The Trouble with the World

I doubt my ability to doubt
The topic being discussed currently in various Baha’i forums is a speech given by Peter Khan, on July 3rd 2009 titled “Reflections on the Ridvan Message”. You can read the complete speech here.

There isn’t much remarkable about it but if you manage to hack through the thick underbrush of verbiage you’ll find that almost at the end Khan says:

The solution is childish simple; the solution is so simple, it [sic] hardly worth mentioning. The solution is no more and no less than unreserved acceptance of whatever the central authority of the Cause, in this case the Universal House of Justice decrees.

Unfortunately Khan doesn’t explain what he really means by ‘decrees’.

Does that mean anything the House decides? every word they write? every answer they give to a questioner? every letter of guidance to members or national administrative bodies? or does it mean what they decree as in their legislative authority within Baha’i administrative structure?

It would seem that Khan has a wide understanding of ‘decrees’ since he mentions the guidance for ‘direct teaching’, as well as the implementation of Ruhi courses as the only option within the institute process.

This obviously opens up the hornets nest of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice.

Oy vey! Here we go again.

Brendan wrote a commentary: Second Thoughts on Peter Khan.

Karen is dispassionate.

Alison believes that Khan is overstepping.

As for your humble scribe, I’m not sure what else I can add to what has already been written before here and elsewhere on this topic. I’m not comfortable with the conviction that Khan has in an absolutist understanding of the decrees of the House of Justice and can’t help but think of this gem of a quip:

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand Russell

No advancement in any field would be possible if at least one person did not doubt if there was a better way to do things. If one person didn’t doubt the dogma of their day. If one person did not have so much doubt that they investigated other potential answers and avenues.

This is true for scientific advancements of course. But it is equally valid in any field of human endeavor.

Do you think that anyone would have believed in the Bab if they first hadn’t a seed of doubt regarding the commonly accepted notion within Islam that Muhammad was the ‘last prophet of God’?

So I respectfully submit to you that believing that we can simply put away questions and do without further investigation of truth is the biggest mistake that Baha’is make.

  • farhan

    Baquia, Independent search of truth concerns our spiritual lives; in our collective enterprises where we do team work, collaborate and cooperate in harmony, we have to conform with norms, social conventions and agreements.

    My understanding of the passage you quote out of context is that Peter Khan is describing the evolution of Baha’i activities and the resulting struggles of adaptation in devout believers facing various personal interpretations of other believers around them. In this situation, the decrees of the UHJ acting as an arbitrator should be a source of reassurance to them.

    Just imagine an orchestra planning to try a new interpretation of a symphony, and the various members of the orchestra understanding it differently. The only way out chaos is to follow the maestro unreservedly and I know it for having myself faced various misunderstandings around the institute process that I managed to sort out by a careful study of the words of the UHJ which I shared with you on this blog.

    If you introduce the passage just before the one you quoted, the picture becomes clear.

    ?These are all expressions, to my mind, of the unease of capable and devoted believers who are struggling with change. Of course when you go to one extreme you get the other extreme, you get the criticism of those who are not involved in the Institute Process, extreme statements to not bother with the LSA or with firesides, the confusion between priority and exclusive, and so on.?

    If you study the speeches of Paul Lample, you will notice that the Institute process is the very example of a collective quest for learning and truth:

    http://reflectionsonteachingbahaifaith.blogspot

    http://www.bahai-studies.ca/files/ABS2008PaulLa

  • Baquia

    Farhan, the problem is that some mistakenly insert the UHJ in the place of God (as the maestro).

  • Matt

    In my view, every movement goes through a series of stages. They start out fresh, new, and exciting. They can be seen as rebels, and some people think that is cool and want to join up and be a part of 'the movement.' After some time passes, though, the movement grows tired of the iconoclasm and the aggressive rhetoric that challenges the status quo to a street duel with brass knuckles. After the destructive phase is over, it seeks more constructive ways of dealing with the world it is in, and ways to influence and win over people. One of the ways of accomplishing this is by creating an orthodoxy, or a list of qualifications of being a true member of the group. Eventually, some people, usually in a 'high' position of authority or influence get the idea that there needs to be more rigidity, more orthodoxy, more 'true belief', and seek out ways to box in the spirit of the movement into smaller and smaller channels of expression. This is where I see the Baha'i Faith at the 'official' level at this point in time. I find the ruminations of many individual Baha'is to be highly more valuable than the writings of some of the members of the religion's highest institutions. Fortunately, Peter Khan is not the Universal House of Justice and the Universal House of Justice is not Peter Khan. He is simply a member of that institution, and anything he says or writes as an individual should ideally be seen as merely that. But since people are used to worshiping people in high places, some Baha'is treat the opinions of individual members of the UHJ as if they are commentary of the UHJ itself, and thus are more important than the opinions of any other individual Baha'i. I don't like Peter Khan's way of thinking because he tends to be an absolutist. Every thing is “either/or”, there is no nuance, every thing has to have a reason or plan behind it. Nothing can be random or unexplainable or contradictory to what “should” be.

    That's my take, anyway.

  • Grover

    It would be nice if Baha'is did as you say, but the active and not-very-bright majority (Farhan) idolize the UHJ members and give their words undue weight, which leads to all sorts of amusing and not so amusing complications.

  • Grover

    Farhan, you have no idea what the search for truth is. You were born into the Baha'i Faith – probably 5th or 6th generation Baha'i – what the hell do you know about “search for truth”?

    “Just imagine an orchestra planning to try a new interpretation of a symphony, and the various members of the orchestra understanding it differently. The only way out of chaos is to follow the maestro unreservedly”

    Yeah and what happens when the maestro is an incompetent lunatic? They going to follow him unreservedly then?

  • farhan

    Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum

  • farhan

    Grover, at each stage of our lives we are confronted with decisions and the search for truth is involved. I agree that the choice of a maestro is an important one, and family education is an important point, but I waited to be 21 before I enrolled as a Baha’i and many kids from Baha’i families do not choose to enrol, and in fact at one point in Europe hardly half of them enrolled.
    If the maestro does not give satisfaction, we either find another one or become a solo player. If we choose a maestro, we keep in harmony and in tune with that orchestra.

  • farhan

    Grover, if the majority of Baha'is have the same ideas as I do, this is democracy.

    The problem you seem to be presenting hence would be how the majority of dumb Baha'is treat their minority of bright ones and how you can get the majority of dumb Baha'is change their minds and share your minority bright views. The key to all that would be education, and that is your speciality.

  • Baquia

    femina inconcessus, nos es usquequaque rectus

  • Baquia

    Matt, there is an intriguing anecdote from Memoirs where Abdu'l-Baha is speaking to the Baha'is about the Universal House of Justice and the need for Baha'is to obey it. He goes to the extreme of saying that hypothetically, if they would declare that Abdu'l-Baha should be put to death, He would be the first to obey them.

    One of the Baha'i listeners is so distressed by this that he interrupts and asks, how can those who claim to act on behalf of God be against one who is of God?

    Abdu'l-Baha responds that this was a hypothetical scenario and that they (the UHJ) are the lawmakers and must be obeyed.

    Now what I understand from this is that the Master wanted Baha'is to be ready to obey a new central figure in the future once He wasn't around. He also knew the constant mischief of the Covenant Breakers who were extremely active at that time and would buffet the community with tests every single day. So using a very Persian tool of exaggeration, Abdu'l-Baha is trying to get them to understand that just because the UHJ isn't like Him, one person or perhaps will not be as charming or as personable, they must be obeyed.

    Perhaps some would be surprised to hear this from me, but I have no problem with that at all with that. In the least. In the same way that I obey the laws of the land in which I am a citizen of, I as a Baha'i, have no qualms in obeying the House when they set down a law. That is their role and my role as a member of the community is to abide.

    Where we get mixed up is when people confuse the authority and action of the UHJ in making laws (or legislating) with every other single iota that they do or say!

    Abdu'l-Baha gave much advice or suggestions to Baha'is and out of deference to Him, many obeyed. But there is a difference between a law and guidance.

    What Peter Khan is doing in this speech above is conflating the UHJ with God basically. He goes one incredibly large step over the line. And the funny thing is that he and others like him think that the Baha'i community MUST have this kind of absolute obedience to WHATSOEVER comes out of Haifa, whether it is law or advice or guidance or whatever.

    They think that if we lived in a world where the UHJ is not treated as GOD, then all hell would break loose!

    The paradox of course is that by taking such a fundamentalist and dogmatic stance (which has no theological basis in the Baha'i Writings) they end up alienating a HUGE portion of the existing Baha'i community and make it unpalatable for many more who are investigating the possibility of joining.

  • Craig Parke

    Baquia,

    What exactly is it that Peter Khan is not happy about? What exactly is the thing that the Baha'is are not being “obedient” about? Does anyone here know? What is he really saying?

    To be a “Baha'i” now you have to take the Ruhi books over and over in class after class and then try to get people to join the Faith so they will also take them over and over too. Then you have to go door to door trying to convert people to the Faith. A lot of people don't really want to do that as their expression of spirituality in life so they aren't doing it. So is that what he is saying the Baha'is are not being “obedient” about?

    Isn't that the steady “change” drum beat of the “new” Baha'i culture? That we are now the Jehovah's Witnesses of Shia islam and a lot of people just aren't happy about it once their family, friends, and work colleagues start to run when they see them coming to hide from the constant UHJ power point stats predatory sales pitch. is that what Peter is unhappy about? is that why he is railing again in his constant unhappyness about the rank and file Baha'is everywhere across the world? Is that what it is? Peter is unhappy with the way things are going and we all have to hear about it over and over from him every few years it seems.

    Does anyone here really know what the Baha'is are not being “obedient” about? I think there are “code words” of a sort in his speech but I can't really be sure. Does anyone really know what he is talking about?

  • Concourse on Low

    UHJ = Velayat-i-Faqih

    International Teaching Center = Guardian Council

    Same ol', same ol'.

  • Amanda
  • Baquia

    I don't know the man very well but it would seem for starters that Khan is upset that some Baha'is are not enthralled with Ruhi and are calling it for what it is, parroting lines.

    “…the false accusation that Anna's presentation could be given by a parrot”

    Of course such an accusation is false! It would take a very diligent lyre bird.

    My favourite is the chainsaw, followed by the car alarm… and then Anna's presentation.

  • ayersfrank

    Put Dr Khan's piece in context and it will be moreunderstandable.

    He spoke about obeying the Universal House of Justice & some since have considered that he was placing the “House” in the stead of Bah??'u'll??h – quite wrong on both counts.

    The segment written by 'Abdu'l-Bah?? in the “Bah??'? World Faith” was:
    'A universal or international House of Justice shall also be organized. Its rulings shall be in accordance with the commands and teachings of Bah??'u'll??h, and that which the universal House of Justice ordains shall be obeyed by all mankind'.
    So yes Bah??'?s should obey the Universal House of Justice, but, in my words, it must obey the Teachings of Bah??'u'll??h.

  • Grover

    Hmmm let see, quite a few million africans think female circumcision is a good idea. Is that democracy too? Or just mutilation of female body parts?

    If education is what you want Farhan, then education is what you'll get. Repeat 100 times: UHJ member does not equal UHJ, UHJ does not equal God.

  • Grover

    Or in Ruhi style: UHJ member _______ UHJ, UHJ ______ God.

    What does not equal God Farhan?

    What is a UHJ member not equivalent to?

    Now share with us your spiritual insights on the above profound statement of untold meanings and significance.

  • Grover

    The UHJ ain't my maestro – I am my maestro – God gave me a brain – God gave me a conscience – I am not giving that up for anyone.

    Peter Khan can sit and rotate on my hot fat patooty if he thinks I'm going to switch off my brain and be lead around by the nose by a bunch of fellas with delusions of grandeur.

  • Amanda

    Hi, Masud.

    Although I didn't make the comment you are reacting to, I have made the same comparison to Veleyat-e Faqih here on Baha'i Rants before- and I think Concourse on Low is making an astute observation.

    I first want to say that your imagining the above comparison of the Baha'i system of governance to the current Iranian Shi'a model as “hate speech” is profoundly repugnant and emotionally and intellectually dishonest. A brief review of the cultural and theological underpinnings of the current Iranian system will show you that Veleyat-e Faqih, as a concept, PREDATES Khomeinism. He did not cut it from whole cloth. (You would be served by learning a little more about the systems of Islamic jurisprudence and governance in Iranian history. You wouldn't make gaffes like this anymore, and would be in a position to better advocate for Baha'i human rights- which we all support- instead of just trying to censor everyone who mentions our Muslim theological cousins.) The Bab and Baha'u'llah were coming from an Iranian context and, I think if you would read a little, you will find the historical and legal context that Khomeini drew from that he chose to take in a particular direction in forming the structure of the IRI's system is the same historical/legal context Baha'u'llah was drawing from in creating the Baha'i system. There is only about 100 years between their thinking. But, look it up. We *ironically* share the same cultural placenta with our killers. What do you think about that? We'll have to accept the Oneness of Humanity after all.

    You have every right to, and you SHOULD object to the violence perpetrated against Baha'is *and other Iranians* under the rubric of Khomeinist Veleyat-e Faqih, but to conflate the mentioning of the similarities in the structures of the systems with those ACTIONS or with “hate speech” and “incitement to hatred” is something you should feel ashamed of. You cannot keep going around accusing every person who says something analytical that makes you uncomfortable of having anti-Baha'i sentiments and inflaming violence towards Iranian Baha'is. Especially if you obviously don't know what they're talking about. Do not ask to *crush* what you don't understand- ask for clarification. Sunlight IS the best disinfectant.

    We are all suffering because of what is happening in Iran. We are all afraid that our actions *or inaction* will lead to further suffering. But you need to understand that what is on the table is what you keep repeatedly (in multiple forums, including mine in the past) trying to squelch- the simple freedom to hold and express viewpoints and talk about IDEAS that may differ with the Faqih. Why in the world do you think cutting out people's tongues before the IRI can get to them is of any help towards the cause of Baha'i freedom? It isn't. Why should we welcome you as our censor instead of an IRI official? Don't volunteer on their behalf.

    It’s actually worth mentioning how Veleyat-e Faqih came up before around here recently- I just looked it up and was astonished at the irony. It was in a discussion I had with Sonja about Democracy on the Rainn Wilson Soulpancake thread 4 months ago, well before the Iranian election. We were arguing-in the best sense of that word, in the good sense- whether or not the Baha’i Faith is a democracy, because Rainn Wilson has said it was on Oprah’s broadcast. I disagreed. It was a long discussion, and I refer you back to it rather than repeat it or the quotes that came up, but here’s where Velayat-e Faqih came up:

    ?Hi, Sonja.

    Thanks. I have to ask, though- a democracy isn’t just about the act of casting ballots. *Elections* do not equal *democracy.* If they did there are plenty of totalitarian regimes and dictators who ?elect? themselves over and over again that way. That’s the performance of democracy, not actual democracy. The *principles* of an actual democracy are *not* reflected in the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith. For example, in a democracy, the power and authority to govern comes from the authority of the people. The rulers are then obligated to their ?constituencies.? The letters b/w the UHJ and the US NSA in the 90’s make clear that is NOT the paradigm the Haifan system will allow. The UHJ is explicit. The UHJ might be elected by (some) Baha’is, out of (some) Baha’is, but it is accountable to ?GOD,? not to the people. That is more like Velayat-e Faqih than democracy. I truly mean this with no disrespect, but thinking of ?electing? a ruler who is not accountable to you, reminds me of a TV commercial in the US from the 80’s about a roach motel. ?The roaches get in, but they don’t get out.? Maybe it was a democracy when you elected them in, but if you voted for someone who has *absolute power over you* it’s not a democracy.

    Also, democracies, in principle, enfranchise everyone. which the BF doesn’t. Democracies also, in principle, practice freedom of speech, the press and dissent, which the Baha’i Administrative Order doesn’t. So, how again was it a democracy?

    If the folks you guys are electing, the UHJ, are TELLING you it’s not a democracy, don’t you think it’s not a democracy? They, are, after all, the boss of you. They are in power. At least from a ?you elected them? standpoint. I detect cognitive dissonance. That doesn’t mean it’s right, that’s how it should be, etc. But that is how it IS. Yes??

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    What a horrible thing to say Concourse on Low.

    Baquia, I know this was written not too long ago, and I don't think you had seen it as my post that you're now reading was being written, but I think that it would be a great disservice to your otherwise mostly thought-provoking (if a little disparaging) blog not to remove this scurrilous remark. Comparing the Baha'i Administrative authorities with a murderous thug regime that is actually incarcerating and trying to kill many Baha'is is not just indicative of the non-existence of this person's civility in discourse, (EVEN by the ground-hugging standard that he/she has already set for him/herself as evidenced by many other posts) it could also be considered an incitement to hatred.

    And as a corollary to the aforementioned, I just want to preempt a response that's often given in these circumstances: free speech. I think it's quite clear that this is not a free-speech issue, because it would fall under the category of hate speech.
    Furthermore, I am no fan of censorship, I believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, but I have seen how certain posts on certain blogs and other platforms have turned people away from the Baha'i Faith to the point of INDIFFERENCE towards the plight of the Baha'is in Iran. I know for fact that this is not your intention, but I remind you that a while back I noted that one particular user's comparison of Baha'is to the “Taliban regime” was uncalled for and opprobrious, and you stood by this user; are we seeing a pattern here? I hope that you will not let this turn into a platform for the propagation of slanderous and potentially dangerous anti-Baha'i sentiments and urge you to take appropriate action.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    It’s actually worth mentioning how Veleyat-e Faqih came up before around here recently- I just looked it up and was astonished at the irony. It was in a discussion I had with Sonja about Democracy on the Rainn Wilson Soulpancake thread 4 months ago, well before the Iranian election. We were arguing-in the best sense of that word, in the good sense- whether or not the Baha’i Faith is a democracy, because Rainn Wilson has said it was on Oprah’s broadcast. I disagreed. It was a long discussion, and I refer you back to it rather than repeat it or the quotes that came up, but here’s where Velayat-e Faqih came up:

    “Hi, Sonja.

    Thanks. I have to ask, though- a democracy isn’t just about the act of casting ballots. *Elections* do not equal *democracy.* If they did there are plenty of totalitarian regimes and dictators who “elect” themselves over and over again that way. That’s the performance of democracy, not actual democracy. The *principles* of an actual democracy are *not* reflected in the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith. For example, in a democracy, the power and authority to govern comes from the authority of the people. The rulers are then obligated to their “constituencies.” The letters b/w the UHJ and the US NSA in the 90’s make clear that is NOT the paradigm the Haifan system will allow. The UHJ is explicit. The UHJ might be elected by (some) Baha’is, out of (some) Baha’is, but it is accountable to “GOD,” not to the people. That is more like Velayat-e Faqih than democracy. I truly mean this with no disrespect, but thinking of “electing” a ruler who is not accountable to you, reminds me of a TV commercial in the US from the 80’s about a roach motel. “The roaches get in, but they don’t get out.” Maybe it was a democracy when you elected them in, but if you voted for someone who has *absolute power over you* it’s not a democracy.

    Also, democracies, in principle, enfranchise everyone. which the BF doesn’t. Democracies also, in principle, practice freedom of speech, the press and dissent, which the Baha’i Administrative Order doesn’t. So, how again was it a democracy?

    If the folks you guys are electing, the UHJ, are TELLING you it’s not a democracy, don’t you think it’s not a democracy? They, are, after all, the boss of you. They are in power. At least from a “you elected them” standpoint. I detect cognitive dissonance. That doesn’t mean it’s right, that’s how it should be, etc. But that is how it IS. Yes?”

  • Concourse on Low

    Masud calls for censorship. Like a true disciple of Velayat-i-Faqihi. I suggest that you compare the reasons Khamenei has given in his speeches for suppressing the protests in Iran to your little list. You’ll find more than a little similarity. To Khamenei’s credit, he’s not as verbose.

  • Lee

    the last sentence of the article is actually wrong. the only reason the first beleiver in Bab became a Babi is because he followed word by word what was mentioned in the Qura and Holy traditions. in Islam there was clear talk of the coming of Mahid. so in order for a Muslim in this case to believe in the new massenger is to follow exactly what instructions was mentioned in the Quran. which he did. for me investigation is following what God, once you accepted him, word by word. but investigating how to apply it to my own life. so in this case God saying the UHJ is centre of covenant thus I have to search how to apply it to my life. just a thought. please don't muck me personally but share your opinions I don't mind if you disagree with my VIEWS.

  • Concourse on Low

    Masud calls for censorship. Like a true disciple of Velayat-i-Faqihi. I suggest that you compare the reasons Khamenei has given in his speeches for suppressing the protests in Iran to your little list. You'll find more than a little similarity. To Khamenei's credit, he's not as verbose.

  • Baquia

    Lee, you correct in the most technical manner possible. My use of that analogy was to illustrate that the water of truth can get muddied through time. In the example of 'the seal of the prophets' it was the readily accepted dogma of its day (and to many degrees it still is to this day – you would get your head lopped off in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia if you said otherwise). So for someone to grow up in a culture steep in this dogma and to be able to put it aside, that is what I was referring to. If you remove the context in which people are living, then you are correct. But we all know that no one lives in a vacuum and we are all influenced by our cultures and current ideologies and events.

  • bird

    It’s been over a year since I removed the term ?Bahai? from my name and now refer to myself in the Hawaiian word, ?noname? pronounced (no-naw-me), it means no name. Still kind of weird because I believe in the validity of the message but when I start to question the ?truth? in the Bahai faith I start at the LWT of Abdul Baha, Ruth White validated it had been written by someone else… Wow does the search for truth get fun here. As for Shoghi he accepted th job bestowed on him in stride and did a 5.5 star job. But I can not and will not until ?truth? is revealed understand why he did not have a LWT himself. Heck one of the first things I did when I declared was write a LWT and I was 30, Shoghi died at 60 with no will? Is that the truth? Because he had no will the Bahai’s now have the infallible UHJ, with men like Peter Khan telling all Bahai’ to cease and disist searching for truth and just listen to him(them). Sort of makes one want to weap with sadness that the ?message itself? is once again being over take by the ?messengers? Please know I pray for you all always.
    Bird

  • ramfar

    Continuing drift towards a thought-control cult of little consequence.

  • Lee

    since I come from that background and have had keen interest and studied for some years now history of religions, I can say that up to the declaration of the Bab and some years after the Islamic clerics collectively were waiting for the Mehdi and the return of Christ (a prophet) and were activly preaching it. many schools of thought began during that time that were claiming the day of judgment is near by (not only the Shaikhiyeh group but many others) . it was only after the shocking announcement of the Bab and the disappointment that they had of how the Bab came to them (not fulfilling the literal meaning of Quran) and the long waiting of the return of the Imam afterwords that the notion of the seal of prophets became very noticeable especially in the eyes of the Sunnis (they believe in the Mehdi and not the Imam). and thus became slowly a more important and dominant dogma to cover over the concept of the return of Christ or the Imam since in the eyes of the cleric it has passed it's time which was calculated both in the Quran and the Holy traditions. thus people were deviated from waiting for the Mehdi and investigating anyone who claims to be him and rather focused on rejecting anyone who claims to be the promise one by repeating the “seal of the prophets” argument.
    I see the same pattern within the covenant of the Baha'i Faith. that some, both Baha'is and those who are not, became disappointed that their hopes or notions of how the covenant should look like were not realized. meaning that they did not like the idea of infallibility of the UHJ, or the end of Guardianship, or that the obedience to the House of Justice is like obeying God Himself. thus other dogmas and believes were adopted such as limitations within the infallibility of the UHJ, or believing in certain parts of the covenant and rejecting the rest such as believing in the line of succession up to Shoghi Effendi only for example. however these dogmas (in my view) have not dominated nor will it dominate because there is a central point which most Baha'is and those who are deeply interested in the faith both academically and spiritually refer too. many religious scholars and historians deal with covenant of the Baha'i Faith, UHJ, as the authentic source of acquiring information of the Faith. knowing fully well (historians) that there are other sources claiming alternative options of how the Baha'i covenant should look like but it is not considered as authentic in their view.
    what I am saying is that dogmas are born always when deviation away from the covenant of a religion occurs. especially when the covenant itself was not fully established. but since there has been an established covenant within the Baha'i Faith. these deviated Dogmas, although they will not stop, will be limited and unable to penetrate the unity and authenticity of the religion.
    I will not attempt to say I am not judging because the mere fact that one shares a view means that they had a judgment over a matter. my point is to think outside the box. that what if the fears that is expressed here in this blog of the faith becoming slowly but dangerously dogmatic and fanatic is actually in revers. that undermining the covenant as it is which was establish directly by God Himself (if one believes so) is what creates fanaticism and unnecessary dogmas in a religion. this only will apply if one believes of the basic elements of the Covenant. if one does not believe so then my view on this matter means nothing to him or her and has every right so to think so. these are some of my views.

  • Baquia

    Lee, there is no gentler way to say this: you are wrong.

  • Craig Parke

    The UHJ starting with Peter Khan could learn something from the life of this man:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/13/gib

    Get sustain into the instrument and leave people alone so THEY CAN PLAY. Like the great Irish guitarist Henry McCullough with his Gold Body on this gig 40 years ago this week:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQYDvQ1HH-E

  • farhan

    Grover, as you know very well, never, in any message over the last two years have I ever implied in any way that institution members equate institutions.

    I sometimes value the opinions of institution members because of the experience they hold, and Peter Khan is one of them.

    As to female mutilation with the eradication of which I have been involved, the answer is education at grass roots.

    You are not seeking truth, Grover, you are seeking confrontation.

  • farhan

    Bird, Shoghi effendi had no earthly belongings to bequeath to anyone and His will concerning the future of the Faith has been abundantly expounded in all His writings. The only will and testament concerning the Faith I can imagine Him writing would have been “please refer to above-mentioned”.

    As Leroy Ioas reports, Shoghi Effendi accepted the burden of Guardianship that equated with the end of a normal life because He had no other choice, and honestly, I cannot imagine anyone aware of the implications of that responsibility ever wishing to accept it.

    My understanding is that personal authority was to end in this dispensation, to be replaced by a collegial authority and ending it in Abdu'l-Baha's time by electing the UHJ proved to be impossible because of the lack of maturity of the believers. I understand the Guardianship as having been a temporary institution pending the establishment of a collegial authority which puts an end to cultish adoration of persons.

  • farhan

    Baquia, saying “you are wrong” implies that you have an authority to arbitrate. There is a gentler and more democratic way of saying it in “Please allow me to disagree”.

  • farhan

    Masud, I fully sympathise with your pain and distress. There is an obvious conflation between institutions that provide guidance for those who seek guidance, and institutions that enforce their own interests on unwilling citizens. As the French say, there is no worse blind than he who doesn’t want to see.

  • farhan

    Baquia, Anna's presentation is a mere example of a direct approach in teaching that avoids getting involved in unending explanations and making sure that someone who wishes to become a Baha'i knows what he is accepting; we are supposed to adapt this example to real situations.

    That some immature and well-meaning Baha'is decide to learn and blurt it by heart without considering the precise questions of the person before them does not disqualify the idea but the immaturity of some of us who through their mistakes can learn and advance.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: The UHJ ain't my maestro – I am my maestro

    That is perfectly respectable and admirable: your search for truth.

    I don’t treat patients who do not ask for my attention, nor do I worry about what guidance other religions offer to their admirers. I am concerned when people impose their beliefs on those who do not ask for their guidance.

    Peter Khan offers his ideas to people like me who are keen to appreciate them. As you say, a majority of Baha'is, so let's say, at least say 51% of some 6 million. Cheer up; no one is interfering with your brain.

  • Lee

    was hoping for an elaboration. thinking one is wrong doesn't make the other person right. but elaborating ones opinion can make one understand why there is an opposing opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Hi Amanda,

    “A brief review of the cultural and theological underpinnings of the current Iranian system will show you that Veleyat-e Faqih, as a concept, PREDATES Khomeinism”.

    Yes, as does the persecution of the Baha's in Iran; it didn't start in 1979. Furthermore, I have no problem with your analysis of the possible similarities between the legal/historical contexts of the BAO and the IRI's conceptual framework But the question is, is that how far you must go to find the common denominator? If so, I could also say something like “Arab Nationalism = Fascism” because these movements share certain ideological tenets. Many Arabs would probably be outraged by this comparison, and they would be right, but according to your logic one can (and apparently SHOULD) say this.

    “There is only about 100 years between their thinking”

    …yes, that AND thousands of people (Baha'is and others) killed, tortured, incarcerated etc…but honestly, is that the best you can do? Using the length of time as a basis for comparison? The Holocaust took place less than 100 years after the inception of the Faith, would you now have us believe that the “theological underpinnings” of these two concepts are similar?? I hope not, because that would be ridiculous.

    So now we come to what Concourse on Low meant by that statement, and I think it's clear to any sentient human being that he/she wasn't talking about the historical/legal context which you've very piously attributed to him/her in order to make his/her comment sound innocent at worst and meaningful at best. I say this because said comparison wouldn't be compatible with the negative tone which runs through all of this person's posts, so Concourse on Low obviously DOES intend to compare the BAO to the IRI in a negative way, so no, Concourse on Low was NOT comparing the “similarities in the structures of the systems” in a manner bereft of any valued judgement, and one doesn't need to be a mind-reader to know this, all that's needed is understanding the comment in its context with many other previous comments and adding to it the myriad of anti-BAO remarks that abound on this blog; it's not rocket science.

    “[…] and inflaming violence towards Iranian Baha'is. Especially if you obviously don't know what they're talking about. “

    Well, Amanda, maybe I'm saying this because IT'S ALREADY HAPPENED. You obviously have selective amnesia, but I don't; I remember very clearly how, a while back, a youtube user who goes by the nickname tetabiakti expressed great indifference towards the plight of the Baha'is in Iran as a direct result of having watched one of your videos. You never responded to this user, thus allowing this impression to go unchallenged and maybe even propagated. There are certainly many others similarly disposed but who haven't expressed this (…yet?) Who knows? Maybe tetabiakti and those yet to come could have made a difference for my martyred uncle, my formerly incarcerated cousin, or for thousands of similarly oppressed Baha'is in Iran and elsewhere. How many more tetabiakti's do you need until you understand the unintended yet extremely dangerous consequences you could be bringing about?

    “Why in the world do you think cutting out people's tongues before the IRI can get to them is of any help towards the cause of Baha'i freedom?”

    Amanda, if people's tongues are contributing to other people's demise, or even just maltreatment, then their tongues don't constitute a very high price to pay, do they? Just as in many other cases in life, we are now confronted with competing values and I think that in this case it's quite easy to determine which is more important.

    And about the rest of your post, concerning democracy, I have a lot more respect for the way you made the comparison than Concourse on High's defamatory speech. However, I don't really see it as an issue; of course the Baha'i system is not fully democratic in the purest sense of the word, but so what? I think everybody would agree that democracy has its faults, so saying that a certain system isn't exactly like a democracy does not imply negativity. Furthermore, I think it's better for our elected leaders to be accountable to God and not constituents insofar as constituents, as is even more clear nowadays, are very bad at accounting; if our actions were to be judged by human standards, why would we even need religion and, by extension, institutions? Human standards are fickle and volatile, God's standards are perfect and constant.

    The bottom line is that we human beings are imperfect and so our actions can't be accountable to ourselves and therefore, in the Baha'i Faith, elections take place to select those who the electorate believes have the proven capacity and/or demonstrated experience in serving the Cause (and hence God) NOT being held accountable to the electorate; in fact, I think this misunderstanding is what leads to the conflations, amalgamations, sophistry and anti-Baha'i and/or AO rhetoric that runs through this blog.

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Concourse on Low,

    First of all, I laughed out loud at the fact that you said Khamenei is not verbose; how can a person so vehemently and vociferously protesting against the BAO know so little about this issue? Khamenei is one of the most verbose political leaders in the world, rivalled only by Hugo Chavez and maybe a few others.

    Secondly, there is no similarity between the reasons I used to defend censorship (against hate speech) and Khamenei's reasons. The former implies preventing clear and present (as opposed to deliberately vague and obviously fabricated) danger whilst the latter implies influence from other countries in “private affairs”. As you'll recall both Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have repeatedly talked about the West “meddling in their internal affairs” What they forget or choose to ignore is that there are no “internal affairs” in the globalised world we live in. Plus, Iran, by way of what seems to be its sponsorship of terrorist groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas, is itself meddling in the “West's” internal affairs.

    Lastly, as I just said in my previous post in response to Amanda, when human life is clearly at risk, yes I could call for censorship and I don't really care that that makes my position similar to that of the proponents of the Velayat-i-Faqui on that specific point, because what's important is the principle, not the person, the light, not the lamp, etc… What does seem despicable to me, however, is to simply write UHJ=Velayat-i-Faqui and then, not content with that, add “same ol' same ol'” so as to say that there's no difference, which actually invalidates Amanda's attempted nuance of your remark.

    In summary, sunlight is the best disinfectant, but if, during the disinfecting process, a significant amount of damage is being done, it's time to disinfect using other more efficient means.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Other than stating you didn't follow my argument (and I don't appreciate your straw men re-statements of “my points”-100 years, etc)… I will have to limit my reply to you to two areas until I am less revolted. That day may never come.

    You have an etiology/cause and effect problem. Blaming ME for an anti-Baha'i TROLL commenting on my video- WHO I BLOCKED- makes as much sense as blaming a Baha'i for having their tires slashed in Shiraz. Should that Baha'i have just not dared drive? “Why provoke the thugs?” Don't blame the victim and don't ask Baha'is to cut out their tongues to keep from being silenced. It's insane. And you are not the only one of us with martyred and incarcerated family, so please check your rhetoric. I say that with genuine love- but do not use your family (and mine's) suffering in a way that just escalates this.

    Okay? Knock it off.

    Secondly- the “cultural and theological underpinnings of the current Iranian system” that predate Khomeinism also PREDATE Baha'u'llah. Jeez. Fact check a little. And halt your “each one teach one” project with the 1979 business- I'm Baha'i (in origin, not belief) remember? I know when they started dragging us through the streets.

    You are seeing “anti-Baha'i rhetoric” here where there is none. I still agree with the initial Concourse on Low comment and think you haven't made a single argument about it that holds up.

    Ramp down the straw men and conversational hostility or this conversation stops. You are being inflammatory and attacking people's motivations about their loved ones. That is not okay. We are all on this blog because we are part of *the same community* that is being persecuted in Iran, regardless of the diversity of our views, so please have some conversational dignity. You're not the only one here with people in Iran. Calm down.

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Hi Farhan,

    I agree completely. Detractors would probably respond by saying that those two kinds of institutions you described are nothing more than two cheeks of the same backside in the Baha'i Faith (I have heard remarks made to that effect) They say this because they're blinded by their disdain for or simply disagreement with Baha'i Administration, and in many cases, Baha'is themselves.

    Sometimes I get the impression that many of them are just protesting for the sake of protesting. As the American philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “Though dissenters seem to question everything in sight, they are generally bundles of dusty answers and never conceived a new question. What offends us most in the literature of dissent is the lack of hesitation and wonder.” I think this is a good description of many people contributing to this blog. And, as Baha'u'llah so beautifully reminds us, “A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even if he lives in paradise.”

  • Concourse on Low

    My dear Masud, spasmic ejaculator of syllabic superfluity.

    Please note that my use of “as” is relational; meaning, you are more verbose than Khamenei, not that Khamenei is not verbose. Yes, he is verbose; you're more so.

    Anyway….

    Amanda's remark about my comment is accurate.

    The Shia political theory that underpins the velayat-i-faqih shares the same historical, cultural and intellectual milieu as Baha'i political thought. The similarities are more salient and striking than the differences. Infallible top-down governance of the immature masses. The kids need a nanny. UHJ, V of F – common template, along with the same organizational pathologies.

    Your characterization of my remarks as an incitement to violence and instability is as pitiful as it is alarming.

    Again, like everything you're already said, it's a common trope among the Islamic Republic of Iran's supporters, as well as tinpot advocates of absolutism, in their efforts to justify the suppression of dissent.

    Disinfect using other more efficient means?

    Oh my, Masud, such hysterical talk of efficient disinfection is eerily similar to the frothing of turbaned tyrants, and the comically mustachioed.

    I think you'd feel at home with your ideological kin, the Basij. I'm sure you can swing a club as the best of 'em.

  • Concourse on Low

    So why are you complaining about people on this blog then?

    Go Masud, get yo ad hominem on, go Masud. It's yo birthday.

  • Concourse on Low

    Farhan, the difference is between those who consent to a system of governance that is premised on divine sovereignty and those who consent to a system of governance that is premised on popular sovereignty.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran tries to combine both. So does the Baha'i Faith. The evident contradictions and conflicts inherent in the former ought to give pause to the adherents of the latter.

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    You may have blocked him/her NOW, but you certainly didn't a month after the comment was made; I remember this quite clearly.

    “[…]makes as much sense as blaming a Baha'i for having their tires slashed in Shiraz”

    You obviously don't get it. Let me try to flesh it out for you: imagine that an unsuspecting reader comes across Concourse on Low's comment; do you think he/she will be a) adamant or b) hesitant to help fight for the rights of the Baha'is in Iran? I think the answer is most definitely b) . So this has nothing to do with “blaming the victim” or any of that nonsense; if you must, I'm actually blaming the negligent perpetrator. And again, it's not about asking them to cut out their tongues (though I previously affirmed this, but only in a metaphorical way) it IS about wisdom and knowing when to say what; it's about prudence and circumspection. Haven't you heard the old adage “A still tongue keeps a wise head”? And it's also about respect, because I know Concourse on Low's intentions; he/she wasn't just being facetious and is certainly quite frivolous, but more importantly this person lashed out at the Baha'i Faith (I say the Faith and not just the BAO because, as per Baha'u'llah Himself, these two elements are indissoluble) because the AO doesn't operate in accordance with his/her world view.

    And how shameful of you to suggest that I'm using Baha'i suffering to escalate this; I'm saying that these anti-Baha'i rants CAN escalate (or maybe even have already escalated) Baha'i suffering.

    “[…]the “cultural and theological underpinnings of the current Iranian system” that predate Khomeinism also PREDATE Baha'u'llah. Jeez. Fact check a little.”

    That was one big non-sequitur. I contended that Concourse on Low was referring to the current interpretation and practice of the IRI, not the theoretical framework on which it is somehow loosely based, which predates Baha'u'llah. Where in your argument have you even attempted to refute this??

    The current tendency of outside media to check the temperature of the clerics, rather than consult the writers and poets of the country, shows our own cultural backwardness in regrettably sharp relief. Similarly, even if the theological underpinnings of the Velayat-i-Faqui existed before Baha'u'llah they were almost entirely rejected (and mocked) by Persians from all walks of life (which was not the case in 1979) For example, here is one of Persia's greatest poets, Omar Khayyam in the 11th century:

    “Oh Mullah, we do much more work than you,
    Even when Drunk we are more Sober than you,
    You drink people's blood and we drink the blood of grapes[wine]
    Let's be fair, which one of us is more immoral?
    and do you think that unto such as you,
    a maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew,
    God gave the secret, and denied it me?
    well, well, what matters it! believe that too
    The Quran, well, come put me to the test
    Lovely old book in hideous error drest
    Believe me, I can quote quran too,
    The unbeliever knows his religion best”

    So please, show a little intellectual rigour; the essence of Velayat-i-Faqui which is most relevant to the comment Concourse on Low made is the way it is currently practised in Iran.

    “We are all on this blog because we are part of *the same community* that is being persecuted in Iran”

    Good. Then it is incumbent upon all of us not to justify (or make) comparisons of the victims to their aggressors. This holds true no matter how many attempts you make (via your rather lazy intellectual meanderings) to attribute “astuteness” to such a vile comment; one that you've made yourself, though admittedly in a less provocative, acerbic and glib manner.

    And I know I'm not the only person with people in Iran, and that's what surprises me the most: that, in spite of this, you and others still have no problem being an apologist for and sometimes the source of guttersnipe remarks (in a public forum) insulting what many Baha'is hold dear. You probably don't do this intentionally, so don't make a straw man argument about me ascribing malicious intent to you or anything of that sort.

    But I would like you to explain to me how making a comparison of that kind can in some way bring us closer to that noble goal as “part of the same community that is being persecuted in Iran”. If it isn't contributing to that, then it is, given the nature of the remark, doing exactly the opposite.

    Oh and let me reiterate once again, it is extremely clear what Concourse on Low meant with that comment: he/she was referring to the Velayat-i-Faqui AS INSTITUTED by the current post-1979 regime, which THEREFORE implies all the oppression thenceforth.

  • farhan

    Concourseonlow wrote: The Islamic Republic of Iran tries to combine both. So does the Baha'i Faith.

    I disagree; this is pure invention for supporting your outrageous statement; as you probably know already, the Baha’i Faith PREDICTS that in time governments will be more and more inspired by the Baha’i teaching, and this is already the case in many parts of the world. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever suggesting that Baha’is intend to seize political power, and innumerable quotes denying such an allegation.

    Baha'i teachings address only those who eagerly wish to apply them and perhaps even die for them.

  • farhan

    Masud wrote: I'm saying that these anti-Baha'i rants CAN escalate (or maybe even have already escalated) Baha'i suffering.

    I agree, Masud. Some posts from here are copy-pasted on anti-Baha'i blogs, which is normal of course: birds of a feather flock together.

  • farhan

    Perverse provocation. You sound like a troll…

  • Concourse on Low

    Interesting remarks, Farhan. Too bad you're responding to what you imagine I said, rather than what I actually said. But that's your modus operandi, so no surprise.

    The governing system of the Islamic Republic is an ugly hybrid of theocracy and republicanism. It's dysfunctional because theocracy and republicanism maintain mutually exclusive notions of sovereignty and accountability. Republicanism grants ultimate authority to the people. Theocracy grants ultimate sovereignty to God. Very strange bedfellows.

    Similarly, though not identically, the Baha'i Faith attempts to combine the notion of divine sovereignty with representative democracy.

    How else would you describe a system where voters elect delegates that ultimately vote for a supreme legislative body that is purported to be unerring and divinely guided in its pronouncements and activities, and excluded from the type of accountability entailed by representative democracy? (It's worth mentioning that the Veylat-i-Faqih is supposed to be chosen in a similar manner.)

    Farhan, the Baha'i Faith sees itself as the solution to the world's problems and its aim is to convert the world – you know it, I know it, everyone here knows it. Granted, it intends to do this through persuasion rather than coercion. However, the goal remains the same.

    And I have no doubt that if the Baha'i Faith were to ever become the dominant religion of a state it would show the same level of intolerance for dissent, criticism and non-belief as all other state sanctioned religions.

    The same fanatical hysteria that fuels the rage of a Basji thug exists in nascent seed form in your and Masud's wild failings against anything that doesn't pass your ideological litmus test.

    That nascent seed will inevitably shoot into thorns and brambles once it gains the state's monopoly on violence.

  • Craig Parke

    What is interesting to note is that the entire world is now trying to deal with the two simple governance principles of competence and accountability in human affairs.

    So far EVERY system yet devised has failed miserably including Western Republican Democracy (going financially bankrupt by allowing unfettered predatory gambling casino capitalism to ruthlessly gang rape everyone!), Fascism (took their societies off a cliff in nicely pressed uniforms!), Nazism (killing people day in and day our is very, very demoralizing as a way of life and primary directive consciousness of the Universe!) , Soviet Communism (collective social ownership of the MEANS OF NON-PRODUCTION!) , the Roman Catholic Church (same old, same old lazy and entrenched fat ass Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees mindset that crucified the Radical Hippie from Galilee Jesus Christ in the first place!), the Iranian Theocratic Republic where people elect dofuses who have never worked a day in their life doing anything useful to govern them by speaking for God!) just to name a few of the biggies.

    The Baha'i Faith as an organization is off to an astoundingly terrible start! The spectacular failure amid the mind bending carnage, destruction, and incredible waste of resources of the 20th and now 21st Centuries is absolutely breathtaking. It has run every single cosmic energy that has ever come it's way since 1912 completely into the ground decade after decade in hapless lock step blunder after blunder with almost mathematical precision. The reason is very, very simple. No one is EVER held accountable for anything in the Baha'i Faith in their limitless lifetime incumbency. Ever.

    For example, where is it in anyone's job description as a member of the UHJ that they have the right to stand up anywhere on Earth and open their personal little mouth and criticize the rank and file Baha'is around the world anywhere by their mere personal opinions as a member of the UHJ? Answer: They don't have that right AT ALL! Zero. Nada. Zippo. To do so is very harmful and an absolutely shameful act of supreme self centered breath taking archetypal arrogance.

    But before there can really be a competent and just planetary civilization the problems of competence and accountability in organizations have to be solved. This is the primary sorry message of all the sorry dysfunctional Abrahamic religions out of the Middle East. This is the 3,000 year workshop laboratory. It is an incredible revelation of human clinical personality disorders and mental illness as revealed through “organizations.”

    But thanks to the grace and skill of very silent and very quiet software engineers in this World Age who can traffic in the runes of the Intel x86 instruction set, this problem is now going to be solved like a flaming spear into the hearts of incompetent dunces and buffoons everywhere on Earth in every system and culture.

    Get ready because it is all going to change worldwide!

    The Internet is going to be merciless on incompetence, injustice, and incompetence 24/7/365/1000/5000,000.

    The Promised Day has come. And idiots and buffoons in every system are going to hang. The only defense from total personal catastrophe is actual competence, justice, and full accountability in one's every act. Everywhere.

    The people currently running the Baha'i Faith do not seem to know this yet. But they all will to a man at some point. Because people's sorry block heads are going to end up on electronic poles in every land as the World Age unfolds.

    Arrogant, self centered hacks are going to be the first to fall. That includes the clergy of Islam and the lifetime incumbents running the Baha'i Faith. These will be easy. The religions of money will be much harder to bring to karmic justice. Wall Street is much more formidable than Islam, the UHJ, or the Pope. But their day will come too at some point. It will not be pretty. It will come too.

    We had the Netroots Nation Convention this week in Pittsburgh. The World G8 Summit is here next month too! There is lots of discussion everywhere here about the new processes of the Internet journalism and blogging that are developing at a faster and faster rate.

    Everyone keep posting worldwide everywhere!

    Judgment Day has indeed come upon the rulers of men!

  • Concourse on Low

    Compelling remonstration.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote :..the Baha'i Faith attempts to combine the notion of divine sovereignty with representative democracy.

    Farhan : There is a difference between foreseeing something and attempting to do it. The present aims of teh Baha'i community are detailled here:

    http://reflectionsonteachingbahaifaith.blogspot

    http://www.bahai-studies.ca/files/ABS2008PaulLa

    For decades the Baha’is were accused of being republicans because in the Aqdas Baha’u’llah foresaw that the government ?would fall into the hands of the people?.

    This is what some Baha’is might have seen in our crystal ball, but Baha’is made no move towards promoting a republic. I believe the world being in dire need of reconciliation, it will one day turn to the UHJ for guidance. I am not promoting it, but extrapolating it.

    Concourse: How else would you describe a system where voters elect delegates that ultimately vote for a supreme legislative body that is purported to be unerring and divinely guided in its pronouncements and activities, and excluded from the type of accountability entailed by representative democracy?

    Farhan: you are projecting what might happen in 5 centuries. For the moment the UHj guides the SPIRITUAL lives of those who request guidance. They remove voting rights from those who openly declare they do not agree with the guidance and laws, just as I might politely advise a patient who does not wish to be treated in my hospital to consult another physician (it so happened this afternoon). He openly said that he did not want to be admitted to a ward with the ?Bretons? (inhabitants of Brittany). I gave his results, called his GP and offered him some addresses.

    People here openly express their disapproval of Baha’i principles and laws. I try to discuss with them and understand their views. Has anyone been beaten, imprisoned, tortured, excluded from his business or school, his house burnt down for expressing his disagreement. At most people complain about being shunned: something I have never witnessed in France, but again, Sacco and Vanzetti were not executed in France, were they?

    Concourse: the Baha'i Faith sees itself as the solution to the world's problems and its aim is to convert the world – you know it, I know it, everyone here knows it.

    Farhan: I disagree: the Baha’is see the MESSAGE of Baha’u’llah as holding the solution for the world’s ills. Not themselves nor their administration which is a mere distribution service for that message and an attempt at building an experimental prototype, a workshop for experimenting the ?lesser plan of God?. The ?greater plan of God? is what is going on in the world that is reacting to that message. As Shoghi Effendi clearly points out:

    ?that the World Unity activity is being carried out as an experiment to test the efficacy of the indirect method of teaching; that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha'i Faith.?

    Concourse: And I have no doubt that if the Baha'i Faith were to ever become the dominant religion of a state it would show the same level of intolerance for dissent, criticism and non-belief as all other state sanctioned religions.

    Farhan: This is your crystal ball, but you cannot condemn a community on the basis of MIGHT happen in 5 centuries. Your choice is respectable, but your accusations are inacceptable.

    Concourse: The same fanatical hysteria that fuels the rage of a Basji thug exists in nascent seed form in your and Masud's wild failings against anything that doesn't pass your ideological litmus test. That nascent seed will inevitably shoot into thorns and brambles once it gains the state's monopoly on violence.

    Farhan: this is an outrageous prejudice, but your obvious aim is to be provocative, sowing seeds of discord and not of love and fellowship.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    Masud, and to some extent Farhan in support of Masud,

    As a Baha'i, I find the spirit of your commentary disturbing. You confirm the very criticism you decry. Behind a Mask of Light lies the Face of Darkness.

    “There's some dark seed in ideology
    that takes it so quickly
    from being a Light in the world
    to a darkness,
    from being the hand that uplifts
    to being the fist that oppresses.”

    One view from one window on the world.

    Barb

  • Concourse on Low

    You foresee it, hope for it, and actively act to achieve it.

    If you want to edify me about the aims of the Baha'i community, you would be well advised to link to Baha'i scripture, not Paul Lample.

    Regarding your comment about Baha'u'llah and republicanism – again, you would do well to link to something relevant, like this quote:

    Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God.

    (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 28)

    This illustrates Baha'u'llah's open endorsement of some sort of constitutional monarchy/republic. It should also illustrate the fact that Baha'u'llah's remarks regarding governance are vague and indeterminate, and conflict with popular Baha'i understanding.

    Farhan says, “I believe the world being in dire need of reconciliation, it will one day turn to the UHJ for guidance. I am not promoting it, but extrapolating it.”

    Ruhi and teaching campaigns, these are dedicated to “extrapolation”?

    Again, you hope for it, foresee it, and actively work to achieve it.

    I'm not projecting anything into the future. That is how the Baha'i model of governance works right now. I'm questioning the blueprint.

    I'm certain that if Masud and your ilk had the ability to oppose dissidents and critics with force, you would. I'm sure I would be black and blue in any Baha'i state.

    There are untold incidents of heterodox or non-conformist Baha'is facing hostility and disdain from their community, the same animus and vitriol that you and Masud have shown me and others on this blog.

    You want me to pat you on your back for not beating up someone who disagrees with you about the Baha'i Faith? That's not some some sort of achievement that merits touting.

    Spreading the message of Baha'u'llah doesn't entail converting people? Ok. Right. Keep drinkin' the kool-aid.

    I can object to the Baha'i blueprint for exhibiting the same pathologies that have disposed previous religions to violence and oppression.

    Yes, sow seeds of discord. Don't forget, I also plan to spread idle fancies and vain imaginings. But it's so hard to do when I've roving distraught in the wilderness of unbelief.

  • Amanda

    You are in a logical and moral black-hole.

    You need to stop the black and white/us- versus-them thinking. The ISSUE here is what PRINCIPLE is at stake: HUMAN RIGHTS. If you support human rights, you support EVERYONE'S human rights- Baha'is, Iranian Muslims, Gays, Me, Concourse on Low, etc.

    What Principle is at stake? Do you support it?

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Hi Barb,

    It seems quite strange to me that as a Baha'i you're disturbed by my outrage and my taking offense at a slanderous comparison of what is currently the most important Baha'i Institution to a crime-ridden, gangsterish, barbarian regime and not disturbed by said comparison. Am I wrong to make this assumption? If so I'm sorry. If not, please explain why my reaction is more disturbing than the vile comment made by Concourse on Low.

  • Lee

    study the facts Baquia is better this way. what I mentioned about Islam is actually factual not an opinion. there are plenty of research made on this matter. investigate. see how the concept of Mehdi is slowly eradicated in Sunni countries. just study the school religious text books the past 30 years.
    However my conclusion regarding the covenant is my personal view. which you can disagree with. but one fact is true is that in any religion when covenant is not established deviation takes place and religion is immediately divided. lucky we have cases to prove this and a case that proves that unity is maintained if covenant is firmly explained and established.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote : The evident contradictions and conflicts inherent in the former ought to give pause to the adherents of the latter

    Farhan: The best extrapolation I have seen is Ali Nakhjavan’is essay. Many Baha’is are musing with their crystal balls; I feel we have very urgent problems on our hands at this time. We all try to do what we can to achieve reconciliation of peoples and religions; Some are involved only with fanning the flames.

    Concourse: This illustrates Baha'u'llah's open endorsement of some sort of constitutional monarchy/republic.

    I am not talking about the Baha’i outlook; I am saying that seeking a way of discrediting a religious community, and failing to find it at fault, you try to extrapolate what their action will be in 5 centuries, and equate them with the active present day butchers.

    In French this is a ?proc?s d’intention? which has no direct equivalent in English. Basically it's the act of criticizing what you assume might eventually be the future intent of a person. It is like a traffic warden giving you a ticket because you look at a publicity and hence consider buying a sports care and hence potentially intend to infringe the law by speeding.

    In a way I am reassured, because it means that you have found no valid motif for discrediting the Baha’is, so you equate them with the Basijis…

    Concourse: Ruhi and teaching campaigns, these are dedicated to “extrapolation”?

    Farhan: they are dedicated to promoting Baha’u’llah’s teachings which prescribe a culture of service as opposed to the present culture of domination. This spiritual renewal of humanity will lead to new forms of governance. That in time Baha’u’llah’s predictions will prove to be true is a belief, but how very often Baha’is make mistakes in squinting into their crystal ball.

    This is the Baha’i contribution to the survival of the planet, however humble and unfeasible it might seem to you. If you have any suggestions on these lines, we would be happy to consider and perhaps adopt them, but from what I read, your only ideas are to discredit those attempting to do something by equating them to criminals instead of making suggestions.

    Concourse: I'm certain that if Masud and your ilk had the ability to oppose dissidents and critics with force, you would. I'm sure I would be black and blue in any Baha'i state.

    Farhan: Your CERTITUDE : a slanderous ?proc?s d’intention?. You are projecting your own feelings on us.

    Concourse: the same animus and vitriol that you and Masud have shown me and others on this blog.

    Farhan: pray, please show me where I have shown ?animus and vitriol?; Did we equate you to Basijis? Did we belittle you religious beliefs? Did we insult your religious institutions? Very, very subtle reading between the lines? Freudian projection!

    Concourse: Spreading the message of Baha'u'llah doesn't entail converting people?

    Farhan: let us not play with words. When we share ideas it obviously entails people accepting or rejecting those ideas. Transmitting the idea that all religions proceed from a common source as successive chapter of one same holy book, does not involve converting from one religion to another, but also accepting others.

    Concourse: I can object to the Baha'i blueprint for exhibiting the same pathologies that have disposed previous religions to violence and oppression.

    Farhan: Yes, looking at publicity for a sports car obviously entails the danger of getting a ticket for speeding. You might wisely prefer to keep out. Water is dangerous: you can drown in it, so don’t drink any. The danger is real. In time we will need a new revelation to correct it. Here is how Shoghi Effendi describes it:
    ?It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Bah??’u’ll??h.? (WOB p 7)

  • farhan

    Barb, please develop on what disturbs you in my commentry.

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Amanda,

    I find it interesting that, in the same breath, you first say that I should stop the black and white thinking, and then you ask me if I support Human Rights or not, a clearly black and white question. Mind you, I agree with the way you framed the question, because I don't find it particularly menacing to “take sides” when it comes to human rights; I am on the side of human rights and against human rights violations (i.e. black and white) In other words, there's nothing wrong with a black and white view in this context. (I don't know why you mentioned “us vs. them” I don't remember speaking in those terms)

    But not to dodge your question, Amanda, the principle at stake here is human life. The broader principle is human rights, but my argument is that comments such as those made by Concourse on Low CAN (and HAVE, as I demonstrated before with youtube user tetabiakti) render people indifferent towards the situation of the Baha'is in Iran.

    So again, it's about competing values/principles. IF and WHEN Gays', Muslims', Gays', Your, or Concourse on Low's human rights are being violated, of course I would stand up and fight against that violation in any way possible. But here we're talking about human life (the ESSENCE of human rights) being threatened; the “Yaran” apparently will be on trial on Tuesday in Tehran and they are facing the death penalty if convicted. So I ask you again how does comparing an institution that millions of Baha'is love and respect contribute in ANY way, to the struggle against this SPECIFIC human rights violation (namely, murder); struggle in which we are ALL engaged? In my opinion, it exacerbates the issue, that's what I've been trying to say, and it is very sad that you can't see that. It's also why I've called his/her comment vile and why I asked Baquia to remove it, NOT because I oppose free speech or share the ideology of the Basiji or any of the other accusations made in the course of Concourse on Low's loose babble, but because I understand that if upholding one right can infringe upon another, more important one, it may not be the right thing to do.

    In brief, I do support everyone's human rights, but when human life is at stake, and if there is no way to protect all those human rights simultaneously (which is generally the case) then yes, maybe some of those human rights could be put on hold, pending the prevention of the more important human rights violation, namely murder.

    Human life above all else. I hope we can at least agree on that.

  • farhan

    Amanda wrote : Also, democracies, in principle, enfranchise everyone. which the BF doesn't. Democracies also, in principle, practice freedom of speech, the press and dissent, which the Baha'i Administrative Order doesn't. So, how again was it a democracy?

    Manada, the Baha’I administration is a structure for sharing the teachings of Baha’u’llah, in as pure a state as possible, with humanity. It can be compared to other religious institutions and to no governing body. It cannot be a ?democracy? which is a system of government, and we can hope that in time the concept of democracy will have improved. That in time governments will be inspired by Baha’u’llah’s teachings is a Baha’i belief, just after 300 years, Constantine adopted Christianity as state religion; I am not sure if this promoted Christian values or not, but that is another debate.

    The question of dissidence in religion cannot be compared with that of dissidence in state affairs. If I promote views contrary to the belief of a religious community, if I behave contrary to the rules of that community, that community can tell me I am not counted as a believer. Beyond the personal practice of religion, it is important to cooperate and collaborate within a community and for this we need rules. If we disagree with those rules, we cannot participate in a common action. This has nothing to do with our rights as citizens which Abdu’l-Baha clearly said should be defended whatever our beliefs. Here is how Afroukhteh recounts how he was reprimanded for having had acted against a covenant breaker in Khatirat, p 264:

    ? As soon as we heard the news, the Hands of the Cause, along with two others and myself, met and consulted on ways to block his acceptance by the school. Finally, it was decided that Mr… should meet with the school authorities and persuade them to reject Hubbu'llah.” I expected to receive 'Abdu'l-Baha's praise and encouragement confirming our great service, but even before I had completed my remarks, He interrupted: “What! You consulted on how to prevent a Covenant-breaker from earning a living? This is not how the Faith is served. In matters of earning a livelihood there is no difference between a believer and a Covenant-breaker. The friends must be the signs of God's generosity and charity. They should shine like the sun and be as bounteous as the spring rain. They should not consider the capacity or merit of a person.” In short, He continued in this vein for some time, while I felt deep pangs of shame and remorse for my actions and words. I lowered my head, realizing that in my attempt to please the Master I had been too much of a meddler, and for once I was embarrassed.?

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Thank you for that beautiful passage Farhan, I had read that before but had forgotten where it came from.

  • Craig Parke

    Yes. Thanks for that passage too! It is a quite good sentiment. I love it! I honestly do not think Abdu'l-Baha could be a Baha'i under the current arrogant one-size-fits-all tone deaf lifetime incumbent administration. But it is nice to remember this Faith once had people in it like Abdu'l Baha!

    Always remember, Jesus Christ was murdered by a “religious organization” of professional lifetime clergy. Always remember, the Bab was murdered by a “religious organization” of professional lifetime clergy. Always remember, Baha'u'llah was persecuted all His life by a “religious organization” of professional lifetime clergy.

    Shouldn't people make note of the phenomenon? Shouldn't we be mindful and on guard about these facts of history? Shouldn't we be mindful of the truths in these events?

    And that truth is that ideologically addicted professional clergy are ALWAYS very, very murderous people. They are mental cases addicted to their power in an organization.

    When a member of a sitting UHJ starts using his position in the Faith to lecture rank and file Baha'is worldwide on his personal displeasure based upon his own mere personal opinion, it is time for The Vote to take note. It is time to send such people who have overstepped their boundries packing to a new profession. And at some point that is going to happen as more and more people are completely fed up at what lifetime incumbent people in high places with a major personality disorder have done to to the Baha'i Faith.

    I've said it before and I will say it again. The only meetings Peter Khan should be concerned about with his life is Weight Watchers and the only program he should spend his time thinking about every day is Jenny Craig.

  • Amanda

    It is a rare skill to lose something (meaning, obvious intent) in translation while reading in the *same* language. Congratulations on having achieved it here at every turn.

    I think we can BOTH agree that the prerequisites to any conversation are 1) mutual intelligibility and 2) fairness. Of course, that is only true if the goal of the conversation is to seek truth, not obfuscate or carry out some captain-bizarro agenda. Can we agree?

    If so, I will kindly ask you to stop Straw Man-ing every phrase you are able to latch a hold of through your cloud of histrionics, and deal with my actual statements here. If your intent is just to knock me down, no matter what, by all means proceed paying no attention to what I'm actually saying and have at it. It will clearly make you feel better to scapegoat someone for the anguish you are going through.

    But if you actually want to talk (and THINK) about this, Masud, you are going to have to listen, & at least make an effort to not distort what I'm saying (Straw Man) before grandstanding your opinion. Make sense? Can you do that?

    To be clear, by “black and white/us- versus-them thinking” I meant *us versus them* thinking that is of a black and white nature. Your fear-based, (and hate-based) rhetoric here and on my videos does not seem to come from a paradigm that equally values all human beings in this equation. Some human beings are prioritized over others in your analysis. Likewise, the rights of some of these smaller subset groups are given higher priority than others.

    You have cast this fact in what I feel is the *guise* of prioritizing certain RIGHTS over other RIGHTS, (rather than the rights of certain GROUPS over certain GROUPS.) Outside of the context of the over a years worth of comments on my videos you've made on this topic, I would actually understand a RIGHTS over RIGHTS argument. In certain limited contexts it makes genuine sense. For example, you say when an immediate LIFE is in danger, you should sacrifice freedom of speech. I understand that argument. In transient, un-nuanced emergencies I agree. But as an ONGOING strategy- ESPECIALLY FOR AN OPPRESSED GROUP OF PEOPLE- it is a profound strategic error.

    What's more, you disrespectfully ignore the intersectionalities between oppressed groups and ask everyone to keep their SELECTIVE silence to prioritize your rights, while you ignore theirs. Example: You expect the entire world to advocate for the human rights of Baha'is in Iran. You ruminate about what will happen if something puts them “off.” You speak out. You advocate. However, when others do the same on their own behalf (speak out, advocate, expect solidarity-) you curl up into the fetal position or worse, you attack. You leave your brothers and sisters in the cold. In either case, it is YOUR GROUPS rights you cherish, not HUMAN RIGHTS.

    “IF and WHEN Gays', Muslims', Gays', Your, or Concourse on Low's human rights are being violated, of course I would stand up and fight against that violation in any way possible.”

    “IF and WHEN?” For FUCK sake, Masud. Open your eyes. Or a goddamned newspaper.

  • Amanda

    “You may have blocked him/her NOW, but you certainly didn't a month after the comment was made; I remember this quite clearly.”

    btw, Masud, you're right. I fact checked this. It was a year ago and I waded through 1400 comments last night to find it, but you're right.

    I didn't block that user because they just said something (1 comment total) I disagreed with, not something that was actually abusive.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  • farhan

    Amanda, you seem to be referring to comunitarism. When a minority feels its survival menaced, it has a tendency to aggregate and uphold its members. If there is a disaster, you will first react by protecting your kindred, towards whom you have a specific and legal responsibility. This is why for example gays parade on gay prides instead of parading in favour of millions of children dying of hunger or deprived of education. If your parents offered as much money to the education of each member of your neighbourhood as to your education, you would feel abandoned. I am not saying it is right or wrong, but it is natural.

  • farhan

    Craig, to a pilgrim Abdu’l-Baha explained that the world would abandon religion which would be recognised as a source of conflict, would then realise that without religion society would go to pieces, and would then see a religion and choose the Baha’i Faith.

    The same reasoning could go for administration: we abandon administration as a source of abuse, then realise that without structure we get into chaos, and are unable of collective enterprises, and try and find a better way of organising ourselves. The present Baha’i administrative order may not be perfect, not as a result of its conception, but because of the imperfection of those providing those services. Fortunately, I have had some hair raising experiences, but not as bad as what you seem to describe. I know that you live in a part of the world with a reputation of puritanism, and France is often described as a moderate anarchy.

    The point is, do you seriously believe we can manage to organise a community without any administration at all?

  • Amanda

    Farhan, you are in PART correct. It is something SOME people do when we feel our survival is threatened. But I am not talking about the POSITIVE aspects of community identity- like Pride or taking responsibility for paying school fees, as you mentioned. I am talking about the negative narcissistic martyrdom complex that has emerged in SOME parts of the Baha'i community, where we can't look past our OWN suffering to see other people's. The WORST feature of it is when we can't see when we are CAUSING other people's suffering. It is in no way unique to the Baha'i community. The Shia community is also an oppressed minority in the Islamic world and feels hyper-paranoid about squelching dissent that might be “counter-Revolutionary.” We should learn from that psychological mistake to not do the same thing to each other.

    And you might not know if it's right or wrong, but Baha'u'llah and Sam Harris both seem to agree that morally identifying with only a subset of humanity is immoral. Let your vision- and your freedom seeking- be world embracing.

  • farhan

    Amanda; I agree mostly, and loving humanity does ot exclud our family, and in fact I believe that we do have specific commitments to our family, and community, without allowing an excess of communitarism.

  • Concourse on Low

    Masud, curb the histrionics and drink a cold glass of water.

    The Baha'i theory of governance, with its emphasis on the infallibility of the UHJ, shares a common provenance with the Usuli Twelver Shia notion of the velayat-i-faqhi.

    I am not talking about individuals; I am talking about the blueprint of said instiutions. I am no comparing the current actions of the IRI regime to the actions of the UHJ; I am comparing the blueprint of the V of F to the blueprint of the UHJ.

    These two models, though not identical, share three salient features.

    Both models of governance maintain that society requires infallible top-down guidance, otherwise society will be dysfunctional.

    Both models disparage dissent and criticism of the directives of the infallible body.

    Both models maintain that the infallible body is accountable only to God. (Exception: the supreme leader can be removed by a major vote by the assembly of experts, which has never happened in the IRI's 30-year history)

    In my opinion, a just model of governance requires accountability and competence. Accountability is necessary for competence. The three aforementioned premises shared by V of F and the UHJ are antithetical to good governance insofar as they undermine accountability, and, therefore, competence.

    The blueprint of the V of F has failed to create a just society.
    The blueprint of the UHJ is sufficiently analogous to the V of F.
    It follows, then, by logical analogy, that the blueprint of the UHJ will fail to create a just society.

    I suspect you would challenge the second premise, and claim that there are salient dissimilarities that would preclude a common fate.

    In brief, the failings of the V of F are due to a faulty blueprint, not the failings of a particular individual. Similarly, the Baha'i model is faulty in design.

    I believe the current evils of the Islamic Republic of Iran should serve as cautionary tale for those who hope and work for a Baha'i state and Baha'i global governance.

  • Amanda

    Yes, Farhan- and, of course you understand that no one here, not myself or Concourse on Low or anyone else, was arguing that “loving humanity” means “excluding” our own family (Baha'is.) That would just be making stuff up, now wouldn't it? Glad we both know that's not what you're suggesting anyone here said. Also glad we're clear on the fact that no one here proposed foregoing our “specific legal commitments to our family and community.” Isn't it nice how we can be FOR *all* people's rights, and isn't it amazing how in HAVING SOLIDARITY for OTHER people's struggles, our OWN cause gains more solidarity. Look at that.

  • farhan

    Agreed

  • farhan

    Concourse, Abdu'l-Baha said that the world would adopt the Baha'i principles, apply them and fail because the power of the Holy Spirit would not sustain them. It is not the structure that makes the tree, even if we make the exact replica; it is the life that grows from the seed.

    So if the Baha'i faith thrives and flourishes, it was sustained by an invisible force. If it fails, we can say it was a man-construed enterprise. I made my bet. Only a miracle can save the world at this time, so if you know where to find another miracle we can bet upon, please share; or perhaps you believe that things will sort out by themselves?

  • Amanda

    Concourse on Low:
    “I believe the current evils of the Islamic Republic of Iran should serve as cautionary tale for those who hope and work for a Baha'i state and Baha'i global governance.”

    I agree completely. An important first step for Baha'is is to READ their own blueprint, and not just Ruhi books. If you are building a World Order, make sure you've actually seen the Blueprint. You might not agree with it.

    Masud:
    “Good. Then it is incumbent upon all of us not to justify (or make) comparisons of the victims to their aggressors.”

    I completely disagree with you. Of what use is maintaining a false sense of separation from our executioner cousins? Especially when we ARE so similar. Shouldn't we learn everything from our suffering we can- isn't that the only possible way it can be edifying? Because there's nothing inherently special about us. Or them. Or suffering. We better make every comparison we can and learn from it. There but by the grace of Comparison go us. How do we stop the cycle of violence and NOT pay it forward? By thinking about this stuff and making painful comparisons. By NOT silencing each other. “The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.” (Audre Lorde.)

  • Amanda

    Barb-
    Your voice of reason (and heart) is heartening.

  • farhan

    Amanda wrote: Of what use is maintaining a false sense of separation from our executioner cousins? … How do we stop the cycle of violence and NOT pay it forward?

    Amanda, are you suggesting that if the Baha'is were in power in Iran, they would be behaving as the IRI has done?

  • Amanda

    What I am suggesting, Farhan, is that

    “Human beings are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.

    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.

    If you have no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain.”

    There is no way to know what would have happened if someone else was in power in Iran right now, and I cannot speculate backwards. But there is nothing about the nature of your humanness or mine that is radically different from the individuals making bad human decisions within the IRI. Becoming a Baha'i, an ex-Baha'i, a Muslim, or an Atheist does not inoculate you from error or atrocity. None of us is “saved” from our humanity, so yes- Baha'is could potentially make the exact same errors in governance that their oppressors have. And because that is true, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow beings to examine our experience of suffering closely and commit to not perpetuating it on others.

    So, on 2 points- because of *our shared humanity* and because of the *similarities* in the models Concourse on Low has already pointed out, yes, I DO think that Baha'is could behave in just as totalitarian a manner as the IRI.

    A further danger, and what I meant about the *cycle* of violence, is that the Baha'i community has been on the receiving end of trauma since it's inception as the victim of brutality, and frankly has collective untreated PTSD. PTSD is a poor substitute for theology or group strategy. My vote is that we address our wounds as a community a little more consciously and diminish the risk of taking out our pain on dissenters or anybody else.

    Make sense?

  • farhan

    Amand wrote: An important first step for Baha'is is to READ their own blueprint, and not just Ruhi books. If you are building a World Order, make sure you've actually seen the Blueprint. You might not agree with it.

    Amanda, first of all no one JUST reads just Ruhi books. Ruhi books are part of the teaching institute activities that are a small part of Baha’i activities, although they are a priority at this time as a means for elaborating a mass education system, for teaching many people at the same time instead of just the individual tutorship we had before. Reading history books in schools is part of education and does not exclude ALSO reading literature at home, going to Sunday school AND watching the news on TV. If we do industrial agriculture this does not exclude kitchen gardening, and building busses does not exclude taxis and motorbikes.

    Secondly, the ?blueprint? is just a structure, and the structure is just a temporary packing , an instrument, which as in the quote I provided, is called upon to evolve and change as the needs change. Believing that one day the world will be but one country does not mean you can go travelling without a passport today.
    The important part is what that structure contains and transmits to people. Saying the IRI and the BA have the same blueprint is like saying they both use PC for writing letters It is to total ignore the contents of their teachings, the sentiments that inspire their hearts and the ideas that motivate their behaviours and more important, the actual actions they undertake. So many countries have very similar administrative structures with totally different ideals and behaviours.

  • farhan

    Amanda, I like your poem, and the ideas about the body of humanity and the need to break the cycle of violence by not responding, which is exactly what the attitude the Baha'is in Iran are adopting.

    You write: yes, I DO think that Baha'is could behave in just as totalitarian a manner as the IRI.

    Baha'is individuals, as anyone else, can be subject to shortcoming. The way the AO is designed reduces the risk for collective shortcomings. We cannot waive away all kinds of collective enterprises because people MIGHT act inadequately. That would be throwing away the baby with the bath water.

  • Amanda

    No.

  • Amanda

    “Amanda, I like your poem”

    Sa'adi.

    “The way the AO is designed reduces the risk for collective shortcomings.”

    Um…no: “UHJ=Velayat-i Fiqah, ITC=Guardian Council, Same 'Ol, Same 'Ol.”

    “We cannot waive away all kinds of collective enterprises because people MIGHT act inadequately.”

    Classy. CLEARLY my suggestion was not to do away with *collective human activity.* But let's do away with the one that involves you and me keeping up this little chat, okay?

  • farhan

    What organisation do you suggest?

  • Concourse on Low

    Farhan,

    Would you invest in a blueprint that requires a skyscraper to be made of jello on top of quicksand? You wouldn't say, well let's give it a try. The unwavering dedication and optimism of countless brilliant builders could never negate its flawed design.

    Your point about the Holy Spirit is trite. It's tantamount to saying – God supports us, not them, so it doesn't matter if we set up an equally flawed structure. As cliche as it is unpersuasive.

    Your hypothetical conditional is backwards. It should be – if the Baha'i system is divinely inspired then it will flourish, because flourishing is a necessary condition for determining divine inspiration; divine inspiration is sufficient for flourishing. So if it does not flourish (negation of the consequent), then it follows that it is not divinely inspired.

    What are you metrics for “flourishing”?

    I disagree that the world needs a “miracle,” or God to telephone divine schematics to a middleman engineer who then shares it with all the construction workers.

    The world needs greater accountability and competence. The world needs individuals that are committed to justice and equality. Individuals that work for positive, incremental change, not Utopian miracles.

    The world does NOT need those committed to setting up another system with pretenses to divine guidance and infallibility. It's been tried. And it's failed. (I know, I know – the other ones lacked the holy spirit, and so on.)

    The relative stability, freedom and prosperity enjoyed in the western world is a consequence of The Enlightenment, not the adoption of Baha'i principles – an anachronistic claim that you regularly make. Baha'is enjoy freedom of assembly and speech in the west because of Voltaire, Kant, Rosseau, Paine and others, not Baha'u'llah.

    But like many fundamentalist Muslims who enjoy the freedoms of the west, Baha'is hypocritically hiss at western society, fantasizing about its downfall – so they can swoop in and fill the vacuum. With what? More of the same. Infallibility and divine guidance, proven over and over again to be anathema to human progress.

    Of course, liberal democracy is rife with flaws, but regressing to systems predicated on infallibility is taking several profoundly tragic steps backwards. progression. The Baha'i model of governance is not a viable corrective to the flaws of liberal democracy. It's regression, not progression.

    Moreover, history shows us that the oppressed very often take on the characteristics of the oppressor. Baha'is are not immune from this, and the current contempt they show for those who disagree with them does not bode well for any future Baha'i state.

  • farhan

    thanks for expressing your views; they are different from mine

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  • AmadodeDios

    There are easy giveaways for certain behaviors that are traps. For example, if someone says “I am obliged to let you cheat me” they are surely out to cheat the other person. If someone says “of course my merchandise is expensive – it's not like that cheap junk in Shop X” it may be useful to have a look at Shop X!
    Bickering has several revealing characteristics: getting on one's high horse (I am important, have suffered, know fancy words), shifting to attack the unguarded flank that was never a part of the opponent (“straw man”), unkind words (not exactly a Baha'i Teaching, is it?).

    Might we stop bickering? Even if only to prove we can, and thereby blast the other arguer out of the water with our warm, loving friendliness?

  • farhan

    Congratulations to Baquia

  • farhan

    AmadodeDios, I believe that the origin of this is trying to do with a public forum what it cannot do: solve emotional problems.

    A forum is excellent for exchanging information and facts, but poor when people seek confrontation so as to release accumulated grudges and emotions that would be better dealt with in real human relations, where we can see and feel the other’s emotions instead of projecting our own sentiments on them. Postings act as a Rorchach test where people reveal their deep sentiments by revealing what they believe to be the feelings of the other.

    We see others as how we believe they are, hence as we are, and not as they are. As George Bernard Shaw said, the greatest punishment of a liar is not that others cannot believe him, but that he cannot believe others.

  • AmadodeDios

    I'm sorry. If you see an obstacle in the road and say “slow down” and the driver accelerates, it is natural to say “brake, brake!” I don't mean to retort back-and-forth, and this was not a trap, like a child's trick (What is the first sign of being silly? Having hair on your knuckles – and the second is looking!)
    But another sure alarm-revealer-flag to highlight bickering is when one party instantly points out “that's right, YOU have been bickering”. Please – I was asking most of the contributors to be friendlier, by which I meant sincerely friendlier, structurally friendlier – not just more fancy insults.
    Please forgive me if I sound like I am also slapping back – I think I really want all my friends to get along a little better!

  • farhan

    AmadodeDious wrote: I really want all my friends to get along a little better!

    This is exactly how I understood your post to which I agree. I tried to explain why and how it occurs very naturally. In addition, people here are pseudos and a comment by one person can be unconsciously attributed to another. If I feel agressed by a message, i might mistakenly feel the next one as agressive.

  • farhan

    Lee wrote : this only will apply if one believes of the basic elements of the Covenant

    I fully agree with this Lee. There is a similarity between the makings of the social body and the makings of the human body and the Baha’i writings make many allusions to this. You cant make a human body by just bringing together its constituent parts. Similarly, a society is not just the execution of a blueprint, even though we might have an idea of the final model of society. This is one example from Abdu’l-Baha in Secret of Divine Civilisation p 107:

    ?The world of politics is like the world of man; he is seed at first, and then passes by degrees to the condition of embryo and foetus, acquiring a bone structure, being clothed with flesh, taking on his own special form, until at last he reaches the plane where he can befittingly fulfill the words: “the most excellent of Makers.” Just as this is a requirement of creation and is based on the universal Wisdom, the political world in the same way cannot instantaneously evolve from the nadir of defectiveness to the zenith of rightness and perfection. Rather, qualified individuals must strive by day and by night, using all those means which will conduce to progress, until the government and the people develop along every line from day to day and even from moment to moment.?

    The embryo is not just a blue-print: it is a living organism that through its cohesion attracts and integrates elements from its environment, adapting to its environment and evolving and advancing by steps.

    If its cohesion, a covenant between its collaborating parts, is withdrawn, the growth and life of that part that breaks away will cease. It is the same with the spiritual covenant binds members of a society. We cannot artificially build a society by bringing together component parts through reason, force and coercion. The two left wing and right wing attempts at forcibly building an ideal society in the 20th century failed dismally.

  • Concourse on Low

    Farhan, I've addressed most of your points (read: your misrepresentations of my remarks) in my comment above, the one to which you gave a non-response.

    But I have to take you to task for your obfuscation about the goals of the Baha'i community. They're not the wish-washy claptrap that you describe, Anyone with even passing familiarity of Baha'i scripture and community activity knows that the defining motivation of Baha'i initiative is conversion.

    You, my friend, are the one playing semantics by muddling that express goal with airy-fairy gobbledygook.

    Above, I asked you what your metrics for “flourishing” are. You avoided answering it.

    Do Baha'is assess the success of their activities by measuring the number of people who have “adopted a culture of service”? Or do they base it on declarations (i.e., conversion)? Two words: cluster growth.

    Your expansion of the definition of success from conversion to something more vague is a classic example of shifting the goal post. When the initial goal of mass conversion fails, the response is to broaden the definition of what qualifies as success. It shifts from declarations to people responding positively to the Baha'i message.

    Your claim that the Baha'i Faith's only goal is to effect attitudinal change at the individual and collective level makes it sound more like a non-profit social organization than a religion, which does not jive with Baha'i scripture.

  • fubar

    PK is lost in the illusions and comfort zone of absolutism. Bahai culture is in a state of polluted memetic rot, and as such, opportunists like PK and other AO/fundies find fertile ground for their hideous, dysfunctional aspirations.

    The bahai “mainstream” is no longer a force for the advance of “civilization”, it is a cesspool of paradigm regression, conformism, and pointless bureaucratic reinvention. It is a magnet for cr*p beliefs/ideas.

    Karen is right that exploring other paths to spiritual healing/growth is the best strategy for many people (Iwould suggest “integral transformative practice” as one path). She talks about “love” in the correct “spiritual” terms – the devotional perspective based on “love” (bhakti, divine feminine) is one of the most authentic forms of realization.

    Brendan is right that those that are concerned about the possibility of social change and justice requires a vigorous critique of the current dysfunctionality that is bahai culture (and corresponding
    “learning opportunity” for how to effect change/evolution/development).

    Mavaddat is right that bahai theology contains the evil scriptural seeds of shiia absolutism and rigid orthodoxy.

    Eric S. is correct in stating that the myth structure that bahai theology is premised on is limited, and contains only partial truths.

    The thing that is stunning is how a bunch of rag-tag bahai dissident bloggers are so correct in their views and understanding of the human condition, and how WRONG and EVIL bahai bureaucrats like PK are.

    If someone could find and post the quote from abdul-baha about how if it no longer is the cause of unity, it would be betterr to get rid of religion, that might be pertinent.

  • fubar

    bahai ao has already shown such absolutist tendencies in their persecution of nonconformists, critics and dissidents. Mazandarani and Louis Gregory are early case studies of bahai intolrance to nonconformists.

    bahai ao has clearly absorbed bad “memes” from its “mother culture” – shiia islam for several generations.

    this is not contradictory: such memetic “pollution” occurs at the level of the “collective unconscious” (Jung) for a long time, then erupts into the conscious, rotting everything around it (“paradigm regression”).

  • Craig Parke

    Iran's Ahmadinejad criticizes rival Rafsanjani

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/08/17/iran….

    Ouch! Looks like things ain't jiving too well on the “We got elected to speak for Allah” consciousness concept these days. Looks like things ain't jiving too well at all. Bummer. Maybe these boys need to read some Thomas Paine?

  • farhan

    Concourse, I feel I have already replied, but I will gladly do so again if you enumerate your points.
    Concourse wrote: Anyone with even passing familiarity of Baha'i scripture and community activity knows that the defining motivation of Baha'i initiative is conversion.
    Farhan: some Baha’is indeed do summarize ?teaching? as converting, as a means and not as an end. Very clearly, from the abundant writings I can quote if you wish, I understand without any obfuscation that 1) the worlds ills result from a lack of spirituality, 2) the teachings towards the reconciliation and collaboration between the religious groups brought by Baha’i teachings is the remedy for this, 3) our goal is to convey these teachings to the world in as pure a condition as we can (ie : the ?Greater plan of God?) 4) To do so we need an organized community of servants which function within the rules of a community organized by an AO (the ?Lesser plan of God?). 5) We need enrolments (conversion) so that we have enough people to cater at God’s banquet which is open to all. 6) When humanity is spiritually revived, and not before, can we see the civilization outlined in the writings instated perhaps in a few centuries. 7) The ?miracle? I speak about is not God’s Kingdom for which humanity has prayed for thousands of years coming out of the blue, but rather the collaboration of now contending population towards its establishment.
    Concourse: Above, I asked you what your metrics for “flourishing” are. You avoided answering it.
    Farhan: I have already produced here the statistics concerning the development of Baha’i activities under ?Time for Ruhi to show the money?. I can do so again if you wish. I have suggested that you read or listen to Paul Lample’s talk at ABS in 2008, which conveys the understanding of the UHJ. You replied that you were only concerned with the teachings and not with reports from UHJ members. I will quote parts of it here if you wish.

    Concourse: Do Baha'is assess the success of their activities by measuring the number of people who have “adopted a culture of service”? Or do they base it on declarations (i.e., conversion)? Two words: cluster growth.
    Farhan: Yes, they do as an evaluation of their efforts. In a banquet, the satisfaction of the guests is essential, but in the kitchen, the hosts measure how many have been served and how many guests have made the request for more, or even of joining the catering team. So statistics are a mere tool for evaluating our efforts. They do not reflect how humanity is influenced by the teachings, which I repeat, is the essential part of our efforts.

    Concourse: When the initial goal of mass conversion fails, the response is to broaden the definition of what qualifies as success. It shifts from declarations to people responding positively to the Baha'i message.
    Farhan: during Shoghi Effendi’s life time we already had masses of people enrolling, but with no community to cater for them. This resulted in mass exit. I personally had this discouraging experience in the 1970s. The institute process was designed in 1996 for producing large numbers of human resources to cater for new comers; it so happens that now new comers themselves start catering for other newcomers. The goal very definitely is to change human behavior, not to produce long lists of enrolled who come into the community with their problems which we cannot help, lacking human resources, and who continue to live and behave as before.

    Concourse: Your claim that the Baha'i Faith's only goal is to effect attitudinal change at the individual and collective level makes it sound more like a non-profit social organization than a religion, which does not jive with Baha'i scripture.
    Farhan: I am not saying only: I am saying the primary purpose, the fundamental object, the other goals being secondary. We obviously need human resources in the form of new enrolled, but this is a means and not a primary purpose. Here is one in hundreds of quotes from Baha’u’llah in Iqan p 74:
    ?And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God’s universal Manifestations would be apparent.?
    And another from Gleanings CX:
    ?The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight Path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure. Our hope is that the world’s religious leaders and the rulers thereof will unitedly arise for the reformation of this age and the rehabilitation of its fortunes. Let them, after meditating on its needs, take counsel together and, through anxious and full deliberation, administer to a diseased and sorely-afflicted world the remedy it requireth….?
    You notice Baha’u’llah is calling on the world religious leaders and not on Baha’is to do it. He is not calling for mass transformation and not mass enrolments.
    Other clear questions such as these would be welcome; if don’t know the reply, I promise to seek it out for you.

  • farhan

    Fubar wrote: bahai ao has already shown such absolutist tendencies in their persecution of nonconformists, critics and dissidents.

    Perhaps you might wish to expalin what kind of persecution these people were subjected to.

  • farhan

    Religion should be the Cause of Love and Affection

    Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician. (Abdu'l-baha, p 58)

  • Concourse on Low

    Your reply avoids the fundamental assumption that informs Baha'i thought and activity, namely, the best means of mass transformation is mass enrollments. You may make qualifications about this, but popular Baha'i culture does not.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote: the best means of mass transformation is mass enrollments.

    Concourse, I know that ?Baha’i culture? can vehicle ideas from the ?Tablet of Hearsay? but practical experience since the 1950s have clearly shown that mass enrollments, unless they are accompanied by mass consolidation, result in mass exit and in addition, those exiting massively and those having participated in such teaching efforts become disillusioned and in some ways ?vaccinated? to transformation. Once again, if you read or listen to the two talks of Paul Lample in 2008 I referred to, you will have an idea of more authoritative ideas.

    The purpose is clearly the spiritual revival of humanity. Abdu’l-Baha’s Tablets of The Divine Plan written circa 1916 are the basis for these plans. We need human resources, not only in numbers, but in quality, and this means a balance between transformation and enrolment.

  • Eric

    I half expected Khan to say the problem with the world is that the world hasn't taken the Ruhi courses. Seriously it seems like that's all the Baha'is do is compulsively focus on Ruhi.

  • Amanda

    Hmmm…

    “Concourse wrote: the best means of mass transformation is mass enrollments.”

    You wrote:

    “Concourse, I know that ?Baha’i culture? can vehicle ideas from the ?Tablet of Hearsay? but practical experience since the 1950s have clearly shown that mass enrollments, unless they are accompanied by mass consolidation…”

    -I don't think it's the Tablet of Hearsay, as much as it is the Tablets of the Divine Plan. Do they have that in French? That, the Tablet of Carmel, and the Will & Testament are what Shoghi Effendi called the “Charters” of the Faith, right? A “Charter” sounds an awful lot like a Blueprint…

    Also, you just arbitrarily divide consolidation out of the teaching process in the above comment, as if that somehow makes it NOT about conversion. Concourse on Low, I believe, was talking about the conversion process, “teaching.” That includes enrollment and consolidation. Only a group of people with a cultural appetite for conversion would have such a rich vocab for the nuance of the bouquet: “enrollment” versus “consolidation.” It's all a little tannic for me anymore.

  • Craig Parke

    In so many words THAT is precisely what he said! Ruhi is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man cometh unto the Father but by the Ruhi Courses. That's it. That is where the Baha'i Faith is today. Period.

  • farhan

    Eric, his might be the case in your part of the world if people have mistaken the priority and urgency to develop human resources and community activities through the Institute process as an exclusivity for doing Ruhi.

    This was the case in some parts of the world 6 or 7 years ago, but again and again the UHj has warned us about the need to continue previous long-term goals and in particular social and economical development activities. If people in your part of the world have still not understood this, you might have them read and listen (more detailed) talks of Paul Lample in 2008 I have referred to above.

  • farhan

    Amanda, my understanding differs from yours; I believe that humanity is in dire need of Gods message and that we are to be in a position with enough human resources to cater for them. The charters you speak about refer to our duties in sharing the teachings and not in collecting declaration cards. Here is how in His tablet to the Shah Baha'u'llah foretells this :

    “For now, however, they have hidden Me behind a veil of darkness, whose fabric they have woven with the hands of idle fancy and vain imagination. Erelong shall the snow-white hand of God rend an opening through the darkness of this night and unlock a mighty portal unto His City. On that Day shall the people enter therein by troops, uttering what the blamers aforetime exclaimed…”

  • Amanda

    “The charters you speak about refer to our duties in sharing the teachings and not in collecting declaration cards.”

    So you are saying “the people enter therein by troops” via your “sharing the teachings” does not entail anyone becoming a Baha'i, then?

  • farhan

    I am saying that I believe that after having abandoned religion as a cause of conflict, people will realize that a society cannot function without spirituality. They will then seek and find the Baha'i Faith, without being pushed or enticed by Baha'is. They will then, enrolled or not, need a community life to practice that faith and should at that moment have human resources ready to meet their community needs. This is what the institute is about: training those, Baha'is or not, who wish to serve, how to best do it, without abandoning all the other activities they were doing before.

    If you listen to Paul Lample's pod cast at the 2008 ABS, more particularly between about minutes 30 and 35 , he explains the policy of the UHJ in this regards.

  • farhan

    Craig, what PK DOES say is that we have series of service oriented activities of which Ruhi is one element, and that our aim is to establish the roots of a new civilisation in our day to day activities. He goes on to say that civilisation will come gradually over the ages, but it's roots are to be found in the activities of today.

  • farhan

    Concourse your comment about the culture of gaining converts reminds me of professional issues. We build hospitals and train doctors to treat patients, but in time, the structure can only survive economically if we treat patients. At this point the patients become the raw material for running the hospital and we might even start treating patients who don’t need treatment.

    Similarly, to bring about transformation of society we need workers, hence converts, but we should not loose sight that the primary purpose is to bring about a new civilisation and not inflate the lists of believers. This has been widely underlined in the Institute process that tends to produce open communities as opposed to the self-centred ones before; This passage from Building Momentum p 19, 2002, explains it:

    ?Having an “outward-looking orientation” also suggests that it is important for Baha'is to understand more deeply the forces operating on the world stage and the solutions offered by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. Our task is to convey to seekers that we are all living in the same world, facing common trials, and striving to fulfil similar, long-held aspirations for the human race. Our expressions of solidarity with our fellow human beings must be sincerely voiced and genuinely felt.”

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    It is all YEAR ZERO thinking. And worse than that it is all mechanical paint-by-numbers YEAR ZERO thinking. There is no need to have the mindset that everything else in the world is absolutely worthless and the Baha'is must start a “new civilization” that tells everyone on Earth how to wipe their behinds the “Baha'i way”. Many people in this world already know exactly how to wipe their own behinds far better than the Baha'is are wiping theirs. Many individuals and spiritual and political communities are far more advanced and far more in tune with what the Maid of Heaven brought than the Baha'is with their mechanical paint-by-numbers workbooks with pre-authorized answers and Admin-o-centric Politburo apparatchik drones. None of it is spiritual. It is all top down micro-managed controlled. It will be 500,000 years before the Baha'i organization can open a can of beans to make a meal to feed anyone.

    Meanwhile, contrary to the gloom and doom preached by the AO, everyone else on Earth is producing and opening cans of beans. What is the UHJ's position on health care reform in the U.S.? What is the UHJ's position on regulating financial derivatives? Other systems of thought are producing people far more altruistic than the Baha'i Faith. Why does PK and all of the other lifetime incumbent hacks in the BAO think they are the only game in town on the planet? They aren't. People of free thought and free action are doing far more good in the world than the straightjacketed Baha'is. Whoever does the real work of the World Age under their own free power and the perception of their own free hearts and minds is carrying out the Teachings of Baha'u'llah. Systems of rote indoctrination will fail and they will fail miserably. They are not rooted in any real heart. But the current leadership does not know this because they live in a theorist bubble of their own making far removed from the daily life of the people. It is the same old, same old in human affairs.

    The Baha'is are more incestuous and inward in their energies than ever despite the spin. And the Faith is falling further and further behind from having contact with the real currents of the present world.

    Our institutions ARE truly infallible if they have chosen total failure for the Faith. Because their currently enforced limited lock step cookie cutter methods have insured failure for centuries and Ages to come.

    There is no need to “build a new civilization” or “transform anything” in endless paint-by-numbers programs implemented by children in adult bodies. That work is all happening completely naturally in the world by souls in tune with spiritual forces far beyond the ken of a Theocracy of Dunces.

    Or as it would be said in Ruhi Speak:

    There is __ _____to “____ _ ___ ________” or “________ ________” in an _______ paint-by-________ programs _________ by ________ in ________ bodies. That work is all happening _______ ___________ in the _______ by _______ in tune with ________ forces ___ _______ the ken of a Theocracy of ________.

    Yep. It is always YEAR ZERO in the apparatchik Baha'i Faith while the whole world moves on hourly in doing the real work of social progress.

    So it goes.

  • Concourse on Low

    Your point, as far as I can gather from the miasma of metaphors, is that conversion is a means, not an end. And that conversion is instrumental to the goal of societal transformation, not equivalent to it. Baha'is aim to win broad allegiance to their principles, without necessarily aiming to win broad allegiance to Baha'u'llah.

    Am I right, Farhan?

  • farhan

    Craig wrote : What is the UHJ's position on health care reform in the U.S.? What is the UHJ's position on regulating financial derivatives?

    Farhan : The Baha’i position is that scientists should become service oriented instead of profit oriented and find the best way of serving humanity. This involves a spiritual change.

    Craig : Other systems of thought are producing people far more altruistic than the Baha'i Faith.

    Farhan : very true ; what we need is for all these highly competent and altruistic people learn how to collaborate and cooperate instead of competing and disabling each other.

    Craig: People of free thought and free action are doing far more good in the world than the straightjacketed Baha'is.

    Farhan: true, but they are not harmonising their efforts; worse, they are sabotaging each other. This is what we are out to change.

    Craig: Whoever does the real work of the World Age under their own free power and the perception of their own free hearts and minds is carrying out the Teachings of Baha'u'llah.

    Farhan: Again true, except that if we fail to collaborate and cooperate, our efforts will be annihilated.

    Craig: Systems of rote indoctrination will fail and they will fail miserably. They are not rooted in any real heart.

    Farhan: again true if they are rote and not rooted in the heart, which is very different in my experience of the Baha’i community than the one you describe.

    Craig: But the current leadership does not know this because they live in a theorist bubble of their own making far removed from the daily life of the people.

    Farhan: it is precisely this problem, as true in religion as in other forms of leadership that Baha’u’llah has come to remedy. Here are His words in Iqan:

    « Such a condition as this is witnessed in this day when the reins of every community have fallen into the grasp of foolish leaders, who lead after their own whims and desire. On their tongue the mention of God hath become an empty name; in their midst His holy Word a dead letter. Such is the sway of their desires, that the lamp of conscience and reason hath been quenched in their hearts, … Their hearts seem not to be inclined to knowledge and the door thereof, neither think they of its manifestations, inasmuch as in idle fancy they have found the door that leadeth unto earthly riches, whereas in the manifestation of the Revealer of knowledge they find naught but the call to self-sacrifice. They therefore naturally hold fast unto the former, and flee from the latter. … No two are found to agree on one and the same law, for they seek no God but their own desire, and tread no path but the path of error. In leadership they have recognized the ultimate object of their endeavour, and account pride and haughtiness as the highest attainments of their heart's desire. They have placed their sordid machinations above the divine decree, have renounced resignation unto the will of God, busied themselves with selfish calculation, and walked in the way of the hypocrite. With all their power and strength they strive to secure themselves in their petty pursuits, fearful lest the least discredit undermine their authority or blemish the display of their magnificence. Were the eye to be anointed and illumined with the collyrium of the knowledge of God, it would surely discover that a number of voracious beasts have gathered and preyed upon the carrion of the souls of men. »

  • farhan

    Concourse, I see “conversion” and “transformation” as similar terms, as opposed to enrolment. Baha'is aim at helping humanity to a broad allegiance of heart and mind to God's teachings (and not to “their” principles) which humanity can then apply to personal, community and institutional lives. Enrolment is merely an administrative step towards community building, which is itself a tool to the purpose of transformation.

  • Grover

    “Farhan : The Baha’i position is that scientists should become service oriented instead of profit oriented and find the best way of serving humanity. This involves a spiritual change.”

    Oh and who made you spokesperson of the Baha'i community? Again you speak from complete ignorance and again you falsely assume that a group of people – this time scientists – are lacking in spirituality. How do you know this? What evidence do you have to back this up? Why are you equating business practice with scientific practice?

    Big daddy Farhan – wise and knowledgeable, God-like in his wisdom – here to save scientists, grumpy and unenrolled Baha'is, homosexuals and any manner of deviant individuals from themselves.

  • Concourse on Low

    Farhan, your reply is a muddled mess in which you equivocate between terms at your convenience.

    Consider:

    Premise 1: Baha'is work to make other people optimally spiritual.
    Premise 2: Baha'i is the only system conducive to optimal spirituality.
    Conclusion: Baha'is work to make other people Baha'i.

    What do you disagree with here?

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Ok, so let's start making “painful comparisons” because, according to you, this contributes to a better society. Here's a few we can start with:

    Jews=Nazis
    Kurds=Baathists
    Darfurian citizens=Janjaweed

    Oh here's a good one:
    Gays in Iran=Velayate-Faqui

    Same ol' ol'

    Is that good enough? Do you have any more you would like to share with us? Or are those comparisons slimy enough for your taste?

    Oh and one last point: I'm sorry to hear that you think refraining from making offensive comments such as the one being discussed here constitutes SUCH a big sacrifice when compared to the lives of the Baha'is in Iran. (awww poor Concourse on Low, I'm asking him not to make insulting comments) Is that what you would tell the Yaran, to their faces?

    “Sorry, friends, but since I wanted to respect and uphold free speech, I allowed anti-Baha'i impressions to be formed by making and allowing vile comments on blogs, and so those who might have helped you were dissuaded. I thought it was more important to allow people to compare your religion with the tyrannical system in Iran than to prevent people from being rendered indifferent to your cause, as has happened now. I was confronted with a choice and I made it”

    How utterly ignominious and contemptible.

    (btw does anybody know why I'm not getting notifications of responses to my posts via e-mail? I'm logged in through twitter; might this have anything to do with it?)

  • farhan

    Concourse, I am interested in the views of others and I present mine next to theirs, without belittling other views, without seeking confrontation, commenting on their person or making judgments. I wish you would use the same ethics in exchanging your views.

    Concourse states: Premise 1: Baha'is work to make other people optimally spiritual.

    Farhan: No; Baha’is work to share the message of Baha’u’llah with those seeking it.

    Concourse: Premise 2: Baha'i is the only system conducive to optimal spirituality.

    Farhan: Certainly not ; they believe that the Baha’i revelation can harmonise all sorts of complementary spiritual systems, and allow people from very different social, religious, racial, economic backgrounds who might have never met, to work together, and to get to know each other better, and hence provide the basis for harmony.

    Concourse wrote: Conclusion: Baha'is work to make other people Baha'i. What do you disagree with here?

    Farhan: Baha’is work to share the message of Baha’u’llah with those who wish to benefit from it. They hope that the world will progressively advance towards that ideal, they are eager to welcome those who want to join the community and help spread this message to join them.

    They have no ambition to “make others” anything but what they themselves choose to do. Transformation is a process of interaction of the individual to spiritual teachings. Baha'is most certainly do not want to integrate people who are not in harmony with those ideals into their community and as I quoted from the UHJ, in no way do they attempt to prevent people who want to leave the community from doing so, nor do they harass or stigmatise those who leave.

  • farhan

    Masud, on the contrary, lets stop adopting a behaviour which we feel as unseemly in others.

    I get e Mails too; perhaps you can disable this option that I find convenient

  • http://twitter.com/masuds19 Masud Samandari

    Farhan, yes, of course we shouldn't adopt that behaviour, I was making those comparisons to show how ridiculous they are to sentient human beings.

    I think you may have misunderstood; I would like to enable that option, so how do I do that?

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: Oh and who made you spokesperson of the Baha'i community?

    No one Grover, absolutely no one;

    You can presume all my postings being preceeded by “IMHO”. If my comments seem contrary to Baha'i principles, you can refer them for censure to your national office or to the UHJ.

  • Amanda

    Masud,
    First of all-
    the comparison originally being made here was between 2 *systems of government,* not 2 religions or ethnic groups. I think your reduction to warring cultural labels says a lot about where your head is at on this matter, and is exactly what I was talking about when I said you were approaching this from a black and white “us versus them” reactionary mentality.

    So, your little list is vapid, embarrassing, and false analogy. I cannot for the life of me understand why you need to persist in this. But since you brought it up, the “Jew/Nazi” item is a perfect example of why groups like us who do suffer genocidal persecution should understand that suffering, alone, does not inoculate us against doing the very same thing to others. The Holocaust was real, wrong, and one of the worst black-marks on human history. But look at modern day Gaza. We should CLEARLY practice self-examination, lest we, victims, become the perpetrators. That is what has happened in illegal settlements and the occupied territories. Do you understand?

    (By the way, the last item that made your list- Gays in Iran= Velayat-e Fiqih, deviated from the “conflicting pair of cultural groups” pattern you were using. You combined an oppressed group with a system of governance. Not only does that not make any sense I think it reveals you don't understand the basis of this conversation.

    But, yes, for the record, if faced with the Yaran, or the many other political prisoners they are with, I WOULD be HAPPY to inform them I stand up for their human rights of belief and free expression they are are suffering so tremendously to uphold.

    Just curious- do you also have a problem with their attorneys, the Center for Human Rights, for upholding free speech, or is it just me?

    This, by the way, is false, ridiculous, a little comical, and proof that sometimes victims start to sound like perpetrators:
    “I allowed anti-Baha'i impressions to be formed by making and allowing vile comments on blogs, “

    Is that what my official charge would be in a court? Why don't you throw “corrupter of the earth” on for good measure? It makes just as must sense, and as has just as little relationship to reality.

    Same ol', Same ol'.

  • Name

    Farhan, don't divert from the issue by making baseless remarks about etiquette. I pointed out the flaws in your reasoning. If you find that “belittling”, then you shouldn't involve yourself in serious discussions. And stop being a hypocrite. You're the one who called me a “troll” in a previous comment.

    By denying both premises, which are based on your own previous descriptions of Baha'i goals, you've demonstrated your inconsistency.

    Your euphemistic, convoluted, watered-down distortion of Baha'i goals is motivated by maintaining good public relations with non-Baha'i readers of this blog. It's neither honest nor scripturally based. Your description of the religion makes it out to be a non-profit umbrella organization dedicated to coordinating groups working to ameliorate social ills.

    It might enjoy more success if it were.

    You peddle in obscurantist spin. And you're very good at it. That's why you've been designated by the continental board of counselors to “defend” the Baha'i Faith from online pushers of vain imaginings (read: independent and honest investigators of reality).

    You're a public relations agent, not an interlocutor dedicated to the pursuit of truth.

  • Concourse on Low

    Farhan, don't divert from the issue by making baseless remarks about etiquette. I pointed out the flaws in your reasoning. If you find that “belittling”, then you shouldn't involve yourself in serious discussions. And stop being a hypocrite. You're the one who called me a “troll” in a previous comment.

    By denying both premises, which are based on your own previous descriptions of Baha'i goals, you've demonstrated your inconsistency.

    Your euphemistic, convoluted, watered-down distortion of Baha'i goals is motivated by maintaining good public relations with non-Baha'i readers of this blog. It's neither honest nor scripturally based. Your description of the religion makes it out to be a non-profit umbrella organization dedicated to coordinating groups working to ameliorate social ills.

    It might enjoy more success if it were.

    You peddle in obscurantist spin. And you're very good at it. That's why you've been designated by the continental board of counselors to “defend” the Baha'i Faith from online pushers of vain imaginings (read: independent and honest investigators of reality).

    You're a public relations agent, not an interlocutor dedicated to the pursuit of truth.

  • Baquia

    A bit tangential but regarding the discussion on the focus of teaching and growth, I think it would be dishonest to say that it is not an important facet of the current Baha'i culture and one that is not a priority held by the administration. Here is a snippet from a recent feast letter forwarded by a friend:recent feast letter

  • farhan

    Masud, to set your account, under Discus you go to full profile> account>notifications. For Twitter I dont know.

  • farhan

    Concourse, once again you see others as you are, but does it matter how you view me? Having no arguments you make provocative ad hominem remarks. Your allegations are false. If you listen to Paul Lample's 2008 talk at ABS, St Diego, specially between minutes 30 and 35 of the podcast, you will see that I am not the only one to understand teaching in these terms and I have done so and written so for the last 40 years. You can Google for my papers in French.

  • farhan

    Baquia, the snippet was snipped.

  • Grover

    Then what the hell are you doing spouting so much tripe? I still can't believe that someone as thick as you is a doctor. You'd think some modicum of intelligence might have been passed on to you, purely by osmosis, it certainly was not by any effort on your behalf.

    I'm pretty sure you suffer from attention deficient disorder – i.e. everyone thinks you're a quack in your community and in your profession – so the only place you can get some richly undeserved attention is on this blog.

    And you still haven't answered my question – where is your evidence?

  • Concourse on Low

    It's ad hominem if the individual's actions and personality are irrelevant to the point in question.

    The point in question: I'm dumbfounded by your inability to be an honest disputant. I linked your public relations approach to your apologist mandate (now whether that's an official or self-imposed mandate, I don't know; so I can't defend my claim that you're linked with the continental board of counselors, but I wouldn't be surprised if you are). I thereby attempted to explain your inability to engage me fairly by reference to your personality, which I think is relevant in this case.

    In any event, I've offered clear, premise by premise argumentation, and you've generally responded with evasion and obfuscation. I think it might be because you're not a very clear thinker. I don't know.

    Also, if I point out a flaw in your reasoning, that's not ad hominem.

    I suffered through Lample's tedious talk, and it was hardly profitable. Yes, his analysis coincides with yours – it's an evasive, goal-post-changing account that is scripturally unfounded and out of tune with Baha'i popular culture. It equivocates between terms like conversion, sharing and transformation to make Baha'i missionary activity seem non-threatening.

    Farhan's lalala land account of Baha'i teaching goals, in a nutshell: Baha'is are only concerned with…sharing…the message of Baha'u'llah, and are indifferent to whether people self-identify as Baha'i, as long as people…transform spiritually.

    You know what? I wish that were true.

  • Concourse on Low

    Baquia, I've got to tell you, I'm not digging this new comment software. I just wrote a long reply to Farhan, and it's disappeared into the ether.

  • Concourse on Low

    It's ad hominem if the individual's actions and personality are irrelevant to the point in question.

    The point in question: I'm dumbfounded by your inability to be an honest disputant. I linked your public relations approach to your apologist mandate (now whether that's an official or self-imposed mandate, I don't know; so I can't defend my claim that you're linked with the continental board of counselors, but I wouldn't be surprised if you are). I thereby attempted to explain your inability to engage me fairly by reference to your personality, which I think is relevant in this case.

    In any event, I've offered clear, premise by premise argumentation, and you've generally responded with evasion and obfuscation. I think it might be because you're not a very clear thinker. I don't know.

    Also, if I point out a flaw in your reasoning, that's not ad hominem.

    I suffered through Lample's tedious talk, and it was hardly profitable. Yes, his analysis coincides with yours – it's an evasive, goal-post-changing account that is scripturally unfounded and out of tune with Baha'i popular culture. It equivocates between terms like conversion, sharing and transformation to make Baha'i missionary activity seem non-threatening.

    Farhan's lalala land account of Baha'i teaching goals, in a nutshell: Baha'is are only concerned with…sharing…the message of Baha'u'llah, and are indifferent to whether people self-identify as Baha'i, as long as people…transform spiritually.

    You know what? I wish that were true.

  • fubar

    “democracy” (what should be discussed is really a republic – rule by law, not democracy – rule by mob) only functions optimally when specific economic and paradigmatic conditions are “ripe”.

    mainly, an industrial, or post-industrial, economy, and a dominant middle class culture with a modernist value system, separation of church and state, rationalism, and so forth.

    since bahai is domininantly backward in its cultural origins and orientations, it would be incapable of supporting “real” democracy.

    but of course you are not discussing the truth, you are distorting it.

  • fubar

    the uhj will never be obeyed by all mankind because the teachings of bahaullah are backward.

    evolution will discard bahai if it doesn't adapt, and discard large hunks of backward bahai theology.

  • fubar

    Amanda,

    No, Masud does not understand, and probably never will.

    You are right, this is a basic principle of political theory, and has been observed by many wise people.

    Your sense of humanity, and your intellect, are a great inspiration.

    Masud's narrow-mindedness and inability to transcend his influences is typical of what plagues bahai culture. That in itself is an example of how the victim becomes “OCD” over the forces that shape their lives and can't “emotionally” escape the paradigm of the oppressor.

    re: “The Holocaust was real, wrong, and one of the worst black-marks on human history. But look at modern day Gaza. We [bahais] should CLEARLY practice self-examination, lest we, victims, become the perpetrators. That is what has happened in illegal settlements and the occupied territories. Do you understand?”

  • fubar

    lee,

    in the modern world, religion, whether divided or not, is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

    religion (as you see it) is pre-modern, and will never again be the source of any positive influence on the world.

    god doesn't matter, evolution does.

  • fubar

    fascism and marxism are cousin ideologies, both derive from romanticism, which is hatred of the middle classes, capitalism, etc.

    ironically, you live in a free country (and a world system) that was saved (WWII) by the very middle class, capitalist society (USA) that both fascists and marxists loathed.

    unfortunately your bahai prejudices will probably prevent you from understanding the full significance of those simple facts.

  • fubar

    I have many times on this blog. you ignore the stories, and are not capable of understanding what the suffering and pain of those subjected to abuse of authority by bahai administration means.

    do you have actual organic brain damage that causes your memory to fail?

  • fubar

    you need psychiatric help.

  • fubar

    “Having no arguments you make provocative ad hominem remarks.”

    lol! farhan, you are actually the one doing that.

    “Concourse” has a far better grasp of reality than you do. his/her ideas are pithy, and interesting, your are tired, stale and predictably irrelevant. you have failed miserably in your responses to “Concourse”, and obviously do not understand the issue, or the importance of how “victims” take on the “memes” of their oppressors. This was famously described by Paolo Friere almost 40 years ago in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=xfFXFD414ioC
    and is clearly understood and explained by social theorists on a very regular basis.

    please get help from a psychiatrist.

    you have made a large number of demeaning and insulting comments to people on this blog, so your request for “ethics” is vacuous, and like most of what you say, self-referential and self-serving.

    in that sense you are the perfect apologist-polemicist for the current dominant form of bahai culture and bahai organization.

  • Concourse on Low

    (I tried unsuccessfully to post this yesterday. Fubar's comment to Farhan is also missing.)

    It's ad hominem if the individual's actions and personality are irrelevant to the point in question.

    The point in question: I'm dumbfounded by your inability (unwillingness?) to be an honest disputant. I linked your public relations approach to your apologist mandate (now whether that's an official or self-imposed mandate, I don't know; so I can't defend my claim that you're linked with the continental board of counselors, but I wouldn't be surprised if you are). I thereby attempted to explain your inability to engage me fairly by reference to your personality, which I think is relevant in this case.

    In any event, I've offered clear, premise by premise argumentation, and you've generally responded with evasion and obfuscation. I think it might be because you're not a very clear thinker. I don't know.

    Also, if I point out a flaw in your reasoning, that's not ad hominem.

    I suffered through Lample's tedious talk, and it was hardly profitable. Yes, his analysis coincides with yours – it's an evasive, goal-post-changing account that is scripturally unfounded and out of tune with Baha'i popular culture. It equivocates between terms like conversion, sharing and transformation to make Baha'i missionary activity seem non-threatening.

    Farhan's lalala land account of Baha'i teaching goals, in a nutshell: Baha'is are only concerned with…sharing…the message of Baha'u'llah, and are indifferent to whether people self-identify as Baha'i, as long as people…transform spiritually.

    You know what? I wish that were true.

  • Craig Parke

    Hey, I know PK is somewhat forbidding of any interest in professional sports in his talk if it apparently – in any way – takes anyone away from worrying about any Baha'i anywhere having alcohol in their salad dressing, or not doing Ruhi enough, or people not going door to door 24/7/365 enough or going with any break in maximum total concentration. But the Steelers are looking good tonight! It is only an exhibition game to let everyone get a chance to get out on the field and make some plays. But they seem to have found a kick return man! That would really help us this year.

    In fact PK should work out and get into shape and suit up and learn how to stay in his lane on a kickoff himself or risk getting his bell rung on a sweep back tide return where you get people to drift from their proper assigned job in the play book and suffer the consequences. STAY IN YOUR LANE or risk a career ending chop back block requiring off season knee surgery. Oops, a fumble! The Redskins have scored and are now ahead! But, hey, people just need to learn from their mistakes. Right? And, well, it's only a practice exhibition game.

    One of the greatest unities on Earth right now is Steeler Nation! The UHJ should study it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUKylA1k3g4

    And, BTW, Marth Root was from the North Side where Heinz Field is now located. I always liked her grit and guts and admired her greatly. If Japanese Emperor Hirohito would have listened, maybe she could have stopped WWII. A Pittsburgh gal! Maybe that grit is helping our offense? But, then again, if WWII would have been stopped Glenford Mitchell's comment about “doing God's work” would have been negated.

    Meanwhile, don't mess with the Powers of the Universe!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUb3JRyT-H0

  • mavaddat

    I have also experienced the frustration you feel in response to Bah??'?s like Farhan and Masud, CoL. It's an interesting point to consider how obfuscation, evasion, and stubbornly adhering to one's conclusion serve to the defense of the believer but do nothing to help the critic.

    Why is this?

    It seems to me that there's a psychological asymmetry between belief and non-belief here in virtue of difference between the believer's purpose (to defend his beliefs) and the critic's purpose (to consider where the best reasons lead us). This asymmetry implies that the believer can adopt a determined laziness, since their default condition is belief (i.e., without any reason one way or the other, they will believe) while the critical thinker produces all manner of nuanced and subtle reasoning.

    Whenever I encounter this attitude of the believer as unclear thinker, it reminds me of Beaky Buzzard's obstinate refusal to yield to his mother's enticement to go fly on his own. Masud and Farhan are among the two who engender this Beaky Buzzardiness in its truest form.

  • Craig Parke

    mavaddat,

    The grievous tragedy in the current situation is that every soul now born into this world is carrying an innate piece of the New Cosmic World Age that comes directly from the soul level of how the Cosmos actually works yet it is forbidden to be expressed by an oppressive religious system. Baha'u'llah actually writes a lot about this in the Kitab-I-Iqan. But this sacred Cosmic spiritual seed is now completely forbidden by the BAO to be developed and expressed. Anything individual and unique is completely “against the Covenant” now in the present environment of fear. It is only the pre-approved group expressions that are sanctioned. So now no innate soul messages can freely come from God with each human life and develop in it's full potential. So a tremendous innate spiritual power from the heart of life itself has now been cut off. Nine men have now completely shut down this natural process. If it is not in a Ruhi Course it is not approved. Anything not approved can be extinguished at any time for any reason with no individual recourse. So anyone that has any individual thoughts and inspirations from within their own soul must live in fear. It is the same old, same old. So many people had hoped for something so much better. But here we go again in another Abrahamic religion gone to the worst human brain chemistry. Witch hunts, trial dunkings, inquisitions, Council of Nicaea to enforce uniform orthodoxy. I do not see how any of it can thrive and flourish because it is against that new Cosmic message in every human soul that is their unique individual contribution to the World Age. I know that I am in trouble for my posts here in cyber space. But on a personal basis i would never discuss anything in person with any Baha'i other than Java or Javascript programming techniques. I figure that would be safe unless the UHJ suddenly declared that the Java programming language was anathema now that Oracle has bought Sun and that anyone programming in it was “against the Covenant”. But, then again, maybe Javascript would continue to be approved as an orthodox and approved computer programming system and I could still keep my livelihood. Or maybe everyone was still OK with GW Basic
    at the highest levels of the Faith. Clipper would be good too if we stayed in a DOS 6.0 world. I loved that language. I could live with that. I could avoid the re-education camps.

    It is truly strange how it all turned out after all these years. Indeed, truly very, very strange.

    So it goes.

  • Grover

    You haven't answered my question – what evidence do you have? And why are you equating scientific practice with business practice?

  • mavaddat

    Craig, I believe we have disagreed in the past about whether the UHJ is out of step with the Bah??'? Faith that Shoghi Effendi, 'Abdu'l-Bah??, and Bah??'u'll??h envisioned. The close-minded obedience that Bah??'u'll??h demands is shot through-out the entire Bah??'? writings:

    He accomplisheth whatsoever He willeth, and doeth all that He desireth. ?Whoso sayeth ?why’ or ?wherefore’ hath spoken blasphemy!? Were these people to shake off the slumber of negligence and realize that which their hands have wrought, they would surely perish, and would of their own accord cast themselves into fire — their end and real abode. Have they not heard that which He hath revealed: ?He shall not be asked of His doings?? (Qur’??n 21:23). In the light of these utterances, how can man be so bold as to question Him, and busy himself with idle sayings?

    <font size=”?1?”>Bah??’u’ll??h, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 169</font>

    ? In short, the meaning of ?He doeth whatsoever He willeth? is that if the Manifestation says something, or gives a command, or performs an action, and believers do not understand its wisdom, they still ought not to oppose it by a single thought, seeking to know why He spoke so, or why He did such a thing. The other souls who are under the shadow of the supreme Manifestations are submissive to the commandments of the Law of God, and are not to deviate as much as a hairsbreadth from it; they must conform their acts and words to the Law of God. If they do deviate from it, they will be held responsible and reproved in the presence of God. It is certain that they have no share in the permission ?He doeth whatsoever He willeth,? for this condition is peculiar to the supreme Manifestations.

    <font size=”?1?”>?Abdu’l-Bah??, Some Answered Questions, p. 173</font>

    Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perplexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

    <font size=”?1?”>Shoghi Effendi, Bah??’? Administration, p. 62</font>

    On balance, the Bah??'? Faith is not an admirable religion. It throws all its independent investigation rhetoric out of the window as soon as you become a Bah??'?. There is no duty for Bah??'?s to question their authorities. Quite the contrary. In light of this, I think we would all do well to dispose of such religion.

    As regards your coding worries, I believe that the UHJ has explicitly condemned all platform-independent programming languages such. Windows was designed to run Microsoft authored libraries, not just-in-time compiled programs. Bah??'u'll??h has spoken very strongly against virtual machines. No matter how fine the elegance of a Java program, to let it find run time on a PC is wrong.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote: I'm dumbfounded by your inability (unwillingness?)

    Farhan: I am not a disputant; we are not in a wrestling match; I exchange my views with others and I carefully avoid confrontation. I am here through personal interest. I have no mission, personal or otherwise. There is one thing believing in a ?comfort zone? and another understanding the purpose of our beliefs. This, from Shoghi Effendi motivates my participation:

    To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bah??’u’ll??h’s stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavor of each one of its loyal adherents. (WOB P 56-57)

    Concourse: you've generally responded with evasion and obfuscation.

    Farhan: Please present a list of the unanswered questions again; I promise to give you my opinion each and every one of them.

    Concourse: I suffered through Lample's tedious talk, and it was hardly profitable. Yes, his analysis coincides with yours

    Farhan: after some million enrolments in hardly 2 years, it was apparent that if saving the planet entails a change in human behaviour, as clearly outlined in Baha’u’llah’s teachings, such a change requires learning which requires a community life, which in turn needed human resources, which in turn need learning programme. The priority goal towards building up human resources and NOT mass enrolments has been the priority in all the messages of the UHJ to the Baha’i world since 1996. That some Baha’is still confuse enrolment with learning is an unfortunate fact that I will not deny. We need a balance between expansion and consolidation.

    Building up community life is scripturally founded and in perfect harmony with Baha’i and specially the Tablets of the Divine Plan. Transformation will not dawn on us, as Deus ex-machina. We have to build it step by step, generation after generation.

    Concourse: Baha'is are only concerned with…sharing…the message of Baha'u'llah, and are indifferent to whether people self-identify as Baha'i, as long as people…transform spiritually.

    Farhan: I am saying that the _primary purpose_ is transformation, and enrolment is a means and not an end. To enact this we need human resources and hence enrolment as a necessary means, although in some countries, we have more non-enrolled than enrolled participants in core activities. As an analogy, The primary purpose of a hospital is to promote good health. This can mean fewer operations for me. However, when I operate, the hospital gets finances. This is a means to our end of promoting good health. I get apparatchiks telling me that I should make an effort and operate more so as to save my hospital. If I accepted, the means would defeat my goal.

    Please list all the unanswered questions. I promise to give my views on them.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote:

    You haven't answered my question – what evidence do you have? And why are you equating scientific practice with business practice?

    Grover, the Baha’i teachings consider the spiritual issues as being at the root of all our civilisation problems: whether political, economical, social, natural environment, etc; For science, we need is a conscience that allows us to use science for the benefit of humanity and which matches our scientific advances. Don’t hesitate in repeating questions if you feel I have missed one.

    Grover wrote: why all the angst against sex in general?

    Farhan: I think it is merely a means of consolidating the traditional family as the basic unit of society by restricting the sexual drive to within the family. Baha’i teachings even praise sexuality as long as it is canalised to within the couple. Let us have the Baha’i community this way, and the Lutherans another way and scientifically compare the outcome in some years.

  • fubar

    mavaddat,

    excellent observations, as usual. thanks.

    more fright: research has shown that “people are almost always more stupid in groups”.

    in a collective bahai setting, the idiocy of typical farhan/masud group-think becomes “normal”.

    as you probably know, businesses and similar organizations have armies of experts and consultants dedicated to developing strategies for avoiding the problem of such “dysfunctional group think”.

    as such, the problem is fairly well understood by theorists and practioners of “organizational change”.

    according to a bahai sociologist (PhD, professor that works in the field) any of those kind of people could observe a typical bahai community in action and realize within 15-30 minutes that bahai organizational culture is profoundly dysfunctional, in predictable ways.

    bahai are, generally speaking, ignorant and insularized.

    it is impossible that a religion that promotes stupidity and dysfunctionality will ever become a leading force for spiritual enlightenment, world peace, etc.

    people need to move on to something better.

  • fubar

    bahai=distortion, twisted self-referential logic, lies.

    farhan=evil

  • fubar

    thank goddess the 49rs beat the raiders.

  • fubar

    oracle is a criminal-tending organization that is pathological. in the middle of a corruption probe of contracts with the state of california, an oracle executive attempt to bribe the state attorney general with a $50,000 campaign contribution (small change for oracle executives, but still illegal).

    all oracle employee, investors and customers should read and think deeply about the socially corrupting nature of IT companies owned/run by predatory psychopaths:

    —excerpt—

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/96/open_bos

    Is Your Boss a Psychopath?
    By: Alan Deutschman
    Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 7:55 AM

    Odds are you've run across one of these characters in your career. They're glib, charming, manipulative, deceitful, ruthless — and very, very destructive. And there may be lots of them in America's corner offices.

    One of the most provocative ideas about business in this decade so far surfaced in a most unlikely place. The forum wasn't the Harvard Business School or one of those $4,000-a-head conferences where Silicon Valley's venture capitalists search for the next big thing. It was a convention of Canadian cops in the far-flung province of Newfoundland. The speaker, a 71-year-old professor emeritus from the University of British Columbia, remains virtually unknown in the business realm. But he's renowned in his own field: criminal psychology. Robert Hare is the creator of the Psychopathy Checklist. The 20-item personality evaluation has exerted enormous influence in its quarter-century history. It's the standard tool for making clinical diagnoses of psychopaths — the 1% of the general population that isn't burdened by conscience. Psychopaths have a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators. Easily bored, they crave constant stimulation, so they seek thrills from real-life “games” they can win — and take pleasure from their power over other people.

    On that August day in 2002, Hare gave a talk on psychopathy to about 150 police and law-enforcement officials. He was a legendary figure to that crowd. The FBI and the British justice system have long relied on his advice. He created the P-Scan, a test widely used by police departments to screen new recruits for psychopathy, and his ideas have inspired the testing of firefighters, teachers, and operators of nuclear power plants.

    According to the Canadian Press and Toronto Sun reporters who rescued the moment from obscurity, Hare began by talking about Mafia hit men and sex offenders, whose photos were projected on a large screen behind him. But then those images were replaced by pictures of top executives from WorldCom, which had just declared bankruptcy, and Enron, which imploded only months earlier. The securities frauds would eventually lead to long prison sentences for WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers and Enron CFO Andrew Fastow.

    “These are callous, cold-blooded individuals,” Hare said.

    “They don't care that you have thoughts and feelings. They have no sense of guilt or remorse.” He talked about the pain and suffering the corporate rogues had inflicted on thousands of people who had lost their jobs, or their life's savings. Some of those victims would succumb to heart attacks or commit suicide, he said.

    Then Hare came out with a startling proposal. He said that the recent corporate scandals could have been prevented if CEOs were screened for psychopathic behavior. “Why wouldn't we want to screen them?” he asked. “We screen police officers, teachers. Why not people who are going to handle billions of dollars?”

    It's Hare's latest contribution to the public awareness of “corporate psychopathy.” He appeared in the 2003 documentary The Corporation, giving authority to the film's premise that corporations are “sociopathic” (a synonym for “psychopathic”) because they ruthlessly seek their own selfish interests — “shareholder value” — without regard for the harms they cause to others, such as environmental damage.

    But how can we recognize psychopathic types? Hare has revised his Psychopathy Checklist (known as the PCL-R, or simply “the Hare”) to make it easier to identify so-called subcriminal or corporate psychopaths. He has broken down the 20 personality characteristics into two subsets, or “factors.” Corporate psychopaths score high on Factor 1, the “selfish, callous, and remorseless use of others” category. It includes eight traits: glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of self-worth; pathological lying; conning and manipulativeness; lack of remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions. Sound like anyone you know? (Corporate psychopaths score only low to moderate on Factor 2, which pinpoints “chronically unstable, antisocial, and socially deviant lifestyle,” the hallmarks of people who wind up in jail for rougher crimes than creative accounting.)

    This view is supported by research by psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon at the University of Surrey, who interviewed and gave personality tests to 39 high-level British executives and compared their profiles with those of criminals and psychiatric patients. The executives were even more likely to be superficially charming, egocentric, insincere, and manipulative, and just as likely to be grandiose, exploitative, and lacking in empathy. Board and Fritzon concluded that the businesspeople they studied might be called “successful psychopaths.” In contrast, the criminals — the “unsuccessful psychopaths” — were more impulsive and physically aggressive.

    —end—

    farhan and everyone else that is part of the bahai aristocracy and leadership elite (or supporting apologists) should have to take these kinds of tests before being allowed to be part of any organizationalal leadership/spokesperson role.

  • fubar

    farhan is of from a persian pioneer family. he had an auntie that lived in a non-industrialized african country for a long time, and presumably that family legacy gives him some “status” and “privilege” amongst the bahai elites. he has a corresponding “loyalty” to the system, but perhaps not an “official” role as a propagandist/thought police. no matter, bahai is mostly voluntary, and as long as a independent polemicists like farhan/masud conform to rigid orthodoxy and do not advocate real change, they are left alone.

    at least in their twisted, stale minds, these kinds of people are part of a social structure that derives from the template of aristocracies of old.

    farhan/masud was raised to have in-depth (semi-expert, or better) knowledge of conventional bahai apologetics and propaganda. he has clearly turned his back on anything in the modern, or postmodern, world that would possibly undermine the flimsy typical “logic” structure that he constructed out of the sewage that passes for collective/tribal bahai thought.

    following the “logic structure”, the bahai aristocracy, and “obediant/submissive” suck-ups/clingers like farhan, want a bahai imperium. if you read shoghi effendi's last major “political” writings, he openly despises 3rd world national liberation movements, and praises a future global-imperial isamlo-christian style bahai slave state.

    anyone that does not “conform” and “obey” will be placed in a psychological and social category of “spiritually unworthy” (slave) persons.

    anyone that resists being placed in the category of the “unworthies” will be an “enemy”. bahai “inquisitions” are inevitable, and indeed, they have existed for about 100 years.

    the whole structure is quite obvious to anyone that studies the similarities between the political cultures in the middle east since the end of WWI (1910) and fascism (which is a form of romanticism, which sees “western materialism” and “democracy” and “capitalism” as evil).

    however defined, labeled, categorized, the foundation of bahai ideas/belief/memes is clearly NOT THE RESULT OF A SPIRITUAL REVELATION, it is just another stale repeat of predictable cultural ABSOLUTISMS and CULTURAL IMPERIALISM.

    if, as farhans says, the ruhist PK-inspired bahais have increased by 2 million in the last several years, people need to think about organizing a larger scale of resistance to the evils of the current, corrupt bahai system – beyond the current blog-resistance.

    it is simply unacceptable that 2 million new people have been duped and turned into unwitting supporters of such group-think dunces as farhan/masud/uhj/PK. if these evil a$$holes want a larger propaganda war with ex-bahais and reformers/critics/dissidents/nonconformists, they are probably going to get one.

  • farhan

    Interesting, Fubar, but your spiritual fiction film is way out of reality. Have you seen one site on internet where Baha'is waste their time harassing or ?making war? against other believers, non believers or ex-believers? Have you seen any aggressiveness from me in the messages posted here for the last 2 years?

  • farhan

    Mavaddat wrote: Bah??'u'll??h has spoken very strongly against virtual machines. No matter how fine the elegance of a Java program, to let it find run time on a PC is wrong.

    Mavaddat, i would be happy to have a reference on this!

  • fubar

    apparently the email distribution part of disqus was working, but the part that updates the bahairants blog was not working. perhaps baquia was doing system maintenance.

    in any case, you are right of course about bahais wanting to convert the world.

    the mantra of “spiritual transformation” is garbage designed to mesmerize and dupe people into converting (submitting/obeying) to a system of cultural imperialism and theocratic aristocracy.

    clearly a future bahai world would look like like a slightly modernized, globalized, and undoubtedly “politically correct/corporatist”, version of the current iranian theocracy.

  • fubar

    farhan=evil, lies.

    bahai-library.

    in anothe thread/sub-thread you asked about specific cases of abuse by bahai administation.

    I have cited many specific case on this blog for several years, so there is no evidence that you pay attention to what others say when it doesn't fit into your distorted, sick world.

    do you have organic brain degeneration/injury and memory loss? or are you just such an arrogant a$$hole that you discard anything said that is contrary to your worldview? or some combination? do you take too many free drugs from the hospital where you work?

    EXMAPLE 1:

    a sweet lady in auburn, california took in the initiative in the 1960s, during the great expansion of bahai community membership, to start recording bahai devotional music on a semi-commercial basis.

    since her music was far better than the similar music being produced by the close relative of a NSA member/functionary, she was told to cease so as to not “compete” with the NSA relative.

    when she did not case to record delightful, uplifting devotional music for the new bahais to inspire their “spiritual transformation”, she was designated a “CB”.

    it wan't until decades later, after her death, that the NSA's “mistake” was corrected, and she had her bahai status restored.

    the people involved in covering that garbage up created a cadre of local thought police (assistant auxilliary bored “members”/dicks) that open flaunted the fact that they “put notches on their gun handles” when they were able to get the administrative rights of “hippy” bahais removed for asking about the original injustice.

    farhan, your “spiritual transformation” is an empty, stupid joke.

    nobody except mindless idiots and evil dupes will ever go along with your garbage, fascist version of religion .

    your responses are mindless, meaningless, evasive, and are completely devoid of any kind of real spirituality, compassion, or authenticity.

    you are a master baiter and high level obfuscator devoid of humanity.

  • fubar

    re:
    “Farhan's lalala land account of Baha'i teaching goals, in a nutshell: Baha'is are only concerned with…sharing…the message of Baha'u'llah, and are indifferent to whether people self-identify as Baha'i, as long as people…transform spiritually.

    You know what? I wish that were true.”

    the reality is that no one needs to be bahai to experience spiritual transformation.

    so, bahai is not neeed for the world to be spiritually transformed.

    indeed, cultural evolution, not “progressive revelation” (anobviously false construct based on “partial truths”), is what is moving the world toward spiritual transformation.

    “god” is not needed, and backward religions, such as bahai, are not needed.

    farhan(=evil) even goes as far as to agree that “spiritual transformation” happens outside bahai, but then states the ultimate LUNACY: that bahai religion is need to “coordinate” (etc.) the “transformation” for “unity”.

    in reality the bahai “coordination/unity” farhan insists on is a figment of his fevered imagination, and is just a rehased version of “old memes”, cultural imperialism, slave-aristocracy, universalism-absolutism and ultimately, anti-western romanticism and fascism.

  • fubar

    farhan(=evil),

    you should be able, like most of the stuff you say, to pull it out of your rectum.

  • fubar

    thanks.

    anyone that honestly examines the unvarnished truth about bahai, which is that it has gone bad due to backward ideas in its scripture, is obligated by the above quote to leave the religion.

    so, by definition, there are no “real” bahais, and it is a religion being run by evil dunces that are only pretending to want “spiritual transformation”.

  • fubar

    this makes no sense (contradicts what you say elsewhere).

    you have clearly stated that bahai is needed to “coordinate/unify” the world spiritual transformation.

    (“bahai speak” for cultural imperialism.)

    bahai, when exposed in an unvarnished manner, is a rehash of a particular historical abberation, which was a tangent to a cultural system of absolutism that was premised on war-domination, aristocracy and a slave economy.

    all the “bad memes” from that system are left intact in bahai, but subsumed under a veneer of “liberal” and “progressive” concepts.

    now that enough history has passed for the veneer to weather, shrivel, crack and peel off, the core is exposed, and it is rotten, and stinks to high heaven.

    farhan, the more you say, the worse bahai is exposed as being.

    your polemic/propagandist/missionary project on this blog is as futile, pointless as the larger bahai project is in the world.

    it is a perfect analog. sad, disgusting, but true.

    style over substance.

  • fubar

    I was coerced into signing a declaration card in 1972, so yes, it is correct to state that bahai is a missionary project.

    Like all such missionary projects, the convert it of course put in the missionary position during indoctrination.

    astringency provide the proper “pucker power” for the “penetration” involved in spiritual transformation.

    seriously, the existence of a missionary project is a “read flag” that an imperialist agenda is at work, and the purpose of the so called “spiritual transformation” is to propagate “escender” memes that abstract the image of “ruler” (slave master) to a universal. this then obligates the actual ruler (aristocracy/priest classes) to “submission/obedience” to some larger “noble, transcendent truths” (instead of tribal truths).

    the problem with such a system of subjugation is that it requires both psychological and sociological/economic/military “systems” that impose absolute beliefs.

    at best, you can attain a medieval imperial system such as islam, but it will inevitably collapse when the “coherence needs” of modernity start knocking on the front door of the system's meme structure.

    once evolutionary reality sets in, there is no going back. adapt or go extinct.

    since bahai can't adapt, it is doomed to extinction.

    meanwhile, everyone that gets sucked into it will have to submit/obey, or be deemed “spiritually unworthy” by the farhans/masuds of the fake bahai aristocracy.

  • fubar

    bahais, when they are stripped of fluff, are forced by their “core” theology, to be fascists.

    no can get along with fascists. except other fascists.

  • fubar

    the short answer is that your lies and evil thoughts are more proximate to bahai/ex-bahai nonconformists, dissidents, critics than the lies and evil thoughts of the iranian theocracy.

    your inability to understand something so basic as the increased fright over a more proximate threat of psychological violence than a distant one “says it all”.

  • fubar

    as stated elsewhere in this thread, i have already posted specifics many times.

    to repeat one:

    a lady was declared a “CB” for recording the first “commercial” devotional music that was better than a NSA member's/functionary's relative. a cover up went on for decades, anyone that tried to change things was viciously attacked, had their reputations destroyed, and administative rights removed.

    etc.

    there are reasons that people like you “don't see” these things, but other people do “see” them.

  • fubar

    lacking in substance, evasive.

  • Craig Parke

    Well, the Steelers lost last night but it is only pre-season! With a very good psychologist coach like Tomlin, this is good. Get some losses in before they really count. Penalties killed them. Sloppy, sloppy ball! We don't like that here. They will be working on the game film this week! One of my sisters was there in D.C. last night in her Black and Gold with her Terrible Towel. Screamed her head off! She was right behind the Steeler bench in tickets her SIL got from a deck hockey buddy. He took her instead of his wife because she is a Super Steeler fan! The Redskins fans were very nice to her and she was most appreciative of their chivalry!

    Congrats for the 49'ers win! Speaking of which I am sitting about three miles from where Joe Montana grew up throwing balls through a tire hanging from a tree in his back yard along the banks of the Monongahela River. It all paid off out your way many times years later! He could thread the ball to his receivers with fabulous precision of vision. This is why we love Roethlisberger so much here. He could see the field from Day One. We love that! One of the very first requirements of success in any endeavor in life is being able to “see the field”! The Towel has to be ready very soon! Hopefully it will be ready. We did perhaps find some outstanding kick return help last night!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4xi7eA68og

  • fubar

    daft stuff.

    weren't the bab and bahaullah dissenters in their culture?

    you are hilarioso.

  • fubar

    farhan/masud,

    you are “pained” because you have been brainwashed, and are experiencing “cognitive dissonance” when finally hearing the truth on this blog.

    unlike the pressures used in the “non-virtual” bahai community, there is nothing you can do to coerce the dissent here into conformity, so your system of pathological order (false unity) crumbles.

  • fubar

    however, when they uhj stops obeying baha, followers are still expected to obey the dis-obeying uhj.

    like all bahais apologists for the broken and dysfunctional bahai system, you make no sense.

  • fubar

    re:
    “My favourite is the chainsaw, followed by the car alarm… and then Anna's presentation.

    lol! shouldn't garbage grinder be in the list?

  • fubar

    re: “In my view, every movement goes through a series of stages. “

    danish sociologist margit warburg wrote a paper on bahai based on that theme.

    here is some other similar stuff:
    http://bahai-library.com/reviews/warburg.pinna….

    http://scp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/46/

    Baha'i: A Religious Approach to Globalization

    Margit WARBURG

    Globalization brings with it an increased relativization of religious values between different communities. According to Peter Beyer, religious organizations, faced with the relativization of their moral codes, react in one of two ways: the liberal or the conservative option. Conservatives reject religious pluralism, striving for the adoption of their own values in the political arena. Liberals, however, accept religious pluralism as a consequence of globalization. The Islamic revolution in Iran is an example of the conservative response; Baha'i, in contrast, seems to be a clear expression of the liberal approach. Data gathered about the Baha'is in Denmark, including the author's own fieldwork, suggest that they have a liberal and cosmopolitan outlook. They are shown to be promoting world citizenship—yet, at the same time, since they view their religious doctrine as the foundation of an international politics with an ultimate aim of merging political and religious institutions, Baha'is may be found to be following the same trajectory as conservative religious organizations.

    Social Compass, Vol. 46, No. 1, 47-56 (1999)
    DOI: 10.1177/003776899046001005

  • fubar

    no question that the Steelers are the best football team in history (Packers being a very close second), they epitomise what the sport should be, regardless of wining or loosing a mere specific game on one single day in history.

    the only exception being that whenever the cowboys get beat in a specific game, the occurance opens a windows to the universe, and becomes the pinnacle of footbal singularity in that it is harmonious with the cosmic destruction of evil, dark forces.

    Joe Montana is a saint.

    Northern california should get together with Pennsylvania and form a new country of working people. They tried that back in the 30s (?) with Oregon, but it didn't work.

    give iowa to canada.

  • Craig Parke

    Well, as to your last point, I think when I joined the Faith in 1971, I indeed thought it was “platform-independent” as we have come to know the term with Java! But as it all seems to have turned out I was wrong. It is just another fiercely conformist required Microsoft Windows executable. And sometimes it just freezes in the Blue Screen of death requiring a total re-boot of the system. Sigh. The same old, same old brain chemistry of all of the straight jacketed Abrahamic religions based upon the zero sum game of top down dogma and the energy loser sideshow of enforced groupthink orthodoxy.

    Yes. I had hoped for an open architecture cross platform esoteric Sufi object library. Instead I just got the five core objects of the MFC in disguise. Sigh.

    We can now only hope along with the now “Oracle Borg absorbed” former Sun Microsystems that “The Network IS the computer”!

  • Craig Parke

    Fubar,

    I was, of course, just joking even though my BIL permanently threw the Oracle mafioso sales guys out of his office a good 10 years ago and holding his nose moved the entire 3,000 node system of the school district he ran to MS SQL Server! Oracle's pricing was, well, predatory. A nasty, nasty company indeed! But my joking comment it led to your tremendously useful link and post here!

    In my current thinking, what you have alluded to is precisely the high historical purpose of the Abrahamic religions! This was the fabulous 3,000 year “bank shot”! We were to learn about psychopaths t the top of organizations! We HAVE to learn about this very peculiar mechanism before the world can indeed have a planetary civilization!

    The Abrahamic religions are an absolute gold mine for studying this phenomenon! Almost as good as AIG, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and Nazi Germany all rolled up into one! Truly one stop shopping in gathering insight! And in the best traditions of the Sanhedrin, the Roman Catholic Church, and Shia and Sunni Islam, the current ham fisted version of the BAO is adding further amazing seminal research in a last minute “Clan Bedouin cousins on fire” bonus round! The Abramaic religions are the gift that just keeps on giving for precisely the insights in that wonderful article!

    The leadership in all of these “organized religions” throughout all of human history have been psychopaths just like now in most large international monopoly business corporations! This explains everything. It certainly explains the financial markets of the United States in my entire lifetime. Thank you, thank you for this amazing article link! BINGO!

    This insight is pay dirt and actually explains almost all of recorded human history! It can be applied to every human organization everywhere. This is the dynamic driving all human organizations: the madness of people without conscience in their brain chemistry. This certainly rings true on ham fisted heavyweight fighter PK with his ENDLESS hyper mind spinning brain firestorm insights. It is all brain chemistry at the top of an organization run amok with no checks and balances and accountability. Ever. Just like the guys at Worldcom and Enron.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx3KMX6T8bo

    I am going to study this article and use this system of insight in many of my posting on economic blogs that I frequent! Just masterful stuff!

    Again, my thanks for this very useful profound link!

  • fubar

    glad to be of service.

    there is a horrible possibility that this is wired into the human gene pool because the more predatory priest/ruling classes that set up the irrigation systems 8,000 years ago (when “religious law” was invented) passed on more of their dna than would have otherwise been “natural”.

    since so much of human behavior can be understood to be a function of the primate componenet that makes up a big chunk of the mythic/relationship structure of human brain functioning, the following may be instructive.

    don't give up hope for a safer world:

    Dr. Dean Edell (sp?) told a story on his radio program about three baboon tribes that lived near a safari resort. the male baboons in one tribe had the most aggresive DNA, and were “brave” enough to live near the human garbage dump and risk human contact/conflict.

    all the members of the “dump” tribe got sick at some point and died.

    after that, all the remaining baboon tribes in the area became much more peaceful and harmonious.

    so, it might follow that if all the religious and political leaders in the world could be gathered up and made to live off garbage dumps, things might get better very soon, and stay that way for a long time.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    To Masud, and by extension to Farhan,

    Sorry for a slow response – I needed to think about this. My best answer is that, rightly or wrongly, I expect more of myself, and of other Baha'is, than I expect of non-Baha'is, or of Baha'is who are estranged. I am wary of too much speech, and I don't wish to continue to participate in this particular discussion – I say what I feel moved to say, and move on.

    When one declares one's faith in Baha'u'llah, a great burden is taken up, and it is tempting to lay that burden down occasionally – it gets awfully heavy – and I have done so myself. I would be embarrassed to admit how many times.

    Blessings to you both.

    Barb

  • farhan

    Thanks Barb

  • Concourse on Low

    I had never heard of Beaky Buzzard. Thanks for the introduction. That was actually pretty friggin' funny!

    Yeah, that sort of stubborn dopiness is the product of certainty-mongering. In contrast to the religious believer, we seek to operate in a provisional, tentative way, prepared to change our beliefs in the light of new evidence, ideally at least. The religious believer only seeks the psychological comfort of certainty. Everything else be damned.

  • Craig Parke

    Does anyone know how to use the “Reply” button on the Disqus page when I am trying to reply to one of you? Do you have to have an account to login to reply that way? I will tell you right now, I don't like this Disqus thing! It seems totally Orwellian. I post in various places on many different topics (mostly economics) and I don't want people following me all over the Web! I don't like this thing at all!

  • http://wahidazal.blogspot.com/ wahidazal66

    “Interesting, Fubar, but your spiritual fiction film is way out of reality. Have you seen one locality or site on internet where Baha'is waste their time harassing or ?making war? against other believers, non believers or ex-believers?”

    Yes, I can name a few: Talk.Religion.Bahai on USENET, Iranian.Com, etc.

    You do live in la-la land as Fubar asserts.

  • http://wahidazal.blogspot.com/ wahidazal66

    “if, as farhans says, the ruhist PK-inspired bahais have increased by 2 million in the last several years, people need to think about organizing a larger scale of resistance to the evils of the current, corrupt bahai system – beyond the current blog-resistance.”

    Fubar, my old talisman@indiana.edu mate! My how father/mother time changes things. Where were you 9 years ago when I started saying these things blatantly, unashamedly and explicitly all over public Baha'i cyberspace? Remember T2000 and Ian Kluge? What happened to you?

    Anyway, you may be happy to know that such a resistance is already fully in organized progress. We are also not dealing with braindead Ruhi-drones. We are also dealing with cynical career plutocrats who are positioning themselves in private and public international institutions everywhere, be it the media, the global banking system or the government bureaucracies of Western governments. Add to that the fact that the Haifan BAO has a lot of money and investment at its disposal, not to mention that in Washington DC and Londonthey are behaving more and more as a full blown lobby group and PAC, and you are dealing with a menace that needs to be checked — and soon! — in a far more decisive manner than just blowing off steam on internet chat boards.

    I give you one example of the kind of political skullduddgery that the Haifan BAO has been involved with on the international scene, and that, is the Egyptian ID case. The Liberals here might shed their bleeding hearts for their Egyptian comrades, but when you delve into the actual configurations of this case certain glaring and sinister discrepancies jump out. That BAO managed through its intense lobbying efforts from behind the scenes to twist the arm of both the ostensibly sovereign Egyptian government and judicial system says volumes about the kind of raw power and global political manipulation these people are positioning themselves to accomplish.

    Do drop me a private line sometime, bro. We have a LOT — and I mean a LOT! — to catch up on. It delights the heart (and gives me infinite satisfaction) to see where you are at these days; and, as you know well, I always liked the heck of you.

    Keep socking it to 'em, dude, and let me hear from your good self sometime…

    Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus and the Thompson Twins 😉

  • fubar

    Wahid/Nima,

    I can take small doses of conspiracy theory, but that is about all.

    iirc, I was booted off T2000 for questioning the PC/left status quo, academic elitism… and so forth.

    It is ironic that the BAO is represented in the institutions you mention, while at the same time, the bahai institutions are going into the toilet. such is the world of postmodern “style/image over substance”.

    Please feel free to get baquia to give you my email address, or forward yours to mine, etc. whatever works.

    Thanks!

  • fubar

    please ignore, this is a test
    (not sure I’m getting email notifications on this thread).

  • fubar

    hmmmm……

  • fubar

    ok. it works now! yeeeee haw. in firefox, I had to click on “subscribe to all comments”. when posting as “guest”.

  • http://wahidazal.blogspot.com/ wahidazal66

    I don't mind posting my email here: wahidazal66@gmail.com

    Don't worry, old friend. I won't be feeding you any conspiracy theories about Reptilians or the Rothschild domination of the world or even anything about Bohemian Grove and the Federal Reserve. We are talking about good old fashioned “special interest” big money politiking and the plutocratic 'agenda' manipulation in purportedly democratic systems and the money behind such endeavours. Ever heard about the NED (National Endowment for Democracy)? They are to Neo-Liberals what the Project for a New American Century is/was to Neo-Cons.

    The Baha'i culture, I would argue, went down the drain long, long ago, before even Cole, Walbridge and talisman1. But there are forces in your country and in Western Europe who are indeed using the Haifan organization – as well as the entire human rights regime – for their own largely economic and geopolitical purposes, since human rights itself has lately become a big business money making enterprise just like anything else, not about saving lives nor advocating against tyrants of the left or the right.

  • http://wahidazal.blogspot.com/ wahidazal66

    ?Democratic Imperialism?: Tibet, China & the National Endowment for Democracy (2007)

    http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/

    The Project For A New American Humanitarianism
    Olympian Ambitions from Darfur to Tibet and Beijing
    http://www.swans.com/library/art14/barker04.html

  • AmadodeDios

    In a shameful travesty of justice, the Iranian court has been doing its best / worst with our Yaran friends. We have prayed, written countless letters, and expected something more sensible, but they refuse to budge – their word is the last word.

    Some of the Star chamber are already angry at me for suggesting that sometimes one doesn’t make the right decision perfectly the first time, and asking them to adjust their actions to make them fairer (more ?just?), just as they visibly revise their own plans and systems. If I venture to draw any parallels between these two cases of injustice, they will surely be even angrier – and of course, ruder in person.

    However, I think one comparison might be made. When Persian Bah??’?s are jailed under trumped-up charges and denied any recourse, what is our reaction? Do we say ?Good for them! They get to suffer and become more spiritual!? Do we reflect that if they had just kept a lower profile and inspired less envy among the mediocre, they might be ?free? today?

    Actually, who knows what goes through anyone else’s mind, but I suspect that these ?central ornaments?, like anyone else who cares about other people, and about justice, want to do what they can to find justice for these unfairly treated people, punished on the basis of lies.

    However, for those of us who are victims of ?infallible? rulings, the best we get is the interesting opportunity to learn from the results of unjust (and un-appealable) mistreatment.

  • Bird

    There is no justice left in this world. Indeed it sounds unfair to utter such a statement but show me some and I'll start believing in it again.

    PS Baquia- I miss you

  • Amanda

    Baquia- I keep receiving new email notifications from Disqus that new comments have been made in this thread, but it is just recycling through the old messages from summer and sending alerts as if they are new. Everything alright?

  • Baquia

    Amanda, there were some comments that had been incorrectly flagged as spam – I approved them recently so that's probably what you were being notified about.

  • Amanda

    Oh, okay. I've gotten 18 of them (from this thread) in the last couple of days.

    Thanks!

  • Pingback: Peter Khan Passes Away | Baha'i Rants()

  • Roosterpen

    The comparison betwen manmade Institutions and a GOD made one has never had to be made so it is understandable after so much corruption in man’s institutions there is a hestation to adopt the House of Justice and ‘obey them unquestionable’. Buit this is the first time in human history that God Himself through a Prophet has directly ordained  IN WRITING an administrative Order. So we should give it a go and put aside our suspicions and give it time to woeave it’s magic.  The House of Justice is infallible it’s members are not. If anyone is not happy with a member they have a RIGHT to express that to the Supremem Body and I fully believe that if required the House of Justice would expel one of it’s own members if disloyalty or other issues were involved unlike current political corruption. The lack of TRUST shown here is a by product of today’s political corruption but I would advise that as we have never been endowed with an INFALLIBLE body in humanity’s history let’s not be too hasty to judge but trust in God because this has been penned in black and white by Baha’u’llah Himself

  • Fubar

    I’m confused by Bmw’s statements about atheism.

    Elsewhere on this blog, Bmw criticises “anti-bahais” for not wanting to follow bahai administration/covenant. Somehow Bmw thinks that dissent and criticism of bahaism is part of a conspiracy of muslims and christians to oppress bahai “minorities”. This is most likely delusional, or some other emotionalism that is misinformed and uneducated.

    Many clear statements exist in bahai scipture that require that followers believe that the BAO/Covenant are “God’s will”.

    If Bmw does not believe in God (a potentially reasonable viewpoint in my opinion), then why would Bmw want to defend a religious organization that is dependent on a bogus belief?

    I personally do not think that a literal interpretation of this issue does bahais any good in the eyes of fair minded, progressive people in the world, but there is really a lot of cultural imperialism in bahaullah’s demands on believers.

    Here is something that I posted previously in this thread that reveals the tensions between tradtional/literalist perspectives on the issue and postmodern perspectives:

    http://bahai-library.com/reviews/warburg.pinna.html

    (broken URL: http://bahai-library.com/
     reviews/
      warburg.pinna.html)

    http://scp.sagepub.com/content/46/1/47.abstract

    (broken URL: http://scp.sagepub.com/
      content/
        46/
          1/
    47.abstract )

    What Dr. Warburg state is interesting. In response to postmodernism’s call for a more compassionate society based on relativism, traditional religion’s will tend to react in a “conservative” or “liberal” manner. On the surfce, bahais seem like that are taking the “liberal” direction by accepting the need for inter-faith dialogue, etc.

    Warburg says however that at a deeper level, bahais are actually respoding to the call for pluralism and relativism in the same manner as are “conservative” muslims and christians (insisting their their revelation is better, etc., and that everyone has to conform to it).

    Warburg:

     | “Data gathered about the Baha’is in Denmark, including the author’s own
     |  fieldwork, suggest that they have a liberal and cosmopolitan outlook.
     | They are shown to be promoting world citizenship—yet, at the same
     | time, since they view their religious doctrine as the foundation of an
     | international politics with an ultimate aim of merging political and
     | religious institutions, Baha’is may be found to be following the same
     | trajectory as conservative religious organizations. “—

    The reality is that there are several different paradigms at work in the world, and bahaism contains a mix of premodern religious elements and modern/postmodern elements.

    As M. Scott Peck used to say, one of the characteristics of a great religion is that it actually contains different paradigms that can appeal to people from vastly differing backgrounds.

    In plain terms, conservative and liberal christians have managed to “get along” reasonably well in some christian congregations, at least historically. Traditionalists are allowed to believe in a world of “rules and roles” and strict order. Progressives are allowed to believe in less conformist and less literalist/authoritarian perspectives.

    Again, some of this also seems arise from the “Three faces of God” phenomena: spiritualiy tends to be expressed as a first-person perspective, second-person, or third-person (I-We-It).

    Christianity is traditionally all about second-person “we” spirituality: it is about the relationship and love between the believer and God. Unfortunately the cultural context is of a mythic, conformist God (divine emperor, “lord”, or slave-owner/warrior).

    What atheists/postmodernists tend to do is to ignore “second-person spirituality, and focus on third-person spirit, or perspectives: which are about the relation ship people have with Kosmos, or Reality, as an “object” (It).

    Bmw seems to both 1) not understand the different paradigms/perspectives, and why they are difficult to bring together for a higher common good, and 2) automatically attribute the worst motives to people that disagree with the traditional, authoritarian perspective.

    Again, this is very odd given that Bmw claims to evangelize the ideas of some leading atheists.

    Why would someone that is an atheist promote or defend a religious organization that is organized on the basis of mythic, premodern religion?

    Is it really just that bahais are being persecuted as a “minority” in some backwaters of the world by even more backward religious fanatics of other religions?

    If so, Bmw seems to utter fail to see that the very cause of the persecution, the belief in absolutism, mythic archetypes and religious conformism/absolutism, is also being promoted and defended by conservative bahais!

    Bwm also seems to have drunk someone’s Kool-aid about the evil intentions of bahai dissidents (Momen?).

    The reality is that bahai dissent exists because of the glaring lack of openness and transparency in the bahai faith as currently operated, not because the dissidents have some deep evil need to “persecute” bahai administration.

    The overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that it is the bahai administration that is the source of most of the conflict.

    What the 2009 debate shows is that *hardline* bahai conservatives will simply never accept the validity of postmodern culture, or its “relativistic” experience of spirituality, on any level.

    What this does is put the conservative version of bahaism in a position where it becomes increasingly irrelevant and reactionary.

    I think that most liberal/ progressive/ postmodern bahais accept the idea that religion adapts to changes in the world. They are confused and frustrated by the unwillingless to hardline conservatives to consider different perspectives, and to try to get along with people that have differences, in spite of those differences, in order to work for some larger common good or higher ideals.

    This is the case because true religious conservatives know that in their “fight” against cultural evolution, if they can not rigidly define and control the very definition/theology of what the “larger good” or “higher ideals” consists of, they will no longer have any power, and will get no respect from liberals/ progressives.

    Conservatives would rather be hated than ignored. Unfortunately what that results in is that they are only respected for their methods, and perhaps their fanaticism and energy, not because their ideas themselves are “more evolved” or “more enlightened”.

    What integralists have proposed is a model of consciousness in which all the paradigms are seen as part of a whole. So, liberals are required to see that Koestler’s laws of Holons means that a liberal paradigm evolved on a foundation of ancient conservatism that was the most valid set of operating conditions that could exist in those ancient times.

    (Medieval mythic religions like Christianity and Islam  tried to raise the consciousness of “tribal” culture, which was frequently brutal, to a higher, more cosmopolitan/universal level). And indeed, this resulted in two great civilizations flourishing and producing great advancements.)

    What happened later was that as the empires declined, rigidity and orthodoxy set in, and new forces such as Reason, Science, Democracy, and Capitalism (modernism) came to be seen as the leading edge of social development.

    As the modern individual was unleashed from the demands of mythic, conformist religion by new technologies and political paradigms, “achievement” became the mantra of social advance.

    Aristocracies and Ecclesiastic heirarchies, and the belief in ideas foundational to traditional authority, took a back seat.

    They became identified, from the perspective of modernism, with forces opposed to progress and social advancement.

    Eventually, modernism (which is a precursor for the form of atheism that Bmw promotes) developed its own absolutist tendencies, and countercultures began to develop as the legitimacy of  the modernist paradigm was brought into question by postmodernists.

    So, again, it isn’t clear why Bmw, as an so called atheist, would seek to defend the ideas that were the foundation of the traditional (oppressive/conformist) authority of religious hierarchies (such as the one that ultraconservative bahais are trying to maintain).

    Perhaps atheists now feel the need to defend the absolutisms of modernism in the wake of the increasing erosion of belief in modernism (Reason and Scientific materialism)?

    Perhaps some atheists feel a need to get into the same camp as the people promoting religious absolutism, even though the underlying beliefs are completely at variance? If so, that seems bizarro.

    One was to “w”onder if someone has deceived Bmw and put him/her “up to something”.

    > Bmw wrote (Sun, 17 Jul 2011 19:32:24 -0700), in response to fubar

    >
    > Your God is no more real than the spaghetti monster.  Atheism+ 
    | fubar (unregistered) wrote: (in 2009?)| | the uhj will never be obeyed by all mankind because the teachings of
    | bahaullah are backward. || evolution will discard bahai if it doesn’t adapt, and discard large hunks
    | of backward bahai theology.

  • Sweetie

    I think the reason for accepting the directives of the House of Justice is respect. They are the guardians of Gods message on earth. It doesnt mean the House of Justice can answer physics questions, but it means that as Bahais we must go with the flow and accept what the House decrees. Catholics are in a very similar situation — when the pope makes decrees they dont like they either ignore and pay lipservice to (contraception) or ‘ask’ the Pope to reconsider Papal edicts (liberation theologists).  The House of Justice are practically speaking religious administrators — most of their injunctions is [be a good Bahai, teach the faith] (my 2 kopeks)

  • Fubar

    The overwhelming evidence is to the contrary.

    Bahai administration is incompetent and dysfunctional, resists necessary reforms, attacks nonconformists, critics and dissidents, and exploits converts who are seeking meaning.

    What you describe is a medieval slave society where no one questions authority.

    The world long ago abandoned such models as having any contribution to the advancement of civilization.

  • Wahid Azal

    Pray tell, why does the Lord of the Universe require bureaucrats to administer anything?

  • Sarmad

    For the benefit of any readers, this is nonsense.  I have never been placed under pressure to study Ruhi books.  You are not honestly describing the Baha’i Faith, although you are perhaps describing your own experience, which must of necessity not be universal.  Seriously, do you think French Baha’is, or Swiss Baha’is, to suggest only two are going to obsess over this kind of thing.  You are taking your own US-based issues (or New Zealand or whatever) and applying them across the world.  That’s a thin argument.

  • Sarmad

    I’m certainly suffering pain and distress in reading all this appalling contention.  I wish I could force myself away from this execrable website.   I’ve been foolishly wasting my time on this site all evening, making myself depressed.  Yes, the Faith has a glorious destiny, but the moment of its realisation can be postponed.  This site is helping to postpone it.  How can people identify themselves as Baha’is and then embarrass themselves in public discourse.  Have you not read the Hidden Word? “The comb, too, have I given thee that thou mayest dress My raven locks, and not lacerate My throat.”

    The mind boggles!

  • Fubar

     Sar-Mad,

    Your ideas are irrational and silly, and a perfect reflection of the
    brainwashing and groupthink that has “infected” haifan bahaism and made
    it a dysfunctional religion full of empty promises.

    haifan bahaism is culturally imperialistic and exploits the people that are converted to it.

    haifan bahaism in france and swiss is a very small number of people that are irrelevant.

    the bahai world center promotes ruhi brainwashing on a wide level.

    why are you trying to deceive people?

  • Fubar

    Sar-Mad,

    You said: “I’m certainly suffering pain and distress in reading all this appalling contention. ”

    You should talk to someone that understands treatment of the psychology (psychopathology) of religious brainwashing, you will do damage to many people’s lives until you become a real human being again.

    What you believe in is a large pile of garbage wrapped in illusions that on the surface are appealing utopianisms. bahaism is a trap for weak minds. Make you mind strong, reject dysfunctional religion and make a real contribution to improving the world, your family, etc.

    there are many many many groups that help people find authentic forms of spiritual transformation, break out of the mental and psychological prison that bahaism has held you in. become a real human being, and learn how to be decent, compassionate and altruistic.

  • Roosterpen

    Well look. I think what you are saying is you and others know better than a Body divinely guided by the Bab and Baha’u’llah! This is what the Baha’i Covenant says about it and those who cannot accept it should revaluate whether they want to be Baha’is or not, You’re membership is voluntary so you’re free to leave if you decide you don’t want to agree with the Covenant but coming here and trying to discredit the Covenant is sinister.

    Humanity has never ever had an Infallible Body to guide it nor past religions and look at the mess they’re in  because of that. In the Most Holy Book Baha’u’llah said that in some cases He allowed freedom and in others forbade it. We are not free as Baha’is to do a lot of harmful things and one of them is to challenge the Covenant. If we don’t or can’t accept that then we should do the honest thing an resign.

    “The sacred and youthful Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as
    the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are
    both under the care and protection of the Abh?? Beauty, under the shelter and
    unerring guidance of the Exalted One (the B??b) (may my life be offered up for
    them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God.”

    (Shoghi Effendi: World Order of
    Bah??’u’ll??h, p. 149)

    Now Whatsoever they decide is of GOD. FULL STOP. The Ruhi Courses are of GOD. The advice they give is of GOD. This is what the Centre of the Covenant tells us. So you’re ideas and interpreations and arguments are better than ones GOD revelas through the House of Justice?

    This is the Covenant which Bah??’u’ll??h made. If a person shall deviate, he is
    not acceptable at the Threshold of Bah??’u’ll??h. In case of differences,
    Abdu’l-Baha must be consulted. They must revolve around his good pleasure. After
    Abdu’l-Baha, whenever the Universal House of Justice is organized it will ward
    off differences.

    (‘Abdu’l-Baha: The Covenant, p.
    117)

    The House of Justice has the last say and those who disagree and try to infer error or cast doubt on the clear Infallibility of the House of Justice are according to Abdul-Baha ‘not acceptable at the Threshold of Baha’u’llah.

    Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice, and turned away from  the Lord of the Covenant (Will and Testament)

    and

    Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bah??’u’ll??h) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.  

    What’s going on here is not the independent investigation of truth but opposition to the Covenant.

  • Craig Parke

    So what do you think is the future course of the Baha’i Faith?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Gray/100001692531472 Stephen Gray

    There are such a thing as Old Catholics and Traditionalist Catholics that are an exception to that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Gray/100001692531472 Stephen Gray

    Technically, there are only bureaucrats who claim to administer on behalf of God. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Gray/100001692531472 Stephen Gray
  • Wahid Azal

    Emphasis on _claim_.