Ruhi: Mistaking Correlation for Causation

I’ve been catching up on the Baha’i blogosphere this weekend and I just read Alison’s thought provoking observations on Ruhi.

The thinking behind this all-encompassing Ruhi project appears to me like a cargo-cult mentality. Boiled down, it says: “If we build it, they will come”. In the late 19th century, peoples in the Pacific Islands believed that if they built structures associated with cargo, this would lead to cargo magically turning up. Wiki says: “The most famous examples of Cargo Cult behavior have been the airstrips, airports, and radios made out of coconuts and straw. The cult members built them in the belief that the structures would attract transport aircraft full of cargo. Believers stage ‘drills’ and ‘marches’ with twigs for rifles and military-style insignia and ‘USA’ painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers.” You see, the cult members had no idea how cargo was actually made and transported to their islands. Instead, they associated its appearance with the appearance of spiritual beings with magical equipment.

I chuckled a bit reading that because Alison is an excellent writer and it made me see in my mind’s eye little jungle men marching in faux-uniforms pretending to be air traffic controllers or soldiers and what-not.

The fallacy that induced the cargo-cults is mistaking correlation for causation. That is, because A happened and then B happened… A must have caused B. So if we repeat A, we should get result B.

Or in simpler terms, because ice cream sales go up when it is hot and sunny, lets sell more ice cream, because then we should have a warm, sunny day.

When you stop to think about it, that is pretty much what happened. Ruhi was a small tiny project being developed and run in a few small villages in Columbia. The target audience was mostly illiterate to moderately literate rural folk. The results were good (I still haven’t seen any proof of this but let’s let it slide for now). So the creators of Ruhi thought they’d hit the secret method to win over the world to the Baha’i Faith.
cargo-cult-ruhi-march.png
Yet after giving Ruhi the benefit of the doubt for more than 10 years, it can not withstand even the most superficial scientific inquiry. Was Ruhi really successful in Columbia? How do we know it and only it was the reason that (allegedly) rural Columbians became Baha’i? How do we know there wasn’t another factor(s)? Has it been successful since? Has it been successful as an export? how and why?

The data offered from the Baha’i World Center is nil. Sure, there are anecdotal evidence: gloriously moving stories of 2 yak herders in downtown Gypjak taking Ruhi classes. But no hard data.

In fact, the only data we have comes from the national level. Like the recent one from the United States. And not only does it not provide any evidence of Ruhi’s efficacy… it in fact suggests that since Ruhi was introduced about 10 years ago, the Baha’i community has seen an accelerated rate of decline in enrollments and an acceleration in the rise of people leaving the Faith. Furthermore, according to the NSA, the “A” clusters, those cities and areas which are the apogee of the Ruhi system are showing no difference in growth or enrollments than other clusters.

Think I’m making all this stuff up?

Read the annual report from the National Spritual Assembly of the United States for yourself! Investigate the truth independently my good wo/man.

So all the hard data we do have is showing that a cargo cult mentality is an apt analogy for Ruhi. Why not? They are both unscientific and about as effective at bringing about the desired result.

But while cargo-cults in Oceana are a sociological oddity we can giggle at, Ruhi is really damaging the Baha’i Faith. It will take us years to realize just how much damage was inflicted. But by that time it will be too late.

This is why I asked previously:

“How will we know, specifically, if this whole Ruhi/core curriculum/institutes process is succeeding? what metrics will we have to watch? what time frame will have to elapse? is there any point or event or situation in which we may potentially acknowledge that it didn’t work? what would that be?”

But why waste time asking such silly questions? There’s a march at 1500 hours and I still haven’t finished polishing my bamboo rifle. So if you’ll excuse me… hep-two, hep-two, hep-two….

  • David

    I think there is a bit of confusion in your post (and so apparently in the post of the person you are linking to as well) about what cargo cultism is. Contra what you write, cargo cultism is not about confusing causation and correlation, but rather about misunderstanding the underlying mechanisms of the cause. The natives who practice cargo cultism understand causation quite well – the activities of the soldiers that they imitate did indeed *cause* cargo to be dropped. What they don’t understand is that the outward forms they copy (waving their arms a certain way, creating a landing strip) are only part of the full sequence of events that end with cargo being dropped. The error is cargo cultism is not confusing correlation and causation, but rather confusing the outer, ritualistic, forms of the cause with the underlying mechanisms that make it work. So, for instance, when people talk about ?cargo cult science’, they don’t mean science that mistakes causation and correlation, but rather science that blindly follows the outward form of ?good science’ without understanding why, and therefore makes errors. It’s about following the form without understanding what’s going on underneath.

    The ice cream example is a bit off as well. What you have laid out is not a case of confusing correlation and causation, but rather of ?reverse causality’, where the effect is incorrectly identified as the cause. There *is* a causal relationship between heat and ice cream consumption, but the causal relationship is heat causing consumption, not consumption causing heat. I’m guessing here that you are misremembering a correlation/causation example you heard in the past since, for some odd reason, textbook examples frequently use ice cream. An often used one is that cars with ice cream in the trunk are more likely to overheat than cars without ice cream in the trunk. That’s not because ice cream *causes* cars to overheat, but rather you are more likely to have ice cream in the trunk when it is hot outside, and being hot outside increases the chances of your car overheating. There are a bunch like this – ice cream consumption and shark attacks, ice cream consumption and crime. So reverse causality is when the outcome is mistakenly identified as the cause. The correlation/causation error occurs, in contrast, when one *effect* is thought to cause another *effect*, when in fact they are both caused by some unidentified third thing (in all these examples, its ?heat’).

    That being said, the argument you present is itself fraught with correlation/causation problems. I think you’re right that the evidence for success is rather anecdotal (the anecdotal part largely the result, I think, of our lack of infrastructure to do real substantial data-collection). I also think one of the most astute things the American NSA said was that we shouldn’t automatically assume all positive developments are direct results of core activities. That being said, the evidence that the process has had negative effects is, I think, actually even more weak. The argument you present is entirely correlational in nature – that the advent of Ruhi is associated with decline in enrollments. The problem, however, is that the decline was already well underway. The choice of 1997 as a comparison point for the effects of Ruhi (I know it’s not yours) is a theoretical choice I think is untenable – there was virtually no one in America doing Ruhi in 1997, which suggests some other factor, and that that factor ’caused’ both decline in enrollment and increase in core activities (to my mind, it’s demographic and cultural changes, which I’ll come back to). Further, you misinterpret part of the NSA’s report. They do not say that A-Clusters aren’t enrolling more people than non-A Clusters – they are enrolling more people. The point they *do* make, and its an incredibly important difference, is that A-Clusters, even before they were called that, have always been the areas with the most enrollments, but that the *growth rates* in A Clusters isn’t growing compared to the *growth rates* in non-A Clusters. In other words, percentage wise, the same parts of the country are accounting for enrollments in the same ratios they have in the past. But this is strong evidence *against* the argument that Ruhi has had negative effects (though its certainly not evidence for positive effects). Put another way, if Ruhi had negative effects you would think that areas that embraced it would be slowing *more* than areas that haven’t embraced it, but that’s not the case. Everyone is slowing at the same pace, suggesting neither positive nor negative effects and that decline is being caused by something else that is being felt equally across all clusters.

    The question you end with – when do we say the process hasn’t worked? – is an incredibly important one, but I think also a far more complicated one than you are giving it credit for. ?How long does it take to change the culture of a world-wide religious community?’ is, so far as I can tell, an unprecedented question to ask. Considering that we usually talk about five to ten years to change an individual organizational culture, ?a really long time’ seems like a reasonable answer. In organizational learning we often talk about the competing demands of ?exploration’ and ?exploitation’. Organizations need to both be exploring new ways of doing things, but also refining and ?exploiting’ what they are already doing. When an organization gives up to quickly on new ways of doing things because the success isn’t immediate enough, its called a ?failure trap.’ The organization never gets out of its bad situation because its never sticks with one thing long enough to get good at it or see if it really works – it quickly labels everything a failure and moves onto the next thing (though of course sticking with something that clearly doesn’t work is also problematic and a real danger).

    For me personally, I think the evidence suggests, on the whole, very little effect in either direction. I’m supportive of the core activities (but not always how we carry them out), however, because what does exist is an overwhelming amount of evidence that small study groups, in-home prayer meetings, and children’s spiritual education are all highly correlated with growth in other religious communities. Looking at all this in the larger contexts suggest to me that the decline in enrollment in North America has been due largely to 1) the general (and very large) decrease in participation in liberal, socially justice oriented religion and 2) the skewed demographics of the Baha’i community itself (i.e., the disproportionate number of baby-boomers and their children means a major under-representation of people under 21 which creates artificial surges and declines in enrollments). These changes have ’caused’ both declining enrollment and the adoption of new plans in response to the decline. And while we have plenty to learn in order to be more effective, I also think that the current scholarship on religious growth suggests that, given what we know about what works for other religious communities, this is the right path to be on. The Faith as the 10 principles resonated with people in the 70s, but it doesn’t now. Since then, however, we’ve largely failed to adapt to the changing climate. In most ways I see the core activities as us catching up to what effective communities have been doing for nearly two decades now. I think at this point the evidence for the core activities is equivocal. The evidence that similar models of organization are positively correlated with growth in other religious communities, on the other hand, is pretty overwhelming.

  • David

    I think there is a bit of confusion in your post (and so apparently in the post of the person you are linking to as well) about what cargo cultism is. Contra what you write, cargo cultism is not about confusing causation and correlation, but rather about misunderstanding the underlying mechanisms of the cause. The natives who practice cargo cultism understand causation quite well – the activities of the soldiers that they imitate did indeed *cause* cargo to be dropped. What they don’t understand is that the outward forms they copy (waving their arms a certain way, creating a landing strip) are only part of the full sequence of events that end with cargo being dropped. The error is cargo cultism is not confusing correlation and causation, but rather confusing the outer, ritualistic, forms of the cause with the underlying mechanisms that make it work. So, for instance, when people talk about ?cargo cult science’, they don’t mean science that mistakes causation and correlation, but rather science that blindly follows the outward form of ?good science’ without understanding why, and therefore makes errors. It’s about following the form without understanding what’s going on underneath.

    The ice cream example is a bit off as well. What you have laid out is not a case of confusing correlation and causation, but rather of ?reverse causality’, where the effect is incorrectly identified as the cause. There *is* a causal relationship between heat and ice cream consumption, but the causal relationship is heat causing consumption, not consumption causing heat. I’m guessing here that you are misremembering a correlation/causation example you heard in the past since, for some odd reason, textbook examples frequently use ice cream. An often used one is that cars with ice cream in the trunk are more likely to overheat than cars without ice cream in the trunk. That’s not because ice cream *causes* cars to overheat, but rather you are more likely to have ice cream in the trunk when it is hot outside, and being hot outside increases the chances of your car overheating. There are a bunch like this – ice cream consumption and shark attacks, ice cream consumption and crime. So reverse causality is when the outcome is mistakenly identified as the cause. The correlation/causation error occurs, in contrast, when one *effect* is thought to cause another *effect*, when in fact they are both caused by some unidentified third thing (in all these examples, its ?heat’).

    That being said, the argument you present is itself fraught with correlation/causation problems. I think you’re right that the evidence for success is rather anecdotal (the anecdotal part largely the result, I think, of our lack of infrastructure to do real substantial data-collection). I also think one of the most astute things the American NSA said was that we shouldn’t automatically assume all positive developments are direct results of core activities. That being said, the evidence that the process has had negative effects is, I think, actually even more weak. The argument you present is entirely correlational in nature – that the advent of Ruhi is associated with decline in enrollments. The problem, however, is that the decline was already well underway. The choice of 1997 as a comparison point for the effects of Ruhi (I know it’s not yours) is a theoretical choice I think is untenable – there was virtually no one in America doing Ruhi in 1997, which suggests some other factor, and that that factor ’caused’ both decline in enrollment and increase in core activities (to my mind, it’s demographic and cultural changes, which I’ll come back to). Further, you misinterpret part of the NSA’s report. They do not say that A-Clusters aren’t enrolling more people than non-A Clusters – they are enrolling more people. The point they *do* make, and its an incredibly important difference, is that A-Clusters, even before they were called that, have always been the areas with the most enrollments, but that the *growth rates* in A Clusters isn’t growing compared to the *growth rates* in non-A Clusters. In other words, percentage wise, the same parts of the country are accounting for enrollments in the same ratios they have in the past. But this is strong evidence *against* the argument that Ruhi has had negative effects (though its certainly not evidence for positive effects). Put another way, if Ruhi had negative effects you would think that areas that embraced it would be slowing *more* than areas that haven’t embraced it, but that’s not the case. Everyone is slowing at the same pace, suggesting neither positive nor negative effects and that decline is being caused by something else that is being felt equally across all clusters.

    The question you end with – when do we say the process hasn’t worked? – is an incredibly important one, but I think also a far more complicated one than you are giving it credit for. ?How long does it take to change the culture of a world-wide religious community?’ is, so far as I can tell, an unprecedented question to ask. Considering that we usually talk about five to ten years to change an individual organizational culture, ?a really long time’ seems like a reasonable answer. In organizational learning we often talk about the competing demands of ?exploration’ and ?exploitation’. Organizations need to both be exploring new ways of doing things, but also refining and ?exploiting’ what they are already doing. When an organization gives up to quickly on new ways of doing things because the success isn’t immediate enough, its called a ?failure trap.’ The organization never gets out of its bad situation because its never sticks with one thing long enough to get good at it or see if it really works – it quickly labels everything a failure and moves onto the next thing (though of course sticking with something that clearly doesn’t work is also problematic and a real danger).

    For me personally, I think the evidence suggests, on the whole, very little effect in either direction. I’m supportive of the core activities (but not always how we carry them out), however, because what does exist is an overwhelming amount of evidence that small study groups, in-home prayer meetings, and children’s spiritual education are all highly correlated with growth in other religious communities. Looking at all this in the larger contexts suggest to me that the decline in enrollment in North America has been due largely to 1) the general (and very large) decrease in participation in liberal, socially justice oriented religion and 2) the skewed demographics of the Baha’i community itself (i.e., the disproportionate number of baby-boomers and their children means a major under-representation of people under 21 which creates artificial surges and declines in enrollments). These changes have ’caused’ both declining enrollment and the adoption of new plans in response to the decline. And while we have plenty to learn in order to be more effective, I also think that the current scholarship on religious growth suggests that, given what we know about what works for other religious communities, this is the right path to be on. The Faith as the 10 principles resonated with people in the 70s, but it doesn’t now. Since then, however, we’ve largely failed to adapt to the changing climate. In most ways I see the core activities as us catching up to what effective communities have been doing for nearly two decades now. I think at this point the evidence for the core activities is equivocal. The evidence that similar models of organization are positively correlated with growth in other religious communities, on the other hand, is pretty overwhelming.

  • Craig parke

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your wide ranging and thoughtful post that has covered many of the facets of the catastrophic failure of the Baha’i Faith at this point in time quite well.

    I feel the essential problem in 2007 is very simple.

    Whatever the Faith was doing in 1997 with growth slowing you can be absolutely sure of one thing: it wasn’t spiritual.

    And what the Faith is doing now with the “Core Activities” and the “Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses” isn’t spiritual either. And that is the problem. It is as simple as that.

    Who would ever join a “religion” that isn’t spiritual? The Faith in it’s current top down straight jacketed incarnation just cannot liberate spiritual energies in people.

    In fact, anyone in touch with their own Inner Source as quickened by the Writings of Baha’u’llah is not really wanted in the current Admin-O-Centric Baha’i Faith AT ALL!

    The Faith does not want thinkers of any kind. It wants automatons.

    In fact, thinkers are pretty much portrayed in the Ruhi Courses as the enemy of God right from the get go!

    So this dog ain’t going to hunt unless some very courageous people step forward in positions of authority and very soon. I feel the US NSA tried in a noble effort. But it was instantly 100% shot down. You can now only be absolutely sure of one thing: nothing whatsoever is going to change for the next 100 years. Absolutely nothing. Not in the lifetime of anyone here. This is the road the Faith is on and there will be no re-evaluation of anything. Ever. Period.

    But causing the Faith to explode with energy would have been quite easy. Just by being free wheeling spiritually. Let water find it’s level. Herman Hesse once wrote: “In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a savior is crucified.”

    All the Faith has ever had to do was honor that spiritual insight in every decade of the 20th Century. Go to the crucified. There are many coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan right now. But the current suburbia bubble bound spiritual comic book version of the Baha’i Faith is more inward and incestuous than ever. The Baha’is will never go to those souls. That would require courage, innovation, and spiritual insight in the rank and file. That no longer exists in the top down micro managed Faith.

    But at some point the work of the World Age will fully pass to other organizations and other spiritual communities who are putting the Neoplatonic Sufi Teachings of Baha’u’llah into practice daily on a spiritual level of insight. People who buy and study books like this on Amazon and start to gain insights while the hapless Baha’is are taking Ruhi Book One for the fifth time with the exact same people and no seekers as the US NSA report admitted between the lines!

    I just ordered this book. I’ll post some thoughts on what it says that might be relevant to the current situation.

    Rewiring the Corporate Brain: Using the New Science to Rethink How We Structure and Lead Organizations

    But thanks for your thoughtful analysis. It was quite useful in laying out the working issues.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig parke

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your wide ranging and thoughtful post that has covered many of the facets of the catastrophic failure of the Baha’i Faith at this point in time quite well.

    I feel the essential problem in 2007 is very simple.

    Whatever the Faith was doing in 1997 with growth slowing you can be absolutely sure of one thing: it wasn’t spiritual.

    And what the Faith is doing now with the “Core Activities” and the “Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses” isn’t spiritual either. And that is the problem. It is as simple as that.

    Who would ever join a “religion” that isn’t spiritual? The Faith in it’s current top down straight jacketed incarnation just cannot liberate spiritual energies in people.

    In fact, anyone in touch with their own Inner Source as quickened by the Writings of Baha’u’llah is not really wanted in the current Admin-O-Centric Baha’i Faith AT ALL!

    The Faith does not want thinkers of any kind. It wants automatons.

    In fact, thinkers are pretty much portrayed in the Ruhi Courses as the enemy of God right from the get go!

    So this dog ain’t going to hunt unless some very courageous people step forward in positions of authority and very soon. I feel the US NSA tried in a noble effort. But it was instantly 100% shot down. You can now only be absolutely sure of one thing: nothing whatsoever is going to change for the next 100 years. Absolutely nothing. Not in the lifetime of anyone here. This is the road the Faith is on and there will be no re-evaluation of anything. Ever. Period.

    But causing the Faith to explode with energy would have been quite easy. Just by being free wheeling spiritually. Let water find it’s level. Herman Hesse once wrote: “In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a savior is crucified.”

    All the Faith has ever had to do was honor that spiritual insight in every decade of the 20th Century. Go to the crucified. There are many coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan right now. But the current suburbia bubble bound spiritual comic book version of the Baha’i Faith is more inward and incestuous than ever. The Baha’is will never go to those souls. That would require courage, innovation, and spiritual insight in the rank and file. That no longer exists in the top down micro managed Faith.

    But at some point the work of the World Age will fully pass to other organizations and other spiritual communities who are putting the Neoplatonic Sufi Teachings of Baha’u’llah into practice daily on a spiritual level of insight. People who buy and study books like this on Amazon and start to gain insights while the hapless Baha’is are taking Ruhi Book One for the fifth time with the exact same people and no seekers as the US NSA report admitted between the lines!

    I just ordered this book. I’ll post some thoughts on what it says that might be relevant to the current situation.

    Rewiring the Corporate Brain: Using the New Science to Rethink How We Structure and Lead Organizations

    But thanks for your thoughtful analysis. It was quite useful in laying out the working issues.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Nik

    Hi. just had to say Thanks (!) for the column. I left the bahai faith in 1993 (but didnt undeclare- I still believe Bahaullah is who he says he is. I was not allowed to resign due to my unwillingness to renounce Bahaullah. Instead I disappeared into inactivity), after three years of intense involvement with the bahai faith. In that time I ‘opened’ into profound states of mystical unity and insight but with no corrobative community attainment or understanding, no fellow ‘knowers’ on board and an immense feeling of frustration with the structure and organisational side of the Bahai community, with its almost incessant emphasis on uniformity (not unity) and external focus on ‘teaching’ (with no one really ‘transformed’ enough to teach I perceived) I lost the impetus to sustain active community involvement. Albeit, this is/was all just personal opinion and experience (the frustration etc) and I never sought to usurp any power or challenge the (divinely) appointed authorities. After a long absence (and non-practice as a bahai), and years spent plodding along my own path, largely alone without any community or social support, based on the original states and insight, I have returned to the Bahai practices. In the interim I shifted to a largely hindu-yogic framework of practice and understanding, with a mystical orientation. This was/is comparatively slow, in terms of growth and actual chnage. The Bahai ‘way’ by comparision is like a fast track to a reltionship of nearness, if one is actually inclined and interested in that. Spiritual growth is something there seems to be much miscomprehension about.
    I have no idea where the Bahai world community is really at these days, and I’m not intending on formally re-entering the community life here for another six months while I reorient and ground myself in the prayer based practices again. Your commentary here has been illuminating. I still worry that things will be pretty much the same when I left it. It seems as if they might be! How can this be the world unifying and organising force that it proclaims if the social forms it is expressing itself through cannot sustain the spiritual liberation of people? (and what pray tell is that anyway? in what way might this spiritual liberation express itself? Certainly it wont be found in a uniformity of expression or suppression of free thinking and individual ‘spiritual’ experience). I am wary of groups and social organsiation anyway but willing to forgo that suspicion for another go at participation in what is supposedly the ‘ medicine’ for our time. In that light I’ll probably do the Ruhi institute and see what I think of it (it wasnt around when I originally left). Thanks again for your writing and opinions. I’ll be returning to this site with interest.
    For context I live in New Zealand and my experience has been within the NZ community (1990-1993). In fairness I cannot say where it is at now, and probably wont be able to assess it (from a personal perspective) with any fair treatment for at least another year.
    Regards
    In the spirit of truth
    Nik

  • Nik

    Hi. just had to say Thanks (!) for the column. I left the bahai faith in 1993 (but didnt undeclare- I still believe Bahaullah is who he says he is. I was not allowed to resign due to my unwillingness to renounce Bahaullah. Instead I disappeared into inactivity), after three years of intense involvement with the bahai faith. In that time I ‘opened’ into profound states of mystical unity and insight but with no corrobative community attainment or understanding, no fellow ‘knowers’ on board and an immense feeling of frustration with the structure and organisational side of the Bahai community, with its almost incessant emphasis on uniformity (not unity) and external focus on ‘teaching’ (with no one really ‘transformed’ enough to teach I perceived) I lost the impetus to sustain active community involvement. Albeit, this is/was all just personal opinion and experience (the frustration etc) and I never sought to usurp any power or challenge the (divinely) appointed authorities. After a long absence (and non-practice as a bahai), and years spent plodding along my own path, largely alone without any community or social support, based on the original states and insight, I have returned to the Bahai practices. In the interim I shifted to a largely hindu-yogic framework of practice and understanding, with a mystical orientation. This was/is comparatively slow, in terms of growth and actual chnage. The Bahai ‘way’ by comparision is like a fast track to a reltionship of nearness, if one is actually inclined and interested in that. Spiritual growth is something there seems to be much miscomprehension about.
    I have no idea where the Bahai world community is really at these days, and I’m not intending on formally re-entering the community life here for another six months while I reorient and ground myself in the prayer based practices again. Your commentary here has been illuminating. I still worry that things will be pretty much the same when I left it. It seems as if they might be! How can this be the world unifying and organising force that it proclaims if the social forms it is expressing itself through cannot sustain the spiritual liberation of people? (and what pray tell is that anyway? in what way might this spiritual liberation express itself? Certainly it wont be found in a uniformity of expression or suppression of free thinking and individual ‘spiritual’ experience). I am wary of groups and social organsiation anyway but willing to forgo that suspicion for another go at participation in what is supposedly the ‘ medicine’ for our time. In that light I’ll probably do the Ruhi institute and see what I think of it (it wasnt around when I originally left). Thanks again for your writing and opinions. I’ll be returning to this site with interest.
    For context I live in New Zealand and my experience has been within the NZ community (1990-1993). In fairness I cannot say where it is at now, and probably wont be able to assess it (from a personal perspective) with any fair treatment for at least another year.
    Regards
    In the spirit of truth
    Nik

  • Sincere Friend

    I think you should wait to see what happens with the report from the US convention this year. Remember a “Modest Proposal” even though it was vehemently opposed almost half of its suggestions were later adopted and incorporated into the institutional structure.

    As for the release of spiritual energies, we are all just froth on the immensity of the ocean of this incredible Cause.

  • Sincere Friend

    I think you should wait to see what happens with the report from the US convention this year. Remember a “Modest Proposal” even though it was vehemently opposed almost half of its suggestions were later adopted and incorporated into the institutional structure.

    As for the release of spiritual energies, we are all just froth on the immensity of the ocean of this incredible Cause.

  • Nik

    Thanks for your reply. Interesting, what you had to say about ‘A modest proposal’.
    On another matter, In regards to making a comment here is one able to edit their own reply or remove it at a later date should they wish to do so?

  • Nik

    Thanks for your reply. Interesting, what you had to say about ‘A modest proposal’.
    On another matter, In regards to making a comment here is one able to edit their own reply or remove it at a later date should they wish to do so?

  • Sincere Friend

    Some come to the fountain of truth to drink. Others just prefer to gargle. :)

  • Sincere Friend

    Some come to the fountain of truth to drink. Others just prefer to gargle. :)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    In regards to making a comment here is one able to edit their own reply or remove it at a later date should they wish to do so?

    Nik,
    no, and no.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    In regards to making a comment here is one able to edit their own reply or remove it at a later date should they wish to do so?

    Nik,
    no, and no.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    I don’t know if your comment was directed to me or to Nik regarding the “Modest Proposal” legacy. I am not sure of what was suggested that was implemented in any way from it. Do you know of any examples?

    In retrospect, I do think the whole incident in 1988 was a turning point in the Baha’i Faith. The Faith could have gone outward into the issues of the world in free and open dialog from the rank and file everywhere on Earth as a discussion among the people themselves. It was killed and the rest is history.

    The Faith then went totally inward as the personal top down psychological self identity satrap of a very tiny handful of obsessed people. Despite the current propaganda about an “outward orientation” since 1996 the Baha’i Faith is more incestuous than ever with the current highly controlled “teaching” methods. There is no room for discovery and exploration. “Reflection meetings” only count if you make the “right” reflections. The US NSA had some insightful and hard won “learnings”. Almost 15 pages of them! But they apparently weren’t the “right” learnings. So the report was immediately shredded to history and now completely suppressed.

    So it goes.

    But it will be interesting if the people now completely running the show will re-think anything or allow any initiatives that are outside of the official authorized playbook regarding any “learnings”.

    I guess we shall see. I figure this next year will determine the Fate of the Baha’i Faith for a very long time to come. We certainly are at the crossroads.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    I don’t know if your comment was directed to me or to Nik regarding the “Modest Proposal” legacy. I am not sure of what was suggested that was implemented in any way from it. Do you know of any examples?

    In retrospect, I do think the whole incident in 1988 was a turning point in the Baha’i Faith. The Faith could have gone outward into the issues of the world in free and open dialog from the rank and file everywhere on Earth as a discussion among the people themselves. It was killed and the rest is history.

    The Faith then went totally inward as the personal top down psychological self identity satrap of a very tiny handful of obsessed people. Despite the current propaganda about an “outward orientation” since 1996 the Baha’i Faith is more incestuous than ever with the current highly controlled “teaching” methods. There is no room for discovery and exploration. “Reflection meetings” only count if you make the “right” reflections. The US NSA had some insightful and hard won “learnings”. Almost 15 pages of them! But they apparently weren’t the “right” learnings. So the report was immediately shredded to history and now completely suppressed.

    So it goes.

    But it will be interesting if the people now completely running the show will re-think anything or allow any initiatives that are outside of the official authorized playbook regarding any “learnings”.

    I guess we shall see. I figure this next year will determine the Fate of the Baha’i Faith for a very long time to come. We certainly are at the crossroads.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Nik

    Hi SF, are you refering to me specifically in your comment here? please explicate further.

  • Nik

    Hi SF, are you refering to me specifically in your comment here? please explicate further.

  • Nik

    SF, in case the comment was directed as such, to contextualise.
    I entered the Faith to find the Truth. And I found it, astonishingly and completely, surprisingly quickly! Yet what one might come to know individually in the mystical sense of the ‘cities’ Bahaullah speaks of is not easily shared or lived in the community context (the miscomprehension I spoke of in my original post). I assure you, I did not merely ‘gargle’ from the ‘fountain of truth’. I drank so deep I was completely transformed by it.
    Yet I couldnt reconcile that knowing with the form and focus of the community of that time (for numerous reasons), hence my leaving. Perhaps with some help and fellow ‘knowers’ around I might have stayed, but alas I found none (okay, there was one but he left the local vicinity) .
    Despite my ‘investigation of truth’ taking me elsewhere for some time, my heart has remained with Bahaullah.
    Enough on my own journey.

    Frankly I am astonished and greatly concerned by what has happened in the wider Bahai community in the ensuing years (!), thus my interest in the articles and postings here. For they are honest, illuminating and probing of the issues at hand without unreasonable censure. And from a requisite Bahai perspective.

    Apologies to all if this has strayed somewhat from the main themes in the commentary and the original ‘rant’.

  • Nik

    SF, in case the comment was directed as such, to contextualise.
    I entered the Faith to find the Truth. And I found it, astonishingly and completely, surprisingly quickly! Yet what one might come to know individually in the mystical sense of the ‘cities’ Bahaullah speaks of is not easily shared or lived in the community context (the miscomprehension I spoke of in my original post). I assure you, I did not merely ‘gargle’ from the ‘fountain of truth’. I drank so deep I was completely transformed by it.
    Yet I couldnt reconcile that knowing with the form and focus of the community of that time (for numerous reasons), hence my leaving. Perhaps with some help and fellow ‘knowers’ around I might have stayed, but alas I found none (okay, there was one but he left the local vicinity) .
    Despite my ‘investigation of truth’ taking me elsewhere for some time, my heart has remained with Bahaullah.
    Enough on my own journey.

    Frankly I am astonished and greatly concerned by what has happened in the wider Bahai community in the ensuing years (!), thus my interest in the articles and postings here. For they are honest, illuminating and probing of the issues at hand without unreasonable censure. And from a requisite Bahai perspective.

    Apologies to all if this has strayed somewhat from the main themes in the commentary and the original ‘rant’.

  • Craig Parke

    Nik,

    You might like this below listed site where many once very dedicated Baha’is who are now completely fed up with the direction this has all gone now try to help each other:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    Your thoughtful comments and insights would be appreciated by the on-line community there anytime you wish to say something.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Nik,

    You might like this below listed site where many once very dedicated Baha’is who are now completely fed up with the direction this has all gone now try to help each other:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    Your thoughtful comments and insights would be appreciated by the on-line community there anytime you wish to say something.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Ed Grover

    I really like David’s comments regarding Ruhi and so on. Having done a couple of Ruhi books and having pretty bad experiences with them, I’d have to say the problems with Ruhi boil down to:

    a) Material: the annoying commentary that runs with the quotes and juvenile questions that make it like a primary school comprehension program. The material is just based on Baha’i teachings, but Baha’i teachings shouldn’t be main source of information if you are wanting to train people for example in children’s classes. Universities have been exploring education for years and have a wealth of knowledge, why can’t we tap into that? What I also really hate about Ruhi is that it is very prescriptive, it forces you into narrow point of view, it tells you what to think.

    b) The tutors: its been mainly the young, unlearned and inexperienced, or die hard fanatics that have ended up becoming tutors, making for a really shallow, less than indepth discussion on what should be important issues. For example the question was “why do we teach the Faith?” Answer from the group “Because God told us to”. And that was the depth of the discussion. Older learned Baha’is with plenty of life experience, a background in education and an unbiased and learned approach to Baha’i belief and activity, who become tutors help elevate the material to something that is palatable and mildly interesting. Get a bad tutor and you’re in for a bad Ruhi experience.

    c) The group: if you are stuck in a group that are not deep thinkers, unlearned, just doing Ruhi without any real interest, or are fanatics, then you’re in for a bad Ruhi experience.

    I think if the material could be upgraded so that it was more scholarly and not so intellectually insulting, came from a wide variety of sources inside as well as outside the Faith, and tailored so that it didn’t force you into adopting a singular point of view, the Faith would have a pretty potent method for educating and “training” Baha’is. At the moment, I feel we are treading the path to fundamentalism.

    There also needs to be some way of matching participants to groups and tutors so the participant has an enjoyable experience. This probably won’t happen until there are large numbers of people doing it.

    Ed

  • Ed Grover

    I really like David’s comments regarding Ruhi and so on. Having done a couple of Ruhi books and having pretty bad experiences with them, I’d have to say the problems with Ruhi boil down to:

    a) Material: the annoying commentary that runs with the quotes and juvenile questions that make it like a primary school comprehension program. The material is just based on Baha’i teachings, but Baha’i teachings shouldn’t be main source of information if you are wanting to train people for example in children’s classes. Universities have been exploring education for years and have a wealth of knowledge, why can’t we tap into that? What I also really hate about Ruhi is that it is very prescriptive, it forces you into narrow point of view, it tells you what to think.

    b) The tutors: its been mainly the young, unlearned and inexperienced, or die hard fanatics that have ended up becoming tutors, making for a really shallow, less than indepth discussion on what should be important issues. For example the question was “why do we teach the Faith?” Answer from the group “Because God told us to”. And that was the depth of the discussion. Older learned Baha’is with plenty of life experience, a background in education and an unbiased and learned approach to Baha’i belief and activity, who become tutors help elevate the material to something that is palatable and mildly interesting. Get a bad tutor and you’re in for a bad Ruhi experience.

    c) The group: if you are stuck in a group that are not deep thinkers, unlearned, just doing Ruhi without any real interest, or are fanatics, then you’re in for a bad Ruhi experience.

    I think if the material could be upgraded so that it was more scholarly and not so intellectually insulting, came from a wide variety of sources inside as well as outside the Faith, and tailored so that it didn’t force you into adopting a singular point of view, the Faith would have a pretty potent method for educating and “training” Baha’is. At the moment, I feel we are treading the path to fundamentalism.

    There also needs to be some way of matching participants to groups and tutors so the participant has an enjoyable experience. This probably won’t happen until there are large numbers of people doing it.

    Ed

  • Sincere Friend

    I am sorry to have caused you and Mr. Parke any concern about my glib comment regarding the fountain of truth. Its a question sometime used to cause reflection in verbose individuals, not that I find either of you particularly that way, but the question regarding whether or not one can edit ones comments stimulated my memory of that particular joke and it was only intended as such in my comment. Please accept my sincere apology.

    God is afterall named in one place in the Writings, so I am told, as The Humorous.

  • Sincere Friend

    I am sorry to have caused you and Mr. Parke any concern about my glib comment regarding the fountain of truth. Its a question sometime used to cause reflection in verbose individuals, not that I find either of you particularly that way, but the question regarding whether or not one can edit ones comments stimulated my memory of that particular joke and it was only intended as such in my comment. Please accept my sincere apology.

    God is afterall named in one place in the Writings, so I am told, as The Humorous.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    Do not worry about me! I took no offense in any way on that remark. I was merely referring to if your longer analysis post was in reference to something I wrote or somethink Nik wrote. I was not sure which of us you were responding to. Anyway, keep posting! I enjoy your insights and analysis very much.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    Do not worry about me! I took no offense in any way on that remark. I was merely referring to if your longer analysis post was in reference to something I wrote or somethink Nik wrote. I was not sure which of us you were responding to. Anyway, keep posting! I enjoy your insights and analysis very much.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi David,

    You write:

    I think you’re being too prescriptive and exclusive about the term “cargo cult science”. Richard Feynman spoke about “cargo cult science” in 1974. He may even have copined the term. His description differs a little from yours and from Baquia’s. He says that what’s missing in cargo cult science is:

    My point is that, in rejecting Baquia’s understanding of the term “cargo cult science”, and setting up your own understanding of the term as the acknowledged correct understanding, you seem to be on very shaky ground.

    Hi Nik,

    It’s great to have another Kiwi aboard. I hope to hear more from you.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi David,

    You write:

    I think you’re being too prescriptive and exclusive about the term “cargo cult science”. Richard Feynman spoke about “cargo cult science” in 1974. He may even have copined the term. His description differs a little from yours and from Baquia’s. He says that what’s missing in cargo cult science is:

    My point is that, in rejecting Baquia’s understanding of the term “cargo cult science”, and setting up your own understanding of the term as the acknowledged correct understanding, you seem to be on very shaky ground.

    Hi Nik,

    It’s great to have another Kiwi aboard. I hope to hear more from you.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    That was a mess – I’m sticking to plain old HTML!Hi David,You write:

    when people talk about ?cargo cult science’, they don’t mean science that mistakes causation and correlation, but rather science that blindly follows the outward form of ?good science’ without understanding why, and therefore makes errors. It’s about following the form without understanding what’s going on underneath.”

    I think you’re being too prescriptive and exclusive about the term “cargo cult science”. Richard Feynman spoke about “cargo cult science” in 1974. He may even have coined the term. His description differs a little from yours and from Baquia’s. He says that what’s missing in cargo cult science is:

    …a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards.”Cargo Cult Science, by Richard Feynman

    My point is that — in rejecting Baquia’s understanding of the term “cargo cult science”, and setting up your own understanding of the term as the acknowledged correct understanding — you seem to be on very shaky ground.Hi Nik,It’s great to have another Kiwi aboard. I hope to hear more from you.ka kiteSteve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    That was a mess – I’m sticking to plain old HTML!Hi David,You write:

    when people talk about ?cargo cult science’, they don’t mean science that mistakes causation and correlation, but rather science that blindly follows the outward form of ?good science’ without understanding why, and therefore makes errors. It’s about following the form without understanding what’s going on underneath.”

    I think you’re being too prescriptive and exclusive about the term “cargo cult science”. Richard Feynman spoke about “cargo cult science” in 1974. He may even have coined the term. His description differs a little from yours and from Baquia’s. He says that what’s missing in cargo cult science is:

    …a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards.”Cargo Cult Science, by Richard Feynman

    My point is that — in rejecting Baquia’s understanding of the term “cargo cult science”, and setting up your own understanding of the term as the acknowledged correct understanding — you seem to be on very shaky ground.Hi Nik,It’s great to have another Kiwi aboard. I hope to hear more from you.ka kiteSteve

  • David

    Hi Steve,

    First I think we need to remember that the idea of ‘cargo cult science’ as proposed by Feynman is not the same things as cargo cultism itself – he was using cargo cultism as a metaphor for problems he saw in contemporary science. In one case we are saying cargo cultism is *what* certain islanders are doing, in the other we are saying is that what scientists do is *like* what those islanders do.

    That being said, I think Feynman argues exactly what I said he did. He wrote (in the same speech you quote above) “So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential…” In other words, they follow the form of science, but fail because they lack something in the underlying parts of the scientific endeavor. He goes on to identify what he thinks is lacking, namely scientific integrity, which is the part of the speech you pick up on. It’s just what I said, though – cargo cult science for Feynman is the following of the outward forms of science while missing the underlying mechanisms that actually make it work.

    I don’t think either way, though, it changes what I wrote. Cargo cultism is not about mistaking correlation with causation, but attempts to simplistically map enrollment numbers onto the duration of the plans is in serious danger of making exactly that error. In social science we would never simply take two numbers, look at their relationship and than only from that make arguments about causation. That’s exactly what a lot of people try to do with Ruhi, though.

  • David

    Hi Steve,

    First I think we need to remember that the idea of ‘cargo cult science’ as proposed by Feynman is not the same things as cargo cultism itself – he was using cargo cultism as a metaphor for problems he saw in contemporary science. In one case we are saying cargo cultism is *what* certain islanders are doing, in the other we are saying is that what scientists do is *like* what those islanders do.

    That being said, I think Feynman argues exactly what I said he did. He wrote (in the same speech you quote above) “So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential…” In other words, they follow the form of science, but fail because they lack something in the underlying parts of the scientific endeavor. He goes on to identify what he thinks is lacking, namely scientific integrity, which is the part of the speech you pick up on. It’s just what I said, though – cargo cult science for Feynman is the following of the outward forms of science while missing the underlying mechanisms that actually make it work.

    I don’t think either way, though, it changes what I wrote. Cargo cultism is not about mistaking correlation with causation, but attempts to simplistically map enrollment numbers onto the duration of the plans is in serious danger of making exactly that error. In social science we would never simply take two numbers, look at their relationship and than only from that make arguments about causation. That’s exactly what a lot of people try to do with Ruhi, though.

  • Fritz Gormann

    Your Wrong!
    Ruhi has caused our “A” cluster to focus on teaching the Ruhi way or no way.
    We are lossing people and younger ones don’t buy into it.

  • Fritz Gormann

    Your Wrong!
    Ruhi has caused our “A” cluster to focus on teaching the Ruhi way or no way.
    We are lossing people and younger ones don’t buy into it.

  • Fritz Gormann

    I became a Bah’i in 1968
    I didn’t become a member of the Ruhi Faith.

    I agree, I’m pulling myself back from involvement because of the “AmWay” style of the Ruhi Faith

  • Fritz Gormann

    I became a Bah’i in 1968
    I didn’t become a member of the Ruhi Faith.

    I agree, I’m pulling myself back from involvement because of the “AmWay” style of the Ruhi Faith

  • Craig Parke

    Fritz,

    Come on over and sit at the campfire at UB.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    I have been a Baha’i since 1971 and have served in many capacities over the decades. I did many special projects over the years for my nearest LSA. I was once an Assembly trainer. I have had it.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Fritz,

    Come on over and sit at the campfire at UB.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    I have been a Baha’i since 1971 and have served in many capacities over the decades. I did many special projects over the years for my nearest LSA. I was once an Assembly trainer. I have had it.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Alison Marshall

    David said: “The error is … confusing the outer, ritualistic, forms of the cause with the underlying mechanisms that make it work.”

    Yes, that’s exactly the point I was trying to make in my blog entry (the one Baquia linked to on this topic). My argument is that the Ruhi meetings are just an outer form of the spiritual work needed to actually attract divine bounties and grow the community.

    Baha’u’llah calls this phenomenon “attachment to names”. For example, Mirza Yahya was given the name “Subh-i Azal” and he assumed from that that he had certain authority in the community and a certain spiritual station that could not be taken from him. Baha’u’llah frequently points out the error in his logic: the name, in itself, does not guarantee the reality.

    Today, the Baha’i community makes the same mistake. It believes the House of Justice can do no wrong simply because it is the House of Justice. The idea that what’s actually required is real inner spiritual transformation worthy of the calling is ignored. The community assumes that the reality follows from the name.

    “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?'” Luke 11:39-40

    Alison

  • Alison Marshall

    David said: “The error is … confusing the outer, ritualistic, forms of the cause with the underlying mechanisms that make it work.”

    Yes, that’s exactly the point I was trying to make in my blog entry (the one Baquia linked to on this topic). My argument is that the Ruhi meetings are just an outer form of the spiritual work needed to actually attract divine bounties and grow the community.

    Baha’u’llah calls this phenomenon “attachment to names”. For example, Mirza Yahya was given the name “Subh-i Azal” and he assumed from that that he had certain authority in the community and a certain spiritual station that could not be taken from him. Baha’u’llah frequently points out the error in his logic: the name, in itself, does not guarantee the reality.

    Today, the Baha’i community makes the same mistake. It believes the House of Justice can do no wrong simply because it is the House of Justice. The idea that what’s actually required is real inner spiritual transformation worthy of the calling is ignored. The community assumes that the reality follows from the name.

    “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?'” Luke 11:39-40

    Alison

  • Ann

    “Today, the Baha’i community makes the same mistake. It believes the House of Justice can do no wrong simply because it is the House of Justice. The idea that what’s actually required is real inner spiritual transformation worthy of the calling is ignored. The community assumes that the reality follows from the name.”

    The thing that interests me is why the Bahai Faith gets such good press in the West while other more traditional religions don’t. It seems like everyone takes in its nice cuddly elements but ignores the bad stuff. Good on you for speaking out. From what I can judge from some other Bahai blogs, some members almost act like they’re members of a cult.

  • Ann

    “Today, the Baha’i community makes the same mistake. It believes the House of Justice can do no wrong simply because it is the House of Justice. The idea that what’s actually required is real inner spiritual transformation worthy of the calling is ignored. The community assumes that the reality follows from the name.”

    The thing that interests me is why the Bahai Faith gets such good press in the West while other more traditional religions don’t. It seems like everyone takes in its nice cuddly elements but ignores the bad stuff. Good on you for speaking out. From what I can judge from some other Bahai blogs, some members almost act like they’re members of a cult.

  • Brendan Cook

    Ann,

    Nice to hear from you. The reason I don’t like the cult comparison is that I think it doesn’t do justice to how bad cults can be. The Baha’i Faith can be secretive, and there are strong authoritarian and fundamentalist tendencies, but then this is true of a lot of religions. Cults on the other hand, can be really sinister, abusive even, in a way that I would never dream of suggesting the Baha’i community is.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Ann,

    Nice to hear from you. The reason I don’t like the cult comparison is that I think it doesn’t do justice to how bad cults can be. The Baha’i Faith can be secretive, and there are strong authoritarian and fundamentalist tendencies, but then this is true of a lot of religions. Cults on the other hand, can be really sinister, abusive even, in a way that I would never dream of suggesting the Baha’i community is.

    Brendan

  • Ann

    Thanks for that.

    I wasn’t saying that the Bahai Faith is a cult, but rather that some members are so defensive that they respond like they are members of a cult. I wrote a comment on another blog raising the “gay” issue and it was simply not allowed to appear. I recently thought about joining and thought again given the authoritarian tendencies and the silly fundamentalist take on issues like homosexuality. I do think there’s lots of good things about the Bahai Faith, and I think it’s important that people stick around and try and change things (if they can manage not to be accused of being convenant breakers).

  • Ann

    Thanks for that.

    I wasn’t saying that the Bahai Faith is a cult, but rather that some members are so defensive that they respond like they are members of a cult. I wrote a comment on another blog raising the “gay” issue and it was simply not allowed to appear. I recently thought about joining and thought again given the authoritarian tendencies and the silly fundamentalist take on issues like homosexuality. I do think there’s lots of good things about the Bahai Faith, and I think it’s important that people stick around and try and change things (if they can manage not to be accused of being convenant breakers).

  • Brendan Cook

    Ann,

    Sorry if I jumped the gun. I hear the word cult thrown around a lot and I think I overreacted. But in any case, I agree with you completely that there are decided fundamentalist and authoritarian tendencies in the Baha’i Faith today. The homosexual issue you mention is a great example of both of these things. On the one hand, fundamentalist interpretations mean there’s no flexibility. And then the authoritarian tendency manifests in the way that those who speak up are shut up.

    As for being accused of Covenant-breaking, that’s unlikely, but it’s still possible to marginalize people very effectively without doing that, let me tell you. In any case, it’s good to know you’re thinking critically about this.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Ann,

    Sorry if I jumped the gun. I hear the word cult thrown around a lot and I think I overreacted. But in any case, I agree with you completely that there are decided fundamentalist and authoritarian tendencies in the Baha’i Faith today. The homosexual issue you mention is a great example of both of these things. On the one hand, fundamentalist interpretations mean there’s no flexibility. And then the authoritarian tendency manifests in the way that those who speak up are shut up.

    As for being accused of Covenant-breaking, that’s unlikely, but it’s still possible to marginalize people very effectively without doing that, let me tell you. In any case, it’s good to know you’re thinking critically about this.

    Brendan

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Ann,

    It is very good that you are thinking critically! Independent investigation of truth and all that pertains to that journey was once a big part of the Baha’i Faith before the Administrative Order Idolatry completely took over where the means to an end became the end in itself.

    Come on over to these sites some time where the discussion is free thinking and open on the path of seeking spiritual insight in life using one’s own faculties and not through other people aggrandizing to themselves the oppressive self assigned duty to tell other people what to think.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/talisman9/

    Thank you for your voice here on BR!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Ann,

    It is very good that you are thinking critically! Independent investigation of truth and all that pertains to that journey was once a big part of the Baha’i Faith before the Administrative Order Idolatry completely took over where the means to an end became the end in itself.

    Come on over to these sites some time where the discussion is free thinking and open on the path of seeking spiritual insight in life using one’s own faculties and not through other people aggrandizing to themselves the oppressive self assigned duty to tell other people what to think.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/talisman9/

    Thank you for your voice here on BR!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    “I wrote a comment on another blog raising the ?gay? issue and it was simply not allowed to appear. ”

    It boggles the mind how out of touch people are. Do they think they can censor the internet?

    ROFL

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    “I wrote a comment on another blog raising the ?gay? issue and it was simply not allowed to appear. ”

    It boggles the mind how out of touch people are. Do they think they can censor the internet?

    ROFL

  • Ann

    Thanks Craig. Will pop over and have a look when I get a good chance.

    Nice to know that one could be Bahai and not be beholden to the administration. Something to think about.

    Given that another “Manifestation” is not due to appear for a long time, I think these issues need to be addressed. Nobody in 500 years is going to accept certain ideas doing the rounds today.

    Unity is a good thing, but not if it denies diversity (which is something I thought Bahais supported) and impedes change. Other Faiths wouldn’t have advanced if it wasn’t for trailbreakers like Bishop Spong et al.

    Thanks.

  • Ann

    Thanks Craig. Will pop over and have a look when I get a good chance.

    Nice to know that one could be Bahai and not be beholden to the administration. Something to think about.

    Given that another “Manifestation” is not due to appear for a long time, I think these issues need to be addressed. Nobody in 500 years is going to accept certain ideas doing the rounds today.

    Unity is a good thing, but not if it denies diversity (which is something I thought Bahais supported) and impedes change. Other Faiths wouldn’t have advanced if it wasn’t for trailbreakers like Bishop Spong et al.

    Thanks.

  • Recently Resigned Non-Baha’i

    “I was not allowed to resign due to my unwillingness to renounce Bahaullah. Instead I disappeared into inactivity),”

    I have heard about this scenario a lot, but that is not what happened to me at all. I wrote to the National Spiritual Assembly of my country, didn’t give then ANY details as to why I wanted to resign, and within week or two they resigned me from the Faith.

    Why is it that some people are ‘required’ to renounce their faith in Baha’u’llah, but with others there is no trouble resigning at all?

  • Recently Resigned Non-Baha’i

    “I was not allowed to resign due to my unwillingness to renounce Bahaullah. Instead I disappeared into inactivity),”

    I have heard about this scenario a lot, but that is not what happened to me at all. I wrote to the National Spiritual Assembly of my country, didn’t give then ANY details as to why I wanted to resign, and within week or two they resigned me from the Faith.

    Why is it that some people are ‘required’ to renounce their faith in Baha’u’llah, but with others there is no trouble resigning at all?

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

    Indeed why write to anybody to resign????
    What are you a member of???
    For a whole new perspective on what Baha’i is you might be interested in my blog at http://redletterbahai.tblog.com
    It ain’t your mommas religion!

    Ann says:
    Unity is a good thing, but not if it denies diversity (which is something I thought Bahais supported) and impedes change.
    In response:
    Baha’is support diversity and unity. Baha’is who form up and rally around an icon, a personality or a self determined authority are working their way through an impedement in their own march toward unity. Slowly but surely and individually those Baha’is learn that organization is not required, desired, nor needed and they “resign”, quit, fade away, get kicked out or what ever. Some very few have noticed that this seperation is a major step in their growth as a Baha’i. It seems everyone needs to go through a Kubler-Ross process upon reaching this stage in their growth.
    Welcome to the club of humanity and I hope you have a speedy reinvigeration.

    Robert Clifton

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

    Indeed why write to anybody to resign????
    What are you a member of???
    For a whole new perspective on what Baha’i is you might be interested in my blog at http://redletterbahai.tblog.com
    It ain’t your mommas religion!

    Ann says:
    Unity is a good thing, but not if it denies diversity (which is something I thought Bahais supported) and impedes change.
    In response:
    Baha’is support diversity and unity. Baha’is who form up and rally around an icon, a personality or a self determined authority are working their way through an impedement in their own march toward unity. Slowly but surely and individually those Baha’is learn that organization is not required, desired, nor needed and they “resign”, quit, fade away, get kicked out or what ever. Some very few have noticed that this seperation is a major step in their growth as a Baha’i. It seems everyone needs to go through a Kubler-Ross process upon reaching this stage in their growth.
    Welcome to the club of humanity and I hope you have a speedy reinvigeration.

    Robert Clifton

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

    Sure, we just don’t bother expressing it in dead languages.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Sure, we just don’t bother expressing it in dead languages.

  • Pingback: Reports Show Communities Ignoring Ruhi at Baha’i Rants()

  • sevenraindrops

    You are quite retarded, all of you. Im sorry, its just true. Oh wait, it seems you dont understand the point in ruhi either. In no place does it say Ruhi is supposed to bring masses to the faith, does it? Is it supposed to convert the world? no. Its a systematic way of deepening and learning to develop one´s capacities and skills. Period. I will not go on cause its pointless. Have fun retards 😀

  • sevenraindrops

    You are quite retarded, all of you. Im sorry, its just true. Oh wait, it seems you dont understand the point in ruhi either. In no place does it say Ruhi is supposed to bring masses to the faith, does it? Is it supposed to convert the world? no. Its a systematic way of deepening and learning to develop one´s capacities and skills. Period. I will not go on cause its pointless. Have fun retards 😀

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    LoL

    7raindrops, thanks for stopping by and gracing us with your charm. It seems that Ruhi definitely worked for you. Your capacity for empathy and unity seem to be at a bursting point.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    LoL

    7raindrops, thanks for stopping by and gracing us with your charm. It seems that Ruhi definitely worked for you. Your capacity for empathy and unity seem to be at a bursting point.

  • P

    I will not go on cause its pointless
    ———————
    Of course you won’t go on 7dripdrops. ‘Cause that’s what most “loyal” Bahais do on these boards- hit and run. You can’t make any real arguments to refute posts, so you get fed up and run back to your cozy, isolated communities where everybody pats each other on the back for a ruhi-job well-done. I have to admit though, yours was one of the quickest hit and runs I’ve seen in a while. Surely Baquia must have an award for that!

  • P

    I will not go on cause its pointless
    ———————
    Of course you won’t go on 7dripdrops. ‘Cause that’s what most “loyal” Bahais do on these boards- hit and run. You can’t make any real arguments to refute posts, so you get fed up and run back to your cozy, isolated communities where everybody pats each other on the back for a ruhi-job well-done. I have to admit though, yours was one of the quickest hit and runs I’ve seen in a while. Surely Baquia must have an award for that!

  • Werdna the Wizard

    sevenraindrops wrote:

    “You are quite retarded, all of you. Im sorry, its just true … Have fun retards.”

    Abdu’l-Baha has said:

    “I adjure you by the Ancient Beauty not to insult anyone or wish humiliation on any soul. Never repudiate anyone, who either specifically, or by allusion or by insinuation ascribes charges of heresy, blasphemy, atheism, loss, error or wickedness.”

    Abdu’l-Baha was not Baha’i (in the modern sense of the word) but he was once the Head of something that was once known as the Bahaist Movement. Since, clearly, he practiced a very different religion, Baha’is are free to ignore his advice (as, it seems, they usually do), but they might find something of value in his words, from time to time.

    On the other hand, “have fun retards” seems to reflect the current articulation of the mainstream Baha’i Faith very well indeed. Thank you for continuing to enlighten the world with the splendor of the Faith.

  • Werdna the Wizard

    sevenraindrops wrote:

    “You are quite retarded, all of you. Im sorry, its just true … Have fun retards.”

    Abdu’l-Baha has said:

    “I adjure you by the Ancient Beauty not to insult anyone or wish humiliation on any soul. Never repudiate anyone, who either specifically, or by allusion or by insinuation ascribes charges of heresy, blasphemy, atheism, loss, error or wickedness.”

    Abdu’l-Baha was not Baha’i (in the modern sense of the word) but he was once the Head of something that was once known as the Bahaist Movement. Since, clearly, he practiced a very different religion, Baha’is are free to ignore his advice (as, it seems, they usually do), but they might find something of value in his words, from time to time.

    On the other hand, “have fun retards” seems to reflect the current articulation of the mainstream Baha’i Faith very well indeed. Thank you for continuing to enlighten the world with the splendor of the Faith.

  • Andrew

    Eureka! I’ve found it!

    As I continue to compile material for my projected blog series, I’ve been wondering what to call it. Several rather exotic titles have been suggested to me, but none of them seemed to embody the essence of what I wish to blog about.

    Now, however, and from a Baha’i source, nonetheless (and presumably a BIGS), I’ve finally found it:

    “Have Fun Retards: A Blog About Baha’i Spirituality.”

    Thank you so much! You’ve given me the inspiration I need to continue!

  • Andrew

    Eureka! I’ve found it!

    As I continue to compile material for my projected blog series, I’ve been wondering what to call it. Several rather exotic titles have been suggested to me, but none of them seemed to embody the essence of what I wish to blog about.

    Now, however, and from a Baha’i source, nonetheless (and presumably a BIGS), I’ve finally found it:

    “Have Fun Retards: A Blog About Baha’i Spirituality.”

    Thank you so much! You’ve given me the inspiration I need to continue!

  • Grover

    [quote post=”370″]Sevenraindrops

    Its a systematic way of deepening and learning to develop one´s capacities and skills. Period. I will not go on cause its pointless. Have fun retards [/quote]

    lolololol, Sevenraindrops, there is a lovely little university in Afghanistan called OBL university, that would be ideal for person of soaring intelligence such as yourself. Your career would be quite explosive, messy, and mercifully brief, but you’d need to change religions to get the 40 virgins feeding you grapes in the afterlife. I think you’d be ideally suited. Would you like us to write a recommendation for you?

  • Grover

    [quote post=”370″]Sevenraindrops

    Its a systematic way of deepening and learning to develop one´s capacities and skills. Period. I will not go on cause its pointless. Have fun retards [/quote]

    lolololol, Sevenraindrops, there is a lovely little university in Afghanistan called OBL university, that would be ideal for person of soaring intelligence such as yourself. Your career would be quite explosive, messy, and mercifully brief, but you’d need to change religions to get the 40 virgins feeding you grapes in the afterlife. I think you’d be ideally suited. Would you like us to write a recommendation for you?

  • Concourse on Low

    SevenIQPoints reminds me of the lobotomized zealotry that’s produced by Bahai youth conferences.

  • Concourse on Low

    SevenIQPoints reminds me of the lobotomized zealotry that’s produced by Bahai youth conferences.

  • Rob

    The good news is that more recent data demonstrates pretty clearly the efficacy of the core activities and practices. Growth, as defined by either new registrations or the new-found vibrancy of the community, is up dramatically in many of the clusters with “intensive programs of growth.” The pattern was particularly clear in 2009 in which U.S. enrollments rose, IIRC, 400% nationally over 2007 when this post was made.

    Among the biggest learnings in this global endeavor is that merely going through the motions of Ruhi has no apparent positive effect. In fact it drives away some folks, as evidenced in this thread. The positive effects only occur if the friends apply the skills that study circles are intended to develop (hosting devotional gatherings; teaching children's classes; animating junior youth groups; visiting friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers; giving firesides; etc.)

    And of course, the secret ingredient is the light of the spirit. Any pattern of human affairs is doomed to failure unless the hearts of the participants are joyful and enkindled. (Which is not to say that it guarantees growth, just that you can't have success without it.)

    I got to spend some time in the Phoenix community recently (which is growing at a redonkulous pace) and I can testify that the spirit of love for each other and for the greater community is palpable. These are not automatons. These are loving Baha'is, like us, doing what has been asked of them and receiving many blessings in return.

  • Paz

    HAHAHAH this is funny cause i live in Vanuatu, where we have a famous cargo cult in the island of Tanna…and the people that are most touched by ruhi and the baha'i faith are those same cargo cult members…
    So i guess it does work like how you said it should… lol
    okay jokes aside, i think the thing with ruhi, is you have to try it. and not just sit through a class. you have to be scientific about it. there are 7 books and there are there for certain reasons, and each have a practice component. Now like any experiement, if you carry it out and you don't follow the procedure properly, the experiment fails. But in the area's where the experiements are carried out at a high quality, the success is plain to see. This is the same with Ruhi. If you carry it out, but fail to generate quality, fail to apply the practice components, its effect is limited. On the other hand, when all the peices fall into place, its transforming power is amazing! I live in Australia now, and i just got back from 2 ruhi books lesson today actually. And they have been amazing. We have friends that are not baha'is that are part of the classes, all who have previously had either never heard of the faith before, or just had a friend that was 'baha'i, what ever that is…' After a few lessons on Book 1 their transformation is amazing. They think about how they can apply these teachings to their lives, their communities and even the world. Heck in one of the study circles one of the friends himself stopped us at one of the quotes about prayer and he himself said 'guys, prayer is so unifying, thats what i get from the quote, and we need to have a space where people can just come and pray with their friends. It will bring us all together…' Thats the effect that it can have. That someone can read these words and have see to the crux of the matter….thats the power of ruhi…
    So yeah, i guess its something you have to experience yourself i guess,… maybe you haven't had that chance…maybe if you have the quality wasn't there…thats fine, the Baha'i world is still learning, and we as slowly starting to understand what the UHJ means in their messages…we'll get there. I hope you're up for giving it another shot