Universal House of Justice: Ridvan Message 2010

Below you’ll find the most recent Ridvan message from the Universal House of Justice. This has to be the most Ruhi-laden Ridvan message I’ve ever read from them. It seems that the House is doubling down on Ruhi. It is also a very long message at 11 pages.

Only time will tell if that is a wise decision. I haven’t seen any data that suggests that it is. For example, in the case of Columbia which is ground zero for Ruhi, after more than 40 years there has been no discernible growth in the Baha’i community. But for now, expect to see an even more intensification of Ruhi activities at the expense of anything and everything else.

A few things jumped out at me. One, they attempt to remove the stigma of “door to door” teaching, which obviously bothers many Baha’is for obvious reasons:

To assign to their teaching efforts such labels as “door-to-door”, even though the first contact may involve calling upon the residents of a home without prior notice, would not do justice to a process that seeks to raise capacity within a population to take charge of its own spiritual, social and intellectual development.

This is rather humorous because simply removing a label or attaching a label to something doesn’t change the nature of it. If you are going and knocking on a door to invite the people to an event, then it is what it is. The intention may not be exactly as direct as teaching them the Baha’i Faith but instead inviting them to take part in a process of “spiritual, social and intellectual development” – that doesn’t really make any difference to those who have to answer the door with a stranger standing there or to the poor Baha’is who are being pressured to go door to door.

The other is this rather refreshing caution:

…we feel compelled to raise a warning: It will be important for all to recognize that the value of engaging in social action and public discourse is not to be judged by the ability to bring enrolments. Though endeavours in these two areas of activity may well effect an increase in the size of the Baha’i community, they are not undertaken for this purpose. Sincerity in this respect is imperative. Moreover, care should be exercise to avoid overstating the Baha’i experience or drawing undue attention to fledgling efforts, such as the junior youth spiritual empowerment programme, which are best left to mature at their own pace. The watchword in all cases is humility. While conveying enthusiasm about their beliefs, the friends should guard against projecting an air of triumphalism, hardly appropriate among themselves, much less in other circumstances.

This characteristic has already been pointed out by many – including as early as 30 years ago. For more see Denis MacEoin’s letter to the LA Study Class. Let me know if anything of interest stands out for you. The previous years Ridvan messages are here:

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    What jumped out for me, on page 5, is the reference to the Baha'i Community seeing in junior youth “an acute sense of justice.” Being particularly concerned with one aspect of such justice, for our GLBT youth, I thought to myself, “I hope they have considered the full implications of that statement,” for I do believe that these youth will at some point hold the community accountable in this regard.

    Barb

  • Baquia

    Barb, yes, I think as we slowly move towards a recognition of justice and equal rights for the GLBT community, the Baha'i youth will find this a very challenging component of their Faith.

  • peyamb

    Barb, many already have. I've reconnected on Facebook with a number of young Bahais who I knew as kids and a few others that are around my age from college… and unanimously, they ALL think the way that the Bahai community treats LGBT people is wrong. But none of them will try to make any change. Why? I don't know. Maybe apathy. Maybe religious community is not a big deal to them, and they just practice the Faith in private or for a sense of tradition with their family. Who knows?

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    Peyamb,

    On the GLBSP website, I have placed the statement “When it's time to stand up and be counted, most people sit down.” This is something I've learned through long experience. I know it's true, but I don't know why. I suspect the answer is complex, and has many aspects. In addition to the reasons you mention, it may be a lack of imagination and inability to see the possibilities. It may be fear of getting involved. It may be lack of empathy with other human beings. It may be a lack of a sense of the power of an individual life to initiate and help bring about change, i.e. a weak will.

    When a mob acts, people often do things they would never do as individuals, apparently because the feeling of responsibility is diffused in the group, and no one feels really individually responsible for wrong-doing. I sometimes wonder if, because of the strict emphasis on unquestioning obedience among Baha'is, many people experience something similar to the “mob mentality,” in that they no longer feel as responsible individually for inaction in the face of what they know is injustice, i.e. it's someone else's call to make, not theirs. Does that make sense?

    Probably the answer to this puzzle is all of the above, and more. I don't really understand it, but it is definitely true that when it's time to stand up and be counted, most people sit down – for whatever reason.

    Barb

  • Grover

    I honestly don't know how you can read the UHJ Ridvan letters and attempt to draw anything meaningful from them.

    The letters really are a classic case of relentless verbosity by a bunch of flatulent windbags with nothing better to do than nod serenely and knowingly when one of them utters the word “Ruhi” as though its filled with great meaning and significance…

    Maybe they should sit back and ponder the meaning of this quote: “Brevity is the soul of wit, but it takes a long time to be brief…”

  • Baquia

    Grover, thousands of Baha'is actually study these letters. So they obviously have importance when it comes to the direction and culture of the Baha'i community.

  • Brendan Cook

    Of course Baquia is correct that this document has a lot of influence within the Baha'i community. However, I can't imagine anyone reading it the whole way through — what a mess of words! There really has to be something wrong with anyone who writes this way.

    There are many worse sentences from a stylistic point of view, but I find this one especially terrible in terms of its content. It's the utterance of a panel of bureaucrats rather than the poets and mystics I would hope to see leading a world religion.

    “What is imperative is that the quality of the educational process fostered at the level of the study circle rise markedly over the next year so that the potential of local populations to create such dynamics is realized.”

  • Concourse on Low

    What the hell does that even mean?!

    How can an infallible institution inspired by God write so poorly?

    Oh wait, maybe it's all bs.

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

    But you didn't Barb, the gaybahai.net is wonderful.
    What I like so much abot this website apart from the stories it shares, is that the whole atmosphere is of openness and the spirit.
    And I feel comfortable here on Bahai rants because if I have an idea, usually, if someone disagrees, I can try and aim for a discussion.

    I think, most likely why Bahai forums like this are so rare, it is that Bahai culture doesn't encourage independence. There's lots of emphasis on “unity” and in my experience that has too often been used by Bahais to mean, conform.
    I see the existence of “review” as being one of the main obstacales to this, although with the internet now, anyone can publish their ideas. However I wonder if the the learning and exchange that happens on the internet, comes up at Bahai community consultation.

  • Brendan Cook

    In this case it's actually clear what they mean. There are many truly opaque passages, but I didn't choose one here. I chose this passage because it's so willfully ugly. It's a simple thought expressed in pompous, ponderous, God-awful terms.

  • Baquia

    Brendan, I think you'll be rather surprised then that this letter can move Baha'is to tears. While I don't doubt his sincerity, I can't help but wonder what sort of soulgasm he would have reading the more mystical writings of Baha'u'llah or the Bab.

  • peyamb

    Wow, is this guy for real? Even in my depths of ignorant fundamentalism- NEVER did I feel emotional when I read these administrative letters. Bored to tears maybe, but not emotional tears. Oh well, but if it makes the guy happy…

  • Concourse on Low

    That guy reminds me why I never felt comfortable around a lot of Baha'is – gushy, mindless gratitude-mongering, like wide-eyed smiley zombies.

  • Craig Parke

    I read the Ridvan 2010 Message yesterday. Wow! My head began to hurt around page 4 and I had to immediately take to bed upon finishing the entire 11 pages. Absolutely one of the worst documents I have ever read produced by anyone on this planet in my lifetime about anything. And I am not joking. It made me physically ill. But I will try again later this week to try to grasp the finer points. Did anyone else here have trouble trying to make sense of some passages that just seemed to be some kind of psychological maze?

    Does anyone know if any member of the current UHJ has ever studied depth psychology at a college level? There are two profound psychological aspects that currently appear as fractals in EVERYTHING in the Administrative Order now. It is very, very odd. If you study these links you will be able to discern the patterns in the “white between the lines” as they say in the movie business.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_anal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Games_People_Play_

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_OK,_You%27re_OK

    http://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Creative-

    (1) All psychological transactions in the Faith now are profoundly predatory.

    (2) These people have created one of the greatest systems of psychological Resistance to creativity that I have ever seen anywhere in my lifetime. They have, in fact, “institutionalized” a system of massive psychological Resistance that will keep the Baha'i Faith dead in the water from every accomplishing anything in the entire World for the next 300-500 years. It is utterly astounding in the level of detailed engineering contained in this document in accomplishing this end. Just amazing stuff. But why? Surely these people know about these things? Surely? Has anyone on the UHJ ever read Steven Pressfield's classic “The War of Art” on how the Muse works in the human psyche? Or they have experienced and observed these creative processes themselves in their own personal lives? Surely someone has? Right?

  • http://twitter.com/Dale_Husband_HS Dale Husband

    I remember the UHJ putting out such long winded compositions when I was loyal to it, and the excessive wordiness must have been intended to give an impression of superiority and legal force. All it really did was frustrate the average reader. I witnessed attempts to read such documents at feasts and it would generate friction among the members that were listening to them for so long that they got bored.

    Most of the writings of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi were more to the point than all that UHJ garbage.

    Seriously, who writes all that stuff?!

  • Guest

    I am puzzled why so many of these comments about the latest Ridv??n message are negative; for me, the message provided an invaluable fundamental analysis of the core activities and the processes underlying healthy growth in the Bah??'? Faith. I find particularly helpful clarifying statements such as:
    * ?…periodic campaigns to establish ties of friendship, on the basis of shared understanding, with those previously regarded as strangers.?
    * ?…local deepening classes, winter and summer schools, and specially arranged gatherings in which individual believers knowledgeable in the writings were able to share with others insights into specific subjects emerged naturally as prominent features of Bah??'? life.?
    * ?…find those souls longing to shed the lethargy imposed on them by society…?
    * ?Passivity is bred by the forces of society today. A desire to be entertained is nurtured from childhood, with increasing efficiency, cultivating generations willing to be led by whoever proves skilful at appealing to superficial emotions.?
    * Regarding junior youth: ?While global trends project an image of this age group as problematic, lost in the throes of tumultuous physical and emotional change, unresponsive and self-consumed, the Bah??'? community…is moving decidedly in the opposite direction, seeing in junior youth instead altruism, an acute sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world.?
    * ?This evolution in collective consciousness is discernable in the growing frequency with which the word ?accompany? appears in conversations among the friends…?
    * ?There are no shortcuts, no formulas. Only as effort is made to draw on insights from His Revelation, to tap into the accumulating knowledge of the human race, to apply His teachings intelligently to the life of humanity, and to consult on the questions that arise will the necessary learning occur and capacity be developed.?
    I know that I am not alone in expressing deep gratitude for this latest Ridv??n message from the House.

  • peyamb

    I think you may be a bit alone. My mother is extremely active and devout, never mentioned how the letter moved her. Maybe it's just as long-winded in Persian, so she never read it. Who knows? But thank you for quoting some of it, since I really couldn't make it through the whole letter. There are a lot of nice things in there, but there is also the haughty self-righteous crap that nauseates. “while global trends project an image of this age group as problematic…, the Bahai community..is moving decideldly in the opposite direction,…” Give me a break! There are more Catholic, Jewish and heck even right-wing evangelical junior youth that are doing just as much if not more than Bahais in their communities. And among these youth, they are challenging some of the worn out dogmas from their religions.. in essence showing even more an acute sense of justice than the Bahais who are forbidden to even criticize the UHJ. So I don't know, I guess we are just as puzzled at why Bahais are so willing to numbingly accept a letter like this without even a little constructive criticism. A healthy community would be one where a Bahai sitting rigth next to you in Feast could say “Man, this is one long-winded letter; can't the UHJ just get to the point?”

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

    In response to one of your selected quotations.

    What practical steps are suggested in the Ridvan apart from door knocking, teaching and the promotion of Ruhi?

    An end to the embargo on of Kalimat books, or even better, the removal of “review” so Bahais can publish ideas apart from Ruhi books?
    I realise I'm being a bit harsh, but one of the reasons I find it hard to take the quotation seriously “local deepening classes, winter and summer schools, and specially arranged gatherings in which individual believers knowledgeable in the writings were able to share with others insights into specific subjects” is that you need openness in the Bahai community for at the moment the only format for discussion is the Ruhi format.

    However on looking at the Ridvan passage your quotation gave me a false impression. The quoted section leads up to a “But” and then a rave into Ruhi.

    In the Ridvan message there is no mention of the arts, no enouragement of publication, no mention of encouraging discourse or a critical development of Bahai thinking or approaches, things you'd need to develop if the aim is for “individual believers knowledgeable in the writings…” sharing their knowledge.

    In fact the opposite seems to be the case such as with the closure of the Online Journal of Bah???? Studies, itself run by academics who kept a tight reign on what was allowed to start with. It was shut down by the U.H.J. after just one issue. PDFs of this first and only issue can be found here:
    http://oj.bahaistudies.net/

    An obvious sign that material that even passed the censorship of review by a N.S.A. was not to be.

    So, I for one and I'm not an academic, would not invest time and energy into anything that would need to pass review, as I know it is very likely it will be censored. This has nothing to do with purpose of review, as given by Shoghi Effendi, to correct facts. If that was that all review did, I'd see as a good thing.
    Instead it is used to censor anything those doing the reviewing disagree with. The examples above of the online studies journal and Kalimat are clear enough examples but here are a few examples of the evils of review as it is currently used as a means for censorship:

    As an artist, because of the fear review instilled in me, having seen how academics weren't allowed to publish, I took out any reference to the Bahai Faith in my publicity for about a decade. Then I thought to myself, why let Bahais who are treating my faith like a hammer to keep people in line, have this affect on me.

    Then after living in a new country for a few years, I thought, OK, if I'm chucked out of the Bahai Faith because some publicity about my work as an artist mentions the Bahai Faith or includes or involves the Bahai Writings and wasn't first passed for review, so be it. I believe that in the US Bahais who are musicians, if they refer to the Bahai Faith must have their music reviewed. It was the case until 2005 as told to me by a member of the USA review committee when I asked. In the UK, in the mid 90s, a rap group, who made amazing music b.t.w., not a single vulgar word at all, was refused by review, which gave this duo untold pain. Fortunately, the NSA contacted the group a few years later to retract this, but the pain had been done.

    I had a similiar problem with a bilingual prayerbook (in Maori and English) in New Zealand in the 80s, and it wasn't because there was anything wrong, just that 2 years went by without hearing any word on this. So I assumed it either was questionable or that it had not passed review. Thanks to an enthusiastic Maori Bahai, I gave it one more go and hey presto, the same material passed review and the prayerbook sold out, mainly to non-Bahai bilingul pre-schools (- who were desperate for bilingual material, I should add.)

    Though for me another problem is, those who are approved might think their art (or ideas) are better or more Bahai, without realising that passing review relies on the subjective tastes of those doing the reviewing.

    I've received letters from artists in my work for bafa (http://www.bahai-library.com/bafa) which vary from worrying if it is Bahai enough to stating that their art has been approved by review in their country, as if this mattered.

    I've no interest whatsoever in investing my creative skills into ventures that are censored, thankfully, Baha'u'llah wrote of its much loftier station:)
    “Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being…”
    I aim for that.

  • Guest

    This message is chock full of examples of Orwellian Newspeak, with a really priceless defenestration of Shoghi Effendi on the second page. The text there is truly worthy of a Fortune 400 “human resources” pro.

    Rather than go into all the specifics, I think all would be better served to reflect awhile about something: a theory that the fact that the Guardian found it impossible to name a successor was unlikely to have been a discrete event, one that took place “in a vacuum”, “out of left field”, unconnected to the general state of affairs with which it was at least temporally correlated. That this non-discrete event is still having major repercussions even now, 53 years after the fact, and the last chapter in this odyssey has yet to be written seem to be bleedin' obvious to me. Go look up what S.E. said about what the Faith would be like without a Guardian (hint: Guidance for Today & Tomorrow).

    This is not to say that an earlier House of Justice didn't do a good faith and crackerjack job of explaining what their investigation of the passing of S.E. came up with, or that their conclusions were erroneous. (i don't think they were incorrect, for the record.) Nevertheless, nothing they found negates in the least what the consequences of such a state of affairs would be in S.E.'s words. I venture that some of the dysfunction that seems so glaring to at least some of the friends should be viewed in this light.

    And if none of that scares you, liquid nitrogen runs in your veins.

  • Brendan Cook

    Hello Guest,

    I see what you're saying, but it misses our real reason for this reaction to the Ridvan message. While the writing is pretty stilted, there are some good points here and there, I'd agree. And if you or I had written it, none of us would be as critical. We'd focus on the good and not the bad.

    But the message isn't written by an ordinary person, or even an exceptional person. It's written by a group of men who claim that collectively, as an institution, they're infallible. And that raises the bar in terms of what we should expect. We're supposed to believe that whoever turns away from them turns away from God. And so you'd think that their message would have more than a couple decent ideas running through it: you'd expect it to be brilliant. And while I'd tolerate bad writing from an ordinary person, it's hard to see how an institution that's 'freed from error' can write in such an ugly, ponderous manner.

    In the end, we'd be less critical of the Ridvan message if the House were less ambitious in its claims. The more you build yourself up, the more people expect. The Catholic pope and the 'seers and revelators' of the Mormons have the same problem. Once you say that you're infallible in matters of faith, it's inevitable that you'll disappoint people. Even if what you say is reasonably sensible, the world will hold you to a higher standard.

    Brendan

  • fubar

    “important” in that the direction is “accelerating downward”?

    bahai culture has become highly dysfuncional, and this letter illustrates the pointlessness involved.

    (bad vision, bad strategy, bad implementation.)

    for the first century, the excuse was that a giant apocalypse was going to happen that would make bahai ineptitude acceptable.

    now there is no excuse, and the full delusion is evident.

    as such, a further, complete withdrawal from reality is the only course possible for haifan bahaism, which is exactly what (and about all) is “important” about this message.

  • fubar

    there is real research indicating that people are much more “stupid” when in groups.

    combine that with the flagrantly corrupted voting process for decades, and you get morons running the religion that have a vested interest in being profoundly dishonest.

    haifan bahaism is in a death spiral, the internal corrective mechanisms in the religion, as minimal as they are, have been totally corrupted by conformism, attacks on critics, dissidents and nonconformists.

    it has become a mind-numbingly stupid religion, and the message under examination simply illustrates the point.

    the person complaining about the “negativity” is a case in point.

    in not one single instance does that person take a criticism posted to this blog and make an argument that the current haifan bahai paradigm is capable of turning it to an opportunity for legitimate self-correction.

    ironically, the person themself was “being negative” about the value of honesty, profound self-examination, and criticism.

    such are the lemmings of the bahai community.

  • fubar

    haifan bahaism's authoritarian tendencies (and its seeds of doom) were in place early on.

    the idea that “manifestations” are needed, or that other silly examples of outmoded metaphysics could have relevance to postmodern culture, or the more distant future of humanity, is completely absurd.

    as was explained some time ago on this blog, most of the “cool” ideas that bahaullah had about humanity and geopolitics were borrowed from other visionary iranian mystics of his time, and came out of a particular mileu that also gave rise to various fascist tending movements.

    the real world left haifan bahaism in the dust a very long time ago.

    the only thing left is lies and “PR”.

    one the list of people/organizations that one might think could have even a small chance of running the world in a sane manner, haifan bahais would be very far down the list. the can't even run their own religion the way it was supposed to be.

  • Timothy Brown

    I wish to make a comment concerning the varying opinions of the Haifa UHJ Ridvan letter of 2010. As a Baha'i 'Under the Provisions of the Covenant' (also known as 'Provision Baha'is')–the legally authentic Universal House of Justice of Baha'u'llah with the active executive branch (i.e. presidency/Davidic Kingship)–I would like to bring to the attention of Baha'is that the 'Haifan' leadership is a corrupted body without the “member for life” equation that brings harmony and justice to the world! Despite our opposition to the current 'mainstream' sans-Guardian Baha'i leadership, we still participate and engage with them in core activities necessary for spiritual transformation within our communities. My fiance and I have both reviewed the majority of the Haifa Ridvan letter with our Baha'i community during our Intensive Program of Growth (IPG) meeting for our cluster.

    We also have received the 2010 Ridvan letter from the true Rocky Mountain House of Justice outlining our activities with Baha'is following other 'Rites' or 'churches' (i.e. organizations). While respecting our fellow Baha'is, we do not adhere to the majority authority, therefore we are not committed to the nine member Headless Monster Haifa UHJ and its “Hands-Faith” invented by the arch Covenant-Breaker Ruhiyyih Khanum and her conclave of participating Hands of the Cause of God. Our goal is to awaken Baha'is of every persuasion that there is an answer to the breach in the Covenant of Baha'u'llah and a way to redeem ourselves!

    The import thing for any practicing and believing Baha'i is to bring unity to our community and our neighborhoods. Rather than criticize the Faith–as I see many so-called 'Baha'is' and non-Baha'is here doing–why not actually PARTICIPATE in core activities and the administration? Why not actually do more acting than talking? We Baha'is under the provisions of the Covenant, with our Guardian Neal Chase Aghsan, wish to extend ourselves to everyone unreservedly. This is why we actually participate in the community with Baha'is who would probably wrongfully ostracize and excommunicate us for our beliefs in the Guardianship!

    The criticism should not be towards the style of the paper, which is well-written (I see most here have not actually read it), but the process of implementation involved. Anyone who HAS read the paper will note “entry by troops” is the theme from the Haifa UHJ. This is to oppose and combat the underground Baha'i activities that have teaching efforts oriented towards esoterics and delineating the Institution of Guardianship expressly explained in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Kitab-i-Ahd, and the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha (i.e. the “Charter of the Kingdom” [government]). Anyone further well-read will realize this phrase originates from Shoghi Effendi when he envisioned the “mass conversion” and “consolidation” (phrases mentioned in this year's Ridvan letter) in the near future (now) of the Baha'i Faith and its administrative institutions. The phrase also comes from Dr. Leland Jensen's (Establisher of the Baha'i Faith) compiled book–and I encourage everyone to find it and read it).

  • James

    I think it's wonderful to have a location where we all feel comfortable sharing our feelings. We should endeavor to make that also the consulative environment of our Baha'i Community. If not, what are we complaining about? If we don't endeavor to help evolve our own community into the consultative, all-embracing home we wish it to be, who are we? are we Baha'is or are we something else?

    The Baha'i Community is an ever growing, ever evolving society. We cannot separate our individual growth from our community growth.

    How many of us here has caught ourself thinking in a way inconsistent with the teachings? How many of us has caught ourself acting in such an inconsistent way? We are not innocent. To suggest that the Community at large is not going to reflect the individual evolution of its members ignores our own personal spiritual struggles.

  • James

    The respected Guest is not alone.

    I am thankful for the passages outlined and I was deeply grateful for the letter itself. It reflects what I've seen as an evolution in the way the Baha'i Community has grown and learned in recent history.

    I live in Saint-Petersburg Russia but was raised on the East Coast USA. As a “Amero-Russian Baha'i” living abroad who likes to keep track of what's going on “back East” (wait, aren't *I* living in the East now??? I love language) this was a heartwarming message.

    During the 40 global converences, I attended my regions conference in Stamford, CT. The message was undeniably one of spiritual growth, rather than conversion. From the bottom up, new believers, old believers, inbetweeners, there is a focus on building the infrastructure for spiritual growth that will help transform our globe into a community that fulfills this passage from the Bible:

    Zephaniah 3:9 “For then, I will change the language of the people for that generation, so that all may call on the name of the LORD to serve him shoulder to shoulder…”

    Shoulder to shoulder. Interfaith teamwork. And the only way such long-term, widespread teamwork is successful is through consulation. In the short run, you can gain ground with mildly negative tactics. But it leaves scars. For sustained peace and cooperation, you need consultation.

    I've had lots of conversations with Baha'is young and old, “new” and “not” and I don't think anybody “numbingly” accepts anything. That's just my opinion. From the age of 18 I struck my own path, broke rules, came up with my own philosophy on why to obey and what they all mean, and have my own philosophy on things. You are allowed your own philosophy too. That's what makes life beautiful.

    Warmest greetings,
    James

    P.S. I HAVE been at a Feast where one of my friends leaned over to me and said, “Man that was one long-winded letter. Can't the UHJ just get to the point?”

    P.P.S. I hope people here have not found my letter “overly verbose” or “long-winded” — but if you do, I promise I brushed my teeth this morning.

  • James

    Ok, two things..

    Two reasons:

    You mention the “shutting down” of the online journal of Baha'i studies. I've read this journal and find it interesting that, your complaints seem to ignore a poignant passage in one of its papers:

    “I remember when we had the first Japanese pilgrim here, Shoghi Effendi said to him that the majority of the human race was not white and that the majority of Bah????s would not be white in the future. As up until very recently the Bah????s of the world were almost exclusively white it is only natural that their virtues and their faults should have colored the Faith and its community life. It is illogical to suppose that what we have now is either mature or right; it is a phase in the development of the Cause; when peoples of different races are incorporated in the world-wide community (and in local communities) who can doubt that it will possess far greater power and perfection and be something quite different from what we have now?” (in the article 'Messengers of God in North America revisited')

    And second..
    “Or is that a single arrow hath driven thee from the battle?”

    Persistence breaks resistence! “Go straight on then as thou hast been commanded.” (Baha'u'llah, quoting Qur'??n 11:114; 42:14)

  • James

    (p.s. – I didn't mean to leave “Two reasons.” on there… it was from a previous edit that I left in by accident. I quite frankly don't see what the complaints on here are about because they are natural results of the traditions of the past. We must face the demonds of those traditions in order to let them go. To expect that we become Baha'is and *poof* all the problems of our upbringing and past go away goes against logic.)

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

    James,
    It seems that by quoting a pilgrims note from a paper you think this is proof that the paper is wrong?
    I am making this assumption because it is not at all clear to me why you quoted this.

    To show that the Online Bahai Studies shouldn't exist?

    Then why quote a quotation from a pilgrim's note, and not something actually written by one of the authors?
    For all I know the author gave brilliant arguments, on issues related to the Bahai principle of equality that gave this quotation some context. Or gave brilliant arguments about the erroneously of pilgrim's notes.

    Or did you post this to show that review was necessary?
    All these papers were not only passed by review but I also know that the editors of the journal have conservative approaches in their academic work. So not one paper would have material in it that comes close to what I, as a Bahai who takes more liberal approaches to things, would consider even vaguely challenging. I'm not suggesting there is any wrong with taking a conservative approach either. But my point here, is that even a journal that avoided any scholar who might be considered even remotely 'challenging' and a journal that was passed by review, still had the plug pulled on them and no reason given for it.

    I haven't read the paper nor any of the papers in the journal. I don't need to either because my argument in my post was about encouragment of scholarship, openness and so worth. Whether or not I would be personally interested in the material is not the issue.

    I assume that you think by posting this here it shows something is wrong with this paper?
    How?
    Or have you posted this quotation because you think it supports the idea that censorship without reason is justified?

  • fubar

    James,

    you are brainwashed by bahai GROUP THINK.

    bahai consultation does not work as a mechanism for creating the kinds of deep, internal reforms of the absolutism and fundamentalism that have become prevalent in bahai culture.

    free-thinking, reformist bahai scholars and their supporters have been attempting to “work within the system” and use “consultation” for DECADES, and things have simply gotten worse.

    Dann May's resignation is a recent example of people getting sick of the censorship and appalling level of dysfunctional bureaucracy in the haifan bahai community.

  • fubar

    James,

    Thanks for the stunning example of bahai fascism and brainwashed groupthink.

    You are saying that bahai scholars (who might on rare occasion stop their usual self-censoring behavior and blurt out some non-conformist thought) should be censored became there are too many “white people” in the haifan bahai organization (or were 50+ years ago!?!).

    Too bizarro.

  • Debb Tagg

    your comments are rubbish. It seems that those who are commenting on the Supreme Body are power lovers.

    From Tanzania

  • James

    Sonjavank, thank you for your questions and concerns.

    I suggest reading the article. It's quite wonderful. But I'm getting ahead of myself…

    First, I agree with the suggestion that we should, as you said, 'encourage scholarship, oppenness and so forth.'

    Secondly, addressing your questions and concerns: did I post this quotation because I “think it supports the idea that censorship without reason is justified?” “think by posting this here it shows something is wrong with this paper?” or “to show that review was necessary?” “[to] show that the Online Bahai Studies shouldn't exist?” or because “by quoting a pilgrims note from a paper you think this is proof that the paper is wrong?”

    No.

    And you said it's not at all clear to you why I quoted it.
    So I'll explain.

    The article is:
    “The exchange between Dr. Addison and Dr. Buck addresses the critical need to fully transform intercultural interactions between Native American/Native Canadian and mainstream Bah???? communities, and that this process can renewed through a formal recognition, on the part of the Bah????s, of the value and authenticity of Native American spirituality.”

    And it's not a pilgrim note. It is from “a joint letter addressed to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bah????s of Canada and the United States” by Ruhiyyah Khanum, expressing “some of her concerns following her trip throughout Canada and the United States in the spring of 1960.”

    Why did I choose that passage to quote?

    She says,
    “It is illogical to suppose that what we have now is either mature or right;”

    “up until very recently the Bah????s of the world were almost exclusively white it is only natural that their virtues and their faults should have colored the Faith and its community life”

    What I am suggesting is that we must understand that at this time, our “Baha'i community” is obviously not going to reflect absolutely the teachings of Baha'u'llah. There will be mistakes. This is not something I accept lightly.

    But that is why I quote Baha'u'llah from the Four Valleys. HATH a single arrow driven us from the battle? Do we give up so easily in the struggle for world peace and slide into bickering and dispute? Or do we fight on? What is our example??

    The Bab obeyed the restrictions of His captors. Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha likewise obeyed the restristrions of Their captors. They changed the situation from within. Why should we be any different?

    Now the responsibility to change the system from within lies with the individual Baha'is who make up the global community. As the administration will always reflect the virtues and faults of its adherents, we must strive to edify the memories of the central figures in our thoughts and actions. It is through consultation and cooperation that we will see results. If we bicker and argue, complain and moan, adhering to the old ways of life, and clinging to the tradition of dissent and challenge, what will we resemble? The rest of the broken world.

    I had been looking for some additional information on American Indian belief systems and it helps fill in a lot of blanks, so I feel obliged to thank you for posting it in your argument (otherwise how would I have come upon it?)

    =) Thanks a bunch for your contribution.

  • James

    Fubar,

    Thanks for your spirited reply.

    The article is a wonderful conversation between two intellectuals analyzing the success/failures of teaching efforts in Canada and the United States throughout the 20th century. It poses suggestions about interpretations of the Writings regarding prophets outside of the traditional line of prophets commonly referenced in modern religious conversation.

    I found that the suggestions made by one of the two intellectuals quoted in the paper, point to interesting possibilities numerically. Considering that we have 7 continents, what do we know about the prophets of the past? What kind of Prophets existed in Australia, in the Americas, and elsewhere? As Paul reminds us in the Gospels, so the Writings remind us to look with spiritual eyes and not get caught up in our own human opinions and judgements.

    Incidentally, have you read the article from which I quoted? It's quite good.

  • ex bahai italian guy

    hahahahahahaah!

    sorry.

  • some guy

    This is right Brendan, I join fubar in telling you that you have with absolutely no doubt have been brainwashed. It is in the interest of the bahai religion to brainwash you and this is what has happened. It is in your interest to reclaim your thinking and freedom.

  • moltress

    My dearest one,
    I think my understand about the Covenant helps me with my love towards the Prophetic Family and the Institutions They put in place to maintain the unity of the Cause of God.
    I keep begging God to purify my heart, so I can see what He wants me to see, hear and serve.

    Herein Follow the Tablets and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bah??

    ALL-PRAISE TO HIM Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His most Beneficent Law and protected His Straight and Luminous Path, staying thereby the onslaught of the company of Covenant-breakers, that have threatened to subvert His Divine Edifice; Who hath watched over His Mighty Stronghold and All-Glorious Faith, through the aid of men whom the slander of the slanderer affect not, whom no earthly calling, glory and power can turn aside from the Covenant of God and His Testament, established firmly by His clear and manifest words, writ and revealed by His All-Glorious Pen and recorded in the Preserved Tablet.

    (Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 3)

  • fubar

    rhapsodist.

    thanks for the feedback.

    how is an online journal of scholarship, whose editor is mexican, being shutdown and censored, somehow a good example of how racism is being eliminated in bahai?

    please stop the bizarro bahai-speak!

    As a (ex-bahai) buddhist I do not believe in “manifestations”, that is construct that is culturally limited (absolutist), and lacks relevance to non-western spiritual traditions, and ANY evolutionary orientation to emergent consciousness.

    bahai is an imperialist religion.

    abdul-baha insulted buddhism.

    the reality is that bahai scholars that do not conform to narrow ideas are viciously attacked by fascist bahai administration, I resigned from bahai after seeing it happen over and over.

  • fubar

    rhapsodist,

    again, why would any native american that practices native spirituality, want to see bahai scholars censored by their own imperialist religion?

    how does such censorship contribute to multiculturalism, pluralism, healthy forms of postmodernism?

    you make no sense.

    do you really think that free speech is some form of “oppression” that evil european=white-rationalist scholars are visiting on native americans, and that the censorship of fascist-imperialist bahai administration is “liberating” to native americans ????????????
    ???????????????????????????????????????????????
    lol!

  • fubar

    rhapsodist,

    again, what you, and Dr. Buck (who has very good intentions), do not seem to realize, is that the basic idea of bahai “messengers of god”, even when stretched far beyond conventional definitions, when taken in context to the overall culturally imperialist foundation of bahai theology, “does violence” to the very idea of respecting native spiritual traditions.

    You can not read the begining of the Aqdas rationally, and at face value, and not see bahai as an imperialist religion that is contrary to evolution.

    I'm sure that natives greatly appreciate Dr. Buck's exemplary humility and extraordinary respect of native spirituality, and that he engages in such spectacularly wild high altitude aerial contortions to find some tiny bit of scriptural support for such in the bahai writings.

    One of Dr. Buck's books was disrespectfully tossed across the room by a fundamentalist bahai years ago at an ABS conference in SF (a tolerant and liberal city). The fundamentalist insisted that Buck was a heretic dissident that needed to be kicked out of bahai for being too liberal.

    Do you understand the REAL problem now???

  • fubar

    Sonja,

    with all due respect:

    the same lunatics at the BWC that kicked Sen out of the faith see Buck and Velasco and Ahang Rabbani as being (at best) about one hair's breadth away from being dangerous liberal dissidents that also need to be slapped around and/or thrown out.

    that is why the journal was censored and shutdown.

  • fubar

    living in fear and ignorance is a bad thing.

    come into the light.

  • fubar

    http://www.crisiscounseling.com/articles/transf

    excerpt:
    What is Transference? During transference, people turn into a “biological time machine”. A nerve is struck when someone says or does something that reminds you of your past. This creates an “emotional time warp” that transfers your emotional past and your psychological needs into the present. In less poetic terms, a transference reaction means that you are reacting to someone in terms of what you need to see, you are afraid of or what you see when you know very little about the person. This all happens without you knowing why you feel and react the way you do.

    What Is Projection? Some people refer to transference as a “projection.” In this case you are projecting your own feelings, emotions or motivations into another person without realizing your reaction is really more about you than it is about the other person. In a life filled with transference, your job may be “the family reunion you are avoiding and you are forced to go to each day.” In other cases of projection, your girlfriend may remind you of all the irritating things your mother did when you were growing up. Love at first sight is usually a projection – especially if it ends in disaster and you could have seen it coming.

    Harmful Patterns. Transference reactions are caused by unmet emotional needs, neglect, seductions and other abuses that transpired when you were a child. In some forms of psychotherapy, a therapist will intentionally create or allow transference to form. When done properly, this helps a therapist to understand and find a connection between the patient’s past and how the patient misreads the present and may react ineffectively. Once you discover a transference pattern, you can chose to respond in terms of what is really happening instead of what happened 20 or 30 years ago. People who don’t recognize the difference between past and present can end up in the same messed–up relationships over and over or with the same problem over and over.

  • rhapsodist

    I understand that you disregard the option of asking me questions about what I'm trying to express. Please treat me with respect. If there is something you don't understand about my opinions or intentions, you can ask me what it is. Personal attacks and excessively strong statements are unbecoming of you, especially if you consider yourself a Buddhist. I need not remind you of Buddha's teachings.

  • rhapsodist

    I am saying nothing of the sort. Please do not put words in my mouth. Each Buddha claimed to be the same in spirit as all the other Buddhas. Just as the Abrahamic prophets say “I am the first and the last” the Buddhas use the same language in the scripture of the various schools of Buddhism. Each school of Buddhism has various prototypical Buddhas. While the last Buddha, whom Baha'u'llah claims to be the return of, preffered to speak about virtues and ways of life, by claiming to be spiritually identical to previous Buddhas, He associated Himself with the various teachings of those Buddhas. The term Baha'u'llah uses, the Ancient Beauty, also comes from Buddhism. Buddha teaches that He is the same spiritual essece that Created all things (Creator claim), He lays claim to being that Ancient Beauty who existed before time, and other claims identical to those of Baha'u'llah. To suggest that Buddhism is bereft of manifestations is counter to the universal teachings of each school of Buddhism, the writings of which naturally bind each Buddha and their respective claims together.

    Furthermore, Buddha exhorts us to exhibit the same level of detachment from worldly desires, ego, anger, etc that Baha'u'llah does. Your energetic and fiery retorts to me are, while respectably passionate, bereft of these qualities of detachment and compassion which permeate the teachings of Buddha.

    I suggest we continue our relationship in a spirit of compassion, respect, and detachment.

  • fubar

    More BS.

    You are using the same fascist tactic I've seen by a long line of haifan bahais with delusions of fake spiritual superiority who are actually engaging in cultural imperialism toward buddhists, and other “untidy” religions that don't fit into the kindergarten schemata of bahai progressive revelation.

    No rational budddhist scholar who knows the IGNORANCE/LIES that abdul-baha spoke about buddhism would accept your analysis, at face value.

    In order ot have a honest, authentic discussion with any nonconformist, dissident, or critic, you should:

    Detach yourself from the delusion of bahai progressive relevation, detach yourself from bahai cultural imperialism, detach yourself from the need to accuse others of being spiritually inferior in order to rhetorically “pivot away” from what is wrong with your religion.

  • fubar

    re: “I understand that you disregard the option of asking me questions about what I'm trying to express.”

    Rhap,

    Liars are not friends.

    You are free to stop saying confusing things whenever you want, you do not need anyone's permission.

    If you want respect, earn it by stopping your bahai arrogance.

    You are not willing to “Detach” and “See the truth”, which bahai scripture tells you to do.

    bahai progressive revelation = cultural imperialism.

    You are evasive, and attempting to convert people to bahai with lies about how bahai scripture supports multiculturalism.

    Nothing good can come from such lies.

    There is nothing worth respecting in the muddle of confusion and untruths you are saying about this issue.

    instead of dealing with the painful truth, you accuse me of being spiritually inferior, a stale, predictable tacic used by all bahai polemicists to marginalize nonconformists, dissidents and critics.

    if you want to make the world a better place, get some therapy.

  • paz

    you sound like the mullah's that were present went the Bab declared his station to them publicly. they focused on one grammatically 'incorrect' portion of his statement rather than realizing the content of His message…

  • Namayn

    Why would anyone think that Bahaullah wanted a Guardianship and a Universal House of Justice having never mentioned it during all His years. Take away His family’s squabbles and His Revelation then seems clear, complete and fine to me and a good place to get back to.

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

    Surely, the Ridvan message is just a Christmas card:

    “Hello everyone. We're fine and still living in Haifa. The wisteria is looking particularly good this year. We've had lots of visitors, some staying three days and some staying nine. We haven't done any more building on our big property here, but we're renovating Bob's place. We still aren't allowed to sell door-to-door here in Israel (pesky regulations) so we're relying on you to keep our downline profitable. Will post your presents soon. You'll love Book 9 – there's colouring-in, join-the dots, mazes, guess the word and everything. Love, Auntie J.”

    The House should try to keep it the message on one postcard, even if it has to write real small. And it shouldn't go into so much detail that folks need to write study guides.

  • Ian

    If one was to study the Writings they would no doubt understand that the Centre of the Covenant is the Universal House of Justice and is, therefore, infalible in all its actions. This includes the content of its letters. To try to understand the reasons for something done or said is okay, in my opinion, as this investigating the truth independently. However, to directly question or even suggest the Centre of the Covenant is somehow incorrect, would be nearing breaking the Covenant. Do as the House of Justice asks, and do so with joy and obedience and faith. This is what Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha and the Guardian asked of us. To disobey them is to disobey the Covenant.

  • Anonymous

    Oh well thank you for clarifying “nearing Covenant breaking”. So does this mean that you will somewhat shun others? I suggest you balance what you read with Abdul-Baha’s admonitions against authority (how power can corrupt) and also the very clear writings (direct from Shoghi Effendi) that the UHJ can overstep their boundaries and make mistakes, so the Guardian would have to ask them to rethink a ruling. If they are correct 100%, then why would a Guardian have to tell them that they are not? Obedience is a much, much wider tent than fundamentalists in any religion are willing to admit.

  • Craig Parke

    I agree with you. The Universal House of justice as “Centre of the Covenant” has decreed by it’s every decision that the Baha’i Faith is to be completely and totally destroyed in every land on Earth. This is, therefore, obviously what Almighty God has guided their hearts and minds to do. So it is the duty of every card carrying Baha’i to carry out the total destruction of the Faith to their utmost ability in total and complete obedience and submission to the Covenant. They are indeed the Voice of God on Earth. Their personal opinions ARE the Baha’i Faith now. They ARE God! The fact that there is now no Guardian to ask them to reconsider any decision should make this now infallible decreed path to destruction even more powerful and efficient.

    I am sure you are doing your very best to carry it out in everything you do.

    Good job!

  • Oscar Wilde

    Almost all the things Fubar says are truth.

    But I don’t find this to be truth:
    “bahai progressive revelation = cultural imperialism”.

    At all. At least, this is not what I think. I have considered that the whole progressive revelation stuff could be junk. But then I studied Islam and Hinduism…and heck it was there too. Buddhism…from what I know doesn’t go against the idea that there are “avatars” as hinduism puts it.

    I am still studying therefore I don’t have a definite solution…and maybe I never will.

    I’m just open to the idea of progressive revelation/avatars and most of all I do not think the main problem of the baha’i faith lies there…rather in the good old selfishness of men which is running rampant in the current baha’? system.

    The Covenant makes things complicated by giving the believer a sense of heavy guilt of even THINKING not in full accordance to the madness the UHJ can spit out. This is the gist of the programming the system perpetrated on the believers…and it is working for those who received it.

    Somewhere else someone has spoken of the “apathy” of the bahai youth even though they might not agree with the institutions…there you go. Is this happening in the bahai faith only? No.

    I read something by Russell the other day, where he stated that the system has made resistance to it psychologically impossible.

    I know this. Everytime I go against it I get a nervous breakdown. As intense as the intensity of the resistance.

    It’s metaphysical.

    My brain is probably made of steel by now.

    I cannot expect the average person to go against a culture the least, as the reward is a nervous breakdown and few people DON’T commit suicide after one of these.

    We’re alone against zombies.

  • AndrewRT

    Religions always need administering in the real world. Every religion in human history has developed a form of structure to contain it and to protect it from abuse by powerful people around it – it’s as human as eating and breathing.

    I agree completely that revelation should be at the centre – Baha’u’llah’s (and other manifestations) not Abdul Baha’s or the Guardian’s or the UHJ’s. The same argument is made by protestant Christians and followers of other religions. But it isn’t sufficient on its own.

  • AndrewRT

    “It’s written by a group of men who claim that collectively, as an institution, they’re infallible.”

    It raises the inevitable question what does infallibility, in this context, MEAN? I see it as not a black and white concept but a range – see the “Most Great Infallibility” of Baha’u’llah for another, quite different, usage. There’s also an interesting question about whether the UHJ is always infallible or just in certain circumstances (analogous to the Pope’s “ex cathedra” statements)

  • fubar

    I read the writing, and came to the conclusion that bahaism is a culturally imperialistic religion that has descended into almost complete bureaucratic dysfunction.

    Most of the damage was done by Shoghi Effendi and Abdu’l-Baha, presumably as a result of family power struggles, but there really isn’t strong evidence that bahaullah himself had succeeded, at a deep level, in actually transcending the limitations of the judeo-christian-islamic context in PRACTICE (not just in THEORY).

    All prophet religion is basically a “middle man scam” used by elite groups (priests/aristocracy/bureaucrats) to exploit and control the lower classes by leveraging access to spirit/transcendence/bliss.

    Religions that provide direct access to “the divine” (whatever it is called) are not “really” honored by bahaism, except on a superficial level that lacks deep authenticity and meaning. Examples: abdul-bahai insulted buddhism. bahaism keeps shamanistic religions, and other spiritual practices/traditions that directly access divinity “through the body” in the category of “paganism”.

    The haifan bahai covenant is a farce, and it widely misinterpreted for self-serving purposes by people with corrupt agendas and narrow special interests.

  • fubar

    bahai scripture contains many scathing indictments of the corruption of “administration” of previous religions.

    unfortunately the mechanisms proposed in bahai scripture to avoid such within bahaism itself are ineffective as evidenced by the massive denial about, and dysfunctional nature of, bahai administration.

  • fubar

    OW,

    You are correct. I think any difference is a matter of definitions.

    quoting myself from another post in this thread:

    All prophet religion is basically a “middle man scam” used by elite groups (priests/aristocracy/bureaucrats) to exploit and control the lower classes by leveraging access to spirit/transcendence/bliss.

    Religions that provide direct access to “the divine” (whatever it is called) are not “really” honored by bahaism, except on a superficial level that lacks deep authenticity and meaning. Examples: abdul-bahai insulted buddhism. bahaism keeps shamanistic religions, and other spiritual practices/traditions that directly access divinity “through the body” in the category of “paganism”.

    An interesting debate, some on on buddhist blogs, about the meaning of “mystical unity”, or lack thereof:

    http://flylikeacrow.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/were-all-one-man/

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=17148

    | Four Paths Four Destinations
    |
    | http://www.vastsky.org/Audio_Video.html
    |
    | Ken Wilber discusses the popular idea that the worlds religions all
    | have a
    | transcendent unity, that the forms are all different but their inner
    | emptiness
    | is the same. Its just not true!

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/26/the-dalai-lama-is-wrong/

    Of course what is valid in the “religion is one” concept is that because oppression, war and conflict are supported by backward religious beliefs, such beliefs are in need of reform.

    Similarly, many anti-religious beliefs lack a basis in truly enlightened thought.

    An alternative:
    http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives-2006/2006-10/2006-10-murray.php

    I hope you take care of yourself, and become well in a bad world.

  • fubar

    Unlearning and Learning:

    http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives-2006/2006-10/2006-10-murray.php

    excerpts:

    I will argue that while humanity unquestionably needs more adequate models, it is a deeper understanding of models and the modeling mind that is essential to cognitive/ethical/spiritual evolutionary development. In the post-modern (or more accurately the post-post-modern or post-metaphysical) context it is incumbent on leaders to facilitate the learning of not only specific models but of flexible and reflective ways to think about, use and evolve models.

    In the succeeding sections I will: argue for the importance of supporting epistemic sophistication in knowledge building communities; relate this need to integral theory; describe some contemporary psychological, sociological, and philosophical theories that shed light on the issue; explore the problem of epistemic indeterminacy; and finally, offer some suggestions for what leadership supporting epistemic sophistication might look like.

    In a sense, Bohm is laying the foundation for a curriculum of self-understanding that includes (a) knowing “how the mind works” in a general sense and (b) a reflective capacity on one’s own thinking and knowledge. Bohm’s analysis implies that a deeper awareness or understanding of mind and knowledge is an essential ingredient in resolving human problems across a wide spectrum of concerns. These include the mundane dilemmas of everyday work and relationships, academic and business efforts to collectively build and apply knowledge and the global problems of hunger, poverty, war and environmental degradation. One can argue that at the root of many of humanity’s problems is not the wrong model but the cognitive and emotional challenges to stepping outside of one’s dominating mental frameworks.

    Adopting multiple perspectives can also have more mundane but equally important manifestations in dialog, collaborative knowledge creation and conflict resolution in contexts from interpersonal relationships to organizational knowledge-building to international diplomacy. In all of these contexts, even in the rarified realm of academic debate, opening to and working with multiple perspectives has emotional, ethical as well as cognitive challenges, as we discuss later.

    Integrative thinking, adopting multi-perspectives and reflecting critically upon one’s models and assumptions all contribute to more adequate and flexible thinking, but they also challenge us by increasing our exposure to knowledge that is uncertain and indeterminate.

    As contemporary citizens we have left the epistemological Garden of Eden in which we could believe that truth was fixed, external and knowable and we have progressively come to understand to our frustration that knowledge is fuzzy, elusive, constructed idiosyncratically by each individual, socially negotiated, determined by historical context and forever subject to revision. This post-modern understanding of “epistemic indeterminacy” (Murray 2006) and the limits of knowledge has led many to varying degrees of relativism, narcissism, cynicism or despair as the full curse of complexity, unpredictability or uncontrollability is unveiled. In the face of this complexity some have retreated into fundamentalist belief systems while hoping for safety and simplicity by avoiding multiple perspectives. Others, unprepared for the onslaught of perspectives, wander in a haze of relativism. Lacking the tools to navigate the waters of indeterminacy these options can seem like the only choices available.

    As these questions indicate, perennial philosophical questions concerning mind, truth, meaning and knowledge are becoming more germane and salient in all scholarly dialog and even in much of contemporary culture. Fortunately, cognitive psychologists, philosophers and sociologists are discovering new models of knowledge and thought that could prove exceedingly useful in the systematic development of epistemic sophistication. We will explore some of these theories next (for a more complete treatment, see Murray 2006). But keep in mind that the epistemic sophistication that is needed is not about abstract philosophical or scientific theories. It is made up of basic intuitions about knowledge and mind that allow one to reflect upon the limits of and assumptions behind one’s beliefs, sense the emotional and social constituents of thought, open to the perspectives of others and deal creatively with uncertainty, ambiguity and paradox.

    Jurgen Habermas claims that for dialog to move us in the direction of more adequate (if still approximate) truths it must have certain properties that are fundamentally ethical (Habermas 1993). These properties include: that sufficient mutual understanding regarding key concepts and assumptions is established; that all important or relevant points are heard; that dissenting opinion is not suppressed; that speech is honest and without hidden agenda; that the power dynamics of the situation are reflected upon; and that participants actively engage in opening up to the sometimes unsettling world views of others. Problems in any of these areas can result in systematic bias or distortion in outcomes of knowledge-building. Thus, moral constructs such as freedom, equality, empathy, sincerity, inclusivity, reciprocity, integrity and mutual regard are exquisitely entangled with the knowledge-building processes of discovering ever more adequate truths. Along similar lines Kegan (1982) shows how one’s meaning-making, one’s concept of self and one’s interpretation of morality are intimately (and
    developmentally) linked.

    People harbor various types of resistances to opening to other perspectives. Contemporary developments in transpersonal psychology and organizational theory can help individuals and groups reflect upon and integrate debilitating “shadow”
    patterns and other systemic unconscious or tacit forces (for examples of specific approaches (Kegan & Lahey 2001; Mindell 1995, 2002).

    … morality is a safety device compensating for a vulnerability built into the sociocultural form of life [in
    which people are] individuated only through socialization…[This] profound vulnerability calls for some guarantee of mutual consideration. This considerateness has a twofold objective of defending the integrity of the individual and of preserving the vital fabric of ties of mutual recognition through which individuals reciprocally stabilize their fragile identities…To these two complimentary aspects correspond the principles of justice and solidarity respectively [that is, respect for the dignity of each individual and protection of the web of social relationships]. (Habermas 1999, p. 199).

    Truth is validated through what George Lakoff calls a “metaphorical pluralism” of criteria, including correspondence with objective reality, coherence with other things that are believed, the consensus of experts or group members practical utility and the authority, legitimacy or reliability of antecedent information sources (Lakoff & Johnson 1999; and see Edwards & Volckmann 2006 on evaluation criteria for good theories and models.) It has also been shown that the process of arriving at more adequate truths has procedural, communal, dialectic and perspectival elements operating simultaneously (Murray 2006).

    Philosopher J??rgen Habermas (1999) elegantly describes the intimate relationships between how we validate truth, how we establish meaning and the ethical/moral considerations of how we treat each other.

    People want to know what is true (what is objectively the case), what is ethically, morally or normatively right (for me or us), and what has the most practical value or probability of meeting needs and goals. People also search for understanding, which in this context means that we need cognitive coherence and deep connections among our separate beliefs. Models and frameworks help us find what is true, right, useful and what makes sense, but they do so in different ways for each flavor of meaning-making.

    Consider the following statements, which exemplify knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with low epistemic sophistication in most contexts:

    ?There is only one correct answer. The truth is the truth.?
    ?I only believe what I see. Reality is what we can see with our own eyes.?
    ?That is true because [some authority] says it is true. Case closed.?
    ?It is all a matter of opinion and nobody’s is any better than anyone else’s. There is no use trying to find the best answer.?
    ?I have no feelings about this matter; I have no biases in the matter; my thinking is completely logical.?
    ?I am not really responsible for my values, my beliefs or my reactions.?

    The example statements listed above are not only observed in people at moderate-to-low (or “conventional” or
    formal-operational) developmental levels, we all take (regress to) these perspectives from time to time and more so under certain contexts, such as when feeling defensive, under pressure or otherwise emotionally charged. If one accepts the hypothesis above, then it is also true that for “average adults” who, on the whole, exhibit low epistemic sophistication we can find simple and non-threatening scenarios for which they would reflect beliefs such as the following, which exemplified high epistemic sophistication:

    ?There are many answers to such questions, it’s not a black and white thing.?
    ?A bunch of people can look at something and see really different things.?
    ?You can’t rely on one source of expertise in that situation, it’s more complex than that.?
    ?My anger yesterday led me to think that about you, but I don’t really believe it.?
    ?The meaning of that term varies from one place to another; there is no exact definition of it.?
    ?Those people can’t just take on the values and beliefs handed to them; they have to think for themselves.?
    ?There are different ways to interpret that event and I am free to choose my perspective.?

    It is not that everyone has the ability or desire to think at abstract philosophical levels about “the nature of knowledge”
    or “how the mind works” but that epistemically sophisticated insights are available to most people in concrete practical contexts, assuming (and this is a large assumption) they have the emotional and attentional resources and perhaps with a little guidance.

    The use of online collaboration tools such as discussion forums, electronic voting and surveys and various tools for “content management” and “decision support” is increasing. These tools can be modified to support epistemic sophistication.
    For example, software tools can support having various types of examples to anchor abstract concepts and models. They can make it easy to have ideas link out to “alternative perspectives,” “pros and cons,” “limitations and assumptions” or even “constituent differentiations and generalizations.” Discussion forms can include buttons to mark postings as a “fact,”
    “opinion,” “value,” “hypothesis,” “question,” etc. to support this simple but important reflective step. Online deliberation or conflict resolution processes can organize communication to go through certain steps, such as identifying evaluation criteria or shared values at the start. Secure and facilitated discussion areas can be set up to support trust and the levels of vulnerability sometimes necessary to deal with thorny disagreements.

    Such technology does not guarantee productive knowledge building, self-awareness, or ethical behavior. It merely supports and encourages it by building certain values or principles into the communication medium. Adequate leadership, facilitation, instruction and participant buy-in to the underlying principles are critical prerequisites to any group adopting such tools (Murray 2005; Murray & Benander 2005) .

  • fubar
  • fubar

    from the “inside” perspective, the sociological purpose of the “infallibility” construct is simple:

    it justifies backwardness, authoritarianism and self-serving corrupt agendas.

    specifically, it allows a religious elite to actually completely invert the meaning of those (and many other) terms.

  • Nilkoofar11111

    Who the HELL do you think you are commenting like this about what the Infalible Body has written. You are not worthy of reading such a message!!

  • Craig Parke

    I agree with you that the Supreme Body is INDEED TOTALLY INFALLIBLE and it is the SUPREME DUTY of EVERY steadfast and loyal Baha’i to carry out their EVERY command without out even a moments individual thought or individual reflection in TOTAL LOCK-STEP OBEDIENCE. PERIOD.

    If they tell you to MURDER your children in their beds then YOU MUST DO IT AS A ROBOTIC AUTOMATON WITHOUT PERSONAL CONSCIENCE! You are a rank and file Baha’i and they are INFALLIBLE IN ALL THINGS! You are NOT to question their commands in the slightest. THEY ARE GOD!

    So by COMMANDING that the Ruhi System and it’s detailed PAIN-BY-NUMBERS techniques is the LAW OF GOD in THIS PARSEC of this SECOND PHASE of the FORTH TRANSCENDENCE of the THIRD FORMATIVE NANOSECOND and that the Ruhi System IS the EXACT TOP DOWN MICRO MANAGED way that every Baha’i is to Teach the Faith across the ENTIRE PLANET Earth FOREVER and EVER whether fellow human beings respond or not without any leeway of any kind for individual adjustment they have essentially decreed that THE BAHA’I FAITH MUST FAIL IN EVERY LAND and be TOTALLY DESTROYED from the FACE OF THE EARTH. This will be the result of the the Great Gift of their incredible “INFALLIBLE DIVINE GUIDANCE” and it is the DUTY of every loyal and steadfast Baha’i to carry this TOTAL DESTRUCTION out to the best of their ability to the 7th Generation!

    We have been INFALLIBLY COMMANDED TO FAIL and EVERY BAHA’I *MUST* CARRY IT OUT!

    So be it!

    Thanks for doing your part by making your post here and showing what a fine Baha’i you are by your stirring manners! Well done!!!

    Ya Baha’u’Abha!

  • Craig Parke

    I agree with you that the Supreme Body is INDEED TOTALLY INFALLIBLE and it is the SUPREME DUTY of EVERY steadfast and loyal Baha’i to carry out their EVERY command without out even a moments individual thought or individual reflection in TOTAL LOCK-STEP OBEDIENCE. PERIOD.

    If they tell you to MURDER your children in their beds then YOU MUST DO IT AS A ROBOTIC AUTOMATON WITHOUT PERSONAL CONSCIENCE! You are a rank and file Baha’i and they are INFALLIBLE IN ALL THINGS! You are NOT to question their commands in the slightest. THEY ARE GOD!

    So by COMMANDING that the Ruhi System and it’s detailed PAIN-BY-NUMBERS techniques is the LAW OF GOD in THIS PARSEC of this SECOND PHASE of the FORTH TRANSCENDENCE of the THIRD FORMATIVE NANOSECOND and that the Ruhi System IS the EXACT TOP DOWN MICRO MANAGED way that every Baha’i is to Teach the Faith across the ENTIRE PLANET Earth FOREVER and EVER whether fellow human beings respond or not without any leeway of any kind for individual adjustment they have essentially decreed that THE BAHA’I FAITH MUST FAIL IN EVERY LAND and be TOTALLY DESTROYED from the FACE OF THE EARTH. This will be the result of the the Great Gift of their incredible “INFALLIBLE DIVINE GUIDANCE” and it is the DUTY of every loyal and steadfast Baha’i to carry this TOTAL DESTRUCTION out to the best of their ability to the 7th Generation!

    We have been INFALLIBLY COMMANDED TO FAIL and EVERY BAHA’I *MUST* CARRY IT OUT!

    So be it!

    Thanks for doing your part by making your post here and showing what a fine Baha’i you are by your stirring manners! Well done!!!

    Ya Baha’u’Abha!

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    And you, a guest on this discussion forum, being discourteous. What’s with that?

  • Anonymous

    Are you envisioning the BF failing in preference to Islam, Craig?

  • Anonymous
  • Craig Parke

    No. The BF is the end of the road for the Abrahamic Religions of the desert peoples who never built a city. It appears it has been top down commanded to fail by professional high school teachers who have obtained lifetime incumbency because the worldwide Baha’i electorate are cowards who will not stand up against the new self appointed class of professional clergy who have completely gamed the system since 1987.

    Islam is already a religion led by men obsessed with male SHRINKAGE if you know what I men. Islam is the equivalent of a guy standing in the Atlantic Ocean off of Atlantic City, NJ in November since 1500. Major SHRINKAGE. Wink. Wink. No science. No technology. Half of the population kept oppressed in chains in ignorance with no opportunity to contribute to the advancement of human society except breed mindless group think religious fanatics as hapless sons.

    http://comedians.jokes.com/vanessa-hollingshead/videos/vanessa-hollingshead—middle-east

  • Mizz

    You might be nearly alone in your appreciation of the Ridvan letter dear friend for you have stumbled upon one of the most self congratulatory Baha’i bashing group on the internet. The Ridvan letter is purely mature and astonishing in its eloquence and brevity. You would do better to avoid this tomb of laughing hyenas.
    “Yea, to the beetle a sweet fragrance seemeth foul, and to the man sick of a rheum a pleasant perfume is as naught.” ~ The Seven Valleys of Baha’u’llah

  • fubar

    Again, defenders of the status quo frequently project the “real” problems of haifan bahaism onto critics instead of facing them in an unvarnished manner.

    http://www.crisiscounseling.com/articles/transference.htm

    A religious culture that is so “comfortable” with lies, distortion and dishonesty is in very serious trouble. Those that get sucked into the lies will eventually face the unfortunate danger of a crisis of belief, and the cynicism and hopelessness that can follow.

    haifan bahaism offers no healing for such people, their “diversity” of life experience is not acceptable within a culture of superficial “feel good” religiousity.

    re: “self congratulatory”

    The mainstream version of bahai culture is itself incredibly self congratulatory. Given the continuing accumulation of failures, how is this possible?

    It is understood – in several fields of study – how deception and denial of reality can form and spread in an organizational culture, supporting dysfunctionality, conformism and insularization.

    bahai culture not only ignores such information, it is frequently hostile to those that wish to discuss and “independently investigate” the truth involved in the information, and honestly examine problems and solutions.

    haifan bahaism is a deeply broken organization. it will be incredible painful and difficult to face the truth and try to “fix” it.

    it is far easier to continue the “same ol’, same ol’” stuff, trying to reinvent failed ideas and dysfunctional bureaucracy.

    attacks on nonconformists, critics, dissidents and ex-bahais represent a clear evidence that the mainstream of bahai culture is not healing, compassionate, or enlightened.

  • fubar

    http://www.kdkfactory.com/simple/A.simple.companion.ebook.pdf

    When viewing google search results for “Ridvan 2010″, I noticed the link to the above 5-Year-Plan study in some blog comments.

    The study guide is not particularly simple, but may be more simple than the original BWC material.

    While the material is obviously meant for “internal consumption”, it is amazing that so little consideration is given to the possibility of non-bahais attempting to understand bahai “code” words, such as “teaching”. (Eventually, a confused “external” reader, if persistent, will realize that bahai “teaching” is really “conversion”, not education per se.)

    The disconnect from authentic, honest spirituality (and/or basic common sense) is further illustrated by the proposal that the increased use of the word ?accompany? is an indicator of spiritual maturity in the haifan bahai community.

    Much of the document is simply an elaboration on the usual theme: individuals are meant to conform to bahai bureacuracy.

    What the document does not do is to actually examine, in an objective manner, the performance of the 5-Year methodology, or the likelihood that its various major components are legitimate.

    To me, as an ex-bahai, the sterility of the material is obvious. As is its self-referential and dishonest “logic”.

    All of the aspects of human “meaning making” (my emphasis) that are mentioned in the plan are ultimately bent to one purpose: conformity to the central organization and its expansion.

    In other words, cultural imperialism.

    What is stunning is the complete absence of any honest self-examination of the long history of mistakes and violations of social justice in side the bahai community due to abuse of authority. It is as if an alternative reality is being constructed based on a specific absence of history.

  • fubar

    Unfortunately I can’t understand the reference to the “priceless defenestration” on page 2.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/30297588/Universal-House-of-Justice-Ridvan-Message-2010

    ?Presumably S.E. laid out a method of converting people, and something stated on page 2 contradicts that method? Is it the mention that “outside assistance” might initially be needed the main contradiction?

    On page 3 (bottom), a clear and chilling assertion is made that no form of independent pursuit of spiritual knowledge can be acceptable, only one which arises from institutional legitimization. There is a constant blur that confuses the (authentic) collective with the institutional, and the local with the central.

    Again, this could arise from the “shadow” psychology of purity myths. The “impurity” of local “human resources” can not be allowed to put a stain on the purity of the central “high” culture.

    Spiritual authenticity at the local level has been completely replaced by one defined by a central “high” authority.

    The backwardness and absolutism that such a mindset encourages is massive. Evil stuff.

    It consumes “life force”, rather than encouraging its expression for its own sake.

    The (usually unacknowledged) “consumption” of the achievements, sacrifices and efforts of the individual by a religious bureaucracy for the collective glorification of the religious hierarchy is nothing other than medieval.

    The form of bahaism that is being proposed is just rehashed feudalism and imperialism. It seriously distorts the real problems that spirituality faces in an increasingly postmodern world.

  • fubar

    Another assumption stated in the R2010 letter that seems incorrect is that it was the “unsystematic” manner of deepening and “community building” in previous generations that was the reason for a lack of “growth” (successful conversion and retention).

    (Note that there have been contradictory statements over the years. Early on, very direct criticism of how LSAs/NSAs has historically functioned was made by those proposing a “new paradigm”. Once the uncooperative “old guard” was removed, such criticism -by “higher levels”- of historic failures of local/national bahai administration vanished as far as I can tell.)

    In reality, the main reasons that the religion failed to grow mostly lie elsewhere, in various aspects of bahai culture that are dysfunctional, dehumanizing, unjust and exploitive. Can guidance really be “infallible” when it largely fails to address what is really going on in the world? Isn’t there is basic dishonesty involved that contradicts any claim to “infallibility”?

    Again, the main purpose of such communications from the BWC is to start a new cycle of bureaucratic reinvention (BR), and the main function of BR is to create an alternative reality in which the history of the pattern of failures and mistakes in bahai culture/organization is “studiously” unmentioned. Various distractions are needed to accomplish this objective, e.g., individual failings are magnified and fed into a “blaming” process. People’s need for a sense of group belonging and higher purpose are exploited more than satisfied. The unsatisfied tend to keep coming back for more, in some cases for a very long time after it quit making sense to do so.

    In perpetuating such a dehumanizing set of arrangements, bahai “leadership” by nature becomes even further dehumanized in how it marginalizes critics, dissidents and non-conformists that want to tell the truth.

    Innovation, experimentation and alternatives are stifled.

  • fubar

    re: “(Note that there have been contradictory statements over the years. Early on, very direct criticism of how LSAs/NSAs has historically functioned was made by those proposing a “new paradigm”. Once the uncooperative “old guard” was removed, such criticism -by “higher levels”- of historic failures of local/national bahai administration vanished as far as I can tell.)”

    This blog (bahairants.com) documents how the US NSA’s last serious attempt a honest self-examination of a few of its main failings was rejected by the central/high leadership elites of haifan bahaism.

    By asserting some common-sense (american) independence, the US NSA violated one of the main “unstated” principles of haifan bahai culture: only the central/high religious administration can claim as a right the legitimating “organizational” tools (however misued) that authentic community building requires.

    It is profoundly disturbing to a central/high bureaucracy when those at a lower level begin to independently develop skills that can potentially lead people to alternative, local sources of guidance that are not obsiquient to central authority and its absolutist/autocratic tendencies.

  • Oldgar9

    The above article is nothing short of covenant breaking, if you do not respect the administrative system brought by The Lord of this age then why not call this blog: I say I am a Baha’i, but I don’t really believe it rants.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout Steve Marshall

    Troll

  • Desir0101

    Good Day Oldgar9

    I reiterate what I said. The infallibility of the UHJ is subjective. `It reside within the Bahai concept only. If all Bahais who are group thinking followers do agree with all the decision of UHJ even if the result after implemented such decision is negative the UHJ is thus infallible. The final blame will be that the Bahais who is lacking or need spiritual upliftment etc etc. rush to Ruhi as if a miracle….

    If you do ponder and re read all the UHJ Ridvan message since 30 years back regarding teaching and method you will perceive that the UHJ is making no headway.

    Many Bahais said that this site are for those who has problem with the faith.
    But if you take time to think you will see many contradiction in the Writings between the three central figures.

    I have requested explanation on some passages from the UHJ who has dare to never reply.

    That what you call independent investigation of truth. Are Bahais goat-sheep people.

  • Craig Parke

    If the Universal House of Justice throws someone out of the Baha’i Faith like Sen McGlinn and Alison Marshall and Juan Cole or condones the NSA of the United States commanding Baha’i libraries not to buy any books from Kalimat Press thereby driving them out of business after their considerable investment in inventory and a lifetime of service to the Baha’i community, isn’t that some kind of actual defacto “infallible legislation”? Same with their formal “communications” telling people what they must do to teach the Faith in exact by-the-numbers ways? Isn’t that defacto “infallible legislation” on what you must be doing such as going door-to-door and recruiting people to take the Ruhi Courses because they have commanded it in their formal letters? What actually is formal “legislation” in the Baha’i Faith? Does anyone really know?

    Both Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha taught the sacredness of individual human conscience but former UHJ Members Douglas Martin and Peter Khan teach that whatever the UHJ says MUST be the top down PERSONAL CONSCIENCE of every Baha’i. To refuse their understanding is to risk being summarily thrown out of the Faith after being reported to the Institutions by someone.

    I take that to mean that if the UHJ tells you to murder your children in their beds you must do it because they are infallible and they have told you to do it. That it is their infallible Divine Power over your individual and personal heart, mind, and soul. People may say they would never do that, but tell me what safe guards are there in the developing excessively neurotic “Admin-O-Centric culture” of the Baha’i Faith over time that they would never do that? Cult “Group Think” and top down “Hive Mind” are very, very, very dangerous states of consciousness in human beings as witnessed in the just past 20th Century. What safe guards are there in the Baha’i System that this would never happen? Right now individual conscience takes primacy among most Baha’is because many come from Christian backgrounds. This was certainly true for me. But what will happen after centuries of top down Ruhi Indoctrination of people robotically filling out blanks in organizational workbooks over and over from the cradle to the grave at every stage in life? What can happen then?

    What are the safeguards that the Baha’i Faith won’t turn out to be the “Scientology” of Shia Islam? We are already the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” of Shia Islam. Couldn’t this next level of top down authoritarian administration indoctrination be out there next?

    What is to keep it all from turning into this?

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright?currentPage=all

    What is the difference between Baha’i “shunning” and Scientology “disconnection”. Psychologically I see NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever in the harm to families. I was a very dedicated Baha’i for many, many years. I want no part of this. In my opinion the Baha’i Faith is now a cult that has been hijacked by sociopaths.

    Again, what is to prevent the Baha’i Faith from becoming murderous centuries in the future? What? ALL TOP DOWN “Group Think” ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS have become MURDEROUS in human history so far. Why would the Baha’i Faith be any different before insular cult psychological processes? I see no current or future system of checks and balances at all. There is not even a Guardian left to say “Hell No!” to raw incestuous completely unaccountable power over people. The worldwide Baha’i electorate is probably now one of the most timid and cowardly communities of people in the entire World. Complete toadies to the whim of the professional lifetime incumbent elite clergy class of the Baha’i Faith. I see no possibility for change whatsoever. This will be the fate of the Baha’i Faith for at least the next 800 years and beyond. It will, therefore, go absolutely nowhere because no moral and spiritually aware person would ever join or stay in an incredibly spiritually barren and corrupted religion like this. It will become more and more inward, insular, and incestuous with every passing generation. One step forward. Ten thousand steps back.

    You or anyone else here, please explain to me what safeguards there are in the Baha’i Faith that it will not go the route of Scientology as outlined in the current New Yorker article? I will diligently ponder any argument that says there are safeguards and this can ever happen. I myself see no system of moral accountability in the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith at all. Zero. After all, such accountability requires individual personal moral conscience which has now been declared null and void by the entrenched professional leadership.

    Someone please enlighten me as to the checks and balances in the Administrative order of the Baha’i Faith to keep completely murderous insane people who have turned their personal conscience over to an “infallible” organization from sending people to death camps? History shows that there are always people in every society who will drop Zyklon B on other people at the drop of a hat in the name of some ideal. Such people must have push back on them. I see no mechanism of push back anywhere in the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith anymore. Please, someone tell me I am in error about this fear? I will be very glad to consider your case against my fear because I spent decades supporting something that I now believe has gone completely off the rails as Baha’u’llah said it would in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. I am in despair about having completely wasted my life in all that dedicated effort. If there is anyone from the International Teaching Center on here reading this blog, please respond. I would ask the UHJ for an explanation but I believe the ITC now runs the Baha’i Faith. Whatever these people talk about over lunch in their newest social theories and personal doctrines IS the Baha’i Faith. What they say, goes without any checks or balances on their personal beliefs as the infallible Divine Law of the Faith whatsoever. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

  • http://justabahai.wordpress.com Sonja

    “When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail, that is to say, when every man according to his idealization may give utterance to his own beliefs development and growth are inevitable.?

    (?Abdul-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 10, p. 19)

    Oldgar9, it seems from your blanket comment above, you disagree with ‘Abdul-Baha’s words which, to me, indicate, that we need freedom of expression. If you are interested in an discussion, then point out what it is that you consder ‘covenant breaking’ and if you have misunderstood something someone who can elaborate and if there is something ‘questionable’ then we can learn from your perspective.

    Baquia, I am assuming that Oldgar9 is a Bahai, and so as a member of the Bahai community myself, I apologise to you that another Bahai is using name calling as a tactic.

  • fubar

    (sPaz),

    You, presumably as a defender of bahai orthodoxy, have it exactly wrong (your ideas are BACKWARD).

    You are the mulla attacking those that challenge the status quo.

    The Bab was challenging Shi’a orthodoxy.

    Bahai rants challenges bahai orthodoxy.

    Of course Bahai rants does not claim to be a prophet/manifestation (a claim not needed in democratic society), although it could be argued that collective protest against orthodoxy, stasis, dysfunctionality, oppression, etc., has a divine Eros to it.

    Bahai administration, including the UHJ, is evil and full of dreadful lies.

    It is the duty of anyone that believes in Truth and Good to speak honestly about bad religion – and haifan bahaism is a bad religion.

    e.g., progressive revelation is contrary to evolution, and is wrong. There was no prophet that ushered in one of the greatest paradigm shift in the history of planet earth: Modernism (scientific rationalism) in the 1700s. (which was given birth 3,000 years ago in “pagan” Greece!)

    Since the bahai teachings contain a scientifically incorrect perspective on evolution and human development (as contrasted to transpersonal psychology for instance), the religion is invalid, and its founders absurd claims to exclusivistic divinity are simply a bad rerun of ancient purity myths gone tragically wrong.

    The longer bahais hold onto the false belief in the exclusivistic divinity of its founders, the more culturally imperialistic, totalitarian, paternalistic and autocratic bahai culture will inevitably become.

    The rest of the world clearly sees that haifan bahaism is a missionary religion seeking to exploit people.

    Many ex-bahais that have seen the ugliness inside bahai culture are dedicated to exposing the fundamentalist lies and evil that people like you believe in.

    Go into the streets in protest.

  • fubar

    Oldgar9 is most likely just another simple minded, brainwashed fundamentalist.

    The ease with which such people freely invoke their regressive / oppressive paradigm (autocratic/paternalistic/condescending) tells us much about how “corrupted” haifan bahaism has by fundamentalist trends in the world.

    The UHJ is corrupt. There is nothing AUTHENTICALLY compassionate, just, intelligent, or spiritually insightful in what they say.

    They are desperately holding onto autocratic power (which will always see in stricly condescending terms, the lowly “believer” as an “inferior” slave/child/whore to be exploited for the glory of the “high organization” which is a symbol/archetype for a corrupt version of imperialist transcendance).

    Bahais should be protesting in the streets against the autocratic rule of the UHJ and the rest of haifan bahai administration.

    The fact that they are not protesting in the streets proves that they have completely “bought into” self-censorship and their own spiritual/social enslavement.

    This is the problem with (anti-democratic) prophetic religion, which needs to perpetuate a spiritual “middle man scam” that denies direct access to Spirit by each person.

    Prophetic religion provides a static and safe “comfort zone” (“Strict Daddy” archetype) for people that are afraid of more open and evolutionary ways of being.

    Fear-based beliefs are always backward and regressive. The “safety” of such beliefs is always purchased at the price of freedom, dynamism and innovation.

    Backward, fear-based beliefs are anti-democracy and anti-evolutionary.

    have a nice day.