territory”…all of this hurts the Faith and its members. It really does. Sometimes it takes years for someone to get over all of it. And sometimes they never do…But, as the powerful always eventually says “Who cares if a few individuals get hurt if it helps the Greater Whole?” If you’ve ever seen the movie or read the book “The Wave”, I think you would get something out of it. You can find it on Google Video.

    And the fact that Baha’is I have respected since I began investigating the Faith would consider me an apostate if he knew about me, really saddens and disappoints me.

    It really sucks that resigning from the Faith was the best choice I could make, and is a sign of my strength and not my weakness….It really does suck..

  • Steve

    I’m glad this blog exists, and while I don’t always agree with you, there is a need for freedom to speak openly about issues, and dare to utter words that people are afraid to speak. It does seem like this blog is fulfilling that need.

    As someone who has had to play the role of dissenter in an organization of yes-people, I’ve learned that sometimes there is conflict between how I want to say something and how it will be heard. There’s a part of me that loves throwing that wordbomb that will hit its target and shock the system with its force. I’ve loved watching it land in slow motion and seeing everybody’s reactions. But while saying exactly what I felt in those instances, I often realized later that what was heard was very different from what I said, and as such I did nothing to advance my point–all I’d done was harden the resolve of people who didn’t want to talk about it.

    So as I congratulate you on three years of writing, I would suggest thinking a little bit more about how you put things. I’m not saying that you should be Pollyannish-yup-yup-yup, or sugarcoat things. I think the straight facts of what you see are often the most effective battering rams in knocking through walls. Just my $.02 and thanks for your writing.

  • Steve

    I’m glad this blog exists, and while I don’t always agree with you, there is a need for freedom to speak openly about issues, and dare to utter words that people are afraid to speak. It does seem like this blog is fulfilling that need.

    As someone who has had to play the role of dissenter in an organization of yes-people, I’ve learned that sometimes there is conflict between how I want to say something and how it will be heard. There’s a part of me that loves throwing that wordbomb that will hit its target and shock the system with its force. I’ve loved watching it land in slow motion and seeing everybody’s reactions. But while saying exactly what I felt in those instances, I often realized later that what was heard was very different from what I said, and as such I did nothing to advance my point–all I’d done was harden the resolve of people who didn’t want to talk about it.

    So as I congratulate you on three years of writing, I would suggest thinking a little bit more about how you put things. I’m not saying that you should be Pollyannish-yup-yup-yup, or sugarcoat things. I think the straight facts of what you see are often the most effective battering rams in knocking through walls. Just my $.02 and thanks for your writing.

  • http://www.redletterbahai.com Robert Clifton

    Shining sparks of truth are not made by gently stroking the stones.
    The clash of opinions is not a hugging encounter.
    All misunderstandings come from not understanding what is said.
    Consultation is the answer to the worlds problems.
    If understood.

    Robert

  • http://www.redletterbahai.com Robert Clifton

    Shining sparks of truth are not made by gently stroking the stones.
    The clash of opinions is not a hugging encounter.
    All misunderstandings come from not understanding what is said.
    Consultation is the answer to the worlds problems.
    If understood.

    Robert

  • concourse_on_low

    I appreciate your honesty, sense of humour and your clear and lucid prose even more.

    But I still wonder why a thinking person like you is only disgruntled and unhappy with the institutions of the Bahai Faith, and not the problematic features of Bahai doctrine.

  • concourse_on_low

    I appreciate your honesty, sense of humour and your clear and lucid prose even more.

    But I still wonder why a thinking person like you is only disgruntled and unhappy with the institutions of the Bahai Faith, and not the problematic features of Bahai doctrine.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Matt, I’m really sad to read your words because I can only imagine the anguish and hurt they spring from. I do not tell anyone what to do or how to live their life as that is up to them. Choosing to stay or leave is just that, your choice. I am saddened though. I wish that we lived in a world where you and I would be not just accepted but welcomed with open arms in the Baha’i Faith.

    As you say, it really does suck.

    ps re the movie do you mean this one?

    if so, how exactly does it have a bearing on this discussion?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Matt, I’m really sad to read your words because I can only imagine the anguish and hurt they spring from. I do not tell anyone what to do or how to live their life as that is up to them. Choosing to stay or leave is just that, your choice. I am saddened though. I wish that we lived in a world where you and I would be not just accepted but welcomed with open arms in the Baha’i Faith.

    As you say, it really does suck.

    ps re the movie do you mean this one?

    if so, how exactly does it have a bearing on this discussion?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks Steve, I appreciate your comment and the gentleness with which you deliver them.

    You are certainly correct. It is one thing to rant and get things off one’s chest and entirely another thing to persuade people and bring about change.

    It may seem like a glib answer but one of the reasons that I and others are angry is that we are not listened to. When we whisper, the administration doesn’t listen, when we cry, they don’t listen, when we yell, they don’t listen, when we plead, they don’t listen, when we whine, they don’t listen, when we beg, they don’t listen.

    So at first it is natural to be upset and ‘blow up’ with strong emotion. But believe me, I’ve approached Baha’i life from many perspectives. And I’ve had many interactions with the AO. Everything from LSAs all the way to the UHJ and all the acronyms in between.

    And unfortunately I have not had one single experience which I can say impressed me or even satisfied me as an experience of one human being with another. Civility and respect. Never mind love, humility, or any of the other gushy stuff. In fact there are many instances of the AO being uncaring, cold, insulting and downright damaging. I haven’t written about these nor will I ever because first, they are private matters and second, I am far from the only person treated this way. There is a clear pattern of behavior by the AO which is appalling.

    So Steve, I’m asking because I’d like your input. What do you suggest I or others in my place, do?

    Should we just shut up? continue to be ‘nice’ (and ignored)? yell louder? go postal? crawl into a cave and give up on the whole thing? I’m listening and open to new ideas.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks Steve, I appreciate your comment and the gentleness with which you deliver them.

    You are certainly correct. It is one thing to rant and get things off one’s chest and entirely another thing to persuade people and bring about change.

    It may seem like a glib answer but one of the reasons that I and others are angry is that we are not listened to. When we whisper, the administration doesn’t listen, when we cry, they don’t listen, when we yell, they don’t listen, when we plead, they don’t listen, when we whine, they don’t listen, when we beg, they don’t listen.

    So at first it is natural to be upset and ‘blow up’ with strong emotion. But believe me, I’ve approached Baha’i life from many perspectives. And I’ve had many interactions with the AO. Everything from LSAs all the way to the UHJ and all the acronyms in between.

    And unfortunately I have not had one single experience which I can say impressed me or even satisfied me as an experience of one human being with another. Civility and respect. Never mind love, humility, or any of the other gushy stuff. In fact there are many instances of the AO being uncaring, cold, insulting and downright damaging. I haven’t written about these nor will I ever because first, they are private matters and second, I am far from the only person treated this way. There is a clear pattern of behavior by the AO which is appalling.

    So Steve, I’m asking because I’d like your input. What do you suggest I or others in my place, do?

    Should we just shut up? continue to be ‘nice’ (and ignored)? yell louder? go postal? crawl into a cave and give up on the whole thing? I’m listening and open to new ideas.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    CoL,
    which doctrinal features? can you give me an example?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    CoL,
    which doctrinal features? can you give me an example?

  • Matt

    Yes, that is the correct movie. I thought it related to the overall subject of the suffocating nature of institutionalism and how easy it is to gather people into such a mentality. It only took the teacher one school week (in the actual story) to get them from acting like “regular” kids to behaving as though they were part of this special, elite group. I’m not saying the Baha’i institutions behave in that exact manner, but I do see some similarities.

    As to the person I had much respect for in my early days of investigation, that would be Moojan Momen himself. I read his books about how the Baha’i Faith relates to other religions, and I thought they were really good (despite their somewhat evangelist angle.) And to think that he would consider me an apostate, is definitely a wake-up call to say the least.

  • Matt

    Yes, that is the correct movie. I thought it related to the overall subject of the suffocating nature of institutionalism and how easy it is to gather people into such a mentality. It only took the teacher one school week (in the actual story) to get them from acting like “regular” kids to behaving as though they were part of this special, elite group. I’m not saying the Baha’i institutions behave in that exact manner, but I do see some similarities.

    As to the person I had much respect for in my early days of investigation, that would be Moojan Momen himself. I read his books about how the Baha’i Faith relates to other religions, and I thought they were really good (despite their somewhat evangelist angle.) And to think that he would consider me an apostate, is definitely a wake-up call to say the least.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Ah, alright. That’s clearer now. Did you know that at a Baha’i Summer school this sort of program was enacted? it quickly got waaaay out of hand. The supervisors and the people running it were reprimanded and they were basically banned from ‘teaching’ at the school again. Mind you, these were early adults themselves instructing teenagers. Not hard to see how such a situation is a tinderbox ready to go off.

    re Momen, don’t be so hasty. First of all, we are all human. Including the Mo’man. We all make mistakes and we should be compassionate towards each other. Second, unless Momen used you in his paper as one of the 12 naughty apostates or he came and knocked on your door and then pointed at you and said… Worst. Apostate. Ever! …. then I think it is a bit premature to believe that he considers you one.

    You could always contact him and talk to him. His website is just a click away. And I’m sure he would appreciate the chance to clear things up.

    Not that I’m defending the thesis he asserts (but fails miserably in proving) in his paper. My personal conviction is that we can’t go around casting aspersions at people and writing calumny, even if we wrap it all carefully in a thin veil of academic jargon.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Ah, alright. That’s clearer now. Did you know that at a Baha’i Summer school this sort of program was enacted? it quickly got waaaay out of hand. The supervisors and the people running it were reprimanded and they were basically banned from ‘teaching’ at the school again. Mind you, these were early adults themselves instructing teenagers. Not hard to see how such a situation is a tinderbox ready to go off.

    re Momen, don’t be so hasty. First of all, we are all human. Including the Mo’man. We all make mistakes and we should be compassionate towards each other. Second, unless Momen used you in his paper as one of the 12 naughty apostates or he came and knocked on your door and then pointed at you and said… Worst. Apostate. Ever! …. then I think it is a bit premature to believe that he considers you one.

    You could always contact him and talk to him. His website is just a click away. And I’m sure he would appreciate the chance to clear things up.

    Not that I’m defending the thesis he asserts (but fails miserably in proving) in his paper. My personal conviction is that we can’t go around casting aspersions at people and writing calumny, even if we wrap it all carefully in a thin veil of academic jargon.

  • Sercxu

    Congratulations on three years of blogging. I’ve never managed to keep a blog going for more than six months at a time, so I’m duly impressed. Good on you!

    For good or ill, your blog was instrumental in helping me to navigate my way out of the Baha’i community in the last few years. It all started when I heard whispered comments about the NSA having once dissolved the L.A. assembly, I got curious, so I started looking things up, and one thing led to another. The expulsions of Michael McKenny and Alison Marshall, and the recent expulsion of Sen McGlinn with all the associated anti-intellectualism that went along with it. The mindlessness of Ruhi, and how the Ruhi copyrights are held by Palabra Publications, owned by a UHJ member–how convenient. The tight interweaving of families in the Baha’i elite (such as Firuz Kazemzadeh being married to Wilma Ellis, who is Robert Henderson’s mommy, ad nauseum) , the ABMs for “protection” who serve as the Inquisition, the unbelievable levels of cognitive dissonance that seem to emanate from the highest levels of the AO–all of these combined to give me a severe case of spiritual indigestion. The more I learned about the reality of how power is distributed and wielded in the Faith, the less I wanted to be a part of it, and after a protracted period of reflection and prayer, I realized I no longer believed.

    My belief or lack thereof is not the point, though. What you’ve managed to do is expose the less attractive details of the Baha’i world to a wider audience than would otherwise hear about it. If the nine old men in Haifa had any sense, they’d realize that this is a good thing. Nothing in this world is perfect, and the sordid details that get hidden under rocks need exposure to the daylight so they can be taken care of. As it stands, the AO paints a Pollyanna-ish picture of the community, full of statistics and reports and clusters and Five-Year Plans, while simultaneously muttering darkly about “enemies of the Faith.” So, when a Baha’i with a curious streak hears about things that don’t quite add up, they start to dig up all kinds of things they have been told don’t happen, or can’t happen, and when they press the matter they become suspect themselves. Nice.

    It’s sad that nothing much has changed in the Baha’i community, except for the worse, but I don’t think it can really be expected to. When you get right down to it, the AO is designed to perpetuate those in power, because the electoral power of the individual Baha’i is so diluted as to become meaningless by the time you get to NSA elections, let alone the UHJ. So, there really isn’t much that can be done to reform it, which (along with my loss of faith) is why I chose to exit the community and why I rarely post on any forums anymore. I’ll just sit in my yard in the lawn chair, iced tea in hand, watching as the Baha’i community goes down in a flaming fireball. So much promise, wasted so needlessly. Oh well. I’ve got more tea and plenty of ice if you’d like to join me.

    Cheers,
    Sercxu

    P.S. Try not to let Moojan get you down. He really can’t help himself, being the UHJ’s tame scholar the way he is. A few more papers like the last one, and he’ll be a Counselor in a few years, mark my words. :)

  • Sercxu

    Congratulations on three years of blogging. I’ve never managed to keep a blog going for more than six months at a time, so I’m duly impressed. Good on you!

    For good or ill, your blog was instrumental in helping me to navigate my way out of the Baha’i community in the last few years. It all started when I heard whispered comments about the NSA having once dissolved the L.A. assembly, I got curious, so I started looking things up, and one thing led to another. The expulsions of Michael McKenny and Alison Marshall, and the recent expulsion of Sen McGlinn with all the associated anti-intellectualism that went along with it. The mindlessness of Ruhi, and how the Ruhi copyrights are held by Palabra Publications, owned by a UHJ member–how convenient. The tight interweaving of families in the Baha’i elite (such as Firuz Kazemzadeh being married to Wilma Ellis, who is Robert Henderson’s mommy, ad nauseum) , the ABMs for “protection” who serve as the Inquisition, the unbelievable levels of cognitive dissonance that seem to emanate from the highest levels of the AO–all of these combined to give me a severe case of spiritual indigestion. The more I learned about the reality of how power is distributed and wielded in the Faith, the less I wanted to be a part of it, and after a protracted period of reflection and prayer, I realized I no longer believed.

    My belief or lack thereof is not the point, though. What you’ve managed to do is expose the less attractive details of the Baha’i world to a wider audience than would otherwise hear about it. If the nine old men in Haifa had any sense, they’d realize that this is a good thing. Nothing in this world is perfect, and the sordid details that get hidden under rocks need exposure to the daylight so they can be taken care of. As it stands, the AO paints a Pollyanna-ish picture of the community, full of statistics and reports and clusters and Five-Year Plans, while simultaneously muttering darkly about “enemies of the Faith.” So, when a Baha’i with a curious streak hears about things that don’t quite add up, they start to dig up all kinds of things they have been told don’t happen, or can’t happen, and when they press the matter they become suspect themselves. Nice.

    It’s sad that nothing much has changed in the Baha’i community, except for the worse, but I don’t think it can really be expected to. When you get right down to it, the AO is designed to perpetuate those in power, because the electoral power of the individual Baha’i is so diluted as to become meaningless by the time you get to NSA elections, let alone the UHJ. So, there really isn’t much that can be done to reform it, which (along with my loss of faith) is why I chose to exit the community and why I rarely post on any forums anymore. I’ll just sit in my yard in the lawn chair, iced tea in hand, watching as the Baha’i community goes down in a flaming fireball. So much promise, wasted so needlessly. Oh well. I’ve got more tea and plenty of ice if you’d like to join me.

    Cheers,
    Sercxu

    P.S. Try not to let Moojan get you down. He really can’t help himself, being the UHJ’s tame scholar the way he is. A few more papers like the last one, and he’ll be a Counselor in a few years, mark my words. :)

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

    Congratulations and well done you!
    Thank you Baquia for WRITING! and encouraging me to write as well. It was your blog that inspired me to jump headlong into creating my own space to ‘rant’ as well.
    To know that we are not alone
    To know that we are not crazy, nor bad people nor apostate, nor CB’ers is a wonderous gift to our sanity and our hearts.
    Some of your readers may resign after reading your blog (trust me I’m still tempted) but I think most of us are, as dear Craig put it, spiritual warriors camped outside the walled gates, warming ourselves at the Fire of Belief.
    Throw another log on that fire and remember to stake your camel!
    Keep on dear Writer, Keep On, keeping on.

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

    Congratulations and well done you!
    Thank you Baquia for WRITING! and encouraging me to write as well. It was your blog that inspired me to jump headlong into creating my own space to ‘rant’ as well.
    To know that we are not alone
    To know that we are not crazy, nor bad people nor apostate, nor CB’ers is a wonderous gift to our sanity and our hearts.
    Some of your readers may resign after reading your blog (trust me I’m still tempted) but I think most of us are, as dear Craig put it, spiritual warriors camped outside the walled gates, warming ourselves at the Fire of Belief.
    Throw another log on that fire and remember to stake your camel!
    Keep on dear Writer, Keep On, keeping on.

  • concourse_on_low

    Sure. Some of the standard ones are no women on the UHJ, Abdul Baha’s flawed conception and exposition of evolution, the Bahai view of homosexuality (the conflict between religious belief and the scientific understanding of the causes and nature of homosexuality, which seems to violate the asymmetrical relationship between religion and science as propounded by Abdul Baha in Promulgation of Universal Peace).

    Some other ones: the ad hoc way in which the Eastern religions are added to Baha’u’llah’s formulation of progressive revelation, and the lack of historical support for the popular Bahai view of progressive revelation (i.e., irreducibly divergent metaphysical beliefs that cannot be explained away by the usual Bahai polemics, time frame of revelation as described by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab’i’Iqan (about every thousand years the City of God is renewed) conflicts with the historical record, which undermines his claim to Him Whom God Shall Manifest since he proclaims his mission only a few years after the Bab’s proclamation. And the inconsistency within and between the writings of Baha’u’llah and the Central Figures. (Abdul Baha praises independent thought, but Baha’u’llah’s characterization of unbelievers and those who reject his claims stand in stark contrast to such openess.)

  • concourse_on_low

    Sure. Some of the standard ones are no women on the UHJ, Abdul Baha’s flawed conception and exposition of evolution, the Bahai view of homosexuality (the conflict between religious belief and the scientific understanding of the causes and nature of homosexuality, which seems to violate the asymmetrical relationship between religion and science as propounded by Abdul Baha in Promulgation of Universal Peace).

    Some other ones: the ad hoc way in which the Eastern religions are added to Baha’u’llah’s formulation of progressive revelation, and the lack of historical support for the popular Bahai view of progressive revelation (i.e., irreducibly divergent metaphysical beliefs that cannot be explained away by the usual Bahai polemics, time frame of revelation as described by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab’i’Iqan (about every thousand years the City of God is renewed) conflicts with the historical record, which undermines his claim to Him Whom God Shall Manifest since he proclaims his mission only a few years after the Bab’s proclamation. And the inconsistency within and between the writings of Baha’u’llah and the Central Figures. (Abdul Baha praises independent thought, but Baha’u’llah’s characterization of unbelievers and those who reject his claims stand in stark contrast to such openess.)

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

    You go girl! ;)

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

    You go girl! ;)

  • huianui

    hi concourse_on_law

    give me a few weeks and I’ll respond. I’ll focus on the homosexuality issue as that’s closest to my heart.

  • huianui

    hi concourse_on_law

    give me a few weeks and I’ll respond. I’ll focus on the homosexuality issue as that’s closest to my heart.

  • huianui

    inspiring as always, keep going…

    love + kisses,

  • huianui

    inspiring as always, keep going…

    love + kisses,

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

  • http://mynahbird.wordpress.com Gerald

    Congratulations on three years of blogging, I hope I am going strong after three years, I have trouble going three months! This is one of my favorite Baha’i blogs, even if our opinions tend to clash a bit, you think about things intelligently and speak with candor and I tend to think that you are an honest constructive person, and I learn a lot reading your blog.

    Allah’u’abha and God Bless,
    Gerald

  • http://mynahbird.wordpress.com Gerald

    Congratulations on three years of blogging, I hope I am going strong after three years, I have trouble going three months! This is one of my favorite Baha’i blogs, even if our opinions tend to clash a bit, you think about things intelligently and speak with candor and I tend to think that you are an honest constructive person, and I learn a lot reading your blog.

    Allah’u’abha and God Bless,
    Gerald

  • Steve

    Actually I think your recent response to Moojnan’s article was great. Where I think you went too negative was in a previous posting with a picture of a bunch of monkeys scratching each other’s back and the caption referring to them as an “A++ cluster” (though I admit getting a chuckle out of it.) Maybe there aren’t too many examples of these, but in my experience people who want to discredit those with dissenting opinions love to latch onto things like these. It took but one comment like that on a committee I once served to suddenly stop receiving minutes from subsequent committee meetings even though I was still a member of that committee.

    And, okay, this might be tipping a sacred cow here, but the very name “Baha’i Rants”–I think it mistakenly labels you someone needing anger management help. I think your blog is much more even-handed than the title may suggest. Of course there’d probably be negatives to changing it since you already have an established Web presence.

    Outside of that, facts are an excellent weapon. Of course this is, and must be an opinionated blog. But I have this memory of an opening scene from the movie “Gandhi” where Gandhi is speaking about the conditions of the Indian people. He avoids name-calling, categorizing and anger, and just basically tells the facts one after another. But in the scene, he’s so good at using the facts, that he sounds both objective and subversive at the same time.

    I think you came out looking respectable and shining in your most recent skirmish with those who seek to label you an apostate. More of that, and they won’t know what to do with you.

  • Steve

    Actually I think your recent response to Moojnan’s article was great. Where I think you went too negative was in a previous posting with a picture of a bunch of monkeys scratching each other’s back and the caption referring to them as an “A++ cluster” (though I admit getting a chuckle out of it.) Maybe there aren’t too many examples of these, but in my experience people who want to discredit those with dissenting opinions love to latch onto things like these. It took but one comment like that on a committee I once served to suddenly stop receiving minutes from subsequent committee meetings even though I was still a member of that committee.

    And, okay, this might be tipping a sacred cow here, but the very name “Baha’i Rants”–I think it mistakenly labels you someone needing anger management help. I think your blog is much more even-handed than the title may suggest. Of course there’d probably be negatives to changing it since you already have an established Web presence.

    Outside of that, facts are an excellent weapon. Of course this is, and must be an opinionated blog. But I have this memory of an opening scene from the movie “Gandhi” where Gandhi is speaking about the conditions of the Indian people. He avoids name-calling, categorizing and anger, and just basically tells the facts one after another. But in the scene, he’s so good at using the facts, that he sounds both objective and subversive at the same time.

    I think you came out looking respectable and shining in your most recent skirmish with those who seek to label you an apostate. More of that, and they won’t know what to do with you.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Steve,
    that’s called ‘satire’ – although I do admit I sucketh at it. But if it made you chuckle then, maybe not completely. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Sometimes the best way to show the fault of an idea is not to engage in intellectual debate but to ridicule it. I suggest you watch the film ‘La Vita e Bella’ (Life is Beautiful) for a masterful example of this.

    Regarding the name, yes, you are right. Many others have said similar. All I can say in response is, there is a method to such madness. It speaks to your character that you didn’t let such a superficial thing deter you from reading further.

    And thank you for the compliment. Under normal circumstances I would find myself wholly inadequate to even comment on Baha’i theology but Momen’s recent example of it was simply so egregious and embarrassing (for him) that I couldn’t help myself.

    Allahu’Abha :-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Steve,
    that’s called ‘satire’ – although I do admit I sucketh at it. But if it made you chuckle then, maybe not completely. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Sometimes the best way to show the fault of an idea is not to engage in intellectual debate but to ridicule it. I suggest you watch the film ‘La Vita e Bella’ (Life is Beautiful) for a masterful example of this.

    Regarding the name, yes, you are right. Many others have said similar. All I can say in response is, there is a method to such madness. It speaks to your character that you didn’t let such a superficial thing deter you from reading further.

    And thank you for the compliment. Under normal circumstances I would find myself wholly inadequate to even comment on Baha’i theology but Momen’s recent example of it was simply so egregious and embarrassing (for him) that I couldn’t help myself.

    Allahu’Abha :-)

  • Andrew

    “Gandhi was an angry man, and he used his anger to give force and energy to his actions.” (Dr. Mani Bhaumik)

    “When we welcome our anger, and the anger of others, when we listen to the messenger, a world of possibilities opens. When we allow our anger to motivate change in ourselves and our surroundings we unleash this powerful tool for good. Let me remind you that Gandhi was angry, angry about being a second-class citizen in his own homeland. And his anger fueled the birth of his nation, India, as well as the modern practice of non-violent civil disobedience. Martin Luther King was angry, and his anger awakened his nation to the insanity of ‘separate but equal’ doctrine.” (Dr. Sinan Koray)

    “Also, it is significant to note that, as far as Gandhi was concerned, non-violent action was not pacifism or a defensive activity but a way of waging war. This war without violence also requires discipline, training and the assessment of the strength and weakness of the enemy.” (Dr. A.K. Ramakrishnan)

    “This is a question that has often been asked: whether Gandhi was really non-violent, or whether he chose non-violence because violence would not have succeeded against the British? If the enemy is powerful, strong, much more capable of violence than you are, then it is stupid to try to overthrow him with violence, he will win. So you cannot fight him and if you cannot fight him, try non-violence! Then it just becomes another weapon to fight with. Then it is not really non-violence, when it is a matter of choice. Or did Gandhi have nothing to do with violence because there was no violence in him? So he refused to kill, refused to hurt anybody, irrespective of what the consequences may be–one may be decimated, destroyed, it does not matter. That is a totally different state from the one of choosing to adopt a non-violent movement as the better choice in a given situation.

    “Krishnamurti was lecturing in India when Gandhi was murdered, in January 1948. And he was asked by someone in the audience: ‘Sir, who was responsible for the murder of Gandhi?’ His answer was that each one of us was responsible–each one who identifies with a particular religion, who forms a group, who belongs to a caste, who hates his fellow man either because of his ideas or because of the colour of his skin, who is divided. Of course there were only a few individuals who plotted and pulled the trigger of the gun and according to the law, only those men were responsible and were hanged. But we have all contributed in producing that man.” (Dr. P. Krishna)

  • Andrew

    “Gandhi was an angry man, and he used his anger to give force and energy to his actions.” (Dr. Mani Bhaumik)

    “When we welcome our anger, and the anger of others, when we listen to the messenger, a world of possibilities opens. When we allow our anger to motivate change in ourselves and our surroundings we unleash this powerful tool for good. Let me remind you that Gandhi was angry, angry about being a second-class citizen in his own homeland. And his anger fueled the birth of his nation, India, as well as the modern practice of non-violent civil disobedience. Martin Luther King was angry, and his anger awakened his nation to the insanity of ‘separate but equal’ doctrine.” (Dr. Sinan Koray)

    “Also, it is significant to note that, as far as Gandhi was concerned, non-violent action was not pacifism or a defensive activity but a way of waging war. This war without violence also requires discipline, training and the assessment of the strength and weakness of the enemy.” (Dr. A.K. Ramakrishnan)

    “This is a question that has often been asked: whether Gandhi was really non-violent, or whether he chose non-violence because violence would not have succeeded against the British? If the enemy is powerful, strong, much more capable of violence than you are, then it is stupid to try to overthrow him with violence, he will win. So you cannot fight him and if you cannot fight him, try non-violence! Then it just becomes another weapon to fight with. Then it is not really non-violence, when it is a matter of choice. Or did Gandhi have nothing to do with violence because there was no violence in him? So he refused to kill, refused to hurt anybody, irrespective of what the consequences may be–one may be decimated, destroyed, it does not matter. That is a totally different state from the one of choosing to adopt a non-violent movement as the better choice in a given situation.

    “Krishnamurti was lecturing in India when Gandhi was murdered, in January 1948. And he was asked by someone in the audience: ‘Sir, who was responsible for the murder of Gandhi?’ His answer was that each one of us was responsible–each one who identifies with a particular religion, who forms a group, who belongs to a caste, who hates his fellow man either because of his ideas or because of the colour of his skin, who is divided. Of course there were only a few individuals who plotted and pulled the trigger of the gun and according to the law, only those men were responsible and were hanged. But we have all contributed in producing that man.” (Dr. P. Krishna)

  • karen

    I too have resigned from the Baha’i faith. It was very painful to realize that it was not what I had believed it to be.

    As this world, by its nature is not just we humans have a responsibility to create justice. The problem as I see it is that if individuals are hurt, even if it helps the Greater Whole, there is a llack of love and justice. If only people and institutions would follow the ‘Golden Rule’ espoused in all the great religions. Isn’t this the fundamental principle underpinning the spiritual teachings of all religions, yet it is so easily overlooked in favour of worldly concerns.

    You might be interested in a paper that reaffirms the golden rule and discusses “The Principle of Goodness”

  • karen

    I too have resigned from the Baha’i faith. It was very painful to realize that it was not what I had believed it to be.

    As this world, by its nature is not just we humans have a responsibility to create justice. The problem as I see it is that if individuals are hurt, even if it helps the Greater Whole, there is a llack of love and justice. If only people and institutions would follow the ‘Golden Rule’ espoused in all the great religions. Isn’t this the fundamental principle underpinning the spiritual teachings of all religions, yet it is so easily overlooked in favour of worldly concerns.

    You might be interested in a paper that reaffirms the golden rule and discusses “The Principle of Goodness”

  • huianui

    Hi concourse_on_low

    I’m just focussing on homosexuality as one of the things you mentioned. You wrote:

    nature of homosexuality, which seems to violate the asymmetrical relationship between religion and science as propounded by Abdul Baha in Promulgation of Universal Peace).

    As far as I know there’s nothing scriptual against homosexuality. What Bahais often bring up are the letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, but these are not scripture.

    What this means is that it is an issue for the UHJ to decide on and currently there is no ruling as such. Various letters from the International centre to individuals over the years indicate that the position is that homosexuality is at worst, viewed as an illness, at best to be tolerated with gays remaining quiet or chaste or both. But this is not a ruling and I personally see it as a wisdom that the UHJ has made no ruling on this (yet).

    So the issue in the end is whether Bahais view homosexuality being prohibited as something scriptual (unchangable) or something that is here due to culture (changable or something a future UHJ could rule on).

    So for me, a homosexual has, in terms of Bahai scripture the same rights /responsibilities as a heterosexual. In practice, I know that is not the case, but your objection in your post was to Bahai doctrine.

    Respond with something specific from the Writings or from what a Bahai have said is scripture on this issue and i’ll respond. Not to knock you down, but to show (I hope – who knows you might find some scripture I haven’t seen) that there isn’t anything in Bahai Scripture that indicates that homosexuality as an orientation and by this I mean a lifestyle equal to a person of any identity, is something less dignified. If you consider letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi as scripture, then quote one and I’ll explain why I do not consider it Scripture arguing this from Bahai Scripture not just from my own views.

  • huianui

    Hi concourse_on_low

    I’m just focussing on homosexuality as one of the things you mentioned. You wrote:

    nature of homosexuality, which seems to violate the asymmetrical relationship between religion and science as propounded by Abdul Baha in Promulgation of Universal Peace).

    As far as I know there’s nothing scriptual against homosexuality. What Bahais often bring up are the letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, but these are not scripture.

    What this means is that it is an issue for the UHJ to decide on and currently there is no ruling as such. Various letters from the International centre to individuals over the years indicate that the position is that homosexuality is at worst, viewed as an illness, at best to be tolerated with gays remaining quiet or chaste or both. But this is not a ruling and I personally see it as a wisdom that the UHJ has made no ruling on this (yet).

    So the issue in the end is whether Bahais view homosexuality being prohibited as something scriptual (unchangable) or something that is here due to culture (changable or something a future UHJ could rule on).

    So for me, a homosexual has, in terms of Bahai scripture the same rights /responsibilities as a heterosexual. In practice, I know that is not the case, but your objection in your post was to Bahai doctrine.

    Respond with something specific from the Writings or from what a Bahai have said is scripture on this issue and i’ll respond. Not to knock you down, but to show (I hope – who knows you might find some scripture I haven’t seen) that there isn’t anything in Bahai Scripture that indicates that homosexuality as an orientation and by this I mean a lifestyle equal to a person of any identity, is something less dignified. If you consider letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi as scripture, then quote one and I’ll explain why I do not consider it Scripture arguing this from Bahai Scripture not just from my own views.

  • http://www.redletterbahai.com Robert Clifton

    Just another comment:
    I have not resigned from the Baha’i “Faith” although I have resigned from any and all institutions or groups claiming to be the Baha’i Faith.
    Ghandi too is correct but we go for the negative rather than the positive of his message. Positive – unite /Negative – blame each other and everybody.
    The “faith” is not what I understtod it to be when I first read any of it either. The “faith” has not changed, I have. The “faith” becomes clearer with my reading your posts, immersing myself in the writings of all religiions, and contemplating.
    The golden rule, the categorical imperative, justice. Words, words and more words until we ingest them, internalise them, and practice them.
    Unity is not forming up behind one finite belief system based on Jesus, Muhammud or any other messenger including Baha’u’llah.
    Unity is recognizing that each of these finite belief systems is correct for what it teaches, a part of the whole. A PhD in any field is predicated upon the classes in grade school reading writing, and rithmetic. The cause of God is predicated upon each and every belief system ever concieved by any group in any part of the world. Because we have a PhD does not mean that we can eleminate the first grade teacher. Little ones are following behind us.

    You are the dawning point of justice. I am the dawning point of justice. You and I are the local house of justice in our community waiting to welcome the entry by troops of those who are right now trying to understand the parable of the golden calf, or the method of jihad, slowly laborously wending their way through the mountains and valleys of fear, pain and misunderstanding as they keep their eye on the dawning point of justice.

    Your job, your task in this world is to shine. How well you do that I think might determine your job in the next world.

    Robert Clifton

  • http://www.redletterbahai.com Robert Clifton

    Just another comment:
    I have not resigned from the Baha’i “Faith” although I have resigned from any and all institutions or groups claiming to be the Baha’i Faith.
    Ghandi too is correct but we go for the negative rather than the positive of his message. Positive – unite /Negative – blame each other and everybody.
    The “faith” is not what I understtod it to be when I first read any of it either. The “faith” has not changed, I have. The “faith” becomes clearer with my reading your posts, immersing myself in the writings of all religiions, and contemplating.
    The golden rule, the categorical imperative, justice. Words, words and more words until we ingest them, internalise them, and practice them.
    Unity is not forming up behind one finite belief system based on Jesus, Muhammud or any other messenger including Baha’u’llah.
    Unity is recognizing that each of these finite belief systems is correct for what it teaches, a part of the whole. A PhD in any field is predicated upon the classes in grade school reading writing, and rithmetic. The cause of God is predicated upon each and every belief system ever concieved by any group in any part of the world. Because we have a PhD does not mean that we can eleminate the first grade teacher. Little ones are following behind us.

    You are the dawning point of justice. I am the dawning point of justice. You and I are the local house of justice in our community waiting to welcome the entry by troops of those who are right now trying to understand the parable of the golden calf, or the method of jihad, slowly laborously wending their way through the mountains and valleys of fear, pain and misunderstanding as they keep their eye on the dawning point of justice.

    Your job, your task in this world is to shine. How well you do that I think might determine your job in the next world.

    Robert Clifton

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