Teaching vs. Proselytizing: UHJ Letter

bahai-teach-or-proselytizeA while back we talked about the difference between teaching and proselytizing. This is becoming more and more of an issue as Baha’is are being prodded to use more “direct” teaching methods. These involve going door to door in neighborhoods – something which we, at one point, were proud that we didn’t do.

27 years ago someone was concerned about this and wrote to the Universal House of Justice. And they wrote back the better below. By the way, if you have a question for the UHJ, you can easily email them using this email address: secretariat @ bwc [dot] org

The first part deals with the question but it also veers off into a discussion of the Covenant and the difference between interpretation and legislation. I’m assuming that the questioner brought these topics forward, otherwise, it is a stretch to link them to the question of proselytizing vs. teaching.

It is also interesting that at the end of the letter, the House of Justice says:

For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the, National Baha’i Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itself.

When in fact, the document in question was changed in recent history (from its previous wording) to disallow National Spiritual Assemblies from instituting such changes as term limits.

In any case, here is the complete letter:

The Universal House of Justice
The Bah??’?­ World Centre
3 January 1982

To an individual Baha’i

Dear Baha’i Friend,
The Universal House of Justice has received your letter and has asked us to assure you that you should feel no diffidence in raising the sort of questions that you have expressed. It seems clear from your letter that you have been greatly attracted to the Message of Baha’u’llah and have accepted His Faith before, as you say, becoming “fully committed,” and are, therefore, now having to face and resolve problems that many believers overcome before they declare their faith. The House of justice urges you not to let it worry you. All through life Baha’is are faced with tests of many kinds, and problems and doubts, but it is through facing and overcoming them that we grow spiritually.

On the particular issues that you raise, the House of Justice has instructed us to send you the following comments.

Teaching vs. Proselytizing
It is true that Baha’u’llah lays on every Baha’i the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization.

Baha’u’llah, in The Hidden Words, says, “O Son of Dust! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved …. “, and on page 55 of The Advent of Divine Justice, a letter which is primarily directed towards exhorting the friends to fulfill their responsibilities in teaching the Faith, Shoghi Effendi writes: “Care, however, should, at all times, be exercised, lest in their eagerness to further the international interests of the Faith they frustrate their purpose, and turn away, through any act that might be misconstrued as an attempt to proselytize and bring undue pressure upon them, those whom they wish to win over to their Cause.” Some Baha’is sometimes overstep the proper bounds, but this does not alter the clear principle.

The responsibility of the Baha’is to teach the Faith is very great. The contraction of the world and the onward rush of events require us to seize every chance open to us to touch the hearts and minds of our fellowmen. The Message of Baha’u’llah is God’s guidance for mankind to overcome the difficulties of this age of transition and move forward into the next stage of its evolution, and human beings have the right to hear it. Those who accept it incur the duty of passing it on to their fellowman. The slowness of the response of the world has caused and is causing great suffering; hence the historical pressure upon Baha’is to exert every effort to teach the Faith for the sake of their fellowmen. They should teach with enthusiasm, conviction, wisdom and courtesy, but without pressing their hearer, bearing in mind the words of Baha’u’llah: “Beware lest ye contend with any one, nay, strive to make him aware of the truth with kindly manner and most convincing exhortation. If your hearer respond, he will have responded to his own behoof, and if not, turn ye away from him, and set your faces towards God’s sacred Court, the seat of resplendent holiness.”

Considerations in the Application of Baha’i Social Teachings
The application and development of the social aspects of the Teachings is dependent on the stage of growth of the Baha’i community in each area, and on worldwide priorities. We are living in an age of transition, and as ‘Abdu’l-Baha explained, we must, in order to succeed in our aims, sacrifice the important for the most important. The House of Justice, for example, had to turn down the request of certain believers to establish Baha’i schools in a Western country which already had a functioning state educational system; those Baha’i funds which are available for educational projects must be spent on the establishment and running of schools in areas where there are large Baha’i communities of poor people, with no adequate system of education available to them. In its answer, the House of Justice pointed out that if these friends, on their own initiative, wished to establish their own school, run on Baha’i lines, and financially self-supporting, they were entirely free to do so. This highlights an aspect of the matter which is often overlooked. The social services of Baha’is are not restricted to what they do as a community Every Baha’i has a duty to work and earn his living, and in choosing a career a Baha’i should consider not only its earning capacity but also the benefit of the work to his fellowmen. All over the world Baha’is are rendering outstanding services in this way.

When a Baha’i community is very small, there is little that it can do to implement the social teachings of the Faith (beyond their impact on the behavior of individual believers), because such a community with the resources in funds and manpower at its disposal is but a drop in the ocean in comparison with the many large agencies, governmental and private, which are engaged in social improvement. When the Baha’i community grows sufficiently large, however, its activities can and must proliferate and diversify. This development is already taking place in many parts of the world. In India, for example, the New Era School in Panchgani, which has been developing remarkably for a number of years, is closely associated with a rural development project in the villages close by that is having dramatically favorable results in the life of the villagers. In the province of Madhya Pradesh, where there are hundreds of thousands of Baha’is, the Rabbani School in Gwalior is educating children from the villages of the area in the Teachings of the Faith, in academic subjects and in agriculture, so that when they return to their home villages, these pupils not only promote the Faith but will influence their growth and development in every way. In Ecuador, as you no doubt know, the size of the Baha’i community, scattered over inaccessible terrain in the high Andes, made it both necessary and possible some years ago to establish a Baha’i radio station.2 “Radio Baha’i,” as it is known, broadcasts not only about the Faith, but has programs concerning health, agriculture, literacy and so on. It has now become so well established and highly regarded that it has been able to apply for and receive a Canadian Government grant through CIDA to finance the development of certain social service activities. Thus it can be seen that once the Baha’i community attains a certain stature it is able to work in fruitful collaboration with non-Baha’i agencies in its social activities.

A further aspect of this kind of work is the collaboration between the Baha’i International Community and the United Nations. Having consultative status with both ECOSOC and UNICEF, and long association with the Department of Public Information, the Baha’i International Community is able to take part in conferences and consultations on many aspects of human development, both from the point of view of the Baha’i Teachings and with the background of its extensive experience in meeting the problems of developing countries, such as illiteracy, the status of women, tribalism, racial prejudice, and so on.

As you can see, all these developments relate directly to the teaching work inasmuch as the Baha’i communities must reach a certain size before they can begin to implement many of them. How, for example, can a Baha’i community demonstrate effectively the abolition of prejudices which divide the inhabitants of a country until it has a cross-section of those inhabitants within its ranks? A seed is the vital origin of a tree and of a tremendous importance for that reason, but it cannot produce fruit until it has grown into a tree and flowered and fruited. So a Baha’i community of nine believers is a vital step, since it can bring into being for that locality the divine institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly, but it is still only a seed, and needs to grow in size and in the diversity of its members before it can produce really convincing fruit for its fellow citizens.

One could say, however, that the Baha’i communities could assist in social development from a very early stage in their development by supporting the activities of other groups who are, at this point, more numerous and powerful. To some extent this is true, provided that such involvement does not divert the efforts of the friends from the more fundamentally important teaching work or involve them in the disputes of non-Baha’i rival groups.

Humanity’s Most Urgent Need
The teaching work is of primary importance for this reason: the most urgent need of human beings is to recognize the Manifestation of God and thereby to learn how to collaborate constructively. All over the world tremendous efforts are being made to improve the lot of mankind or of parts of mankind, but most of these efforts are frustrated by the conflicts of aims, by corruption of the morals of those involved, by mistrust, or by fear. There is no lack of material resources in the world if they are properly used. The problem is the education of human beings in the ultimate and most important purpose of life and in how to weld the differences of opinion and outlook into a united constructive effort. Baha’is believe that God has revealed the purpose of life, has shown us how to attain it, has provided the ways in which we can work together and, beyond that, has given mankind the assurance both of continuing divine guidance and of divine assistance. As people learn and follow these teachings their efforts will produce durable results. In the absence of these teachings, a lifetime of effort only too often ends in disillusionment and the collapse of all that has been built.

It is not easy for people to learn the Baha’i way, to overcome their inherited prejudices or to resist their personal temptations. This way takes time, is subject to checks and backsliding, but one can see, looking at the past 138 years, that there is an overall advance that is astonishing in the light of the obstacles to be overcome, and is accelerating with every passing decade.

Obstacle to Progress: Getting Sucked Into Prevailing Attitudes
One of the great obstacles to progress is the tendency of Baha’is to be sucked into the general attitudes and disputes that surround them, to be influenced, for example, as you yourself pointed out, by the prevailing attitude to marriage so that the divorce rate becomes a problem within the Baha’i community itself which should be an example to the rest of society in such matters. Involvement in politics and controversial questions is another aspect of the same phenomenon. In one of His Tablets Baha’u’llah warns the Baha’is: “Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men — hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue.” As you realize, this cannot mean that Baha’is must not be controversial since, in many societies, being a Baha’i is itself a controversial matter. The central importance of this principle of avoidance of politics and controversial matters is that Baha’is should not allow themselves to be drawn into the disputes of the many conflicting elements of the society around them. The aim of the Baha’is is to reconcile, to heal divisions, to bring about tolerance and mutual respect among men, and this aim is undermined if we allow ourselves to be swept along by the ephemeral passions of others. This does not mean that Baha’is cannot collaborate with any non-Baha’i movement; it does mean that good judgment is required to distinguish those activities and associations which are beneficial and constructive from those which are divisive.

The Uniqueness of the Baha’i Covenant
The House of Justice hopes that these explanations will help you to understand some of the aspects of the Faith that have been troubling you. The crux of the matter, as you realize, is the acceptance of spiritual authority and what this implies. You express the fear that the authority conferred upon Abdu’l-Baha, the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice could lead to a progressive reduction in the “available scope for personal interpretation,” and that 11 the actual writings of the Manifestation will have less and less import,” and you instance what has happened in previous Dispensations. The House of Justice suggests that, in thinking about this, you contemplate the way the Covenant of Baha’u’llah has actually worked, and you will be able to see how very different its processes are from those of, say, the development of the law in Rabbinical Judaism or the functioning of the Papacy in Christianity. The practice in the past in these two religions, and also to a great extent in Islam, has been to assume that the Revelation given by the Founder was the final, perfect revelation of God’s Will to mankind, and all subsequent elucidation and legislation has been interpretative in the sense that it aimed at applying this basic Revelation to the new problems and situations that have arisen. The Baha’i premises are quite different. Although the Revelation of Baha’u’llah is accepted as the Word of God and His Law as the Law of God, it is understood from the outset that Revelation is progressive, and that the Law, although the Will of God for this Age, will undoubtedly be changed by the next Manifestation of God. Secondly, only the written text of the Revelation is regarded as authoritative. There is no Oral Law as in Judaism, no Tradition of the Church as in Christianity, no Hadith as in Islam. Thirdly, a clear distinction is drawn between interpretation and legislation. Authoritative interpretation is the exclusive prerogative of Abdu’l-Baha and the Guardian, while infallible legislation is the function of the Universal House of Justice.

If you study the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha and of the Guardian, you will see how tremendously they differ from the interpretations of the Rabbis and the Church. They are not a progressive fossilization of the Revelation, they are for the most part expositions which throw a clear light upon passages which may have been considered obscure, they point up the intimate interrelationship between various teachings, they expound the implications of scriptural allusions, and they educate the Baha’is in the tremendous significances of the Words of Baha’u’llah. Rather than in any way supplanting the Words of the Manifestation, they lead us back to them time and again.

Authoritative vs. Individual interpretation
There is also an important distinction made in the Faith between authoritative interpretation, as described above, and the interpretation which every believer is fully entitled to voice. Believers are free, indeed are encouraged, to study the Writings for themselves and to express their understanding of them. Such personal interpretations can be most illuminating, but all Baha’is, including the one expressing the view, however learned he may be, should realize that it is only a personal view and can never be upheld as a standard for others to accept, nor should disputes ever be permitted to arise over differences in such opinions.

Interpretation and Legislation
The legislation enacted by the Universal House of Justice is different from interpretation. Authoritative interpretation, as uttered by Abdu’l-Baha and the Guardian, is a divinely guided statement of what the Word of God means. The divinely inspired legislation of the Universal House of Justice does not attempt to say what the revealed Word means-it states what must be done in cases where the revealed Text or its authoritative interpretation is not explicit. It is, therefore, on quite a different level from the Sacred Text, and the Universal House of justice is empowered to abrogate or amend its own legislation whenever it judges the conditions make this desirable. Moreover, the attitude to legislation is different in the Baha’i Faith. The human tendency in past Dispensations has been to want every question answered and to arrive at a binding decision affecting every small detail of belief or practice. The tendency in the Baha’i Dispensation, from the time of Baha’u’llah Himself, has been to clarify the governing principles, to make binding pronouncements on details which are considered essential, but to leave a wide area to the conscience of the individual. The same tendency appears also in administrative matters. The Guardian used to state that the working of National Spiritual Assemblies should be uniform in essentials but that diversity in secondary matters was not only permissible but desirable. For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the, National Baha’i Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itself.

The Covenant of Baha’u’llah
The Covenant is the “axis of the oneness of the world of humanity’ because it preserves the unity and integrity of the Faith itself and protects it from being disrupted by individuals who are convinced that only their understanding of the Teachings is the right one-a fate that has overcome all past Revelations. The Covenant is, moreover, embedded in the Writings of Baha’u’llah Himself. Thus, as you clearly see, to accept Baha’u’llah is to accept His Covenant; to reject His Covenant is to reject Him.

The House of Justice asks us to assure you of its loving prayers at the Sacred Threshold for your guidance in your efforts to arrive at a greater understanding of this wonderful Revelation.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

  • Grover

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no difference between teaching and proselytizing. Both involve attempting to convince someone of the truth of your religion. How forceful those attempts are depend on the person doing the convincing and the person on the receiving end. Some people come on so strong that it is equivalent of a "spiritual" rape, which I've seen "well-meaning" Baha'is do to some of my friends.

  • Grover

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no difference between teaching and proselytizing. Both involve attempting to convince someone of the truth of your religion. How forceful those attempts are depend on the person doing the convincing and the person on the receiving end. Some people come on so strong that it is equivalent of a "spiritual" rape, which I've seen "well-meaning" Baha'is do to some of my friends.

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

    Grover, there is a difference. Although different people will draw the line in different places. For example, if a Church in an impoverished country says we're giving a dinner or offering a SED project but it is only for those that declare themselves as members or believers with us… then that's clearly proselytizing. Offering someone information if they are interested or if they ask for it, likewise, can't be proselytizing.

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

    Grover, there is a difference. Although different people will draw the line in different places. For example, if a Church in an impoverished country says we're giving a dinner or offering a SED project but it is only for those that declare themselves as members or believers with us… then that's clearly proselytizing. Offering someone information if they are interested or if they ask for it, likewise, can't be proselytizing.

  • Grover

    "it depends how you define the word “proselytise”: my dictionary gives "convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another."

    Yes, that's exactly right. "Teaching" is just a sanitized way of saying evangelizing or proselytizing. But in a way "teaching" is more arrogant because teaching implies a teacher who knows best and a student who knows very little. Whereas evangelizing refers to sharing "good news" and proselytising is the act of converting someones religious beliefs. Proselytizing and evangelism have bad connotations because of the extremes certain groups of Christianity etc have gone to get converts.

  • Grover

    "it depends how you define the word “proselytise”: my dictionary gives "convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another."

    Yes, that's exactly right. "Teaching" is just a sanitized way of saying evangelizing or proselytizing. But in a way "teaching" is more arrogant because teaching implies a teacher who knows best and a student who knows very little. Whereas evangelizing refers to sharing "good news" and proselytising is the act of converting someones religious beliefs. Proselytizing and evangelism have bad connotations because of the extremes certain groups of Christianity etc have gone to get converts.

  • farhan

    Baquia, it depends how you define the word “proselytise”: my dictionary gives "convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another."

    Bringing someone into a community by force or seduction is counterproductive when we consider that God’s aim is to change hearts and minds and rectify human behaviour. We sometimes mistake teaching and enrolling that are tools for spreading God’s message with the true aim of reforming human behaviour and society. I always remember this prince who wanted to meet Baha’u’llah late at night so as to go unnoticed and Baha’u’llah replied with an ode:

    'If thine aim be to cherish thy life, approach not our court; but if sacrifice be thy heart's desire, come and let others come with thee. For such is the way of Faith, if in thy heart thou seekest reunion with Baha; shouldst thou refuse to tread this path, why trouble us? Begone!' (Dawn-Breakers 7:14)

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

    Baquia, it depends how you define the word “proselytise”: my dictionary gives "convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another."

    Bringing someone into a community by force or seduction is counterproductive when we consider that God’s aim is to change hearts and minds and rectify human behaviour. We sometimes mistake teaching and enrolling that are tools for spreading God’s message with the true aim of reforming human behaviour and society. I always remember this prince who wanted to meet Baha’u’llah late at night so as to go unnoticed and Baha’u’llah replied with an ode:

    'If thine aim be to cherish thy life, approach not our court; but if sacrifice be thy heart's desire, come and let others come with thee. For such is the way of Faith, if in thy heart thou seekest reunion with Baha; shouldst thou refuse to tread this path, why trouble us? Begone!' (Dawn-Breakers 7:14)

  • pey

    It all comes down to the intent of the person. Teaching could simply mean imparting knowledge- the knowledge about Bahaullah and the Faith. When I tell my friends about my experiences, both good and bad, in the Bahai community- I am teaching the Faith. But yes, if the idea is a teacher instructing a pupil with a sense of mission to save that pupil from ignorance- then ego is involved now and it is proselytizing. For me, if it feels invasive and foreign to the culture- then it should not be done. 90% of the time when I did door to door as a youth, I always felt like it was a negative thing and very much proselytizing. The people that answered their doors for the most part were indifferent and many out right annoyed. But the Bahais that put the activity together would just say "You have to plant many seeds, but only a few will grow to be flowers…etc etc" forgetting that maybe in the process of planting these seeds they are also poisoning the land, so future flowers never can grow there. Many other Bahais in the community also felt negative about the door to door teaching, but few spoke out because well… you know gotta keep that sense of "unity".

  • pey

    It all comes down to the intent of the person. Teaching could simply mean imparting knowledge- the knowledge about Bahaullah and the Faith. When I tell my friends about my experiences, both good and bad, in the Bahai community- I am teaching the Faith. But yes, if the idea is a teacher instructing a pupil with a sense of mission to save that pupil from ignorance- then ego is involved now and it is proselytizing. For me, if it feels invasive and foreign to the culture- then it should not be done. 90% of the time when I did door to door as a youth, I always felt like it was a negative thing and very much proselytizing. The people that answered their doors for the most part were indifferent and many out right annoyed. But the Bahais that put the activity together would just say "You have to plant many seeds, but only a few will grow to be flowers…etc etc" forgetting that maybe in the process of planting these seeds they are also poisoning the land, so future flowers never can grow there. Many other Bahais in the community also felt negative about the door to door teaching, but few spoke out because well… you know gotta keep that sense of "unity".

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

    I appreciated the reference to “the revolution of names”, Farhan. Nice.
    However meanings for words only change when the application changes.
    So if by "teaching" Bahais on the whole take the approach of proclaiming the Faith or applying principles of the Faith in social-economic projects without putting pressure on anyone to join, then Farhan, I would agree with you. That Bahai's are using the word "teaching" as a type of proclamation and advertising by example.

    My experiences of the Bahai Faith in the 1980s in Aotearoa reflect this attitude. Our community hosted English language classes, sponsored refugees, and a variety of activities from debates to more formal type lectures. The Bahai Centre was also used for a range of activities which included Maori flax weaving and Maori language classes, a weekly pot-luck dinner and sometimes music was played and people danced or performed, and a ballet teacher gave free lessons. Most of those who gave the lessons were not Bahais and no one was under pressure to join. Even decades later, I’ve met people who I don’t know who tell me that they were at one of those events and I’ve had the impression this was their sole experience with something Bahai, so I’ve thought, wow, that teaching approach really worked! For me it worked because they remembered that this was a Bahai activity.
    While on the other hand I’ve been in a home and seen a Bahai ad on the television and then asked them what was the ad about and no one knew. So for me ‘working’ means having an affect, having some impact which might lead to change. Surely religion is about making a difference in the world, and not just the name?

    However nowadays I could not imagine this being possible in a Bahai centre because of the focus on things such as Anna's Presentation, Ruhi or other forms such the door to door approach. And actually in the late 1980s I withdrew my involvement with the community when it was decided that we could have no more music activities because these would lead to dancing and it was decided that dancing was no longer allowed in the Bahai Centre (long story here, of course), but in short it boiled down to some cultural values dominating others. Unfortunately this was conducted in such a blunt way, I withdraw my involvement and another Bahai left the Faith in response.

    However if I heard the word "teaching" in the 1980s in a Bahai context my association would have been, by example and by openness and open discussion or debate because that was how I became a Bahai. Nowadays when I hear Bahais discuss "teaching", the association I have is what I would call "proselytizing".

    It is one thing that Bahais might want to "teach" in this pushy manner these days, but what I find a pity is that things such as our 'salon' events are seen by these Bahais as not being even a Bahai activity because they fall outside of this narrow category of 'teaching activities'. Of course I know this is nonsense, but my point is that with the focus on a catechism of what is teaching (Ruhi dictums, etc), the Bahai culture of what is teaching is no longer as rich (and by that I mean the richness of cultural expression embedded in all activities) as it used to be.

    I appreciate Rainn Wilson's Soulpancake as a teaching approach b.t.w. It isn't my cup of tea, but it is an example of how a Bahai is using their creativity beyond the restrictions of the "preach at" approach, which when you think about it, as a residual from the colonialist attitude is downright insulting.

    And incase anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, Steve’s blog on “When is a home visit not a home visit?” bore the following:
    “If a home visit, to take another example, is defined in the courses as an opportunity to enter into a deep conversation on spiritual matters, then it should not be reduced to a mere social call in which the Faith may not even be mentioned.” (Universal House of Justice 18 Aug 2005)
    This blog (” target=”_blank”>http://bahaisonline.net/tcb/?p=374) also has a link to a page on BIC with pages of instructions and elaborations.

    So in the above the U.H.J. is determining what qualifies as a home visit and what is not one and by implication, what counts as part of the Ruhi-rules of teaching and what doesn’t J.
    Continuing that line of thinking, I guess some might think that going into a discussion about equality where it is clear that there are Bahais who are expressing these views would not qualify as teaching. Are social issues spiritual? Is making an argumentation for equality or engagement counted as ‘teaching’. Anyway this line of thinking reminds me of the Bahai teaching not to focus on words that only end in words and we come full circle back to Farhan’s reference to new meanings for words. In the end it is about how words are applied, I think. If we claim new meanings we need to see this in action. If there is a new meaning for teaching now in the Bahai community, then it seems that this is what I would have called bordering on "proselytizing" in the 1980s.

  • http://sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    I appreciated the reference to “the revolution of names”, Farhan. Nice.
    However meanings for words only change when the application changes.
    So if by "teaching" Bahais on the whole take the approach of proclaiming the Faith or applying principles of the Faith in social-economic projects without putting pressure on anyone to join, then Farhan, I would agree with you. That Bahai's are using the word "teaching" as a type of proclamation and advertising by example.

    My experiences of the Bahai Faith in the 1980s in Aotearoa reflect this attitude. Our community hosted English language classes, sponsored refugees, and a variety of activities from debates to more formal type lectures. The Bahai Centre was also used for a range of activities which included Maori flax weaving and Maori language classes, a weekly pot-luck dinner and sometimes music was played and people danced or performed, and a ballet teacher gave free lessons. Most of those who gave the lessons were not Bahais and no one was under pressure to join. Even decades later, I’ve met people who I don’t know who tell me that they were at one of those events and I’ve had the impression this was their sole experience with something Bahai, so I’ve thought, wow, that teaching approach really worked! For me it worked because they remembered that this was a Bahai activity.
    While on the other hand I’ve been in a home and seen a Bahai ad on the television and then asked them what was the ad about and no one knew. So for me ‘working’ means having an affect, having some impact which might lead to change. Surely religion is about making a difference in the world, and not just the name?

    However nowadays I could not imagine this being possible in a Bahai centre because of the focus on things such as Anna's Presentation, Ruhi or other forms such the door to door approach. And actually in the late 1980s I withdrew my involvement with the community when it was decided that we could have no more music activities because these would lead to dancing and it was decided that dancing was no longer allowed in the Bahai Centre (long story here, of course), but in short it boiled down to some cultural values dominating others. Unfortunately this was conducted in such a blunt way, I withdraw my involvement and another Bahai left the Faith in response.

    However if I heard the word "teaching" in the 1980s in a Bahai context my association would have been, by example and by openness and open discussion or debate because that was how I became a Bahai. Nowadays when I hear Bahais discuss "teaching", the association I have is what I would call "proselytizing".

    It is one thing that Bahais might want to "teach" in this pushy manner these days, but what I find a pity is that things such as our 'salon' events are seen by these Bahais as not being even a Bahai activity because they fall outside of this narrow category of 'teaching activities'. Of course I know this is nonsense, but my point is that with the focus on a catechism of what is teaching (Ruhi dictums, etc), the Bahai culture of what is teaching is no longer as rich (and by that I mean the richness of cultural expression embedded in all activities) as it used to be.

    I appreciate Rainn Wilson's Soulpancake as a teaching approach b.t.w. It isn't my cup of tea, but it is an example of how a Bahai is using their creativity beyond the restrictions of the "preach at" approach, which when you think about it, as a residual from the colonialist attitude is downright insulting.

    And incase anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, Steve’s blog on “When is a home visit not a home visit?” bore the following:
    “If a home visit, to take another example, is defined in the courses as an opportunity to enter into a deep conversation on spiritual matters, then it should not be reduced to a mere social call in which the Faith may not even be mentioned.” (Universal House of Justice 18 Aug 2005)
    This blog (

    Grover wrote : "Teaching" is just a sanitized way of saying evangelizing or proselytizing

    Grover, it is not “sanitized” but with an entirely new meaning. Shoghi Effendi called for caution in the use of the word “missionary” for what we call “pioneers”, because the word has acquired a specific meaning in the English language, very different from our pioneers. In the same way, “evangelizing” and “proselytizing” are different from our attitudes in transmitting the message.

    In Genesis, man �gave names to all the animals� and the first chapter of the Bab’s revelation is entitled Quyummu’l-Asma, which means �the revolution of names�. When the verb of God is renewed, all things acquire a new meaning, and hence a new �creation� comes into existence, not in terms of atoms, but in terms of civilization. Hence we don’t have missionaries, but all Baha’is are called upon teach and render that service on voluntary basis.

    Baquia, thank you for putting up this letter which refers to many questions put here in its entirety.

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

    Grover wrote : "Teaching" is just a sanitized way of saying evangelizing or proselytizing

    Grover, it is not “sanitized” but with an entirely new meaning. Shoghi Effendi called for caution in the use of the word “missionary” for what we call “pioneers”, because the word has acquired a specific meaning in the English language, very different from our pioneers. In the same way, “evangelizing” and “proselytizing” are different from our attitudes in transmitting the message.

    In Genesis, man �gave names to all the animals� and the first chapter of the Bab’s revelation is entitled Quyummu’l-Asma, which means �the revolution of names�. When the verb of God is renewed, all things acquire a new meaning, and hence a new �creation� comes into existence, not in terms of atoms, but in terms of civilization. Hence we don’t have missionaries, but all Baha’is are called upon teach and render that service on voluntary basis.

    Baquia, thank you for putting up this letter which refers to many questions put here in its entirety.

  • Pey

    I went to the Unitarian Universalist church for a service on Sun. morning and I loved it. It was interactive, involved children and adults together and had a message about sustainability for the planet. But anyway, related to teaching, someone mentioned the following quote from Saint Francis Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words! "

  • Pey

    I went to the Unitarian Universalist church for a service on Sun. morning and I loved it. It was interactive, involved children and adults together and had a message about sustainability for the planet. But anyway, related to teaching, someone mentioned the following quote from Saint Francis Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words! "

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    It seems pretty obvious to me that knocking on doors and trolling neighborhoods are forms of "undue pressure"—and utterly undignified as well, yet this does not seem to be considered "proselytizing" by the Baha'i international community. Baha'i authorities do not seem to mind at all having their ground troops lumped together with Mormon missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    It seems pretty obvious to me that knocking on doors and trolling neighborhoods are forms of "undue pressure"—and utterly undignified as well, yet this does not seem to be considered "proselytizing" by the Baha'i international community. Baha'i authorities do not seem to mind at all having their ground troops lumped together with Mormon missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    Great quote, Pey. I'd just like to add that this line of thinking is intrinsically Unitarian, inasmuch as it emphasizes a spiritual (heartfelt) message over doctrines and personalities. Unitarians don't want Jesus or even verbal idols getting in the way of what Jesus was trying to teach. This is really fundamentally averse to the whole notion of creeds and confessions of faith—or in the Baha'i case, signatures.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    Great quote, Pey. I'd just like to add that this line of thinking is intrinsically Unitarian, inasmuch as it emphasizes a spiritual (heartfelt) message over doctrines and personalities. Unitarians don't want Jesus or even verbal idols getting in the way of what Jesus was trying to teach. This is really fundamentally averse to the whole notion of creeds and confessions of faith—or in the Baha'i case, signatures.

  • Diba

    Door-to-door teaching is something that I have been worried about a lot. To me it seems to be clearly in conflict with what the Guardian has told us not to do. In a letter to the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly he prohibited the practice of going from door to door and said that it is "undignified." To that he added that it might create a bad impression. He "does not think the best interests of the Cause are served by such a method." In this way he tried to protect the faith from something that could possibly give people a bad impression in some cases.

    In the Bahai Faith Shoghi Effendi had the right to make authoritative interpretations. This is something that the Universal House of Justice cannot do. Furthermore the Guardian is infallible in certain areas. Letters that were written by his secretary on his behalf define the scope of his infallibility:

    "The Guardian's infallibility covers interpretation of the revealed word, and its application. Likewise any instructions he may issue having to do with the protection of the Faith, or its well-being must be closely obeyed, as he is infallible in the protection of the Faith. He is assured the guidance of both Baha'u'llah and the Bab, as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha clearly reveals."

    The way I see it is, because Shoghi Effendi tried to protect the Faith by instructing people not to go from door to door in his official function as the Guardian of the Bahai Faith, his judgement about this issue is within the scope of his infallibility.

    In a letter dated to 18 October 2007, the House writes the following to a Local Spiritual Assembly in the United States:

    "The statement written on behalf of the Guardian to which you refer appears in a letter dated 20 October 1956 to a National Spiritual Assembly. The letter states that “to distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door … is undignified and might create a bad impression of the Faith”, adding that the Guardian “does not think the best interests of the Cause are served by such a method.” Of paramount consideration, therefore, is whether a particular method of teaching allows for a dignified presentation of the Faith. Cultures differ, and what may be considered dignified in one locality may not be so in another. It should be noted in this respect that, in the context of the Five Year Plan, the friends carry out a wide variety of activities at the level of the neighborhood and village, such as children’s classes and study circles, and in many cases it would be quite appropriate to visit the homes of people to explain the nature of these activities and invite them to take part. In still others, paying a visit to the home of someone to see whether they are interested in learning about the Faith would not be regarded as undignified in the least.
    In general, the institutions of the Faith should be flexible in such matters and avoid restricting unnecessarily the efforts of the believers to teach the Faith. When questions arise as to the propriety of a particular method for use in a country, it is best to refer them to the National Spiritual Assembly."

    What the House does is that it cites Shoghi Effendi. Then it relativizes his instructions by saying that the question whether going from door to door is dignified depends on the culture. This way they have actually changed the essence of what the Guardian meant. "To distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door … is undignified" was changed to "to distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door may be undignified depending on the culture." What the Universal House of Justice missed, in my opinion, is that it is irrelevant whether some cultures consider it dignified. The question is not whether it "allows for a dignified presentation of the Faith" in a certain culturual context. It is rather about what the Baha'i writings would consider dignified. As authoritative interpreter of the Baha'i writings he came to the conclusion that it is not. This must be "closedly obeyed" by every Baha'i, including the Universal House of Justice.

    Of course this is only my personal understanding of that issue and I would be very happy if anyone can disprove what I have just argued and help me to understand why the Universal House of Justice is right. For me as a Baha'i it is not very pleasant believe that something the Universal House of Justice has said is completely wrong. After all, "the shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions."

  • Diba

    Door-to-door teaching is something that I have been worried about a lot. To me it seems to be clearly in conflict with what the Guardian has told us not to do. In a letter to the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly he prohibited the practice of going from door to door and said that it is "undignified." To that he added that it might create a bad impression. He "does not think the best interests of the Cause are served by such a method." In this way he tried to protect the faith from something that could possibly give people a bad impression in some cases.

    In the Bahai Faith Shoghi Effendi had the right to make authoritative interpretations. This is something that the Universal House of Justice cannot do. Furthermore the Guardian is infallible in certain areas. Letters that were written by his secretary on his behalf define the scope of his infallibility:

    "The Guardian's infallibility covers interpretation of the revealed word, and its application. Likewise any instructions he may issue having to do with the protection of the Faith, or its well-being must be closely obeyed, as he is infallible in the protection of the Faith. He is assured the guidance of both Baha'u'llah and the Bab, as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha clearly reveals."

    The way I see it is, because Shoghi Effendi tried to protect the Faith by instructing people not to go from door to door in his official function as the Guardian of the Bahai Faith, his judgement about this issue is within the scope of his infallibility.

    In a letter dated to 18 October 2007, the House writes the following to a Local Spiritual Assembly in the United States:

    "The statement written on behalf of the Guardian to which you refer appears in a letter dated 20 October 1956 to a National Spiritual Assembly. The letter states that “to distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door … is undignified and might create a bad impression of the Faith”, adding that the Guardian “does not think the best interests of the Cause are served by such a method.” Of paramount consideration, therefore, is whether a particular method of teaching allows for a dignified presentation of the Faith. Cultures differ, and what may be considered dignified in one locality may not be so in another. It should be noted in this respect that, in the context of the Five Year Plan, the friends carry out a wide variety of activities at the level of the neighborhood and village, such as children’s classes and study circles, and in many cases it would be quite appropriate to visit the homes of people to explain the nature of these activities and invite them to take part. In still others, paying a visit to the home of someone to see whether they are interested in learning about the Faith would not be regarded as undignified in the least.
    In general, the institutions of the Faith should be flexible in such matters and avoid restricting unnecessarily the efforts of the believers to teach the Faith. When questions arise as to the propriety of a particular method for use in a country, it is best to refer them to the National Spiritual Assembly."

    What the House does is that it cites Shoghi Effendi. Then it relativizes his instructions by saying that the question whether going from door to door is dignified depends on the culture. This way they have actually changed the essence of what the Guardian meant. "To distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door … is undignified" was changed to "to distribute Bahá’í pamphlets from door to door may be undignified depending on the culture." What the Universal House of Justice missed, in my opinion, is that it is irrelevant whether some cultures consider it dignified. The question is not whether it "allows for a dignified presentation of the Faith" in a certain culturual context. It is rather about what the Baha'i writings would consider dignified. As authoritative interpreter of the Baha'i writings he came to the conclusion that it is not. This must be "closedly obeyed" by every Baha'i, including the Universal House of Justice.

    Of course this is only my personal understanding of that issue and I would be very happy if anyone can disprove what I have just argued and help me to understand why the Universal House of Justice is right. For me as a Baha'i it is not very pleasant believe that something the Universal House of Justice has said is completely wrong. After all, "the shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions."

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

    Diba, thanks for pointing out this letter from the Guardian. Here it is in full.

  • Craig Parke

    Diba,

    Thanks for your post. It made me somewhat nostalgic. The reasoned and logical points you brought up would be relevant under the OLDTHINK Baha'i Faith. But that version of the Faith is long gone. In the NEWTHINK version of the Baha'i Faith anything Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, or Shoghi Effendi said is completely irrelevant. You got that fact? Completely irrelevant.

    Without a living Guardian to counter them as a check and balance, the UHJ is the Head of the Faith and what they say goes. Period. No questions. No comments. They are the Voice of God on Earth. They are all now lifetime incumbent members who will all serve forever and a day that came from the closed appointment list of the International Teaching Center. So, in essence, the ITC runs the UHJ so the ITC essentially runs the Faith.

    Whatever these people think and believe as their personal ideology trumps all including what you think. What they think in their personal ideology is infallible. What you think isn't. It is as simple as that. Game over. No member of the rank and file has any right to speak whatsoever now.

    This is the NEWTHINK. version of the Baha'i Faith. So bringing up any of these points is irrelevant and will only get you called in for interrogation of your criminal thoughts by an ABM or AABM. Bringing up anything Shoghi Effendi every wrote is a very dangerous game these days and will get you into allot of trouble in the AO.

    It is a good thing you are not posting under your real name. If someone at a high level saw your post here you may be declared to never having really been a Baha'i AT ALL. EVER. Bringing up messy quotes may get you on your way to being thrown out of the Faith.

    Quoting Shoghi Effendi is, in essence, a thought crime in the NEWTHINK Baha'i Faith.

    So be very, very careful with your postings or you may be labeled a "Covenant Breaker" by bringing up Shoghi Effendi in any way against "current guidance". Again, just keep taking Ruhi over and over (that is the new "authorized" scripture of the Faith) and keep quiet. Try to get your reward in the next life. That is what "the Guidance" essentially says in Ruhi Book One. Just turn your soul over to nine men in Haifa to do your thinking for you and STFU. That is in keeping with the NEWTHINK.

    You must get with the program or you will be labeled "useless" by others in the Ruhiized Groupthink Faith. None of anything you have written in your post is permitted in the Baha'i Faith of today. You must learn to keep your opinions to yourself.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    Diba,

    Thanks for your post. It made me somewhat nostalgic. The reasoned and logical points you brought up would be relevant under the OLDTHINK Baha'i Faith. But that version of the Faith is long gone. In the NEWTHINK version of the Baha'i Faith anything Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, or Shoghi Effendi said is completely irrelevant. You got that fact? Completely irrelevant.

    Without a living Guardian to counter them as a check and balance, the UHJ is the Head of the Faith and what they say goes. Period. No questions. No comments. They are the Voice of God on Earth. They are all now lifetime incumbent members who will all serve forever and a day that came from the closed appointment list of the International Teaching Center. So, in essence, the ITC runs the UHJ so the ITC essentially runs the Faith.

    Whatever these people think and believe as their personal ideology trumps all including what you think. What they think in their personal ideology is infallible. What you think isn't. It is as simple as that. Game over. No member of the rank and file has any right to speak whatsoever now.

    This is the NEWTHINK. version of the Baha'i Faith. So bringing up any of these points is irrelevant and will only get you called in for interrogation of your criminal thoughts by an ABM or AABM. Bringing up anything Shoghi Effendi every wrote is a very dangerous game these days and will get you into allot of trouble in the AO.

    It is a good thing you are not posting under your real name. If someone at a high level saw your post here you may be declared to never having really been a Baha'i AT ALL. EVER. Bringing up messy quotes may get you on your way to being thrown out of the Faith.

    Quoting Shoghi Effendi is, in essence, a thought crime in the NEWTHINK Baha'i Faith.

    So be very, very careful with your postings or you may be labeled a "Covenant Breaker" by bringing up Shoghi Effendi in any way against "current guidance". Again, just keep taking Ruhi over and over (that is the new "authorized" scripture of the Faith) and keep quiet. Try to get your reward in the next life. That is what "the Guidance" essentially says in Ruhi Book One. Just turn your soul over to nine men in Haifa to do your thinking for you and STFU. That is in keeping with the NEWTHINK.

    You must get with the program or you will be labeled "useless" by others in the Ruhiized Groupthink Faith. None of anything you have written in your post is permitted in the Baha'i Faith of today. You must learn to keep your opinions to yourself.

    So it goes.

  • Grover

    Nice one Diba! There must be hundreds of annoying little statements from Shoghi Effendi or 'Abdu'l-Baha that conflict with what the UHJ wants to do. In all honesty, the UHJ is probably right. You can get away with doing door knocking or whatever in for example Pacific Island countries because they're not as stressed. But in say America, Auz or New Zealand, at least with Europeans, it would be regarded as an invasion of privacy and an annoyance in most cases.

  • Grover

    Nice one Diba! There must be hundreds of annoying little statements from Shoghi Effendi or 'Abdu'l-Baha that conflict with what the UHJ wants to do. In all honesty, the UHJ is probably right. You can get away with doing door knocking or whatever in for example Pacific Island countries because they're not as stressed. But in say America, Auz or New Zealand, at least with Europeans, it would be regarded as an invasion of privacy and an annoyance in most cases.

  • pey

    "Cultures differ, and what may be considered dignified in one locality may not be so in another. "
    Ok this is really interesting. Why is it the UHJ is willing to consider cultural differences and be "flexible" with a straighforward letter written on behalf of the Guardian in this instance, but they are hardline in other instances? I thought they couldn't change anything set in stone in these letters.

  • pey

    "Cultures differ, and what may be considered dignified in one locality may not be so in another. "
    Ok this is really interesting. Why is it the UHJ is willing to consider cultural differences and be "flexible" with a straighforward letter written on behalf of the Guardian in this instance, but they are hardline in other instances? I thought they couldn't change anything set in stone in these letters.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    Oh that's called legislation, Pey. ;-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kaweah Dan Jensen

    Oh that's called legislation, Pey. ;-)

  • Grover

    Well, thats exactly what I was thinking too. All these preconceptions about the central figures and the UHJ being infallible really makes things difficult down the line, because the "strict" Baha'i or the UHJ can't just say well SE's secretary was talking out of his bung hole or it doesn't really apply so they'll ignore that quote for the following reasons… They have to take everything and somehow massage it in to fit and it all ends up being messy.

  • Grover

    Well, thats exactly what I was thinking too. All these preconceptions about the central figures and the UHJ being infallible really makes things difficult down the line, because the "strict" Baha'i or the UHJ can't just say well SE's secretary was talking out of his bung hole or it doesn't really apply so they'll ignore that quote for the following reasons… They have to take everything and somehow massage it in to fit and it all ends up being messy.

  • marge

    Baquia – your new blog format makes it difficult to track the comments. Please make it more user friendly.

  • marge

    Baquia – your new blog format makes it difficult to track the comments. Please make it more user friendly.

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

    Try this: to see the most recent comments, go to the top of the comments section and click on "Latest Activities".

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

    Try this: to see the most recent comments, go to the top of the comments section and click on "Latest Activities".

  • Bird

    "If every one of the friends should strive in this way to guide one soul aright, the number of believers will double every year; and this can be accomplished with prudence and wisdom, and no harm whatever would result therefrom. "

    This quota from AbdulBaha asked for each one to teach one, door to door seemed very way off target and way out of the ball park of the "once upon a time "this works" was in place". LOL In la la land now and always, so happy to be free and out of the cage, had my one year anniversary last month as a religion-less human… The good news is I am beginning to believe in God again, some how….Bird

  • Bird

    "If every one of the friends should strive in this way to guide one soul aright, the number of believers will double every year; and this can be accomplished with prudence and wisdom, and no harm whatever would result therefrom. "

    This quota from AbdulBaha asked for each one to teach one, door to door seemed very way off target and way out of the ball park of the "once upon a time "this works" was in place". LOL In la la land now and always, so happy to be free and out of the cage, had my one year anniversary last month as a religion-less human… The good news is I am beginning to believe in God again, some how….Bird

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

    You guys are way better with Scripture and writings from the Master and Guardian. I am humbled by the fact that I'm rather overwhelmed.

    Perhaps I'm a bit dumb or naive about this, but don't we have some kind of golden rule of teaching? You know, something easy to remember that's hard to dispute… something that retards like me can remember?

    examples:
    -Don't give anybody reason to be annoyed with you when you mention anything Baha'i.
    -Don't give anybody a reason to backbite the Baha'i Faith.

    It seems simple enough. It doesn't matter whether it's door-to-door, setting up institution, or one-on-one. If the potential seeker comes away annoyed because of your unwelcome appearance, self-righteous tone of certainty, rude or presumptuous behavior, or insistence that you've got an answer that they need, then you've given somebody reason to backbite the religion.

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

    You guys are way better with Scripture and writings from the Master and Guardian. I am humbled by the fact that I'm rather overwhelmed.

    Perhaps I'm a bit dumb or naive about this, but don't we have some kind of golden rule of teaching? You know, something easy to remember that's hard to dispute… something that retards like me can remember?

    examples:
    -Don't give anybody reason to be annoyed with you when you mention anything Baha'i.
    -Don't give anybody a reason to backbite the Baha'i Faith.

    It seems simple enough. It doesn't matter whether it's door-to-door, setting up institution, or one-on-one. If the potential seeker comes away annoyed because of your unwelcome appearance, self-righteous tone of certainty, rude or presumptuous behavior, or insistence that you've got an answer that they need, then you've given somebody reason to backbite the religion.

  • pey

    I wish it was straightforward legislation, but it has never been. What they basically say is "our hand are tied in this issue because it has already been written down, so we can't change it". Ok? So why did they bend around this clear statement on behalf of SE that you DO NOT go door to door giving out pamphlets. Teaching the word of God is something explicitly stated in the Holy Text and if this letter is official interpretation of that Text, then they are going against it by allowing Bahais to go door to door.

  • pey

    I wish it was straightforward legislation, but it has never been. What they basically say is "our hand are tied in this issue because it has already been written down, so we can't change it". Ok? So why did they bend around this clear statement on behalf of SE that you DO NOT go door to door giving out pamphlets. Teaching the word of God is something explicitly stated in the Holy Text and if this letter is official interpretation of that Text, then they are going against it by allowing Bahais to go door to door.

  • Craig Parke

    In some localities and neighborhoods in the United States it is against public ordinance. But that is no longer a factor because the UHJ has spoken. Tell the Ruhibots to go door-to-door like the new Jehovah's Witnesses of Shia Islam and they will do it with no reflection or thoughts of any kind.

    I used to love to talk with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses when they came to my door. Now I find it an invasion of privacy and very annoying. I guess times have changed. I guess I am just getting old.

    I am not interested in arguing religion in today's post 9/11 and Iraq and Afghan War world of mindless adolescent religious fanatics and mentally ill obsessed people attacking other people's souls in the name of their God.

    It is much better to just go out and try to do something spiritual and useful in the world like helping at a food bank. And not to go there to try to make converts either! That whole mentality destroyed my soul in all my years in the Faith. Doing things and joining things to try to make friends to make converts. I absolutely abhor that now and deeply regret that I was ever a part of that in utter shame.

    I will never again turn my soul over to an organization as my "God". Never. The people running all this are hacks and they can STFU. SE too. The man completely blew it and there is no way back. The Faith is permanently trapped in 1957. But Ike and Mamie (who I actually respected both very much) are long dead. Hitler is dead. Stalin is dead. JFK is dead. LBJ is dead. And SE is dead.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    In some localities and neighborhoods in the United States it is against public ordinance. But that is no longer a factor because the UHJ has spoken. Tell the Ruhibots to go door-to-door like the new Jehovah's Witnesses of Shia Islam and they will do it with no reflection or thoughts of any kind.

    I used to love to talk with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses when they came to my door. Now I find it an invasion of privacy and very annoying. I guess times have changed. I guess I am just getting old.

    I am not interested in arguing religion in today's post 9/11 and Iraq and Afghan War world of mindless adolescent religious fanatics and mentally ill obsessed people attacking other people's souls in the name of their God.

    It is much better to just go out and try to do something spiritual and useful in the world like helping at a food bank. And not to go there to try to make converts either! That whole mentality destroyed my soul in all my years in the Faith. Doing things and joining things to try to make friends to make converts. I absolutely abhor that now and deeply regret that I was ever a part of that in utter shame.

    I will never again turn my soul over to an organization as my "God". Never. The people running all this are hacks and they can STFU. SE too. The man completely blew it and there is no way back. The Faith is permanently trapped in 1957. But Ike and Mamie (who I actually respected both very much) are long dead. Hitler is dead. Stalin is dead. JFK is dead. LBJ is dead. And SE is dead.

    So it goes.

  • Grover

    Yeah man, it used to be fun sparring against the born again christians when they came around. But you settle down, it doesn't really matter any more, people can believe what they like, and you'd much rather enjoy a cup of tea.

    People I was involved with when I was active as a Baha'i preferred to do stuff where they could contribute to society, social service activities, rather than indoctrination type stuff. I think a lot of people are like that.

    I think society would be quite boring if everyone was Baha'i. I really enjoy meeting new people and understanding their beliefs and perspectives.

  • Grover

    Yeah man, it used to be fun sparring against the born again christians when they came around. But you settle down, it doesn't really matter any more, people can believe what they like, and you'd much rather enjoy a cup of tea.

    People I was involved with when I was active as a Baha'i preferred to do stuff where they could contribute to society, social service activities, rather than indoctrination type stuff. I think a lot of people are like that.

    I think society would be quite boring if everyone was Baha'i. I really enjoy meeting new people and understanding their beliefs and perspectives.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: Teaching could simply mean imparting knowledge- the knowledge about Bahaullah and the Faith.

    I agree with most of what you say; I would add that teaching more specially involves communicating love and emotion, and nothing can replace personal contact. In the 1970s we did door to door invitations for proclamation campaigns, now we do door to door invitations for core activities in the same neighbourhood. We now have something to offer: devotionals, study circles, children’s and junior youth classes, deepenings, fire-sides and reflection meetings for our friends and neighbours. To me it is unwise to bring in too many seekers if we do not have core activities ready to welcome them: intensive growth programmes involving door to door invitations are efficient if we have an advanced cluster close to people.

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

    Pey wrote: Teaching could simply mean imparting knowledge- the knowledge about Bahaullah and the Faith.

    I agree with most of what you say; I would add that teaching more specially involves communicating love and emotion, and nothing can replace personal contact. In the 1970s we did door to door invitations for proclamation campaigns, now we do door to door invitations for core activities in the same neighbourhood. We now have something to offer: devotionals, study circles, children’s and junior youth classes, deepenings, fire-sides and reflection meetings for our friends and neighbours. To me it is unwise to bring in too many seekers if we do not have core activities ready to welcome them: intensive growth programmes involving door to door invitations are efficient if we have an advanced cluster close to people.

  • farhan

    Sonja wrote : In the end it is about how words are applied,

    Exactly, Sonja: the Verb is to be transformed into deeds and this brings about a progressive change of culture and civilisation and its own jargon. At the same time, we should be tolerant of each other’s mistakes in this learning procedure. We all make mistakes, and we should not interrupt the personal and collective learning process because of unbearable mistakes others might make; our mistakes are unbearable to others too…

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

    Sonja wrote : In the end it is about how words are applied,

    Exactly, Sonja: the Verb is to be transformed into deeds and this brings about a progressive change of culture and civilisation and its own jargon. At the same time, we should be tolerant of each other’s mistakes in this learning procedure. We all make mistakes, and we should not interrupt the personal and collective learning process because of unbearable mistakes others might make; our mistakes are unbearable to others too…

  • farhan

    Diba, I agree that how it is done and in what spirit it is done depends on the deep intent and the spirit of the person acting and has to be determined by the NSA of each country, in given circumstances. Having done door to door inviting in the 1970s and just recently, if 50% say politely no thank-you, some 40 percent show curiosity and perhaps 10% just don’t want you to leave, so happy they are about having established personal contacts with people of their vicinity. To me Anna's presentation is a perfect check-list making sure that someone who wishes to enrol has had a gist of all the important aspects of the Faith.

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

    Diba, I agree that how it is done and in what spirit it is done depends on the deep intent and the spirit of the person acting and has to be determined by the NSA of each country, in given circumstances. Having done door to door inviting in the 1970s and just recently, if 50% say politely no thank-you, some 40 percent show curiosity and perhaps 10% just don’t want you to leave, so happy they are about having established personal contacts with people of their vicinity. To me Anna's presentation is a perfect check-list making sure that someone who wishes to enrol has had a gist of all the important aspects of the Faith.

  • farhan

    Grover, what the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi did and said sometimes concerned centuries to come, and sometimes only involved the needs of the day and age they lived in. It is up to the UHJ and the NSAs of each country to decide what is best adapted to our day and age. When the Bab performed the Hajj, when Baha’u’llah married 3 wives, lived in a cave in Sulaymanieh and performed the Muslim Ramadan, when Abdu’l-Baha wore Eastern clothes and went to the Mosque and gave alms to beggars, they were wisely complying with the needs of their own day and age, and guided by the UHJ and our NSAs, we should wisely comply with the needs of our day and age.

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

    Grover, what the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi did and said sometimes concerned centuries to come, and sometimes only involved the needs of the day and age they lived in. It is up to the UHJ and the NSAs of each country to decide what is best adapted to our day and age. When the Bab performed the Hajj, when Baha’u’llah married 3 wives, lived in a cave in Sulaymanieh and performed the Muslim Ramadan, when Abdu’l-Baha wore Eastern clothes and went to the Mosque and gave alms to beggars, they were wisely complying with the needs of their own day and age, and guided by the UHJ and our NSAs, we should wisely comply with the needs of our day and age.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote : Just turn your soul over to nine men in Haifa to do your thinking for you and STFU. That is in keeping with the NEWTHINK.

    Dearest Craig, you sound like a typical victim of the « Future Shock » as described by Alvin Toffler; Adaptation is the major trait of our fast moving world and the UHJ is the arbitrating body that can allow this adaptation. Plasticity, elasticity, flexibility are the key words. There is no “new think” but an ever changing think. And so it goes for ever and ever.

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

    Craig wrote : Just turn your soul over to nine men in Haifa to do your thinking for you and STFU. That is in keeping with the NEWTHINK.

    Dearest Craig, you sound like a typical victim of the « Future Shock » as described by Alvin Toffler; Adaptation is the major trait of our fast moving world and the UHJ is the arbitrating body that can allow this adaptation. Plasticity, elasticity, flexibility are the key words. There is no “new think” but an ever changing think. And so it goes for ever and ever.

  • Grover

    Well, I can see the UHJ and NSAs are doing a marvelous job. We know what people need and its not door knockers, so why are the UHJ and co insisting that door knocking is super gee whiz and wonderful when everyone else (with a brain and not a brainless ruhi fanatic) knows that it will make Baha'is the pariahs of society like the mormons, JWs, and other born again christian movements. I think its because the UHJ is desperate to bring about more enrollments because they have been preaching entry by troops ever since they first started and it just has not happened.

  • Grover

    Well, I can see the UHJ and NSAs are doing a marvelous job. We know what people need and its not door knockers, so why are the UHJ and co insisting that door knocking is super gee whiz and wonderful when everyone else (with a brain and not a brainless ruhi fanatic) knows that it will make Baha'is the pariahs of society like the mormons, JWs, and other born again christian movements. I think its because the UHJ is desperate to bring about more enrollments because they have been preaching entry by troops ever since they first started and it just has not happened.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: Why is it the UHJ is willing to consider cultural differences and be "flexible" with a straighforward letter written on behalf of the Guardian in this instance, but they are hardline in other instances? I thought they couldn't change anything set in stone in these letters.

    Pey, this is the whole purpose of an arbitrating arbitrator. Half of humanity wants something, the other half wants something else, and the UHJ has to arbitrate: we all accept Solomon’s verdict.

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

    Pey wrote: Why is it the UHJ is willing to consider cultural differences and be "flexible" with a straighforward letter written on behalf of the Guardian in this instance, but they are hardline in other instances? I thought they couldn't change anything set in stone in these letters.

    Pey, this is the whole purpose of an arbitrating arbitrator. Half of humanity wants something, the other half wants something else, and the UHJ has to arbitrate: we all accept Solomon’s verdict.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote : …the UHJ is desperate to bring about more enrollments because they have been preaching entry by troops ever since they first started and it just has not happened.

    Grover, “entry by troops” refers to mass catering which has been gaining momentum for the past 10 years. We were unable to cope with mass entries in the 1970s, so we had to develop new mass teaching methods, as opposed to the existing individual teaching methods that should be continued. It is the difference between private tutors and schools, taxis and trains, kitchen gardens and industrial agriculture, line fishing and industrial fishing… All those facilities must coexist. These new activities reinforce what we had before.

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

    Grover wrote : …the UHJ is desperate to bring about more enrollments because they have been preaching entry by troops ever since they first started and it just has not happened.

    Grover, “entry by troops” refers to mass catering which has been gaining momentum for the past 10 years. We were unable to cope with mass entries in the 1970s, so we had to develop new mass teaching methods, as opposed to the existing individual teaching methods that should be continued. It is the difference between private tutors and schools, taxis and trains, kitchen gardens and industrial agriculture, line fishing and industrial fishing… All those facilities must coexist. These new activities reinforce what we had before.

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

    Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter? Do you think the UHJ is Infallible and that's why it can't be wrong even if there is evidence that Shoghi Effendi said that people should not go from door to door?
    Do you think that I misunderstood Shoghi Effendi's letter, and how this relates to his infallibility and authority he has within the Baha'i faith?
    I am just curious.
    I am ready to change my opinion if anyone can use Baha'i writings to prove that I am wrong.
    What I have seen quite often is that as soon as there are good and rational arguments about something like this (that the Guardian prohibited door-to-door teaching), Baha'is who believe in the absolute infallibility of the House just ignore them. But I think that I can expect the followers of a religion that is "scientific in its method" according to Shoghi Effendi (Letter to the High Commissioner for Palestine, June 1933) to give me good arguments for every claim they make. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah says that when differences arise we should refer to the Holy writings (53). I try to back everything I say up with authoritative texts. I expect others to do the same.
    Now back to the issue of Infallibility. In the article Infallible Institutions the scholar Udo Schaefer argued for a restrictive interpretation of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice that is limited to its legislation. So far no one has been able to refute it. Some have said this argument is untenable. No one has managed to say what exactly is wrong about it. Unfortunately most Baha'i scholars have never heard of hermeneutics—the study of interpretation theory. People will usually refer to a passage in the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha that whatever they say is of God. The problem is that you can't just take one sentence that has been repeated several times in different authoritative writings and say that this is everything there is about an issue. Dr. Schaefer considered all the passages that could give someone the impression that the UHJ is completely infallible. He analyzed all the Bahai writings as a whole and their relationship to come up with the argument that the Universal House of Justice is only infallible in its legislation.
    I would like to stress that the issue of the infallibility of the UHJ has "no relevance for the legal authority of that supreme body, which derives simply from the fact that it has been ordained by Bahá'u'lláh" (Schaefer). An example of this is if the UHJ tells me to stop commenting on the door-to-door teaching issue. Of course I will obey. I might disagree, but the UHJ has the authority to do that.

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

    Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter? Do you think the UHJ is Infallible and that's why it can't be wrong even if there is evidence that Shoghi Effendi said that people should not go from door to door?
    Do you think that I misunderstood Shoghi Effendi's letter, and how this relates to his infallibility and authority he has within the Baha'i faith?
    I am just curious.
    I am ready to change my opinion if anyone can use Baha'i writings to prove that I am wrong.
    What I have seen quite often is that as soon as there are good and rational arguments about something like this (that the Guardian prohibited door-to-door teaching), Baha'is who believe in the absolute infallibility of the House just ignore them. But I think that I can expect the followers of a religion that is "scientific in its method" according to Shoghi Effendi (Letter to the High Commissioner for Palestine, June 1933) to give me good arguments for every claim they make. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah says that when differences arise we should refer to the Holy writings (53). I try to back everything I say up with authoritative texts. I expect others to do the same.
    Now back to the issue of Infallibility. In the article Infallible Institutions the scholar Udo Schaefer argued for a restrictive interpretation of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice that is limited to its legislation. So far no one has been able to refute it. Some have said this argument is untenable. No one has managed to say what exactly is wrong about it. Unfortunately most Baha'i scholars have never heard of hermeneutics—the study of interpretation theory. People will usually refer to a passage in the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha that whatever they say is of God. The problem is that you can't just take one sentence that has been repeated several times in different authoritative writings and say that this is everything there is about an issue. Dr. Schaefer considered all the passages that could give someone the impression that the UHJ is completely infallible. He analyzed all the Bahai writings as a whole and their relationship to come up with the argument that the Universal House of Justice is only infallible in its legislation.
    I would like to stress that the issue of the infallibility of the UHJ has "no relevance for the legal authority of that supreme body, which derives simply from the fact that it has been ordained by Bahá'u'lláh" (Schaefer). An example of this is if the UHJ tells me to stop commenting on the door-to-door teaching issue. Of course I will obey. I might disagree, but the UHJ has the authority to do that.

  • farhan

    Dan wrote: It seems pretty obvious to me that knocking on doors and trolling neighborhoods are forms of "undue pressure"—and utterly undignified as well, yet this does not seem to be considered "proselytizing" by the Baha'i international community.

    Dan, this might well be the case for some people in your neighbourhood, but perhaps not for all people in your neighbourhood and certainly not for all neighbourhoods on this planet where millions are desperately thirsting for someone to show some interest in their dismal lives.

    No one is talking about "distributing pamphlets" which is obviously out of the question; it is about visiting people telling them that we are as concerned as they are about what is going on in the world, informing them that new activities are being organised in their neighbourhood and that they are welcome to join in for organising or benefiting from them.

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

    Dan wrote: It seems pretty obvious to me that knocking on doors and trolling neighborhoods are forms of "undue pressure"—and utterly undignified as well, yet this does not seem to be considered "proselytizing" by the Baha'i international community.

    Dan, this might well be the case for some people in your neighbourhood, but perhaps not for all people in your neighbourhood and certainly not for all neighbourhoods on this planet where millions are desperately thirsting for someone to show some interest in their dismal lives.

    No one is talking about "distributing pamphlets" which is obviously out of the question; it is about visiting people telling them that we are as concerned as they are about what is going on in the world, informing them that new activities are being organised in their neighbourhood and that they are welcome to join in for organising or benefiting from them.

  • pey

    You are still knocking on doors and gving out information. Which to me is ok if someone wants to do that,. but definitely not my cup of tea- nor was it for Shoghi Effendi. Oops I mean his secretary that wrote on his behalf.

  • pey

    You are still knocking on doors and gving out information. Which to me is ok if someone wants to do that,. but definitely not my cup of tea- nor was it for Shoghi Effendi. Oops I mean his secretary that wrote on his behalf.

  • farhan

    Diba asked : Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter?

    Diba, the issue is not the word “infallible”. The world is going to pieces and we have an urgent message to give. In some cases it is legitimate to knock at doors and invite people, in other cases, specially if we have no activities to offer, it is not. Some Baha’is are at ease with this, I only feel inclined in specific conditions. Shoghi Effendi spoke against giving out pamphlets. The UHJ allows us to visit people if we feel at ease. I will not question their arbitration. If we feel that fellow Baha’is are doing inappropriate things, we refer to our LSA, NSA and then step aside and let God get on with His own homework.

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

    Diba asked : Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter?

    Diba, the issue is not the word “infallible”. The world is going to pieces and we have an urgent message to give. In some cases it is legitimate to knock at doors and invite people, in other cases, specially if we have no activities to offer, it is not. Some Baha’is are at ease with this, I only feel inclined in specific conditions. Shoghi Effendi spoke against giving out pamphlets. The UHJ allows us to visit people if we feel at ease. I will not question their arbitration. If we feel that fellow Baha’is are doing inappropriate things, we refer to our LSA, NSA and then step aside and let God get on with His own homework.

  • pey

    but i do inform them. by giving them the whole picture. But by informing you mean standing at a street corner nad yelling "BAHAULLAH" well you go right ahead. Because you know…you may not be informing everyone.

  • pey

    but i do inform them. by giving them the whole picture. But by informing you mean standing at a street corner nad yelling "BAHAULLAH" well you go right ahead. Because you know…you may not be informing everyone.

  • farhan

    Pey have no doubt about that; if our intentions are pure, the opportunities arrive. Some invite through letters, E mails or phone calls; others prefer a personal contact and knock at a neighbour’s door. There is this story about a pioneer who went somewhere to teach and after his stay was over, sat by a stream to weep, because he had been unable to give the message; came along this pure soul who stopped to comfort him and ended up becoming the first believer of this locality… and this other guy to whom abdu'l-Baha advised wisdom in teaching. He came back and said that he had been so wise that even his wife had not noticed that he was a Baha'i, and teh Master replied that he had been so wise that even Baha'u'llah ahd not noticed…

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

    Pey have no doubt about that; if our intentions are pure, the opportunities arrive. Some invite through letters, E mails or phone calls; others prefer a personal contact and knock at a neighbour’s door. There is this story about a pioneer who went somewhere to teach and after his stay was over, sat by a stream to weep, because he had been unable to give the message; came along this pure soul who stopped to comfort him and ended up becoming the first believer of this locality… and this other guy to whom abdu'l-Baha advised wisdom in teaching. He came back and said that he had been so wise that even his wife had not noticed that he was a Baha'i, and teh Master replied that he had been so wise that even Baha'u'llah ahd not noticed…

  • pey

    I'm sure there are very good Bahais with pure intentions who are also annoying a lot of people. Balance and truth Farhan is what most people want when they are approached on any topic. I try to give that when I speak about teh Bahai Faith. And funny tihng, I actually get more interest now than when I was knocking on doors or handing out pamphlets at festivals, etc. But to each his own. It's just funny to me that something that was explicity forbidden in one of the letters written on behalf of the Guardian is conveniently re-interpreted. Oh well…

  • pey

    I'm sure there are very good Bahais with pure intentions who are also annoying a lot of people. Balance and truth Farhan is what most people want when they are approached on any topic. I try to give that when I speak about teh Bahai Faith. And funny tihng, I actually get more interest now than when I was knocking on doors or handing out pamphlets at festivals, etc. But to each his own. It's just funny to me that something that was explicity forbidden in one of the letters written on behalf of the Guardian is conveniently re-interpreted. Oh well…

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : not my cup of tea- nor was it for Shoghi Effendi. Oops I mean his secretary that wrote on his behalf.

    Pey, I feel an emergency, and I don’t waste my time arbitrating the arbitrator’s arbitration. Your friends and neighbours might well criticise you soon for not informing them. I drink my tea, and allow others drink theirs.

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

    Pey wrote : not my cup of tea- nor was it for Shoghi Effendi. Oops I mean his secretary that wrote on his behalf.

    Pey, I feel an emergency, and I don’t waste my time arbitrating the arbitrator’s arbitration. Your friends and neighbours might well criticise you soon for not informing them. I drink my tea, and allow others drink theirs.

  • Grover

    Yeah, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A door knocker is still a door knocker, good intentions or not.

  • Grover

    Yeah, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A door knocker is still a door knocker, good intentions or not.

  • Grover

    Nice to have you on the blog Diba!

    "Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter?"

    Certainly not in western countries or any other country where door knocking is perceived as a nuisance.

    "Do you think the UHJ is Infallible and that's why it can't be wrong even if there is evidence that Shoghi Effendi said that people should not go from door to door?"

    Nope, but thats just me. No men in my view could ever be infallible.

    "Do you think that I misunderstood Shoghi Effendi's letter, and how this relates to his infallibility and authority he has within the Baha'i faith?"

    I think you got it nailed.

  • Grover

    Nice to have you on the blog Diba!

    "Do you think door to door teaching is a legitimate tool, because of what the Universal House said in the letter?"

    Certainly not in western countries or any other country where door knocking is perceived as a nuisance.

    "Do you think the UHJ is Infallible and that's why it can't be wrong even if there is evidence that Shoghi Effendi said that people should not go from door to door?"

    Nope, but thats just me. No men in my view could ever be infallible.

    "Do you think that I misunderstood Shoghi Effendi's letter, and how this relates to his infallibility and authority he has within the Baha'i faith?"

    I think you got it nailed.

  • Grover

    Ah ha! You'll be shouting from the street corners soon. Good for you!

    All these wonderful Baha'is filled with good intentions destroying the dignity and prestige of the Faith in ways that Islam, covenant breakers and opponents of the cause could never do.

    Well done Farhan!

  • Grover

    Ah ha! You'll be shouting from the street corners soon. Good for you!

    All these wonderful Baha'is filled with good intentions destroying the dignity and prestige of the Faith in ways that Islam, covenant breakers and opponents of the cause could never do.

    Well done Farhan!

  • pey

    Entry by troops refers to mass catering? What is that? You mean just teaching the Cause to a mass audience? I was very active when the term came around and I remember it meaning bringing in a mass of humanity- thus the word "entry". The goal was to have a huge community with the resources and diversity to tackle the issues of humanity effectively- and thus be an example to the world at large. And as Grover mentioned- that didn't happen. And although I'm no longer active, I have enough contacts with Bahais to know that it still hasn't happened. Does anyone even know if the words "entry by troops" are still being used in the Bahai commuity or has it become passe?

  • pey

    Entry by troops refers to mass catering? What is that? You mean just teaching the Cause to a mass audience? I was very active when the term came around and I remember it meaning bringing in a mass of humanity- thus the word "entry". The goal was to have a huge community with the resources and diversity to tackle the issues of humanity effectively- and thus be an example to the world at large. And as Grover mentioned- that didn't happen. And although I'm no longer active, I have enough contacts with Bahais to know that it still hasn't happened. Does anyone even know if the words "entry by troops" are still being used in the Bahai commuity or has it become passe?

  • farhan

    Pey, I have no doubt about that; if our intentions are pure, the opportunities arrive. Some invite through letters, E mails or phone calls; others prefer a personal contact and knock at a neighbour’s door. There is this story about a pioneer who went somewhere to teach and after his stay was over, sat by a stream to weep, because he had been unable to give the message; came along this pure soul who stopped to comfort him and ended up becoming the first believer of this locality… and this other guy to whom Abdu'l-Baha advised wisdom in teaching. He came back and said that he had been so wise that even his wife had not noticed that he was a Baha'i, and the Master replied that he had been so wise that even Baha'u'llah ahd not noticed…

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

    Pey, I have no doubt about that; if our intentions are pure, the opportunities arrive. Some invite through letters, E mails or phone calls; others prefer a personal contact and knock at a neighbour’s door. There is this story about a pioneer who went somewhere to teach and after his stay was over, sat by a stream to weep, because he had been unable to give the message; came along this pure soul who stopped to comfort him and ended up becoming the first believer of this locality… and this other guy to whom Abdu'l-Baha advised wisdom in teaching. He came back and said that he had been so wise that even his wife had not noticed that he was a Baha'i, and the Master replied that he had been so wise that even Baha'u'llah ahd not noticed…

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

    Entry by troops… I think we are expecting it too soon. Already in 1977 the UHJ said that "entry into the Cause by troops has been a fact in some areas for a number of years."

    Sen McGlinn posted an interesting analysis on his blog: Entry by troops (time to be announced).

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

    Entry by troops… I think we are expecting it too soon. Already in 1977 the UHJ said that "entry into the Cause by troops has been a fact in some areas for a number of years."

    Sen McGlinn posted an interesting analysis on his blog: Entry by troops (time to be announced).

  • Grover

    Farhan's analogy "mass catering" is actually most appropriate. The "significant advance in entry by troops" gets trotted out just about every newsletter. Its why they're going down the Ruhi, kiddies classes, devotionals and cluster meetings path to try and get some enrolments happening and provide some means to get those new people up to speed quickly. Its like McDonald's standardising the hamburger for the masses. End up with a pretty crappy product that everyone eats and only the kids like. Produce a generic product (Ruhi) that anyone can deliver with a minimum of training. Hmm I wonder if Paul Lample used to run a fast food franchise.

  • Grover

    Farhan's analogy "mass catering" is actually most appropriate. The "significant advance in entry by troops" gets trotted out just about every newsletter. Its why they're going down the Ruhi, kiddies classes, devotionals and cluster meetings path to try and get some enrolments happening and provide some means to get those new people up to speed quickly. Its like McDonald's standardising the hamburger for the masses. End up with a pretty crappy product that everyone eats and only the kids like. Produce a generic product (Ruhi) that anyone can deliver with a minimum of training. Hmm I wonder if Paul Lample used to run a fast food franchise.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: End up with a pretty crappy product that everyone eats and only the kids like.

    Grover, if you are able to access sophisticated food, good for you. Mass catering is not for you but for the needy ones. We are concerned with the starving millions so that they get essential nourishment to get them alive to the more palatable sophisticated food you are able to access.

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

    Grover wrote: End up with a pretty crappy product that everyone eats and only the kids like.

    Grover, if you are able to access sophisticated food, good for you. Mass catering is not for you but for the needy ones. We are concerned with the starving millions so that they get essential nourishment to get them alive to the more palatable sophisticated food you are able to access.

  • farhan

    Diba, in the early 1970s I witnessed entry by troops in Europe, but we were not ready to cater for large numbers. we are now getting ready for that and it is working, whatever McGlinn's opinion.

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

    Diba, in the early 1970s I witnessed entry by troops in Europe, but we were not ready to cater for large numbers. we are now getting ready for that and it is working, whatever McGlinn's opinion.

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

    The UHJ says that we have learned from the 1970s when we were not able to cope with the masses. Ruhi is supposed to be the solution to all of these problems.
    I don't think we were able to recognize the actual problem. In fact we are making the same mistake as we were during the 70s. A lot of people who joined the Bahai faith left it.
    The problem is that our approach did not have any substance and this has not changed. The fact that Bahais did not follow up with newly enrolled believers is not the cause: It is just a symptom. The term "mass catering" describes the problem very well; so does Groovers fast food franchise analogy.

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

    The UHJ says that we have learned from the 1970s when we were not able to cope with the masses. Ruhi is supposed to be the solution to all of these problems.

    I don't think we were able to recognize the actual problem. In fact we are making the same mistake as we were during the 70s. A lot of people who joined the Bahai faith left it.

    The problem is that our approach did not have any substance and this has not changed. The fact that Bahais did not follow up with newly enrolled believers is not the cause: It is just a symptom. The term "mass catering" describes the problem very well; so does Groovers fast food franchise analogy.

  • Grover

    I don't think Baha'is are ready for entry by troops, even now. There several reasons:

    1) Poor organisation:

    - no training in people management (inability to handle conflict and criticism)

    - false expectations (e.g. doing it for love, everyone has boundless energy)

    - psychological pressure to do stuff (the world is coming to an end, etc etc etc)
    - excessive activities that demand a lot of time – e.g. Ruhi, firesides, children's classes, devotional meetings, cluster meetings, feast, holy days, and committee meetings. People have to fit all that in with sometimes 4 or more meetings a week into their already busy lives

    - people suffering from burnout from all the activities (and made to feel bad because obviously they don't have a deepened spiritual consciousness (thanks Peter Khan); if they were more faithful – blah blah blah – they could do heaps more)

    - lack of realism as to what has been achieved (mighty victories blah blah blah = 1 person attending a devotional meeting) and what can be achieved

    - excessive marketing hype and jargon from the UHJ and institutions leading to cynicism and people becoming jaded

    - no desire to use tools such as demographics, statistics, surveys etc to understand the effects of current activities and to improve how the Faith is run

    - unrelenting demands for money

    2) Inability to cope with a wide range of perspectives and interpretations from a diverse bunch of new people:

    - no theological development because most of the intelligent Baha'is have been chased away

    - beliefs not being informed by academic and scientific developments

    - rigid viewpoints due to the assumptions of infallibility of the institutions etc

    - the not so bright fundamentalist Baha'is feel threatened when challenged intellectually and become aggressive in response (invoking the covenant, love for Baha'u'llah, obedience, yada yada yada)

    (probably now solved by tailoring the Faith to the spuds of society because mainly spuds will do Ruhi (only 20% of new Baha'is finish book 1))

    Basically the Baha'i Faith is a tiny religion pretending to be a big religion and has been blinded by its own hype and delusions of grandeur.

  • Grover

    I don't think Baha'is are ready for entry by troops, even now. There several reasons:

    1) Poor organisation:

    - no training in people management (inability to handle conflict and criticism)

    - false expectations (e.g. doing it for love, everyone has boundless energy)

    - psychological pressure to do stuff (the world is coming to an end, etc etc etc)
    - excessive activities that demand a lot of time – e.g. Ruhi, firesides, children's classes, devotional meetings, cluster meetings, feast, holy days, and committee meetings. People have to fit all that in with sometimes 4 or more meetings a week into their already busy lives

    - people suffering from burnout from all the activities (and made to feel bad because obviously they don't have a deepened spiritual consciousness (thanks Peter Khan); if they were more faithful – blah blah blah – they could do heaps more)

    - lack of realism as to what has been achieved (mighty victories blah blah blah = 1 person attending a devotional meeting) and what can be achieved

    - excessive marketing hype and jargon from the UHJ and institutions leading to cynicism and people becoming jaded

    - no desire to use tools such as demographics, statistics, surveys etc to understand the effects of current activities and to improve how the Faith is run

    - unrelenting demands for money

    2) Inability to cope with a wide range of perspectives and interpretations from a diverse bunch of new people:

    - no theological development because most of the intelligent Baha'is have been chased away

    - beliefs not being informed by academic and scientific developments

    - rigid viewpoints due to the assumptions of infallibility of the institutions etc

    - the not so bright fundamentalist Baha'is feel threatened when challenged intellectually and become aggressive in response (invoking the covenant, love for Baha'u'llah, obedience, yada yada yada)

    (probably now solved by tailoring the Faith to the spuds of society because mainly spuds will do Ruhi (only 20% of new Baha'is finish book 1))

    Basically the Baha'i Faith is a tiny religion pretending to be a big religion and has been blinded by its own hype and delusions of grandeur.

  • farhan

    Grover, you have some valid points in your list that could be discussed in reflection meetings, so as to help the Baha’is advance. The institute is precisely designed for building up in the words of the UHJ a “significant number” of human resources. Each person, Baha’i or not, is free to choose how much effort he wants to engage in this enterprise.

    It is not very helpful to have trouble-shooting self appointed “arbitrators” sitting aloof, observing the workers and telling them they will never get anywhere because their cause was lost before they ever even started. And of course famine relief packages are not as good as gastronomically famed restaurants, but if you want to offer better food, you should come in and help cook some for the hungering masses.

  • farhan

    Grover, you have some valid points in your list that could be discussed in reflection meetings, so as to help the Baha’is advance. The institute is precisely designed for building up in the words of the UHJ a “significant number” of human resources. Each person, Baha’i or not, is free to choose how much effort he wants to engage in this enterprise.

    It is not very helpful to have trouble-shooting self appointed “arbitrators” sitting aloof, observing the workers and telling them they will never get anywhere because their cause was lost before they ever even started. And of course famine relief packages are not as good as gastronomically famed restaurants, but if you want to offer better food, you should come in and help cook some for the hungering masses.

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

    Grover, you have some valid points in your list that could be discussed in reflection meetings, so as to help the Baha’is advance. The institute is precisely designed for building up in the words of the UHJ a “significant number” of human resources. Each person, Baha’i or not, is free to choose how much effort he wants to engage in this enterprise.

    It is not very helpful to have trouble-shooting self appointed “arbitrators” sitting aloof, observing the workers and telling them they will never get anywhere because their cause was lost before they ever even started. And of course famine relief packages are not as good as gastronomically famed restaurants, but if you want to offer better food, you should come in and help cook some for the hungering masses.

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

    Grover, you have some valid points in your list that could be discussed in reflection meetings, so as to help the Baha’is advance. The institute is precisely designed for building up in the words of the UHJ a “significant number” of human resources. Each person, Baha’i or not, is free to choose how much effort he wants to engage in this enterprise.

    It is not very helpful to have trouble-shooting self appointed “arbitrators” sitting aloof, observing the workers and telling them they will never get anywhere because their cause was lost before they ever even started. And of course famine relief packages are not as good as gastronomically famed restaurants, but if you want to offer better food, you should come in and help cook some for the hungering masses.

  • farhan

    Diba wrote : The UHJ says that we have learned from the 1970s when we were not able to cope with the masses. Ruhi is supposed to be the solution to all of these problems.

    Diba, I am saying we were not able to cope with the masses and that the situation has now completely changed. I am saying that people left their traditional religious environment and then lacked human resources to help them through core activities. Ruhi is merely one tool, one element in the development of human resources. Baha’i studies, deepening’s, summer schools and SED activities as a result develop. Before we had a few gurus and an attentive audience, we now have as many people on the scene as amongst the audience. You are missing the train, Diba, unless you give me your explanation of the cause to the symptom.

    Diba, analogies and parables don’t prove any thing but are a help to communication where words might lead to misunderstanding. It is not because we are preparing famine relief packages that we are closing down posh restaurants. Another analogy that came to my mind was the Chinese barefoot doctors designed to provide primary health care to the masses. They were never designed to replace the university hospital but helped save millions of lives building latrines and providing clean water and were highly commended by the WHO at the Alma Alta conference.

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

    Diba wrote : The UHJ says that we have learned from the 1970s when we were not able to cope with the masses. Ruhi is supposed to be the solution to all of these problems.

    Diba, I am saying we were not able to cope with the masses and that the situation has now completely changed. I am saying that people left their traditional religious environment and then lacked human resources to help them through core activities. Ruhi is merely one tool, one element in the development of human resources. Baha’i studies, deepening’s, summer schools and SED activities as a result develop. Before we had a few gurus and an attentive audience, we now have as many people on the scene as amongst the audience. You are missing the train, Diba, unless you give me your explanation of the cause to the symptom.

    Diba, analogies and parables don’t prove any thing but are a help to communication where words might lead to misunderstanding. It is not because we are preparing famine relief packages that we are closing down posh restaurants. Another analogy that came to my mind was the Chinese barefoot doctors designed to provide primary health care to the masses. They were never designed to replace the university hospital but helped save millions of lives building latrines and providing clean water and were highly commended by the WHO at the Alma Alta conference.

  • pey

    What you say is sad but true. Compare to the UU's. They are loosely organized, but do incredible work at the grass roots level. They somehow maintain their organization and thrive whithout ANY proselytizing/teaching/door-to-door/etc. activities. The reason? Because they concentrate on their local community as being a safe haven for spiritual growth. Let's face it. Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe,loved and at home. Some local Bahai communities can do this, but most, that I have seen, do not. Not because the Bahais at the local level can't do it, but because they are burdened with dictates from on high, committee meetings, rules/regulations to enforce, etc etc.-instead of just creating a loving atmosphere that keeps resources at the grass roots level, and maybe sends a small pittance to funds outside of the local community. I guess for some if you finish enough ruhi books, cross out all your Feasts for the year and head enough committees, then that is spiritual progress.

  • pey

    What you say is sad but true. Compare to the UU's. They are loosely organized, but do incredible work at the grass roots level. They somehow maintain their organization and thrive whithout ANY proselytizing/teaching/door-to-door/etc. activities. The reason? Because they concentrate on their local community as being a safe haven for spiritual growth. Let's face it. Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe,loved and at home. Some local Bahai communities can do this, but most, that I have seen, do not. Not because the Bahais at the local level can't do it, but because they are burdened with dictates from on high, committee meetings, rules/regulations to enforce, etc etc.-instead of just creating a loving atmosphere that keeps resources at the grass roots level, and maybe sends a small pittance to funds outside of the local community. I guess for some if you finish enough ruhi books, cross out all your Feasts for the year and head enough committees, then that is spiritual progress.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe, loved and at home. Some local Bahai communities can do this, but most, that I have seen, do not.

    Pey, you are describing a consumer attitude to a religious community. The Baha’i Faith has the ambition of reforming the very basis of our society. The love and unity we seek can pass through an arena of disruption, opposition, effort and sacrifice, not a haven for peace and quiet.

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

    Pey wrote : Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe, loved and at home. Some local Bahai communities can do this, but most, that I have seen, do not.

    Pey, you are describing a consumer attitude to a religious community. The Baha’i Faith has the ambition of reforming the very basis of our society. The love and unity we seek can pass through an arena of disruption, opposition, effort and sacrifice, not a haven for peace and quiet.

  • Craig Parke

    FINALLY!

    Someone has written an article that explains EXACTLY how the Baha'i Faith has consistently gone COMPLETELY off the rails decade after decade amid Two World Wars of mind bending human slaughter, Great Depressions of mind bending total economic collapse, the invention and perfection of Nuclear Weapons of incredible power of moind bending mass destruction, and the incredible bottom up wave of social activist energy from the streets of the ENTIRE WORLD in the 1960's.

    It explains how a worldwide group of completely dysfunctional people pissed away every opportuniy that came their way with one step forward and ten thousand steps back.

    FINALLY!

    Someone has EXPLAINED it ALL in one coherent moment of Divine Clarity.

    And, yes, the artistic connection is completely ironic indeed!

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,18

  • Craig Parke

    FINALLY!

    Someone has written an article that explains EXACTLY how the Baha'i Faith has consistently gone COMPLETELY off the rails decade after decade amid Two World Wars of mind bending human slaughter, Great Depressions of mind bending total economic collapse, the invention and perfection of Nuclear Weapons of incredible power of moind bending mass destruction, and the incredible bottom up wave of social activist energy from the streets of the ENTIRE WORLD in the 1960's.

    It explains how a worldwide group of completely dysfunctional people pissed away every opportuniy that came their way with one step forward and ten thousand steps back.

    FINALLY!

    Someone has EXPLAINED it ALL in one coherent moment of Divine Clarity.

    And, yes, the artistic connection is completely ironic indeed!

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,18

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

    As you said, Ruhi should just be one tool among others. The reality, however, is that we neglect everything else. Only the core activities seem to matter. People either do the core activities or they have already been discouraged by what is going on within the Bahai faith and decide to be inactive. The regional conferences were supposedly for the whole Bahai community. But by focusing only on the core activities everyone else, who prefers a different method of teaching was excluded.

    I have been puzzled by something a member of the International Teaching Center said at one of the conferences. I know that the UHJ wrote "the institutions of the Faith will continue to respect the wishes of those who, for whatever reason, do not feel inclined to participate in the study of the books of the Ruhi Institute." But why would a member of the ITC who comes as their representative say that it is a matter of obedience that everyone participates in an intensive program of growth? This implies that everyone who doesn't do it is breaking the covenant.

    I think we overemphasize the importance of the core activities. We want unity in diversity, but this leads to uniformity. In 1988 the UHJ said the following in response to a teaching project in Japan, "This does not mean, however, that there is any particular system of teaching which individual Bahá'ís should pursue. Different cultures and types of people require different methods of approach. While taking the fullest advantage of a workable method in one area, the friends should be open to other methods and not blindly insist upon doing the same thing everywhere." I agree. Just because some people feel comfortable with the core activities and Ruhi it does not mean that everyone does. This way we will never reach entry by troops.

    I don't have that much of a problem with the Ruhi books (as long as it is completely voluntary, and there is no pressure). Even though people might get the impression that I dislike everything about this institute course, I believe it has potential. There is no doubt that it has helped a lot of people to know and understand more about the Baha'i faith and to apply the teachings to their life. But the way the books are being used is inappropriate. I think it is wrong to use Ruhi to teach. I have never been able to understand how it is relevant for someone, who does not believe in Baha'u'llah, to learn how to teach, do home visits, etc.

    In Ruhi book 2, page 26 it says:
    "How sad it would be if today someone were to hear the glad tidings of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, but accept Him not and decide to follow the traditions of the past. He would join those who in every age have hoped for the coming of a Promised One, but when He appeared, have rejected Him and, unfaithful to the Eternal Covenant of God, have clung to their own superstitions."

    Please tell me how a Bahai can justify inviting non Bahais to a study group and then basically tell them that if they don't follow Baha'u'llah they are superstitious and unfaithful to God. This is clearly contrary to Baha'u'llahs instruction to teach with "wisdom and eloquence."

    Another problem is that some parts are manipulative (Ruhi 2, p. 23, paragraph 2). This is not everything; there are many more issues with the contents and the methods.

    You seem to believe that success in the process of entry by troops depends on how well we "cater for large numbers" and on how sophisticated our system is. Then what do you think about the following quote:

    "Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching — no matter how worldwide and elaborate in its character — not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha’u'llah" (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 66).

    Now an answer to your question about the cause to the symptom. We were not supposed to put so much emphasis on converting the masses in the first place. The main reason why large numbers of people will eventually enter the faith will be the result of our effort to apply the teachings to our lives. I think any direct effort to convert the masses is doomed to fail. This active approach to cater for the masses leads inevitably to too much emphasis on the quantity. The only difference between now and the 70s is that we know that mistakes were made. We are looking for a solution. We tried to work on the quality. Nevertheless, the number of new believers is still a criterion to measure the success. I fear that even if we are able to convert a lot of people many will leave the faith after a while or become inactive.

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

    As you said, Ruhi should just be one tool among others. The reality, however, is that we neglect everything else. Only the core activities seem to matter. People either do the core activities or they have already been discouraged by what is going on within the Bahai faith and decide to be inactive. The regional conferences were supposedly for the whole Bahai community. But by focusing only on the core activities everyone else, who prefers a different method of teaching was excluded.

    I have been puzzled by something a member of the International Teaching Center said at one of the conferences. I know that the UHJ wrote "the institutions of the Faith will continue to respect the wishes of those who, for whatever reason, do not feel inclined to participate in the study of the books of the Ruhi Institute." But why would a member of the ITC who comes as their representative say that it is a matter of obedience that everyone participates in an intensive program of growth? This implies that everyone who doesn't do it is breaking the covenant.

    I think we overemphasize the importance of the core activities. We want unity in diversity, but this leads to uniformity. In 1988 the UHJ said the following in response to a teaching project in Japan, "This does not mean, however, that there is any particular system of teaching which individual Bahá'ís should pursue. Different cultures and types of people require different methods of approach. While taking the fullest advantage of a workable method in one area, the friends should be open to other methods and not blindly insist upon doing the same thing everywhere." I agree. Just because some people feel comfortable with the core activities and Ruhi it does not mean that everyone does. This way we will never reach entry by troops.

    I don't have that much of a problem with the Ruhi books (as long as it is completely voluntary, and there is no pressure). Even though people might get the impression that I dislike everything about this institute course, I believe it has potential. There is no doubt that it has helped a lot of people to know and understand more about the Baha'i faith and to apply the teachings to their life. But the way the books are being used is inappropriate. I think it is wrong to use Ruhi to teach. I have never been able to understand how it is relevant for someone, who does not believe in Baha'u'llah, to learn how to teach, do home visits, etc.

    In Ruhi book 2, page 26 it says:
    "How sad it would be if today someone were to hear the glad tidings of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, but accept Him not and decide to follow the traditions of the past. He would join those who in every age have hoped for the coming of a Promised One, but when He appeared, have rejected Him and, unfaithful to the Eternal Covenant of God, have clung to their own superstitions."

    Please tell me how a Bahai can justify inviting non Bahais to a study group and then basically tell them that if they don't follow Baha'u'llah they are superstitious and unfaithful to God. This is clearly contrary to Baha'u'llahs instruction to teach with "wisdom and eloquence."

    Another problem is that some parts are manipulative (Ruhi 2, p. 23, paragraph 2). This is not everything; there are many more issues with the contents and the methods.

    You seem to believe that success in the process of entry by troops depends on how well we "cater for large numbers" and on how sophisticated our system is. Then what do you think about the following quote:

    "Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching — no matter how worldwide and elaborate in its character — not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha’u'llah" (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 66).

    Now an answer to your question about the cause to the symptom. We were not supposed to put so much emphasis on converting the masses in the first place. The main reason why large numbers of people will eventually enter the faith will be the result of our effort to apply the teachings to our lives. I think any direct effort to convert the masses is doomed to fail. This active approach to cater for the masses leads inevitably to too much emphasis on the quantity. The only difference between now and the 70s is that we know that mistakes were made. We are looking for a solution. We tried to work on the quality. Nevertheless, the number of new believers is still a criterion to measure the success. I fear that even if we are able to convert a lot of people many will leave the faith after a while or become inactive.

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

    Thanks for your message Diba. The only thing that I disagree with is your position on the Ruhi courses. I think it is exerting a very negative influence on the Faith, although it isn't apparent to most because they haven't really bothered to take an impartial look at it. Once you start to actually analyse what they contain, it becomes more and more obvious just how bad it is.

    Ruhi Book 2, on page 23 says:

    "You will never allow yourself to have feelings of superiority because of your own education or position in life. Nor will you allow yourself to fall prey to that terrible and subtle enemy of the Baha'i teacher, the patronizing attitude."

    Yet in just a few pages (p.26) it goes on to patronize and scold those who are do not accept Bahaullah's message and become Baha'is – as you quoted above.

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

    Thanks for your message Diba. The only thing that I disagree with is your position on the Ruhi courses. I think it is exerting a very negative influence on the Faith, although it isn't apparent to most because they haven't really bothered to take an impartial look at it. Once you start to actually analyse what they contain, it becomes more and more obvious just how bad it is.

    Ruhi Book 2, on page 23 says:

    "You will never allow yourself to have feelings of superiority because of your own education or position in life. Nor will you allow yourself to fall prey to that terrible and subtle enemy of the Baha'i teacher, the patronizing attitude."

    Yet in just a few pages (p.26) it goes on to patronize and scold those who are do not accept Bahaullah's message and become Baha'is – as you quoted above.

  • testing

    27 years ago someone was concerned about this and wrote to the Universal House of Justice. And they wrote back the better below. By the way, if you have a question for the UHJ, you can easily email them using this email address: secretariat @ bwc [dot] org

    The first part deals with the question but it also veers off into a discussion of the Covenant and the difference between interpretation and legislation. I’m assuming that the questioner brought these topics forward, otherwise, it is a stretch to link them to the question of proselytizing vs. teaching.

    It is also interesting that at the end of the letter, the House of Justice says:

    For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the, National Baha’i Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itself.

    When in fact, the document in question was changed in recent history (from its previous wording) to disallow National Spiritual Assemblies from instituting such changes as term limits.

    In any case, here is the complete letter:

    The Universal House of Justice
    The Bahá’í World Centre
    3 January 1982

    To an individual Baha’i

    Dear Baha’i Friend,
    The Universal House of Justice has received your letter and has asked us to assure you that you should feel no diffidence in raising the sort of questions that you have expressed. It seems clear from your letter that you have been greatly attracted to the Message of Baha’u'llah and have accepted His Faith before, as you say, becoming “fully committed,” and are, therefore, now having to face and resolve problems that many believers overcome before they declare their faith. The House of justice urges you not to let it worry you. All through life Baha’is are faced with tests of many kinds, and problems and doubts, but it is through facing and overcoming them that we grow spiritually.

  • testing

    27 years ago someone was concerned about this and wrote to the Universal House of Justice. And they wrote back the better below. By the way, if you have a question for the UHJ, you can easily email them using this email address: secretariat @ bwc [dot] org

    The first part deals with the question but it also veers off into a discussion of the Covenant and the difference between interpretation and legislation. I’m assuming that the questioner brought these topics forward, otherwise, it is a stretch to link them to the question of proselytizing vs. teaching.

    It is also interesting that at the end of the letter, the House of Justice says:

    For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the, National Baha’i Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itself.

    When in fact, the document in question was changed in recent history (from its previous wording) to disallow National Spiritual Assemblies from instituting such changes as term limits.

    In any case, here is the complete letter:

    The Universal House of Justice
    The Bahá’í World Centre
    3 January 1982

    To an individual Baha’i

    Dear Baha’i Friend,
    The Universal House of Justice has received your letter and has asked us to assure you that you should feel no diffidence in raising the sort of questions that you have expressed. It seems clear from your letter that you have been greatly attracted to the Message of Baha’u'llah and have accepted His Faith before, as you say, becoming “fully committed,” and are, therefore, now having to face and resolve problems that many believers overcome before they declare their faith. The House of justice urges you not to let it worry you. All through life Baha’is are faced with tests of many kinds, and problems and doubts, but it is through facing and overcoming them that we grow spiritually.

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

    Anon2, re Reform Baha'i, that path is not for me.

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

    Anon2, re Reform Baha'i, that path is not for me.

  • Anonymous 2

    Baquia,

    I'm just wondering, have you ever considered the Reform Bahai Faith? I was reading through their website, and most of the ideas that you express about openness are the main themes of the Reform Bahai '95 Point' thesis. I'm thinking of joining, myself, but am doing some more thinking and researching before I make a decision.

    Thanks for showing the differences between teaching and proselytizing. Sometimes those differences can be very subtle, but they are there. Sometimes a person can be proselytizing under the guise of teaching. Right now I am thinking of some William Sears speeches that could fall in that category.

  • Anonymous 2

    Baquia,

    I'm just wondering, have you ever considered the Reform Bahai Faith? I was reading through their website, and most of the ideas that you express about openness are the main themes of the Reform Bahai '95 Point' thesis. I'm thinking of joining, myself, but am doing some more thinking and researching before I make a decision.

    Thanks for showing the differences between teaching and proselytizing. Sometimes those differences can be very subtle, but they are there. Sometimes a person can be proselytizing under the guise of teaching. Right now I am thinking of some William Sears speeches that could fall in that category.

  • farhan

    Thanks for this interesting link, Craig. It has to do with all progress going through disintegration and integration and why the Bab had to disrupt the stablished order. You will find more on those lines by reading Joseph Schumpeter.

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

    Thanks for this interesting link, Craig. It has to do with all progress going through disintegration and integration and why the Bab had to disrupt the stablished order. You will find more on those lines by reading Joseph Schumpeter.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: Yet in just a few pages (p.26) it goes on to patronize and scold those who are do not accept Bahaullah's message and become Baha'is – as you quoted above.

    Baquia, you will notice that this a paraphrase of Gleanings CXLVII: The Most Great Name beareth Me witness!… In that quote it is God who is patronising, and not the tutor helping others understand how to tutor. This having been said, the Ruhi books are imperfect and will no doubt improve with time and experience through your comments.

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

    Baquia wrote: Yet in just a few pages (p.26) it goes on to patronize and scold those who are do not accept Bahaullah's message and become Baha'is – as you quoted above.

    Baquia, you will notice that this a paraphrase of Gleanings CXLVII: The Most Great Name beareth Me witness!… In that quote it is God who is patronising, and not the tutor helping others understand how to tutor. This having been said, the Ruhi books are imperfect and will no doubt improve with time and experience through your comments.

  • Craig Parke

    I always liked William Sears very much. He was a very fine and very kind man. I met him several times over the years. I do not think he would even recognize the loveless and top down oppressive Comintern Baha'i Faith of today. He had love in him.

  • Craig Parke

    I always liked William Sears very much. He was a very fine and very kind man. I met him several times over the years. I do not think he would even recognize the loveless and top down oppressive Comintern Baha'i Faith of today. He had love in him.

  • farhan

    Diba wrote: The reality, however, is that we neglect everything else.
    Yes, there is a priority right now because of a dire emergency for building up human resources. Core activities bring people in direct contact with the revealed Word, the Verb of God and not with what you and I have understood about what some outstanding Baha’i once said.

    Diba wrote: But why would a member of the ITC who comes as their representative say that it is a matter of obedience that everyone participates in an intensive program of growth?
    Farhan: The UHJ and their representatives cannot always openly explain all the reasons for a priority at a given time. When my parents left for Africa in 1952, they did not at all realise why at that specific time time. I now do. There are times when Divine Wisdom concerns the believers and not the rational minds. In them should the trusting trust.

    Diba said: everyone else, who prefers a different method of teaching was excluded.
    Farhan: We are growing on to specialisation; there is no reason why we should all do the same things at the same time.

    Diba: You seem to believe that success in the process of entry by troops depends on how well we “cater for large numbers” and on how sophisticated our system is.
    Farhan: your quote insists on our inner life. If we are deep down convinced of the life-giving character of God’s words, and in love with them, we cannot help sharing them with others and adopting what happens to be the most efficient method at a given time; if we are merely participating by ambition or conformism, our efforts will have no effect.
    Diba: I think any direct effort to convert the masses is doomed to fail.
    Farhan: I agree; we are sometimes confused between the tool and the goal. Teaching and enrolling are tools. Having humanity understand and apply the teachings of god are the goal.

    Diba: Please tell me how a Bahai can justify inviting non Bahais to a study group and then basically tell them that if they don’t follow Baha’u’llah they are superstitious and unfaithful to God.
    Farhan: these happen to be the teachings of God. We cannot hide them. In practice, rarely those who have already overcome their hesitations in participating in a some 50 hour course are offended by them and are free to leave. Others overlook them, and many adopt and apply them; “wisdom and eloquence” also mean sincerity and truthfulness. Lack of wisdom would be to dissimulate such teachings or become angry or insistent.

    Diba wrote: But the way the books are being used is inappropriate. I think it is wrong to use Ruhi to teach.
    Farhan: it so happens, unexpectedly for me, that my friends who came in with the idea of learning teaching skills for teaching spirituality, in their own religion, are transformed by contact with the Word of God. Should we disband this possibility?
    Diba: I have never been able to understand how it is relevant for someone, who does not believe in Baha’u’llah, to learn how to teach, do home visits, etc.
    Farhan: They come in with the idea of teaching their own religion, and realise that the Baha’i faith is the most recent outcome of their own religion.

    Diba: This way we will never reach entry by troops.
    Farhan: Sustainable entry by troops is a reality now, including in Europe

    Diba: Even though people might get the impression that I dislike everything about this institute course, I believe it has potential.
    Farhan: Diba I disliked the idea of stooping down to teaching toddlers, but after having done book 3 I now find it fantastic fun.

    Diba wrote: Just because some people feel comfortable with the core activities and Ruhi it does not mean that everyone does.
    Farhan: I agree, but at the same time we should assist and collaborate with those undertaking other activities. The fact that some Baha’is rise as pioneers and others don’t, doesn’t create a fracture in our communities.

    Diba wrote: This implies that everyone who doesn’t do it is breaking the covenant.
    Farhan: Most certainly not and the UHj has been very clear on that. When Shoghi Effendi called for the 10 year plan in moving terms, only those who could rise as pioneers were required to do so; those who could not didn’t suddenly become CB!

    Diba: I think we overemphasize the importance of the core activities.
    Farhan: I see them as absolutely vital. There is no point in teaching if we cannot cater for the newcomers.

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

    Diba wrote: The reality, however, is that we neglect everything else.
    Yes, there is a priority right now because of a dire emergency for building up human resources. Core activities bring people in direct contact with the revealed Word, the Verb of God and not with what you and I have understood about what some outstanding Baha’i once said.

    Diba wrote: But why would a member of the ITC who comes as their representative say that it is a matter of obedience that everyone participates in an intensive program of growth?
    Farhan: The UHJ and their representatives cannot always openly explain all the reasons for a priority at a given time. When my parents left for Africa in 1952, they did not at all realise why at that specific time time. I now do. There are times when Divine Wisdom concerns the believers and not the rational minds. In them should the trusting trust.

    Diba said: everyone else, who prefers a different method of teaching was excluded.
    Farhan: We are growing on to specialisation; there is no reason why we should all do the same things at the same time.

    Diba: You seem to believe that success in the process of entry by troops depends on how well we “cater for large numbers” and on how sophisticated our system is.
    Farhan: your quote insists on our inner life. If we are deep down convinced of the life-giving character of God’s words, and in love with them, we cannot help sharing them with others and adopting what happens to be the most efficient method at a given time; if we are merely participating by ambition or conformism, our efforts will have no effect.
    Diba: I think any direct effort to convert the masses is doomed to fail.
    Farhan: I agree; we are sometimes confused between the tool and the goal. Teaching and enrolling are tools. Having humanity understand and apply the teachings of god are the goal.

    Diba: Please tell me how a Bahai can justify inviting non Bahais to a study group and then basically tell them that if they don’t follow Baha’u’llah they are superstitious and unfaithful to God.
    Farhan: these happen to be the teachings of God. We cannot hide them. In practice, rarely those who have already overcome their hesitations in participating in a some 50 hour course are offended by them and are free to leave. Others overlook them, and many adopt and apply them; “wisdom and eloquence” also mean sincerity and truthfulness. Lack of wisdom would be to dissimulate such teachings or become angry or insistent.

    Diba wrote: But the way the books are being used is inappropriate. I think it is wrong to use Ruhi to teach.
    Farhan: it so happens, unexpectedly for me, that my friends who came in with the idea of learning teaching skills for teaching spirituality, in their own religion, are transformed by contact with the Word of God. Should we disband this possibility?
    Diba: I have never been able to understand how it is relevant for someone, who does not believe in Baha’u’llah, to learn how to teach, do home visits, etc.
    Farhan: They come in with the idea of teaching their own religion, and realise that the Baha’i faith is the most recent outcome of their own religion.

    Diba: This way we will never reach entry by troops.
    Farhan: Sustainable entry by troops is a reality now, including in Europe

    Diba: Even though people might get the impression that I dislike everything about this institute course, I believe it has potential.
    Farhan: Diba I disliked the idea of stooping down to teaching toddlers, but after having done book 3 I now find it fantastic fun.

    Diba wrote: Just because some people feel comfortable with the core activities and Ruhi it does not mean that everyone does.
    Farhan: I agree, but at the same time we should assist and collaborate with those undertaking other activities. The fact that some Baha’is rise as pioneers and others don’t, doesn’t create a fracture in our communities.

    Diba wrote: This implies that everyone who doesn’t do it is breaking the covenant.
    Farhan: Most certainly not and the UHj has been very clear on that. When Shoghi Effendi called for the 10 year plan in moving terms, only those who could rise as pioneers were required to do so; those who could not didn’t suddenly become CB!

    Diba: I think we overemphasize the importance of the core activities.
    Farhan: I see them as absolutely vital. There is no point in teaching if we cannot cater for the newcomers.

  • Pey

    You equate needing a spiritual, loving atmosphere to feel safe as a "consumer attitude". Ok that's your opinion however cynical.

  • Pey

    You equate needing a spiritual, loving atmosphere to feel safe as a "consumer attitude". Ok that's your opinion however cynical.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: You equate needing a spiritual, loving atmosphere to feel safe as a "consumer attitude". Ok that's your opinion however cynical

    No Pey, my opinion was much wider than that fragment of sentence; it also said: “The love and unity we seek can pass through an arena of disruption, opposition, effort and sacrifice, not a haven for peace and quiet”

    This means that we might adhere to a community for what we can get, as a spiritual child, but above all, as we grow spiritually, we become autonomous and then when mature, we adhere for what we can contribute to humanity, be it through hardships.

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

    Pey wrote: You equate needing a spiritual, loving atmosphere to feel safe as a "consumer attitude". Ok that's your opinion however cynical

    No Pey, my opinion was much wider than that fragment of sentence; it also said: “The love and unity we seek can pass through an arena of disruption, opposition, effort and sacrifice, not a haven for peace and quiet”

    This means that we might adhere to a community for what we can get, as a spiritual child, but above all, as we grow spiritually, we become autonomous and then when mature, we adhere for what we can contribute to humanity, be it through hardships.

  • Pey

    Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children? It is very pompous of you. If people get fed up because they see that they are wasting their time, that this community is not what it was packaged to be…then I think they are making a very mature decision. It is those INSIDE the community that stick their fingers in their ears and preten everything is just fine- umm I think those people are the childish ones.

  • Pey

    Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children? It is very pompous of you. If people get fed up because they see that they are wasting their time, that this community is not what it was packaged to be…then I think they are making a very mature decision. It is those INSIDE the community that stick their fingers in their ears and preten everything is just fine- umm I think those people are the childish ones.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children?

    Because we can sincerely love children and help them acquire greater understanding by putting them into contact with the Divine Word, without being offended when they make mistakes, and consider that they are not malevolent but merely unaware of a certain reality, and because we know that we are all Supreme Talismans of God, with infinite potentialities just waiting to germinate if they are watered by showers of God’s bounty, and that there is always room for spiritual growth, for everyone, including ourselves.

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

    Pey wrote : Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children?

    Because we can sincerely love children and help them acquire greater understanding by putting them into contact with the Divine Word, without being offended when they make mistakes, and consider that they are not malevolent but merely unaware of a certain reality, and because we know that we are all Supreme Talismans of God, with infinite potentialities just waiting to germinate if they are watered by showers of God’s bounty, and that there is always room for spiritual growth, for everyone, including ourselves.

  • pey

    So you are using this quote to prove what…? That the people who feel frustrated and knocking their heads against the wall in the community, that these people who are fed up are now enemies too? I don't get it. Unless of course you mean that the true enemies are those within who just never question and make sure they turn in anyone that does. Then I agree with you.

  • pey

    So you are using this quote to prove what…? That the people who feel frustrated and knocking their heads against the wall in the community, that these people who are fed up are now enemies too? I don't get it. Unless of course you mean that the true enemies are those within who just never question and make sure they turn in anyone that does. Then I agree with you.

  • pey

    still seems pompous to think of people as children who don't know any better. Didn't we just discuss how that kind of condescending attitude is really bad when teaching?

  • pey

    still seems pompous to think of people as children who don't know any better. Didn't we just discuss how that kind of condescending attitude is really bad when teaching?

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: Didn't we just discuss how that kind of condescending attitude is really bad when teaching?

    Pey, there is a difference between condescendence from God to His children, and from one believer to another ; we can consider both those dysfunctional believers you describe and those hitting their heads upon walls because of the dysfunctional ones as in need of spiritual growth.

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

    Pey wrote: Didn't we just discuss how that kind of condescending attitude is really bad when teaching?

    Pey, there is a difference between condescendence from God to His children, and from one believer to another ; we can consider both those dysfunctional believers you describe and those hitting their heads upon walls because of the dysfunctional ones as in need of spiritual growth.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: So you are using this quote to prove what…?

    I am using these quotes to show that instead of considering others as ”bad” or “enemies”, we can consider them as potentially good if inspired by Divine Teachings, hence with a capacity for growth, as children, which in this case is not condescending, but an attribute that can be lost in rigid and senile people.

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

    Pey wrote: So you are using this quote to prove what…?

    I am using these quotes to show that instead of considering others as ”bad” or “enemies”, we can consider them as potentially good if inspired by Divine Teachings, hence with a capacity for growth, as children, which in this case is not condescending, but an attribute that can be lost in rigid and senile people.

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

    Farhan, thanks for pointing that out yet another reason why Ruhi is so disasterous. The unnamed authors, whoever they are, put the Writings in their own words and pass it off as the real thing. Why not just let Baha'u'lah's words be as they are?
    As well, there is a complete lack of wisdom in blurting out this quote in this context. Baha'u'llah said a lot of things, but we have to use wisdom in how and when we share specific quotes by looking at the contingency of a situation and the person we are speaking to.

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

    Farhan, thanks for pointing that out yet another reason why Ruhi is so disasterous. The unnamed authors, whoever they are, put the Writings in their own words and pass it off as the real thing. Why not just let Baha'u'lah's words be as they are?
    As well, there is a complete lack of wisdom in blurting out this quote in this context. Baha'u'llah said a lot of things, but we have to use wisdom in how and when we share specific quotes by looking at the contingency of a situation and the person we are speaking to.

  • pey

    Yes but how do you differentiate? I can read the writings on my own and decide if God is being condescending toward me or not. But when you tell me what Bahaullah is saying- then what? I can't help but assume that you are. And unfortunately many active Bahais in the community (those that are snffing out disloyal ones in their eyes) hide behind quotes in orde to be condescending towards other- in order to shut others up inside the Bahai community.

  • pey

    Yes but how do you differentiate? I can read the writings on my own and decide if God is being condescending toward me or not. But when you tell me what Bahaullah is saying- then what? I can't help but assume that you are. And unfortunately many active Bahais in the community (those that are snffing out disloyal ones in their eyes) hide behind quotes in orde to be condescending towards other- in order to shut others up inside the Bahai community.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: Why not just let Baha'u'lah's words be as they are?
    Baquia, we badly needed a curriculum for building up human resources, as a spring board into the original texts; some devoted fellow believers got down to doing it, translated as well as they could and they distributed them without help from you and me. As time goes by and more fellow believers contribute, this curriculum will get better and better.

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

    Baquia wrote: Why not just let Baha'u'lah's words be as they are?
    Baquia, we badly needed a curriculum for building up human resources, as a spring board into the original texts; some devoted fellow believers got down to doing it, translated as well as they could and they distributed them without help from you and me. As time goes by and more fellow believers contribute, this curriculum will get better and better.

  • farhan

    Baquia, the writings need to be provided according to the seeker’s capacity:

    As Baha’u’llah himself writes: "These words are being uttered in due measure, that the newly born may thrive and the tender shoot flourish. Milk must be given in suitable proportion, that the children of the world may attain to the station of maturity and abide in the court of oneness."….The suckling child must be nourished with milk. If it be given meat it will assuredly perish, and this would be naught but sheer injustice and unwisdom. (Tabernacle of Unity 3:32)

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

    Baquia, the writings need to be provided according to the seeker’s capacity:

    As Baha’u’llah himself writes: "These words are being uttered in due measure, that the newly born may thrive and the tender shoot flourish. Milk must be given in suitable proportion, that the children of the world may attain to the station of maturity and abide in the court of oneness."….The suckling child must be nourished with milk. If it be given meat it will assuredly perish, and this would be naught but sheer injustice and unwisdom. (Tabernacle of Unity 3:32)

  • Craig Parke

    Then with these words why didn't Abdu'l-Baha forgive his brother? And why did Shoghi Effendi ex-communicate both his father and mother and his entire family? Seems to me none of these people practiced what they preached?

  • Craig Parke

    Then with these words why didn't Abdu'l-Baha forgive his brother? And why did Shoghi Effendi ex-communicate both his father and mother and his entire family? Seems to me none of these people practiced what they preached?

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    The Baha'i Faith now consists of people who have to be told by some Institution how to wipe their behinds every day. How many sheets of toilet paper to use. Whether to wipe up or wipe down. How to stand up. How to sit down. How to shake their member correctly when they finish taking a pee. Then they have to go out and teach other people how to do these things the exact right way too. And then they have to go out and recruit other people to teach other people how to do these things the exact right way also It is the ultimate MLM pyramid Amway religion..

    Shouldn't people out there across the world know how to shake their member correctly when they finish taking a pee under their own power in life from their own research into peeing?

    The Ruhi Courses have nothing at all whatsoever to do with the Writings of Baha'u'llah. They are mind control over other people. They are a complete prostitution and degradation of the Writings of Baha'u'llah. The people that wrote these ridiculous books and instituted this hijacking of the Faith are going to go to very, very severe Cosmic Judgment in the next world. The gallows are waiting for them. They are usurpers and the entire Universe is going to fall on them.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    The Baha'i Faith now consists of people who have to be told by some Institution how to wipe their behinds every day. How many sheets of toilet paper to use. Whether to wipe up or wipe down. How to stand up. How to sit down. How to shake their member correctly when they finish taking a pee. Then they have to go out and teach other people how to do these things the exact right way too. And then they have to go out and recruit other people to teach other people how to do these things the exact right way also It is the ultimate MLM pyramid Amway religion..

    Shouldn't people out there across the world know how to shake their member correctly when they finish taking a pee under their own power in life from their own research into peeing?

    The Ruhi Courses have nothing at all whatsoever to do with the Writings of Baha'u'llah. They are mind control over other people. They are a complete prostitution and degradation of the Writings of Baha'u'llah. The people that wrote these ridiculous books and instituted this hijacking of the Faith are going to go to very, very severe Cosmic Judgment in the next world. The gallows are waiting for them. They are usurpers and the entire Universe is going to fall on them.

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

    "we badly needed a curriculum for building up human resources"

    Yes, and its is called the Baha'i Writings.

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

    "we badly needed a curriculum for building up human resources"

    Yes, and its is called the Baha'i Writings.

  • Grover

    Right on Pey! Farhan, the time for sacrifice and courage in the face of adversity is over. You've got this romantic notion of mighty spiritual warriors striding over the land conquering all from reading Dawn Breakers too many times and attending too many cluster meetings and Ruhi sessions.

    The western countries, most of the world has progressed well past the point of people being dangled in vats of boiling pitch and being stretched on the rack, etc etc etc, for religious issues. Now its subtle tactics such as dripping water and heavy metal in Gauntanamo Bay for political causes.

    What Pey said: "Let's face it. Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe,loved and at home." was spot on.

  • Grover

    Right on Pey! Farhan, the time for sacrifice and courage in the face of adversity is over. You've got this romantic notion of mighty spiritual warriors striding over the land conquering all from reading Dawn Breakers too many times and attending too many cluster meetings and Ruhi sessions.

    The western countries, most of the world has progressed well past the point of people being dangled in vats of boiling pitch and being stretched on the rack, etc etc etc, for religious issues. Now its subtle tactics such as dripping water and heavy metal in Gauntanamo Bay for political causes.

    What Pey said: "Let's face it. Most people join a community because they feel a spark; but they remain in that community if they feel safe,loved and at home." was spot on.

  • Grover

    Sounds like a load of BS to me. You've been reading too much fluffy Baha'i literature again Farhan. "Merely unaware of a certain reality" What makes you think you know the truth and they don't? What makes you think you know better than them?

  • Grover

    Sounds like a load of BS to me. You've been reading too much fluffy Baha'i literature again Farhan. "Merely unaware of a certain reality" What makes you think you know the truth and they don't? What makes you think you know better than them?

  • Grover

    Never before have I seen such arrogance. Farhan, the big wise daddy, and everyone else ignorant children. You must be dynamite at firesides, everyone would be running for the door! You would be crying: "Come back come back dear children! Realize your untapped potential by letting the blessings of God shower upon you by listening the divine wisdom of God's words as uttered by me. It not me being patronizing, condescending and arrogant, its God's divine revelation!" God would love that I'm sure.

    Well done Farhan! You are the personification of everything that has gone wrong with the Faith and embodiment of why no one should join the Baha'i Faith.

    I think I said this before, but your bedside manner as a doctor must be outstanding. How many complaints do you get a week?

  • Grover

    Never before have I seen such arrogance. Farhan, the big wise daddy, and everyone else ignorant children. You must be dynamite at firesides, everyone would be running for the door! You would be crying: "Come back come back dear children! Realize your untapped potential by letting the blessings of God shower upon you by listening the divine wisdom of God's words as uttered by me. It not me being patronizing, condescending and arrogant, its God's divine revelation!" God would love that I'm sure.

    Well done Farhan! You are the personification of everything that has gone wrong with the Faith and embodiment of why no one should join the Baha'i Faith.

    I think I said this before, but your bedside manner as a doctor must be outstanding. How many complaints do you get a week?

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

    I hope whether we agree or disagree we keep our discussions civil and concentrate on ideas rather than going down the slippery slope of personal sleights.

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

    I hope whether we agree or disagree we keep our discussions civil and concentrate on ideas rather than going down the slippery slope of personal sleights.

  • farhan

    Thanks, Baquia; this is Baha'i Rants; we are discussing beliefs and convictions linked with the Baha'i faith, and not the lives of those who hold them.

    There is no point in sharing opinions if the arena becomes one of personal attacks, which in fact prove that no valid response was available to the idea expressed other than belittling the one who holds the opinion,.

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

    Thanks, Baquia; this is Baha'i Rants; we are discussing beliefs and convictions linked with the Baha'i faith, and not the lives of those who hold them.

    There is no point in sharing opinions if the arena becomes one of personal attacks, which in fact prove that no valid response was available to the idea expressed other than belittling the one who holds the opinion,.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: Well done Farhan! You are the personification of everything that has gone wrong with the Faith and embodiment of why no one should join the Baha'i Faith

    Grover, thanks for considering me as the personification of a Baha’i. And as to going right or wrong, this is an area of belief and conviction and as you wisely imply, only birds of a feather flock together.

    And as to my professional life, I have not had a single complaint in all my career and in fact as a member of ethical and conciliating committees, I have actually avoided many law suits for my colleagues.

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

    Grover wrote: Well done Farhan! You are the personification of everything that has gone wrong with the Faith and embodiment of why no one should join the Baha'i Faith

    Grover, thanks for considering me as the personification of a Baha’i. And as to going right or wrong, this is an area of belief and conviction and as you wisely imply, only birds of a feather flock together.

    And as to my professional life, I have not had a single complaint in all my career and in fact as a member of ethical and conciliating committees, I have actually avoided many law suits for my colleagues.

  • pey

    Baquia is correct- there is no room for personal attacks. Yet, over and over again you have used quotes and your understanding of quotes to "subtly" categorize people here as "bahai" or not "bahai", "mature" or "childish". Once on another thread (dealing with homosexuality) you were perplexed at the gay fight for equal rights. You said, in your own words, that it reminded you of children in school gettting upset over what they don't have, but their friends do (we were talking about accepting gay relationships). You say all these things in a subtle fashion cloaked in sweet words, but they are JUST as damning as whatever Grover said above. Maybe you should also review your own words carefully before you type Farhan- you are not just merely sharing ideas- you have and probably will continue your attacks and i don't buy that it is just sub-conscious on your part.

  • pey

    Baquia is correct- there is no room for personal attacks. Yet, over and over again you have used quotes and your understanding of quotes to "subtly" categorize people here as "bahai" or not "bahai", "mature" or "childish". Once on another thread (dealing with homosexuality) you were perplexed at the gay fight for equal rights. You said, in your own words, that it reminded you of children in school gettting upset over what they don't have, but their friends do (we were talking about accepting gay relationships). You say all these things in a subtle fashion cloaked in sweet words, but they are JUST as damning as whatever Grover said above. Maybe you should also review your own words carefully before you type Farhan- you are not just merely sharing ideas- you have and probably will continue your attacks and i don't buy that it is just sub-conscious on your part.

  • farhan

    Craig, in His W&T, and in selections of His writings (I can provide quotes if you wish) Abdu'l-Baha explains clearly why in his love for the well-being of humanity, He has been obliged to exclude from Baha’i activities some who were obstructing the Cause instead of serving. There is a great difference between those struggling to meet the high standards of behaviour, and those deliberately sapping the unity of the community. It is not through hatred, but for the survival of the community that some individuals have to be excluded from serving.

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

    Craig, in His W&T, and in selections of His writings (I can provide quotes if you wish) Abdu'l-Baha explains clearly why in his love for the well-being of humanity, He has been obliged to exclude from Baha’i activities some who were obstructing the Cause instead of serving. There is a great difference between those struggling to meet the high standards of behaviour, and those deliberately sapping the unity of the community. It is not through hatred, but for the survival of the community that some individuals have to be excluded from serving.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: Maybe you should also review your own words carefully before you type Farhan- you are not just merely sharing ideas- you have and probably will continue your attacks and i don't buy that it is just sub-conscious on your part.
    Pey, I find it surprising that you consider being a child, once it has been said that this refers to the purity and the spiritual capacity and flexibility for learning and spiritual growth, as quoted for us all, whatever our age and experience, by the Baha’i teachings as insulting. This is not recent, since Christ also declared:“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)
    I also feel in a position of growth and learning, often through younger people. Apparently, you would wish to find approbation for your views here, and every time a view contrary to yours is expressed, you feel destabilised and hence personally, intentionally and subtly “attacked”.

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

    Pey wrote: Maybe you should also review your own words carefully before you type Farhan- you are not just merely sharing ideas- you have and probably will continue your attacks and i don't buy that it is just sub-conscious on your part.
    Pey, I find it surprising that you consider being a child, once it has been said that this refers to the purity and the spiritual capacity and flexibility for learning and spiritual growth, as quoted for us all, whatever our age and experience, by the Baha’i teachings as insulting. This is not recent, since Christ also declared:“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)
    I also feel in a position of growth and learning, often through younger people. Apparently, you would wish to find approbation for your views here, and every time a view contrary to yours is expressed, you feel destabilised and hence personally, intentionally and subtly “attacked”.

  • pey

    Oh no, I have no problem with different views. But I do have a problem when those views also label others who don't hold such views as being chidren. You back peddle now to try to make your views about others being child-like as something innocent. I understood clearly what you meant now as I did when you mentioned it on the thread regarding homosexuality. You view yourself as Grover said, the adult here trying to educate these poor ignorant children that you feel can grow and be mature adults like you (aka adopt your views). Please don't hide behind the words of Christ or Bahullah or Abdul-Baha. You are being condescending and insulting.

  • pey

    Oh no, I have no problem with different views. But I do have a problem when those views also label others who don't hold such views as being chidren. You back peddle now to try to make your views about others being child-like as something innocent. I understood clearly what you meant now as I did when you mentioned it on the thread regarding homosexuality. You view yourself as Grover said, the adult here trying to educate these poor ignorant children that you feel can grow and be mature adults like you (aka adopt your views). Please don't hide behind the words of Christ or Bahullah or Abdul-Baha. You are being condescending and insulting.

  • pey

    Here are Grover's words : "Never before have I seen such arrogance. Farhan, the big wise daddy, and everyone else ignorant children." I felt the same sentiment when I read your words referring to adults as children because they don't hold the same views as you. I'm sure others here also felt the same. So try to explain it away how you like, but it is clear to us what you meant. So please do not be insulted by me when I refer to your views as fundamentalist. I think they explain your views and you perfectly. If you find that insulting, then I'm sorry. We'll just both have to accept that sometimes we are sensitive to what words we use to describe each other.

  • pey

    Here are Grover's words : "Never before have I seen such arrogance. Farhan, the big wise daddy, and everyone else ignorant children." I felt the same sentiment when I read your words referring to adults as children because they don't hold the same views as you. I'm sure others here also felt the same. So try to explain it away how you like, but it is clear to us what you meant. So please do not be insulted by me when I refer to your views as fundamentalist. I think they explain your views and you perfectly. If you find that insulting, then I'm sorry. We'll just both have to accept that sometimes we are sensitive to what words we use to describe each other.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : Yes but how do you differentiate? I can read the writings on my own and decide if God is being condescending toward me or not.

    Pey, I am surprised at the importance you seem to give to what other people might think of you. What is important to you is what you believe of yourself and how you advance and progress with your God and your own beliefs.

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

    Pey wrote : Yes but how do you differentiate? I can read the writings on my own and decide if God is being condescending toward me or not.

    Pey, I am surprised at the importance you seem to give to what other people might think of you. What is important to you is what you believe of yourself and how you advance and progress with your God and your own beliefs.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: So please do not be insulted by me when I refer to your views as fundamentalist. I think they explain your views and you perfectly.

    I won’t feel insulted Pey. I gave my views, and amply backed them up with whatever I feel inspired them. They are my contribution and I take responsibility for them, as you take responsibility for yours. I do feel that trying to judge people’s intent in an Internet discussion is counter-productive. It is a perfect media for exchanging ideas but not for guessing peoples deep intent and emotions.

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

    Pey wrote: So please do not be insulted by me when I refer to your views as fundamentalist. I think they explain your views and you perfectly.

    I won’t feel insulted Pey. I gave my views, and amply backed them up with whatever I feel inspired them. They are my contribution and I take responsibility for them, as you take responsibility for yours. I do feel that trying to judge people’s intent in an Internet discussion is counter-productive. It is a perfect media for exchanging ideas but not for guessing peoples deep intent and emotions.

  • Grover

    Crikey Farhan, when people dig a hole for themselves, they usually do it with a spade. But you, you're using one of those 1000 ton excavators from the mining industry!

    I stand by what I said before. I hope Baquia isn't too angry with me.

  • Grover

    Crikey Farhan, when people dig a hole for themselves, they usually do it with a spade. But you, you're using one of those 1000 ton excavators from the mining industry!

    I stand by what I said before. I hope Baquia isn't too angry with me.

  • farhan

    Grover, perhaps it would be instructive for me if you pointed out where this reasoning is so insulting to you.

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

    Grover, perhaps it would be instructive for me if you pointed out where this reasoning is so insulting to you.

  • farhan

    Pey, to go back to your original question : “Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children?”

    When I refer to an individual or a community as “immature” I am implying that they have the capacity or potentiality to improve, like a plot of dessert land that can become a garden. I am not saying that some are born adults and the others born permanently infants. We are all children of one God, capable of growth, but not in a static infantile state. These “flowery” statements in sacred writings have deep meanings. When we say “in the garden of thy heart plant not but the rose of love” it means that in the same way as in nature both thistles and flowers can grow, whatever we place in our hearts, love or hatred, can grow and be transmitted to others.

    This is a clear break-away from some theories such as the karma where we are born in a certain situation and we have no choice but live trough it. The Baha’i faith is definitely not in support of a concept of stability; people are not just “good” and “evil”, but in the process of advancement or regression. Your community and its members can help you advance, just as you can help your community advance. When we speak about people who have offended us, instead of considering them as evil beings to be thrown away, we can consider them as lacking maturity and in need of our help. You might consider this as “patronizing” or a professional trait; I don’t consider a wounded person as “ugly” but “in need of surgery”.

    It is interesting to note that the words “infant” and “enfant” come from the Latin “infans” which means unable to speak and hence somewhat insulting to an adult. The English “child” comes from Gothic kilþei "womb” which is common to all of us.

    As to what I might have written about the gay way of life, I think that my views were open and straightforward and you have already expressed your indignation about my beliefs. I regret offending you, but sincerity is a sign of respect

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

    Pey, to go back to your original question : “Why do you keep equating people realizing that a community is dysfunctional and going nowhere with being children?”

    When I refer to an individual or a community as “immature” I am implying that they have the capacity or potentiality to improve, like a plot of dessert land that can become a garden. I am not saying that some are born adults and the others born permanently infants. We are all children of one God, capable of growth, but not in a static infantile state. These “flowery” statements in sacred writings have deep meanings. When we say “in the garden of thy heart plant not but the rose of love” it means that in the same way as in nature both thistles and flowers can grow, whatever we place in our hearts, love or hatred, can grow and be transmitted to others.

    This is a clear break-away from some theories such as the karma where we are born in a certain situation and we have no choice but live trough it. The Baha’i faith is definitely not in support of a concept of stability; people are not just “good” and “evil”, but in the process of advancement or regression. Your community and its members can help you advance, just as you can help your community advance. When we speak about people who have offended us, instead of considering them as evil beings to be thrown away, we can consider them as lacking maturity and in need of our help. You might consider this as “patronizing” or a professional trait; I don’t consider a wounded person as “ugly” but “in need of surgery”.

    It is interesting to note that the words “infant” and “enfant” come from the Latin “infans” which means unable to speak and hence somewhat insulting to an adult. The English “child” comes from Gothic kilþei "womb” which is common to all of us.

    As to what I might have written about the gay way of life, I think that my views were open and straightforward and you have already expressed your indignation about my beliefs. I regret offending you, but sincerity is a sign of respect

  • Grover

    No need. Pey has said it eloquently enough. If you are unable to understand what Pey has said, there is little hope in me explaining it to you.

  • Grover

    No need. Pey has said it eloquently enough. If you are unable to understand what Pey has said, there is little hope in me explaining it to you.

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  • farhan

    Grover wrote : If you are unable to understand what Pey has said, there is little hope in me explaining it to you.

    Grover, what a pity; I must be losing an opportunity to grow. In fact I very often refer to the growth of a nascent and yet immature Baha’i community and I don’t remember having ever implied that gays or those bringing up questions were kids, because my belief is just the opposite, since I see questions as a symptom of growth. IMO, you are looking at my faults through a magnifying glass and the huge hole you think you see me preparing must be merely a tiny cot ;-).

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

    Grover wrote : If you are unable to understand what Pey has said, there is little hope in me explaining it to you.

    Grover, what a pity; I must be losing an opportunity to grow. In fact I very often refer to the growth of a nascent and yet immature Baha’i community and I don’t remember having ever implied that gays or those bringing up questions were kids, because my belief is just the opposite, since I see questions as a symptom of growth. IMO, you are looking at my faults through a magnifying glass and the huge hole you think you see me preparing must be merely a tiny cot ;-).

  • fubar

    I've actually seen two "mass teaching" projects in the USA, and both fell flat after initial gains that went on for a year or two.

    The "spiritual junk food" available to such new bahais is not going to keep anyone alive, expect the horrible apologists/polemicists amongst the bahai elites that insist on being in denial about the vast failures of the bahai system.

    bahai is full of very bad ideas.

    bahai is full of very methods that will inevitable cause failure, and thus alienation amongst the "mass taught" when the bahai system "lets them down".

    "mass teaching" brings the predators out of the bahai woodwork, looking for a "spiritual quick fix" (emotional elevation of ego) by "converting" vulnerable people.

    It is a very sick and dehumanizing way of being, and bahai culture provides all sorts of ways to rationalize the disgusting predatory behavior.

    all the sugar coating in the world won't change it.

  • fubar

    I've actually seen two "mass teaching" projects in the USA, and both fell flat after initial gains that went on for a year or two.

    The "spiritual junk food" available to such new bahais is not going to keep anyone alive, expect the horrible apologists/polemicists amongst the bahai elites that insist on being in denial about the vast failures of the bahai system.

    bahai is full of very bad ideas.

    bahai is full of very methods that will inevitable cause failure, and thus alienation amongst the "mass taught" when the bahai system "lets them down".

    "mass teaching" brings the predators out of the bahai woodwork, looking for a "spiritual quick fix" (emotional elevation of ego) by "converting" vulnerable people.

    It is a very sick and dehumanizing way of being, and bahai culture provides all sorts of ways to rationalize the disgusting predatory behavior.

    all the sugar coating in the world won't change it.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    your long, presumably culturally conditioned, and repeated "tactic" for dealing with people that have valid criticisms of various problems with bahai culture and organization is to imply that the critic is "spiritually inferior".

    the arrogant aloofeness of your "Tactic" frequently makes people angry, which you also frequently use as an opportunity to not be honest about how bad your ideas are, but rather to additionally insult the other person for being "spiritually inferior".

    your appalling fakeness, with its saccarine-sweet coating, is a perfect example of how something is deeply wrong with a lot of bahai thinking. it simultaneously has the appearance of expertise, and a vast emptiness and meaninglessness.

    that is the perfect image of mainstream bahai thinking and culture.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    your long, presumably culturally conditioned, and repeated "tactic" for dealing with people that have valid criticisms of various problems with bahai culture and organization is to imply that the critic is "spiritually inferior".

    the arrogant aloofeness of your "Tactic" frequently makes people angry, which you also frequently use as an opportunity to not be honest about how bad your ideas are, but rather to additionally insult the other person for being "spiritually inferior".

    your appalling fakeness, with its saccarine-sweet coating, is a perfect example of how something is deeply wrong with a lot of bahai thinking. it simultaneously has the appearance of expertise, and a vast emptiness and meaninglessness.

    that is the perfect image of mainstream bahai thinking and culture.

  • Grover

    You're absolutely right. It will lead to some Baha'is using the same tactics as used by various born again christian movements who prey on newly enrolled international students at schools and universities, targeting vulnerable people new to a country with a promise of companionship and community, for the sole purpose of saving their soul. In the Baha'i case it will be so a cluster can go up a rank. It doesn't matter about the morality of it, after all, the Baha'i Faith is the truth.

  • Grover

    You're absolutely right. It will lead to some Baha'is using the same tactics as used by various born again christian movements who prey on newly enrolled international students at schools and universities, targeting vulnerable people new to a country with a promise of companionship and community, for the sole purpose of saving their soul. In the Baha'i case it will be so a cluster can go up a rank. It doesn't matter about the morality of it, after all, the Baha'i Faith is the truth.

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

    Hi Farhan,

    You wrote:
    Pey, I find it surprising that you consider being a child, once it has been said that this refers to the purity and the spiritual capacity and flexibility for learning and spiritual growth, as quoted for us all, whatever our age and experience, by the Baha’i teachings as insulting.

    Oh yes, very childish.

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

    Hi Farhan,

    You wrote:
    Pey, I find it surprising that you consider being a child, once it has been said that this refers to the purity and the spiritual capacity and flexibility for learning and spiritual growth, as quoted for us all, whatever our age and experience, by the Baha’i teachings as insulting.

    Oh yes, very childish.

  • Pey

    Thank you for someone who understands what Farhan is doing here! It is the exact same environment that is fostered inside the Bahai community. As long as insults and thought control is presented in a sweet fashion with lots of quotes from Abdul-Baha, then the perpetrator can get it away with it and look like a very humble "servant" only defending the Word of God…. and everybody else as enemies. Unfortunately it's culturally a very Persian way of doing things. I'm Iranian, been brought up in it all my life, so I'm very familiar with this sad state of Bahai culture.

  • Pey

    Thank you for someone who understands what Farhan is doing here! It is the exact same environment that is fostered inside the Bahai community. As long as insults and thought control is presented in a sweet fashion with lots of quotes from Abdul-Baha, then the perpetrator can get it away with it and look like a very humble "servant" only defending the Word of God…. and everybody else as enemies. Unfortunately it's culturally a very Persian way of doing things. I'm Iranian, been brought up in it all my life, so I'm very familiar with this sad state of Bahai culture.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: Thank you for someone who understands what Farhan is doing here! It is the exact same environment that is fostered inside the Bahai community.

    What exactly am I doing here? Have you, throughout my postings, seen a single allusion to someone as an ennemy? If I am the exact replica of Baha'i thought, supporting my views by Abdu'l-Baha's statements, don't I have a right to call myself a Baha'i ?
    "For like seeketh like, and taketh pleasure in the company of its kind."
    (Hidden Words (83:2)

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

    Pey wrote: Thank you for someone who understands what Farhan is doing here! It is the exact same environment that is fostered inside the Bahai community.

    What exactly am I doing here? Have you, throughout my postings, seen a single allusion to someone as an ennemy? If I am the exact replica of Baha'i thought, supporting my views by Abdu'l-Baha's statements, don't I have a right to call myself a Baha'i ?
    "For like seeketh like, and taketh pleasure in the company of its kind."
    (Hidden Words (83:2)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, I would characterize the pattern of your logorrhea as daintily decorated obfuscation. I’ve presented very simple questions but you simply dance around them and fill the air with more and more words without addressing any issue head on. There are many examples but the most recent was your preposterous statement that Ruhi and the IPGs are not about teaching. This laughable assertion when every single page of the document from the ITC mentions expansion, growth, and teaching over and over again. Then you said, and I’m not making this up! “it isn’t about teaching but about teaching would be teachers to raise the number and quality of future human resources”.

    And when asked for results, which is what my post was about, you simply asserted, “the results are there”. Look, I understand. You see yourself as a staunch Baha’i and as such you will fight tooth and nail any and all criticisms. But you are displaying fundamentalist inspired lunacy. Your knee jerk reaction is to come to defend against what you perceive to be an attack on your Faith. Instead, if you were able to just pause and use your intellectual faculties rather than allowing your emotional ones free reign you would realize that one, I’m not attacking the Baha’i Faith, two, perhaps some of the issues I raise are valid, and three, by behaving the way you have been, you’re not helping things at all.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, I would characterize the pattern of your logorrhea as daintily decorated obfuscation. I’ve presented very simple questions but you simply dance around them and fill the air with more and more words without addressing any issue head on. There are many examples but the most recent was your preposterous statement that Ruhi and the IPGs are not about teaching. This laughable assertion when every single page of the document from the ITC mentions expansion, growth, and teaching over and over again. Then you said, and I’m not making this up! “it isn’t about teaching but about teaching would be teachers to raise the number and quality of future human resources”.

    And when asked for results, which is what my post was about, you simply asserted, “the results are there”. Look, I understand. You see yourself as a staunch Baha’i and as such you will fight tooth and nail any and all criticisms. But you are displaying fundamentalist inspired lunacy. Your knee jerk reaction is to come to defend against what you perceive to be an attack on your Faith. Instead, if you were able to just pause and use your intellectual faculties rather than allowing your emotional ones free reign you would realize that one, I’m not attacking the Baha’i Faith, two, perhaps some of the issues I raise are valid, and three, by behaving the way you have been, you’re not helping things at all.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: when asked for results after 40 years of Ruhi you answer: "The results were abundant 50 years ago; as they are now, undeniable to any unbiased observer"(snip) I'm assuming that you are familiar with the scientific process and critical thinking. So either you are choosing to be ignorant or you can't help it. Either way, it is pretty sad.

    Baquia, you are reducing the vast enterprise of the institute process to Ruhi books which are merely one specialised instrument in a vast educational system.
    The institute produced outstanding results as Dars-Akhlag in Iran in the 1940s, and in the Teacher training Institutes I witnessed as a child in East Africa in the 1950s. It has totally transformed the French community during my 5 year absence and my own attitude to teaching. As the UHJ pointed out in the Ridvan letter, this is the result of the close interaction of seekers and believers with the Divine Word.

    Obviously lacking interaction with Baha’is and faith in the promises of the Blessed Beauty, you are ignoring the rising spirit that animates this community and noisily pointing out that all those who do book 1 do not go through the whole sequence, exposing small learning mistakes here and there,

    I have asked for statistics I will produce, which will only lead you to vilipending some other point you will have pulled out from the dustbins of irrelevance.

    Baquia, I am not talking about myself, but of the Baha'i faith. You are questioning my competence, instead of trying to understand the message, trying to hide your obvious lack of first hand information on the Baha’i community by churning bits of and pieces of irrelevant information picked up here and there; it’s like trying to misjudge a restaurant by exposing it’s dustbins instead of sitting down at table and getting served a good meal.

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

    Baquia wrote: when asked for results after 40 years of Ruhi you answer: "The results were abundant 50 years ago; as they are now, undeniable to any unbiased observer"(snip) I'm assuming that you are familiar with the scientific process and critical thinking. So either you are choosing to be ignorant or you can't help it. Either way, it is pretty sad.

    Baquia, you are reducing the vast enterprise of the institute process to Ruhi books which are merely one specialised instrument in a vast educational system.
    The institute produced outstanding results as Dars-Akhlag in Iran in the 1940s, and in the Teacher training Institutes I witnessed as a child in East Africa in the 1950s. It has totally transformed the French community during my 5 year absence and my own attitude to teaching. As the UHJ pointed out in the Ridvan letter, this is the result of the close interaction of seekers and believers with the Divine Word.

    Obviously lacking interaction with Baha’is and faith in the promises of the Blessed Beauty, you are ignoring the rising spirit that animates this community and noisily pointing out that all those who do book 1 do not go through the whole sequence, exposing small learning mistakes here and there,

    I have asked for statistics I will produce, which will only lead you to vilipending some other point you will have pulled out from the dustbins of irrelevance.

    Baquia, I am not talking about myself, but of the Baha'i faith. You are questioning my competence, instead of trying to understand the message, trying to hide your obvious lack of first hand information on the Baha’i community by churning bits of and pieces of irrelevant information picked up here and there; it’s like trying to misjudge a restaurant by exposing it’s dustbins instead of sitting down at table and getting served a good meal.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, I’m not reducing “the vast enterprise of the institute process to Ruhi books”, I’m simply asking a valid question about the efficacy of Ruhi. You are the one that is changing the subject and in the process building a straw-man argument. I look forward to any fact based evidence that you may present re the efficacy of Ruhi, in France or elsewhere. This is what I’m after. Hopefully by grounding your responses in facts, we can avoid the unproductive verbiage.

    Furthermore, your claim that I lack first hand knowledge of the Baha’i community is even more laughable than your claim that IPGs are not about teaching. The falsity of this assertion is clear to anyone who has read this blog. I’ve repeatedly broken stories here that has taken NSAs and UHJ days to communicate to the wider community. You have absolutely no idea who I am and how well I’m plugged in. So please, for your own sake, do not make yourself look like a bigger fool than you already have.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, I’m not reducing “the vast enterprise of the institute process to Ruhi books”, I’m simply asking a valid question about the efficacy of Ruhi. You are the one that is changing the subject and in the process building a straw-man argument. I look forward to any fact based evidence that you may present re the efficacy of Ruhi, in France or elsewhere. This is what I’m after. Hopefully by grounding your responses in facts, we can avoid the unproductive verbiage.

    Furthermore, your claim that I lack first hand knowledge of the Baha’i community is even more laughable than your claim that IPGs are not about teaching. The falsity of this assertion is clear to anyone who has read this blog. I’ve repeatedly broken stories here that has taken NSAs and UHJ days to communicate to the wider community. You have absolutely no idea who I am and how well I’m plugged in. So please, for your own sake, do not make yourself look like a bigger fool than you already have.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote : I look forward to any fact based evidence that you may present re the efficacy of Ruhi, in France or elsewhere.
    Baquia, I will provide you with the statistics from the French convention ASAP.
    Meanwhile, growth is not only determined by the number of enrolments, but by many other factors such the number of core activities organised, the attendance at these activities and some factors outside numerical growth difficult to evaluate, such as the enthusiasm, the unity, coordination, communication, capacities and skills within the community. The growth of a tree is not only determined by height, but by the solidity of roots, size of the trunk and state of buds, leaves and twigs.
    Besides, you are twisting my words which were:
    “The Institute, in addition, does not only aim at teaching, but at teaching would be teachers how to help rise the number AND the quality of future human resources”

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

    Baquia wrote : I look forward to any fact based evidence that you may present re the efficacy of Ruhi, in France or elsewhere.
    Baquia, I will provide you with the statistics from the French convention ASAP.
    Meanwhile, growth is not only determined by the number of enrolments, but by many other factors such the number of core activities organised, the attendance at these activities and some factors outside numerical growth difficult to evaluate, such as the enthusiasm, the unity, coordination, communication, capacities and skills within the community. The growth of a tree is not only determined by height, but by the solidity of roots, size of the trunk and state of buds, leaves and twigs.
    Besides, you are twisting my words which were:
    “The Institute, in addition, does not only aim at teaching, but at teaching would be teachers how to help rise the number AND the quality of future human resources”

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, you said “growth is not only determined by the number of enrollments”
    If you had read this post (to which you’ve commented innumerably) you would have noticed that it mentions exactly the same point. May I suggest that you give a tiny bit more time and attention actually reading before commenting? It may increase the quality of our discussion. This is merely a suggestion but one that I feel is valid since your knee jerk reaction is to fly off to defend a perceived attack on the Faith rather than addressing the valid points and questions I raise.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan, you said “growth is not only determined by the number of enrollments”
    If you had read this post (to which you’ve commented innumerably) you would have noticed that it mentions exactly the same point. May I suggest that you give a tiny bit more time and attention actually reading before commenting? It may increase the quality of our discussion. This is merely a suggestion but one that I feel is valid since your knee jerk reaction is to fly off to defend a perceived attack on the Faith rather than addressing the valid points and questions I raise.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: your knee jerk reaction is to fly off to defend a perceived attack on the Faith rather than addressing the valid points and questions I raise.

    Baquia, God does not need my protection ; we all need His. My purpose in lingering here is not to defend God’s revelation, but just hoping to learn by examining the writings from a different view-point..

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

    Baquia wrote: your knee jerk reaction is to fly off to defend a perceived attack on the Faith rather than addressing the valid points and questions I raise.

    Baquia, God does not need my protection ; we all need His. My purpose in lingering here is not to defend God’s revelation, but just hoping to learn by examining the writings from a different view-point..

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Riiiight… that would explain why you comment a dozen times in a day but somehow forget to actually read what the blog you are commenting on has written.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Riiiight… that would explain why you comment a dozen times in a day but somehow forget to actually read what the blog you are commenting on has written.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: Riiiight… that would explain why you comment a dozen times in a day but somehow forget to actually read what the blog you are commenting on has written.

    Baquia, this is your blog and I am merely attempting to reply to a subject you repeatedly bring up which questions the divinely guided nature of Baha’i Institutions. I am not sure what your purpose is, but if you and others repeat your questions, I repeat my answers.

    You will also notice that I never make personal comments on the writers of this blog but on ideas, nor am I in the least concerned about the misjudgements I read other than on the ideas I present here. As the tests of life chip away our infantile narcissism, our ego wears down to a mere core of adult self-respect.

    Once again, Internet is precious for exchanging ideas but very poor in trying to judge the holders of those ideas or compensating personal contact we might be missing in our every day lives, which unfortunately is what some people seek on blogs, and which explains why the exchange skids out into personal comments.

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

    Baquia wrote: Riiiight… that would explain why you comment a dozen times in a day but somehow forget to actually read what the blog you are commenting on has written.

    Baquia, this is your blog and I am merely attempting to reply to a subject you repeatedly bring up which questions the divinely guided nature of Baha’i Institutions. I am not sure what your purpose is, but if you and others repeat your questions, I repeat my answers.

    You will also notice that I never make personal comments on the writers of this blog but on ideas, nor am I in the least concerned about the misjudgements I read other than on the ideas I present here. As the tests of life chip away our infantile narcissism, our ego wears down to a mere core of adult self-respect.

    Once again, Internet is precious for exchanging ideas but very poor in trying to judge the holders of those ideas or compensating personal contact we might be missing in our every day lives, which unfortunately is what some people seek on blogs, and which explains why the exchange skids out into personal comments.

  • Grover

    "divinely guided nature of Baha’i Institutions"

    Where is the physical evidence that they are divinely guided? There is none.

    "if you and others repeat your questions, I repeat my answers"

    We repeat our questions because you give crap answers filled with rhetoric, jargon, buzzwords etc.

    "nor am I in the least concerned about the misjudgements I read"

    You should be. If you actually paid any attention to what everyone else has said instead of mouthing off all the time and trotting out your crap replies, you would probably be received a lot better.

    "Once again, Internet is precious for exchanging ideas but very poor in trying to judge the holders of those ideas or compensating personal contact we might be missing in our every day lives, which unfortunately is what some people seek on blogs, and which explains why the exchange skids out into personal comments."

    Stop passing the buck, man up, and take the blame for the flak you get. Your problem is the typical fundamentalist problem, you sit there and listen (read) politely and ignore everything that has been said because it doesn't fit with your highly indoctrinated world view and belief system, and then mouth off a whole load of rhetoric that the rest of us has rejected long ago, and then wonder why you receive so much crap. Then you take the typical Peter Khan approach and assume its due to our deficient spiritual consciousness rather than admit the real problem is with you and the Faith. Its like a white supremest wondering why the blacks are giving him crap all the time. A white supremest doesn't mind if there are asians, hindus, hispanics, african americans, so long as they all behave and think like him. If they don't, well, they're primitive little buggers, uneducated, and he, in his arrogance, never ever thinks that they have a legitimate right to be who they are. You are exactly the same as that biggoted supremest, and its alright, you "know" the "truth", you "know" what "God wants", you're carrying out "God's plan". Those white supremests were Christians, they "knew" the "truth", they were carrying out "God's plan". But just because they thought they "knew" the "truth" didn't make them right, just as it doesn't make you right.

  • Grover

    "divinely guided nature of Baha’i Institutions"

    Where is the physical evidence that they are divinely guided? There is none.

    "if you and others repeat your questions, I repeat my answers"

    We repeat our questions because you give crap answers filled with rhetoric, jargon, buzzwords etc.

    "nor am I in the least concerned about the misjudgements I read"

    You should be. If you actually paid any attention to what everyone else has said instead of mouthing off all the time and trotting out your crap replies, you would probably be received a lot better.

    "Once again, Internet is precious for exchanging ideas but very poor in trying to judge the holders of those ideas or compensating personal contact we might be missing in our every day lives, which unfortunately is what some people seek on blogs, and which explains why the exchange skids out into personal comments."

    Stop passing the buck, man up, and take the blame for the flak you get. Your problem is the typical fundamentalist problem, you sit there and listen (read) politely and ignore everything that has been said because it doesn't fit with your highly indoctrinated world view and belief system, and then mouth off a whole load of rhetoric that the rest of us has rejected long ago, and then wonder why you receive so much crap. Then you take the typical Peter Khan approach and assume its due to our deficient spiritual consciousness rather than admit the real problem is with you and the Faith. Its like a white supremest wondering why the blacks are giving him crap all the time. A white supremest doesn't mind if there are asians, hindus, hispanics, african americans, so long as they all behave and think like him. If they don't, well, they're primitive little buggers, uneducated, and he, in his arrogance, never ever thinks that they have a legitimate right to be who they are. You are exactly the same as that biggoted supremest, and its alright, you "know" the "truth", you "know" what "God wants", you're carrying out "God's plan". Those white supremests were Christians, they "knew" the "truth", they were carrying out "God's plan". But just because they thought they "knew" the "truth" didn't make them right, just as it doesn't make you right.

  • fubar

    (Baquia – MS IE apparently works to post comments again!)

    Farhan said: "I am not sure what your purpose is"

    This is a flabbergastingly extraordinary admission by Farhan that he is COMPLETELY CLUELESS and incapable of exercising any deductive reasoning.

    After reading endless articles and posts on this blog, Farhan is still incapable of overcoming his "bahai" brainwashing and grasping the basic problems with bahai culture and bahai organization.

    Amazing. And typical.

  • fubar

    (Baquia – MS IE apparently works to post comments again!)

    Farhan said: "I am not sure what your purpose is"

    This is a flabbergastingly extraordinary admission by Farhan that he is COMPLETELY CLUELESS and incapable of exercising any deductive reasoning.

    After reading endless articles and posts on this blog, Farhan is still incapable of overcoming his "bahai" brainwashing and grasping the basic problems with bahai culture and bahai organization.

    Amazing. And typical.

  • fubar

    Thanks.

    Farhan is trying to sugar-coat poo. When someone points out that "poo is still poo", then he acts flustered that the "spiritually inferior" critic doesn't understand how great sugar is.

    Farhan is simply ignoring the need for truth and honesty (which can be found in profusion in the bahai scriptures), and as such demonstrates the kinds of lies and deception that have become characteristic of "mainstream" (dysfunctional) bahai culture.

    Farhan simultaneously attempts to promote and undermine the integrity of a religion. Absurd. And typical of why so many things are wrong with bahai. Farhan is exactly the kind of person that "gets away" with this kind of nonsense in the bahai community, and is recognized by the AO/tribalists for "upholding the faith", or similar idiocy.

    Please consider joining/studying the integral movement:

    http://www.vastsky.org
    -
    http://integrallife.com/node/37558

  • fubar

    Thanks.

    Farhan is trying to sugar-coat poo. When someone points out that "poo is still poo", then he acts flustered that the "spiritually inferior" critic doesn't understand how great sugar is.

    Farhan is simply ignoring the need for truth and honesty (which can be found in profusion in the bahai scriptures), and as such demonstrates the kinds of lies and deception that have become characteristic of "mainstream" (dysfunctional) bahai culture.

    Farhan simultaneously attempts to promote and undermine the integrity of a religion. Absurd. And typical of why so many things are wrong with bahai. Farhan is exactly the kind of person that "gets away" with this kind of nonsense in the bahai community, and is recognized by the AO/tribalists for "upholding the faith", or similar idiocy.

    Please consider joining/studying the integral movement:

    http://www.vastsky.org
    -
    http://integrallife.com/node/37558

  • pey

    Oh no Farhan. You NEVER make personal comments, you just allude to those who have different views as being child like. Then back peddle to explain by saying that being child like is ok. Then use a quote from Abdul-Baha to explain how we should teach those who are childlike and ignorant- thus meaning that YOU are the enlightened one here to save these poor children from theig ignorance. Farhan your words come through insulting and playing innocent doesn't absolve you. I know what you are doing as do others. It kind of reminds me of my friend's wild kid who used to get into trouble. He was a smooth talker that kid- you would have thought he was a little angel. And when his mom would catch him, he would just look all innocent and ask "what, who me?"

  • pey

    Oh no Farhan. You NEVER make personal comments, you just allude to those who have different views as being child like. Then back peddle to explain by saying that being child like is ok. Then use a quote from Abdul-Baha to explain how we should teach those who are childlike and ignorant- thus meaning that YOU are the enlightened one here to save these poor children from theig ignorance. Farhan your words come through insulting and playing innocent doesn't absolve you. I know what you are doing as do others. It kind of reminds me of my friend's wild kid who used to get into trouble. He was a smooth talker that kid- you would have thought he was a little angel. And when his mom would catch him, he would just look all innocent and ask "what, who me?"

  • pey

    Strangely enough, I have more respect for the crazy straight out fundamentalist Bahais that come on here and and just tell all of us that we are a bunch of enemies trying to hurt the Faith. At least they speak honestly.

  • pey

    Strangely enough, I have more respect for the crazy straight out fundamentalist Bahais that come on here and and just tell all of us that we are a bunch of enemies trying to hurt the Faith. At least they speak honestly.

  • Craig Parke

    Pey,

    Nobody could hurt the Baha'i Faith any worse than the current people running it. So nobody has reason to fear anyone here. The people who post here really did once deep;y care about the Faith. But now it is hopeless because the Faith can be changed at any time for any reason by the people currently running it as they see fit. they are the Voice of God on Earth and everyone else isn't. So everybody may as well get over it and just try to move on to doing their best in manifesting the powers of the New World Age in their personal daily life. There is plenty to do in the arena of life as it happens in what comes to you each day. The Faith has all the top down answers for everyone on Earth with no fuss and no muss. So we all should just move on in the arena of deeds not words and let the spiritually dead bury the spiritually dead in the iron Comintern Faith. We are all outcasts now anyway. They would prefer that we all just go away and never be heard from again and they will eventually get what they want.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    Pey,

    Nobody could hurt the Baha'i Faith any worse than the current people running it. So nobody has reason to fear anyone here. The people who post here really did once deep;y care about the Faith. But now it is hopeless because the Faith can be changed at any time for any reason by the people currently running it as they see fit. they are the Voice of God on Earth and everyone else isn't. So everybody may as well get over it and just try to move on to doing their best in manifesting the powers of the New World Age in their personal daily life. There is plenty to do in the arena of life as it happens in what comes to you each day. The Faith has all the top down answers for everyone on Earth with no fuss and no muss. So we all should just move on in the arena of deeds not words and let the spiritually dead bury the spiritually dead in the iron Comintern Faith. We are all outcasts now anyway. They would prefer that we all just go away and never be heard from again and they will eventually get what they want.

    So it goes.

  • farhan

    Pey, I am by no means “back-pedaling”; you might consider yourself victimized by comments specifically directed at you, but they apply to all humanity, including myself, and they are the exact opinion I expressed in 1993 (LA DIMENSION SPIRITUELLE DES RELATIONS MERE-ENFANT Relation mère-enfant, © Harmattan 1999, ISBN 2-7384-7884-0), long before I exchanged messages with you.

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

    Pey, I am by no means “back-pedaling”; you might consider yourself victimized by comments specifically directed at you, but they apply to all humanity, including myself, and they are the exact opinion I expressed in 1993 (LA DIMENSION SPIRITUELLE DES RELATIONS MERE-ENFANT Relation mère-enfant, © Harmattan 1999, ISBN 2-7384-7884-0), long before I exchanged messages with you.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: I have more respect for the crazy straight out fundamentalist Bahais that come on here and and just tell all of us that we are a bunch of enemies

    Well Pey, perhaps it is not that strange, because we live in a world infested by the idea that in every relation there must always be a persecutor and someone persecuted. Just exchange of ideas is something unexpected and unbelievable.

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

    Pey wrote: I have more respect for the crazy straight out fundamentalist Bahais that come on here and and just tell all of us that we are a bunch of enemies

    Well Pey, perhaps it is not that strange, because we live in a world infested by the idea that in every relation there must always be a persecutor and someone persecuted. Just exchange of ideas is something unexpected and unbelievable.

  • Pey

    I am not being victimized by you Farhan. I'm just trying to expose false piety- you know what I'm talking about- the act that many of my fellow Persians do- hiding behind Abdul-Baha's quote to basically get the upperhand in a conversation? I am fine with Abdul-Baha saying whatever he said. I DON'T need a Bahai using such quotes to tell others that they are ignorant children and he's here to educate them in God's way (which translates to my fundamentalist Bahai viewpoint as the only valid viewpoint inside the official Bahai community.). So keep insulting Farhan and I'll keep exposing you.

  • Pey

    I am not being victimized by you Farhan. I'm just trying to expose false piety- you know what I'm talking about- the act that many of my fellow Persians do- hiding behind Abdul-Baha's quote to basically get the upperhand in a conversation? I am fine with Abdul-Baha saying whatever he said. I DON'T need a Bahai using such quotes to tell others that they are ignorant children and he's here to educate them in God's way (which translates to my fundamentalist Bahai viewpoint as the only valid viewpoint inside the official Bahai community.). So keep insulting Farhan and I'll keep exposing you.

  • pey

    LOL! But Baquia according to Farhan the doctor is being guided by God. So he can't make a mistake. Even if the patient dies- it is not a mistake. It is all a plan, a great big plan. Meanwhile nothing is getting done in the world except a lot of talk and committee meetings… hohum.

  • pey

    LOL! But Baquia according to Farhan the doctor is being guided by God. So he can't make a mistake. Even if the patient dies- it is not a mistake. It is all a plan, a great big plan. Meanwhile nothing is getting done in the world except a lot of talk and committee meetings… hohum.

  • Grover

    Wow Baquia! Such sharp wit! and you tell me off for being frank!

    From Wiki -A sophist is a user of sophisms, i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. A sophist tries to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether his argument is logical and factual.

  • Grover

    Wow Baquia! Such sharp wit! and you tell me off for being frank!

    From Wiki -A sophist is a user of sophisms, i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. A sophist tries to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether his argument is logical and factual.

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

    Farhan, I've looked but I can't find a recent comment where you have actually responded to something I've written. Perhaps I've missed it so please point it out to me. For example, let's take this thread to which you've commented repeatedly. Where do you address any of the number of points that I have raised? the Willow Creek experience? the cultural framework in relation to Ruhi? or about my query regarding the efficacy of Ruhi? After much back and forth, you begrudgingly said that you would provide some evidence (after previously giving an ethereal response that the 'evidence is everywhere'). And we're still waiting.

    As you have no doubt noticed by now, you are welcome here to exchange ideas. But I have yet to see you actually engaged in a dialogue which even remotely resembles addressing a point or issue that is raised on the blog. But while all are welcome here to exchange ideas in a fruitful manner, did you know that the same courtesy isn't extended by other Baha'i bloggers? That if you disagree with them they censor your comments and erase them?

    I do not doubt your sincerity nor your aspiration to be a good Baha'i. What I do notice is that we approach life from different perspectives. For example, consider this research done on business organizations:

    "After researching more than 750 major business failures in great depth, we came to the conclusion that humans are wired for poor decision-making," says Chunka Mui, a co-author of Billion-Dollar Lessons. "Ego, sunk costs, emotions, self-interest, etc., lead to blind spots. The not-so-intelligent have the same issues, it's just that the stakes are lower". Mui's excavations of ruined business plans led him to conclude that a wise organization vigorously questions its own clever ideas; dissent is encouraged, and skepticism is built in.

    Now of course, a business organization is different from a Baha'i institution. But not that different. They are made up of human beings, with the same frailties, engaged in gathering information and making decisions to arrive at a goal. The mistake that we make is to take deference to authority to an obscene level. There is much wisdom in the Bab's naming of a whole month after Questions. And in Baha'u'llah's in keeping the name. What does that mean if we don't actually use our minds to engage in critical thinking and ask questions? How degenerate when the mere act of asking questions is reduced to blasphemy!

    If I may, I'd like to share with you a story from the medical field which may shed some light on our two separate approaches. Perhaps you've already read "Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention" by Cohen & Davis. In it the authors delve into the process errors that creep into the practice of medicine. In one case, they provide the example of a doctor who, after diagnosing a patient, wrote instructions for the nurse to administer ear drops to the patient's right ear. Of course, being in a hurry, the doctor scribbled: "place in R ear"

    The nurse promptly put the requisite amount of ear drops in the patient's rectum. Now the nurse wasn't stupid. She knew that ear medicine shouldn't go into the rectum. But she had been conditioned by years of experience that you do whatever the doctor says. He or she is the authority! You do not question the doctor! You automatically obey.

    Getting back to our present discussion, it seems to me that we are two different nurses. You are ready to turn the patient over and administer the 'medicine'. While I'm over here shaking my head saying, it doesn't make sense. Before we insert Ruhi into the Baha'i community… let us pause and ask whether this is the right thing to do. Now, you may be right. After all, as Paul Lample said, what do our pyramids look like in our clusters?

    But then again, if our clusters look like pyramids, it is high time to consult a good proctologist.

    (ps you may have the last word on this and other matters. when it comes to sophistry I can not hope to ever equal your skill)

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

    Farhan, I've looked but I can't find a recent comment where you have actually responded to something I've written. Perhaps I've missed it so please point it out to me. For example, let's take this thread to which you've commented repeatedly. Where do you address any of the number of points that I have raised? the Willow Creek experience? the cultural framework in relation to Ruhi? or about my query regarding the efficacy of Ruhi? After much back and forth, you begrudgingly said that you would provide some evidence (after previously giving an ethereal response that the 'evidence is everywhere'). And we're still waiting.

    As you have no doubt noticed by now, you are welcome here to exchange ideas. But I have yet to see you actually engaged in a dialogue which even remotely resembles addressing a point or issue that is raised on the blog. But while all are welcome here to exchange ideas in a fruitful manner, did you know that the same courtesy isn't extended by other Baha'i bloggers? That if you disagree with them they censor your comments and erase them?

    I do not doubt your sincerity nor your aspiration to be a good Baha'i. What I do notice is that we approach life from different perspectives. For example, consider this research done on business organizations:

    "After researching more than 750 major business failures in great depth, we came to the conclusion that humans are wired for poor decision-making," says Chunka Mui, a co-author of Billion-Dollar Lessons. "Ego, sunk costs, emotions, self-interest, etc., lead to blind spots. The not-so-intelligent have the same issues, it's just that the stakes are lower". Mui's excavations of ruined business plans led him to conclude that a wise organization vigorously questions its own clever ideas; dissent is encouraged, and skepticism is built in.

    Now of course, a business organization is different from a Baha'i institution. But not that different. They are made up of human beings, with the same frailties, engaged in gathering information and making decisions to arrive at a goal. The mistake that we make is to take deference to authority to an obscene level. There is much wisdom in the Bab's naming of a whole month after Questions. And in Baha'u'llah's in keeping the name. What does that mean if we don't actually use our minds to engage in critical thinking and ask questions? How degenerate when the mere act of asking questions is reduced to blasphemy!

    If I may, I'd like to share with you a story from the medical field which may shed some light on our two separate approaches. Perhaps you've already read "Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention" by Cohen & Davis. In it the authors delve into the process errors that creep into the practice of medicine. In one case, they provide the example of a doctor who, after diagnosing a patient, wrote instructions for the nurse to administer ear drops to the patient's right ear. Of course, being in a hurry, the doctor scribbled: "place in R ear"

    The nurse promptly put the requisite amount of ear drops in the patient's rectum. Now the nurse wasn't stupid. She knew that ear medicine shouldn't go into the rectum. But she had been conditioned by years of experience that you do whatever the doctor says. He or she is the authority! You do not question the doctor! You automatically obey.

    Getting back to our present discussion, it seems to me that we are two different nurses. You are ready to turn the patient over and administer the 'medicine'. While I'm over here shaking my head saying, it doesn't make sense. Before we insert Ruhi into the Baha'i community… let us pause and ask whether this is the right thing to do. Now, you may be right. After all, as Paul Lample said, what do our pyramids look like in our clusters?

    But then again, if our clusters look like pyramids, it is high time to consult a good proctologist.

    (ps you may have the last word on this and other matters. when it comes to sophistry I can not hope to ever equal your skill)

  • farhan

    Baquia, thanks for honouring me with this long post to which I will soon reply point-by-point, hair-by-hair. I have received the French statistics on paper and I will copy some figures, but I am sure the ITC would be happy to provide details of the more than 1000 intensive growth programmes around the world. France is only engaged in 9.

    As to your comment about proctology, you are once again referring to an area of human activity very commonly referred to in messages on your blog. In a garden, flies are attracted to manure, and bees to flowers. Both do God's work in the garden. Some consider reality as sugar-coated manure, I consider reality as biological machine converting manure into flowers, a negative entropy enterprise converting disruption and decay into organisation and beauty.

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

    Baquia, thanks for honouring me with this long post to which I will soon reply point-by-point, hair-by-hair. I have received the French statistics on paper and I will copy some figures, but I am sure the ITC would be happy to provide details of the more than 1000 intensive growth programmes around the world. France is only engaged in 9.

    As to your comment about proctology, you are once again referring to an area of human activity very commonly referred to in messages on your blog. In a garden, flies are attracted to manure, and bees to flowers. Both do God's work in the garden. Some consider reality as sugar-coated manure, I consider reality as biological machine converting manure into flowers, a negative entropy enterprise converting disruption and decay into organisation and beauty.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    With all due respect, I cannot grasp your analogy here? It is making my head hurt! So I guess I had better go to bed as it is the dead of night here and then try to read it again in the morning to see if I can understand it. "Sugar-coated manure" is not a good image before bed time! But maybe I will have some interesting dreams?

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    With all due respect, I cannot grasp your analogy here? It is making my head hurt! So I guess I had better go to bed as it is the dead of night here and then try to read it again in the morning to see if I can understand it. "Sugar-coated manure" is not a good image before bed time! But maybe I will have some interesting dreams?

  • Grover

    So I guess in your round about way, you are saying that you are a dispenser of manure (BS, rhetoric, buzz words, and sophisms) and we are the gad flies or whatever that are attracted to that manure, feast upon it, tear it to bits (through logical and rational argument and sometimes verbal abuse) and eventually contribute to your manure spouting pretty flowers (i.e. everyone else recognises that you are full of manure and looks elsewhere for wisdom).

  • Grover

    So I guess in your round about way, you are saying that you are a dispenser of manure (BS, rhetoric, buzz words, and sophisms) and we are the gad flies or whatever that are attracted to that manure, feast upon it, tear it to bits (through logical and rational argument and sometimes verbal abuse) and eventually contribute to your manure spouting pretty flowers (i.e. everyone else recognises that you are full of manure and looks elsewhere for wisdom).

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: I cannot grasp your analogy here?

    Dear Craig, the phenomenon of life, whether mineral, biological, or social evolves naturally towards disintegration or entropy; the phenomenon of integration or negative entropy whic converts compost into flowers is "improbable" and for many, including myself, involves intervention from a higher level of existence. In a garden, some organisms such as flies and worms are involved in helping disintegration, preparing compost, and others like butterflies and bees are involved in pollinisation and fostering plant growth. They are all doing “God’s work” but attracted to different jobs. It is the same in society: some are attracting attention to dysfunctions, others are trying to construct. It so happens that on this blog, those attracting attention to dysfunctions are frequently using a scatological vocabulary. And some of these refer to my posts as "sugar coated c..p" I hope you dreamt of butterflies, flowers, fields and perfume and not of compost.

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

    Craig wrote: I cannot grasp your analogy here?

    Dear Craig, the phenomenon of life, whether mineral, biological, or social evolves naturally towards disintegration or entropy; the phenomenon of integration or negative entropy whic converts compost into flowers is "improbable" and for many, including myself, involves intervention from a higher level of existence. In a garden, some organisms such as flies and worms are involved in helping disintegration, preparing compost, and others like butterflies and bees are involved in pollinisation and fostering plant growth. They are all doing “God’s work” but attracted to different jobs. It is the same in society: some are attracting attention to dysfunctions, others are trying to construct. It so happens that on this blog, those attracting attention to dysfunctions are frequently using a scatological vocabulary. And some of these refer to my posts as "sugar coated c..p" I hope you dreamt of butterflies, flowers, fields and perfume and not of compost.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: So I guess in your round about way, you are saying that you are a dispenser of manure

    No Grover, I am saying that those who use scatological vocabulary are attracted to the same, and that they are irritated by my flowery language

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

    Grover wrote: So I guess in your round about way, you are saying that you are a dispenser of manure

    No Grover, I am saying that those who use scatological vocabulary are attracted to the same, and that they are irritated by my flowery language

  • Grover

    Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder – what is pretty flowers to you, and acceptable in a Baha'i sitting, is manure to everyone else. Must be a real benefit when it comes to sitting on one of those smelly portable toilet that all you see and smell are pretty flowers, where as everyone else sees it for what it is – crap. You'd make a great proctologist!

  • Grover

    Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder – what is pretty flowers to you, and acceptable in a Baha'i sitting, is manure to everyone else. Must be a real benefit when it comes to sitting on one of those smelly portable toilet that all you see and smell are pretty flowers, where as everyone else sees it for what it is – crap. You'd make a great proctologist!

  • farhan

    Baquia, We seem to agree that numerical results do not reflect the essential rise in the spirit of love, enthusiasm and efficiency of the community which characterise growth. I have recently witnessed this growth it the national convention here, you can do so by mingling in the activities wherever you are, whatever your status.

    The community is much more engaged in doing exciting activities rather than producing figures If you wish to have details of the UHJ Ridvan letter, you ask for them at the BWC and not through me. As promised, here are some figures, gleaned from a 35 page report, dating back to Feb 2009 when the 97 clusters in France were: 4 A, 5 B, 67 C and 21 D.

    In 165 BE, 4 clusters had moved from B to A, 5 from C to B. The total number of seekers enrolling in France in 165 EB has been 120, a rise by 3%, as compared to 164 EB. 73% of these were in priority groups. 63% of these new-comers have started the Ruhi sequence.

    In Feb 2009, 552 seekers were participating regularly in core activities, an increase by 24% as compared to 164 EB which was in itself 20% higher than 163 EB. During the period 164-165EB, 51.4% of believers had started the Ruhi sequence, as compared to 49% the previous year, the total number having completed the full Ruhi sequence so as to serve as tutors, rising from 312 to 347, i.e. by 11%. 18% of those having completed the sequence actually started their own study circle, as compared to 16% in 164.

    The number devotional meetings during this period rose by 37% as compared to the rise of 5% the previous year and the participation rose by 26% as compared to 20% in 164EB (30% in priority groups).
    In the 1990’s it was estimated that less than half of the children from Baha’i families in Europe became active in the Faith. We will need some time to determine the results, but we can already say that in France, 61 children’s classes are being run, 41% of children being those of seekers, as compared to 29% the previous year, with a rise of 9% in volunteers formed at running children’s classes through Ruhi book 3 against a 5% rise in 164 EB.

    The 27 pre-youth groups (a 25% rise in 165 EB) welcome 150 participants, (a 41% rise in 165 EB and 37% rise in 164 EB), 63% of participants being seekers There has been a 30% rise in potential animators having acquired skills through Ruhi book 5.
    Hope this is helpful; if you get global results from the BWC, please share.

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

    Baquia, We seem to agree that numerical results do not reflect the essential rise in the spirit of love, enthusiasm and efficiency of the community which characterise growth. I have recently witnessed this growth it the national convention here, you can do so by mingling in the activities wherever you are, whatever your status.

    The community is much more engaged in doing exciting activities rather than producing figures If you wish to have details of the UHJ Ridvan letter, you ask for them at the BWC and not through me. As promised, here are some figures, gleaned from a 35 page report, dating back to Feb 2009 when the 97 clusters in France were: 4 A, 5 B, 67 C and 21 D.

    In 165 BE, 4 clusters had moved from B to A, 5 from C to B. The total number of seekers enrolling in France in 165 EB has been 120, a rise by 3%, as compared to 164 EB. 73% of these were in priority groups. 63% of these new-comers have started the Ruhi sequence.

    In Feb 2009, 552 seekers were participating regularly in core activities, an increase by 24% as compared to 164 EB which was in itself 20% higher than 163 EB. During the period 164-165EB, 51.4% of believers had started the Ruhi sequence, as compared to 49% the previous year, the total number having completed the full Ruhi sequence so as to serve as tutors, rising from 312 to 347, i.e. by 11%. 18% of those having completed the sequence actually started their own study circle, as compared to 16% in 164.

    The number devotional meetings during this period rose by 37% as compared to the rise of 5% the previous year and the participation rose by 26% as compared to 20% in 164EB (30% in priority groups).
    In the 1990’s it was estimated that less than half of the children from Baha’i families in Europe became active in the Faith. We will need some time to determine the results, but we can already say that in France, 61 children’s classes are being run, 41% of children being those of seekers, as compared to 29% the previous year, with a rise of 9% in volunteers formed at running children’s classes through Ruhi book 3 against a 5% rise in 164 EB.

    The 27 pre-youth groups (a 25% rise in 165 EB) welcome 150 participants, (a 41% rise in 165 EB and 37% rise in 164 EB), 63% of participants being seekers There has been a 30% rise in potential animators having acquired skills through Ruhi book 5.
    Hope this is helpful; if you get global results from the BWC, please share.

  • farhan

    Baquia, to continue replies, I have never heard of the “Willow Creek experience” I have provided some statistics, although there is no reason why I should be providing evidence for what should be your personal experience with the institute, any more than I need to produce evidence that pioneering, fasting or prayers are good. Those who don’t like it do something else.

    Baquia : did you know that the same courtesy isn't extended by other Baha'i bloggers?

    Farhan: I agree this is an immature behaviour which will disappear as we grow. BTW I have had one comment removed here a week ago.

    Baquia: I do not doubt your sincerity nor your aspiration to be a good Baha'i.

    Farhan: Thank you for accepting me as sincere; this means you consider me as perhaps over refined, poet, idealist or snob, but not a sophist.

    Baquia: Mui's excavations of ruined business plans led him to conclude that a wise organization vigorously questions its own clever ideas; dissent is encouraged, and skepticism is built in.

    Farhan: I agree with this, otherwise I would not be here. But once again, there is a time, a place, and a manner for expressing diverging ideas.

    Baquia: What does that mean if we don't actually use our minds to engage in critical thinking and ask questions? How degenerate when the mere act of asking questions is reduced to blasphemy!

    Farhan: I agree: a very childish behaviour out of which we need to grow and in which you seem to have outgrown us.

    Baquia: He or she is the authority! You do not question the doctor! You automatically obey.

    Farhan: You remind me of Milgrain’s experiment; this is a daily struggle for me in a very complex profession that resorts to ultra conservatism to face the challenges and is then unable to change, leading to riots I refered to a year ago. The Faith went through this when Shoghi Effendi introduced the AO in 1929, and again the UHJ when the institute was introduced, changing some of the AO structures. You might have read Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” where he explains the limits of our adaptability to change.

    Baquia: Getting back to our present discussion, it seems to me that we are two different nurses. You are ready to turn the patient over and administer the 'medicine'.

    Farhan: it took me over a year of painful study before I fully understood the purpose of the institute, of which Ruhi is a tool, and to see how so many out of blind and sincere obedience were making mistakes which have now been overcome with splendid results.

    As to my wish to be a good doctor or a good Baha’i, I am eager to see the results and have outgrown the need for approbation or acceptation form anyone. I am regularly astonished at how often in messages here people feel the need to measure themselves to others, see who is dominating who, instead of seeing ourselves as brothers and sisters helping each other develop under the shadow of the same Father.

    If you have further points, please bring them up one by one and we will discuss them.

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

    Baquia, to continue replies, I have never heard of the “Willow Creek experience” I have provided some statistics, although there is no reason why I should be providing evidence for what should be your personal experience with the institute, any more than I need to produce evidence that pioneering, fasting or prayers are good. Those who don’t like it do something else.

    Baquia : did you know that the same courtesy isn't extended by other Baha'i bloggers?

    Farhan: I agree this is an immature behaviour which will disappear as we grow. BTW I have had one comment removed here a week ago.

    Baquia: I do not doubt your sincerity nor your aspiration to be a good Baha'i.

    Farhan: Thank you for accepting me as sincere; this means you consider me as perhaps over refined, poet, idealist or snob, but not a sophist.

    Baquia: Mui's excavations of ruined business plans led him to conclude that a wise organization vigorously questions its own clever ideas; dissent is encouraged, and skepticism is built in.

    Farhan: I agree with this, otherwise I would not be here. But once again, there is a time, a place, and a manner for expressing diverging ideas.

    Baquia: What does that mean if we don't actually use our minds to engage in critical thinking and ask questions? How degenerate when the mere act of asking questions is reduced to blasphemy!

    Farhan: I agree: a very childish behaviour out of which we need to grow and in which you seem to have outgrown us.

    Baquia: He or she is the authority! You do not question the doctor! You automatically obey.

    Farhan: You remind me of Milgrain’s experiment; this is a daily struggle for me in a very complex profession that resorts to ultra conservatism to face the challenges and is then unable to change, leading to riots I refered to a year ago. The Faith went through this when Shoghi Effendi introduced the AO in 1929, and again the UHJ when the institute was introduced, changing some of the AO structures. You might have read Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” where he explains the limits of our adaptability to change.

    Baquia: Getting back to our present discussion, it seems to me that we are two different nurses. You are ready to turn the patient over and administer the 'medicine'.

    Farhan: it took me over a year of painful study before I fully understood the purpose of the institute, of which Ruhi is a tool, and to see how so many out of blind and sincere obedience were making mistakes which have now been overcome with splendid results.

    As to my wish to be a good doctor or a good Baha’i, I am eager to see the results and have outgrown the need for approbation or acceptation form anyone. I am regularly astonished at how often in messages here people feel the need to measure themselves to others, see who is dominating who, instead of seeing ourselves as brothers and sisters helping each other develop under the shadow of the same Father.

    If you have further points, please bring them up one by one and we will discuss them.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder
    Of course, Grover and expressed in other words:

    “Yea, to the beetle a sweet fragrance seemeth foul, and to the man sick of a rheum a pleasant perfume is as naught.” (7 Valleys p 21)
    And again : “Yea, the abject beetle can never scent the fragrance of holiness, and the bat of darkness can never face the splendour of the sun.”(Iqan p118)
    “…these souls, vile and miserable as the beetle itself, have had no portion of the musk-laden breeze of eternity, and have never entered the Ridvan of heavenly delight. How, therefore, can they impart unto others the imperishable fragrance of holiness?”(Iqan 123)

    But fortunately, this is not a permanent curse and God loves us, His children, and offers us the opportunity to grow spiritually out of an abject situation:

    “Cleanse thou the rheum from out thine head and breathe the breath of God instead.”(Rumi quoted in 7 Valleys p 21)
    “At this hour, so liberal is the outpouring of Its grace that the holy Spirit itself is envious! It hath imparted to the drop the waves of the sea, and endowed the mote with the splendour of the sun. So great are the overflowings of Its bounty that the foulest beetle hath sought the perfume of the musk, and the bat the light of the sun.” (Iqan p 60)

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

    Grover wrote: I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder
    Of course, Grover and expressed in other words:

    “Yea, to the beetle a sweet fragrance seemeth foul, and to the man sick of a rheum a pleasant perfume is as naught.” (7 Valleys p 21)
    And again : “Yea, the abject beetle can never scent the fragrance of holiness, and the bat of darkness can never face the splendour of the sun.”(Iqan p118)
    “…these souls, vile and miserable as the beetle itself, have had no portion of the musk-laden breeze of eternity, and have never entered the Ridvan of heavenly delight. How, therefore, can they impart unto others the imperishable fragrance of holiness?”(Iqan 123)

    But fortunately, this is not a permanent curse and God loves us, His children, and offers us the opportunity to grow spiritually out of an abject situation:

    “Cleanse thou the rheum from out thine head and breathe the breath of God instead.”(Rumi quoted in 7 Valleys p 21)
    “At this hour, so liberal is the outpouring of Its grace that the holy Spirit itself is envious! It hath imparted to the drop the waves of the sea, and endowed the mote with the splendour of the sun. So great are the overflowings of Its bounty that the foulest beetle hath sought the perfume of the musk, and the bat the light of the sun.” (Iqan p 60)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    The fact that you have never heard of Willow Creek proves that you do not read this blog and are not here to engage in a dialogue but to advocate for your own agenda unilaterally. It is beyond rude and akin to going to a dinner party but then taking over the host’s kitchen to make your own food. You are welcome here to comment but if you’d like to put forward your own ideas, irrespective of what I write, then start your own blog. There are many free options: blogger, wordpress.com, livejournal, etc.
    re sincerity, not at all. The two are not mutually exclusive – just as a hypochondriac is sincere in believing they are going to die (and yet wrong).
    re your deleted comment: in case it had escaped your attention, you comment a lot here. A lot. At times this requires that I aggregate your comments into one (from a number of fragmented comments that has gone as high as 5 within an hour’s span). The erased comment was one which was moved and aggregated to another of your comments. I even wrote you an email explaining this and assuring you that your comments were not erased but grouped. Needless to say, I do not appreciate the insinuation in the least.
    finally, it isn’t so much scatological vs. flowery language but having a sense of humor while directly addressing an issue vs. sophistry and obfuscation.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    The fact that you have never heard of Willow Creek proves that you do not read this blog and are not here to engage in a dialogue but to advocate for your own agenda unilaterally. It is beyond rude and akin to going to a dinner party but then taking over the host’s kitchen to make your own food. You are welcome here to comment but if you’d like to put forward your own ideas, irrespective of what I write, then start your own blog. There are many free options: blogger, wordpress.com, livejournal, etc.
    re sincerity, not at all. The two are not mutually exclusive – just as a hypochondriac is sincere in believing they are going to die (and yet wrong).
    re your deleted comment: in case it had escaped your attention, you comment a lot here. A lot. At times this requires that I aggregate your comments into one (from a number of fragmented comments that has gone as high as 5 within an hour’s span). The erased comment was one which was moved and aggregated to another of your comments. I even wrote you an email explaining this and assuring you that your comments were not erased but grouped. Needless to say, I do not appreciate the insinuation in the least.
    finally, it isn’t so much scatological vs. flowery language but having a sense of humor while directly addressing an issue vs. sophistry and obfuscation.

  • pey

    I just got a bit of information that I never knew. It sheds light on how the Bahai administration hypes up statistics. Did you all know, that at least in the US, whenever a Bahai travels abroad "for any reason", if the National knows about it, then that individual is counted as a travel teacher? Amazing! My friend basically explained that they justifiy this because they say that a Bahai is always a teacher wether he opens his mouth to actually teach or not. So wether he's going to a country just to vacation on a beach or do some business transactions- we'll still count him as a teacher. So all those years I'd open up the American Bahai and see "wow, so many 'teachers' going out into the world" was really hyped up stats. Makes me wonder how much of Farhan's stats are calculated in the same manner.

  • pey

    I just got a bit of information that I never knew. It sheds light on how the Bahai administration hypes up statistics. Did you all know, that at least in the US, whenever a Bahai travels abroad "for any reason", if the National knows about it, then that individual is counted as a travel teacher? Amazing! My friend basically explained that they justifiy this because they say that a Bahai is always a teacher wether he opens his mouth to actually teach or not. So wether he's going to a country just to vacation on a beach or do some business transactions- we'll still count him as a teacher. So all those years I'd open up the American Bahai and see "wow, so many 'teachers' going out into the world" was really hyped up stats. Makes me wonder how much of Farhan's stats are calculated in the same manner.

  • Craig Parke

    The one thing about Ruhi that was spot on was the part about lying. (But I was raised a Lutheran and I must say the Lutheran Catechism based upon the Ten Commandments was actually much better in scope.) Of course, as per form in the Ruhi Books, the text was blatantly grounded in someone's personal opinion twist extrapolation about lying several times removed from the actual Scripture of the Faith. But the thought association was basically true to anyone who has lived very long on this planet. Especially in the 20th Century. The problem with liars is that they start to believe their lies. Once that starts total self delusion is the end game as everything goes into free fall. Why doesn't the AO practice what it preaches? The stats of the Faith are lies. There is no other way to say it. They just do not hold up to true scrutiny and analysis. Why don't we just start there with trying to practice what we preach?

    "Lies and the lying liars who tell them". Always a good show on Jerry Springer or Oprah.

    Telling the truth begins at home. Otherwise it all ends in a web of mind bending self delusion decade after decade and then century after century.

    The answer is fierce term limits at every level in the AO. You tell lies and you are voted out of office on your head.

  • Craig Parke

    The one thing about Ruhi that was spot on was the part about lying. (But I was raised a Lutheran and I must say the Lutheran Catechism based upon the Ten Commandments was actually much better in scope.) Of course, as per form in the Ruhi Books, the text was blatantly grounded in someone's personal opinion twist extrapolation about lying several times removed from the actual Scripture of the Faith. But the thought association was basically true to anyone who has lived very long on this planet. Especially in the 20th Century. The problem with liars is that they start to believe their lies. Once that starts total self delusion is the end game as everything goes into free fall. Why doesn't the AO practice what it preaches? The stats of the Faith are lies. There is no other way to say it. They just do not hold up to true scrutiny and analysis. Why don't we just start there with trying to practice what we preach?

    "Lies and the lying liars who tell them". Always a good show on Jerry Springer or Oprah.

    Telling the truth begins at home. Otherwise it all ends in a web of mind bending self delusion decade after decade and then century after century.

    The answer is fierce term limits at every level in the AO. You tell lies and you are voted out of office on your head.

  • pey

    Another thing about Ruhi. Has anyone ever seen Book 8 (covenant). I've heard it hasn't been published yet in English. I'm really curious how they (whosever interpretation) lay it out in the book to indoctrinate. Will it be a thorough explanation or a glossing over of Abdul-Baha's Will and Testament and the many uncomfortable quotes from Shoghi Effendi about the living Guardian as head of the UHJ? My gut instinct says the latter.

  • pey

    Another thing about Ruhi. Has anyone ever seen Book 8 (covenant). I've heard it hasn't been published yet in English. I'm really curious how they (whosever interpretation) lay it out in the book to indoctrinate. Will it be a thorough explanation or a glossing over of Abdul-Baha's Will and Testament and the many uncomfortable quotes from Shoghi Effendi about the living Guardian as head of the UHJ? My gut instinct says the latter.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    pey, book 8 was supposed to be completed in 2008 but as with all such projects it is running late. I have a work in progress copy of the translation and it seems to gloss over the more bumpy historical facts and present the Covenant in more or less the same sanitized light as you suggest.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    pey, book 8 was supposed to be completed in 2008 but as with all such projects it is running late. I have a work in progress copy of the translation and it seems to gloss over the more bumpy historical facts and present the Covenant in more or less the same sanitized light as you suggest.

  • owen

    well, to be fair baquia, I read the 'show me the money' post 2 or 3 times with great interest when you first posted it and i didn't remember what willow creek was until i followed the link

  • owen

    well, to be fair baquia, I read the 'show me the money' post 2 or 3 times with great interest when you first posted it and i didn't remember what willow creek was until i followed the link

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    owen, If someone comments without referencing or addressing what is on the blog once? – fine. Twice? ok. Three times? still alright. But continuously? Then it is a pattern of behavior which gives away their true goal.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    owen, If someone comments without referencing or addressing what is on the blog once? – fine. Twice? ok. Three times? still alright. But continuously? Then it is a pattern of behavior which gives away their true goal.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: Please note that I’m being extremely gentle in this regard because had there been such success, all Baha’is would have heard about it in great detail. … if with all these advantages, Ruhi can not provide significant results that prove its efficacy beyond a doubt in its native country of Colombia… then by what rationale should we expect it to suddenly start to succeed now? … and especially in other, much more hostile cultures? …Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.

    Baquia, I have no agenda and neither time, nor any of your competence and artistic talent for setting up a blog. After going back to the Willow Creek link, I noticed that I had been there three weeks ago without remembering the name and any connexion with the comments above that concluded your usual diatribe against Ruhi and your scepticism on the contents of the UHJ letter.

    You haughtily attribute this lack of attention to insincerity. I already explained that under Internet Explorer, my wide PC screen at work often freezes and when it works, Intense debate asks me to break down my comments to shorter ones. My 13” laptop with Firefox, works better, although I have trouble finding the initial comment, and reading is more tedious and I will be getting new glasses next week.

    Once again, if you want to “see the money” you should participate in the activities and notice the change in attitude and behaviour. What I can say for my own self is that after the learning experiences of mass entry in the 1970s where I understood that the immaturity of the Baha’i community did not allow us to welcome large groups, I decided to resort to indirect teaching, including with my own children. I am now much more at ease for welcoming people into all the activities made available through the institute process. This I can attest, but not show in cash. You can show leaves and fruits of a tree, but not its roots: a matter of faith and belief.

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

    Baquia wrote: Please note that I’m being extremely gentle in this regard because had there been such success, all Baha’is would have heard about it in great detail. … if with all these advantages, Ruhi can not provide significant results that prove its efficacy beyond a doubt in its native country of Colombia… then by what rationale should we expect it to suddenly start to succeed now? … and especially in other, much more hostile cultures? …Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.

    Baquia, I have no agenda and neither time, nor any of your competence and artistic talent for setting up a blog. After going back to the Willow Creek link, I noticed that I had been there three weeks ago without remembering the name and any connexion with the comments above that concluded your usual diatribe against Ruhi and your scepticism on the contents of the UHJ letter.

    You haughtily attribute this lack of attention to insincerity. I already explained that under Internet Explorer, my wide PC screen at work often freezes and when it works, Intense debate asks me to break down my comments to shorter ones. My 13” laptop with Firefox, works better, although I have trouble finding the initial comment, and reading is more tedious and I will be getting new glasses next week.

    Once again, if you want to “see the money” you should participate in the activities and notice the change in attitude and behaviour. What I can say for my own self is that after the learning experiences of mass entry in the 1970s where I understood that the immaturity of the Baha’i community did not allow us to welcome large groups, I decided to resort to indirect teaching, including with my own children. I am now much more at ease for welcoming people into all the activities made available through the institute process. This I can attest, but not show in cash. You can show leaves and fruits of a tree, but not its roots: a matter of faith and belief.

  • http://spiritualgleanings.blogspot.com Nikhil

    A few thoughts… (though i didn't go thru all the comments so maybe these points have already been made):

    1. I wish the word teaching hadn't been used – unfortunately in society it has such a negative, hierarchical connotation, that it creates a certain barrier. If one goes through the writings, I think it becomes clear that the spirit of "teaching" is really "sharing" – and this i think differentiates it from proselytization. Proselytizing has a clear purpose – to convert. Sharing, on the other hand, is just openly, directly, talking about things that mean a lot to you with others. There is no expectation of change in the other person – if they show interest, you continue, if not, you leave it at that. I believe that's the spirit in which teaching is truly meant to be done in the faith. Of course, Baha'is are imperfect individuals (just like everyone else), and few probably live up to this standard.

    2. Teaching is something that is not meant to be just from a Baha'i to a non-Baha'i, but between Bahai's too – in fact, the foremost attitude in a society where everyone is "teaching" everyone else is a culture of learning. And so we should all be attempting to learn from each other. Of course, when we "teach" someone, it is not to be from a standpoint of superiority, but rather one of humility, and of sharing sincerely trying to, together, come to a better understanding of truth.

    3. This view of teaching is closely related to the Baha'i view of education in general as not the filling of empty vessels, but rather the mining of gems that already exist within each individual. This clearly puts the "teacher" in a role of service rather than one of superiority.

    At this point in history, when in most cultures people are still uncomfortable talking about spirituality openly, I think even this notion of sharing one's beliefs openly can come across as being too pushy. However I think that the Baha'i vision really is for a world where people on the whole are more spiritual, more keen to learn from each other, and more open in sharing their spiritual beliefs with others. In such a milieu, we would all be "teaching" each other, as well as learning from each other.

    All this being said, its important to reiterate that Baha'is are of course imperfect like everyone else – so its important not to take the actions of Baha'i people as a standard for the teachings. As Abdu'l Baha once said, the biggest test for Baha'is will always be other Baha'is :)

  • http://spiritualgleanings.blogspot.com Nikhil

    A few thoughts… (though i didn't go thru all the comments so maybe these points have already been made):

    1. I wish the word teaching hadn't been used – unfortunately in society it has such a negative, hierarchical connotation, that it creates a certain barrier. If one goes through the writings, I think it becomes clear that the spirit of "teaching" is really "sharing" – and this i think differentiates it from proselytization. Proselytizing has a clear purpose – to convert. Sharing, on the other hand, is just openly, directly, talking about things that mean a lot to you with others. There is no expectation of change in the other person – if they show interest, you continue, if not, you leave it at that. I believe that's the spirit in which teaching is truly meant to be done in the faith. Of course, Baha'is are imperfect individuals (just like everyone else), and few probably live up to this standard.

    2. Teaching is something that is not meant to be just from a Baha'i to a non-Baha'i, but between Bahai's too – in fact, the foremost attitude in a society where everyone is "teaching" everyone else is a culture of learning. And so we should all be attempting to learn from each other. Of course, when we "teach" someone, it is not to be from a standpoint of superiority, but rather one of humility, and of sharing sincerely trying to, together, come to a better understanding of truth.

    3. This view of teaching is closely related to the Baha'i view of education in general as not the filling of empty vessels, but rather the mining of gems that already exist within each individual. This clearly puts the "teacher" in a role of service rather than one of superiority.

    At this point in history, when in most cultures people are still uncomfortable talking about spirituality openly, I think even this notion of sharing one's beliefs openly can come across as being too pushy. However I think that the Baha'i vision really is for a world where people on the whole are more spiritual, more keen to learn from each other, and more open in sharing their spiritual beliefs with others. In such a milieu, we would all be "teaching" each other, as well as learning from each other.

    All this being said, its important to reiterate that Baha'is are of course imperfect like everyone else – so its important not to take the actions of Baha'i people as a standard for the teachings. As Abdu'l Baha once said, the biggest test for Baha'is will always be other Baha'is :)

  • Craig Parke

    Nikhil,

    Thank you for your post. All very good points and all completely worthy insights. But what to are saying here is bottom up OLDTHINK in the BAO. In the current top down NEWTHINK BAO what you are saying here is treason. Keep it up and you will get a file opened on you in Haifa and put under 24/7/365/1000 surveillance for thought crimes. Be very careful about what you say.

  • Craig Parke

    Nikhil,

    Thank you for your post. All very good points and all completely worthy insights. But what to are saying here is bottom up OLDTHINK in the BAO. In the current top down NEWTHINK BAO what you are saying here is treason. Keep it up and you will get a file opened on you in Haifa and put under 24/7/365/1000 surveillance for thought crimes. Be very careful about what you say.

  • farhan

    Thanks, Nikhil, I entirely agree with your vision of teaching, which is permeated throughout the Institute Process, even though some years back, some inexperienced new-comers in the field of service did adopt attitudes of superiority that have been entirely quenched by now.

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

    Thanks, Nikhil, I entirely agree with your vision of teaching, which is permeated throughout the Institute Process, even though some years back, some inexperienced new-comers in the field of service did adopt attitudes of superiority that have been entirely quenched by now.

  • teacherinchina

    I am teaching Accounting in China, no proselytizing.Nice blog though.

  • teacherinchina

    I am teaching Accounting in China, no proselytizing.Nice blog though.

  • Pingback: Proselytizing in Other Cultures - Gee, Why Do I Feel So Persecuted

  • Lea

    I feel it is disrespectful of the UHJ to ask Bahai’s to do something that Shoghi Effendi felt was undignified. It is disrespectful to Shoghi Effendi, and it is disrespectful to the Baha’is of the world. It was disrespectful to me. It was disrespectful to the non-Bahai neighbors. I am not allowed to see with my own eyes or know with my own knowledge regarding if it is dignified in my own neighborhood. I am just told to trust that the UHJ is better than that of Shoghi Effendi, in knowledge and judgement, all evidence to the contrary.

    in regard to the question: The UHJ would have been right if they had said “we have not the authority to define proselytizing as Baha’u’llah intended it, because we have not the authority to interpret scripture for the Baha’is.”

    The UHJ definition of proselytizing is far from the common definition of the word, or even the dictionary definition.

    Can the UHJ define all the words in the writings of Baha’u’llah that are not that which the common and dictionary definition, or does the UHJ intend to ignore His holy writings by redefining words on an as needed basis?

  • Lea

    Imagine a UHJ that said to this question “we do not have the authority to define proselytizing, as this would be the same as interpreting the Writings of Baha’ullah and no one has the authority to do this after the Guardian. We do not feel the way teaching is being done currently is the same as what Baha’u’llah intended by proselytizing, but Bahai’s are free to consider the matter and act according to their own conscience after considering the question for themselves.”

    The UHJ is Interpreting the words of Baha’u’llah differently than the dictionary definition or the common definition. Clearly the UHJ is interpreting the sacred Writings, and I seriously doubt they have the God given authority to do so.

    I would encourage the “unenrolled” Bahai’s, and those who are in the Faith and quiet about what concerns us, need to pray for the UHJ, not just complain about them. God has promised to guide the UHJ, but not necessarily on every decision. If we are Baha’i, enrolled or unenrolled, we have to have faith that Baha’u’llah can do as He said He would do, and take us from this most dark night and into the light. From where we are now, it is hard to imagine how God will revive His religion, guide his House, but if you believe in Baha’u’llah, you know that He will find a way.