We Have Annulled the Rule of the Sword

As my fellow Baha’is in Iran face a renewed wave of persecutions, there are some who charge the Baha’i community to be perpetrators of violence.

Of course these charges have no credibility but still I thought it would be fruitful to go to the source and see what Baha’u’llah commands:

Beware lest ye shed the blood of any one. Unsheathe the sword of your tongue from the scabbard of utterance, for therewith ye can conquer the citadels of men’s hearts. We have abolished the law to wage holy war against each other. God’s mercy hath, verily, encompassed all created things, if ye do but understand.
Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

And again, speaking to the Babi and Baha’i community of the time, Baha’u’llah explains not only the injunction to eschew violence but He explains in no uncertain terms that His Cause has no desire to gain or hold power in the form of civil authority:

Know thou that We have annulled the rule of the sword, as an aid to Our Cause, and substituted for it the power born of the utterance of men. Thus have We irrevocably decreed, by virtue of Our grace. Say: O people! Sow not the seeds of discord among men, and refrain from contending with your neighbor, for your Lord hath committed the world and the cities thereof to the care of the kings of the earth, and made them the emblems of His own power, by virtue of the sovereignty He hath chosen to bestow upon them. He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world’s dominion. To this He Who is Himself the Eternal Truth will testify. The things He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men’s hearts, that He may cleanse them from all earthly defilements, and enable them to draw nigh unto the hallowed Spot which the hands of the infidel can never profane. Open, O people, the city of the human heart with the key of your utterance.
Tablet to Nab?l-i-?Azam

annulled-rule-of-the-sword

I was going to write this in the comment section of a previous post but Baha’u’llah’s clear words deserve a more prominent exposition. I’m going to delve further into the question of church and state within the Baha’i Faith a bit later. But can’t resist for now to touch on it since it is so important an issue.

It has been not only an important issue but a contentious one for almost the whole duration of the Faith. Originally those who sought to cast the Baha’i Faith as supportive of theocracy were mischief makers who wished it ill. For example, they spread lies and rumors that Abdu’l-Baha was not building simply a shrine (of the Bab) but a citadel from which He would attempt to overthrow the government.

More recently the perpetrators are well meaning but ignorant Baha’is who have not bothered to read the consistent, clear and repeated Writings of their own Faith about this matter. Such error is dangerous whether the intention behind it is evil or not because it misrepresents the Baha’i Faith and it opens it to attacks from those who mistake it as having temporal motivations.

All I can say to fellow Baha’is who are under the wrong impression that their Faith promotes or condones in any way a theocratic model is, please, inform yourself. There are clear texts. You have but to read and study them.

Theirs is not the purpose, while endeavoring to conduct and perfect the administrative affairs of their Faith, to violate, under any circumstances, the provisions of their country’s constitution, much less to allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government of their respective countries.
Shoghi Effendi

If you don’t know where to begin, a good place to start would be Church & State , a book that has passed Baha’i pre-publication review (as have all books published by Kalimat) [Ed. please see comments for clarification]. It contains a methodically and exhaustively collection of Baha’i texts on the relationship of church and state. Here is a recent and relevant entry from the author’s blog.

There is no shame in not knowing but there is shame in wallowing in ignorance. As a Baha’i the standard is extremely high and our duty is to fulfill individual investigation of truth.

God bless.

  • Andrew

    “He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world’s dominion.” (Baha’ullah)

    Indeed.

    “My authority and dominion are not of a secular nature. If they were, my friends and associates would fight for me to deliver me from the Jews. But at this time, my dominion is not of this kind.” (Jesus)

    “All I can say to fellow Baha’is who are under the wrong impression that their Faith promotes or condones in any way a theocratic model is, please, inform yourself.”

    http://bahaistudies.net/susanmaneck/theocracy.html

    “McGlinn’s discussion of ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s Writings focuses on the Risaliy-i Siyasiyyah, The Secret of Divine Civilization and A Traveler’s Narrative, texts where ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? decries ‘ulama interference in matters of state as evidence that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? supported the separation of church and state. He omits in Abdu’l-Bah??’s explicit references to the Universal House of Justice enacting secular law [qanun] and civil law [akham-i madaniyyih.] … The Central Figures called for a separation of the ‘ulama from the state, not a Western-style separation of ‘church and state.'”

    Etc. Etc.

  • Andrew

    “He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world’s dominion.” (Baha’ullah)

    Indeed.

    “My authority and dominion are not of a secular nature. If they were, my friends and associates would fight for me to deliver me from the Jews. But at this time, my dominion is not of this kind.” (Jesus)

    “All I can say to fellow Baha’is who are under the wrong impression that their Faith promotes or condones in any way a theocratic model is, please, inform yourself.”

    http://bahaistudies.net/susanmaneck/theocracy.html

    “McGlinn’s discussion of ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s Writings focuses on the Risaliy-i Siyasiyyah, The Secret of Divine Civilization and A Traveler’s Narrative, texts where ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? decries ‘ulama interference in matters of state as evidence that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? supported the separation of church and state. He omits in Abdu’l-Bah??’s explicit references to the Universal House of Justice enacting secular law [qanun] and civil law [akham-i madaniyyih.] … The Central Figures called for a separation of the ‘ulama from the state, not a Western-style separation of ‘church and state.'”

    Etc. Etc.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Andrew,
    yes this tactic is often used by some. Basically saying well we “don’t believe in the theocracy that you don’t believe in either”. Fact is theocracy is theocracy, Wester, Eastern, Martian or Venusian. As well the texts are clear and irrefutable.

    Rather than picking one or two quotes and trying to ram our own understanding into them, the wiser course is to examine the whole body of work from the Central Figures. Which is why I recommend starting with McGlinn’s book – he goes to the source.

    With regards to Maneck’s question, if you follow the link above to McGlinn’s blog you can read a post where he talks about a similar objection regarding the role of the UHJ. It doesn’t address Maneck’s point directly but it does shed further light on the matter.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Andrew,
    yes this tactic is often used by some. Basically saying well we “don’t believe in the theocracy that you don’t believe in either”. Fact is theocracy is theocracy, Wester, Eastern, Martian or Venusian. As well the texts are clear and irrefutable.

    Rather than picking one or two quotes and trying to ram our own understanding into them, the wiser course is to examine the whole body of work from the Central Figures. Which is why I recommend starting with McGlinn’s book – he goes to the source.

    With regards to Maneck’s question, if you follow the link above to McGlinn’s blog you can read a post where he talks about a similar objection regarding the role of the UHJ. It doesn’t address Maneck’s point directly but it does shed further light on the matter.

  • Andrew

    Maneck writes: “No discussion of the Bah??’? Teachings on this matter is complete without reference to the elucidations of the Universal House of Justice.”

    This seems to be the gist of her argument: that the body of work from the Central Figures must include (presumably) equal weight (at least) given to the “elucidations of the Universal House of Justice” of the Haifa-based Baha’i World Faith. The UHJ trumps private interpretation of the Writings of the Central Figures. Apparently.

    Maneck’s opinion seems to be (or actually is?) the consensus opinion within the Baha’i World Faith, under the direction of the UHJ.

    “Although I felt unworthy of being a Baha’i, I doubted the authority of the Faith as it now stands. I think something went wrong. I do not think that today’s Baha’i Faith is the Faith that Baha’u’llah intended. That is my opinion; it is not fact, but it is the reason why I left the Baha’i Faith.” — Jorge Sanchez

  • Andrew

    Maneck writes: “No discussion of the Bah??’? Teachings on this matter is complete without reference to the elucidations of the Universal House of Justice.”

    This seems to be the gist of her argument: that the body of work from the Central Figures must include (presumably) equal weight (at least) given to the “elucidations of the Universal House of Justice” of the Haifa-based Baha’i World Faith. The UHJ trumps private interpretation of the Writings of the Central Figures. Apparently.

    Maneck’s opinion seems to be (or actually is?) the consensus opinion within the Baha’i World Faith, under the direction of the UHJ.

    “Although I felt unworthy of being a Baha’i, I doubted the authority of the Faith as it now stands. I think something went wrong. I do not think that today’s Baha’i Faith is the Faith that Baha’u’llah intended. That is my opinion; it is not fact, but it is the reason why I left the Baha’i Faith.” — Jorge Sanchez

  • Carm-again

    Hi Steve,

    You wrote: “Here’s what Baquia actually wrote:
    …you should know that the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth. Corruption, prostitution, drug-use, etc. are rampant on a scale that you can not imagine….Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth. What Baquia said, if I can paraphrase it, is that Baha’i youth in Iran are getting up to the same things Muslim and other youth in Iran are getting up to, and that it’s wild/depraved. Has Baquia offered any evidence? No, but that’s par for the course around here.”

    Is it really par for the course on this blog that Baquia can make any comment he wants, get called on it, but not be able to back it up with evidence? This is clearly not the case or everything Baquia writes should be regarded as untrue including his other allegations about the Baha’i community. I do not think everything Baquia writes is untrue. However, when he or anyone makes such an inflammatory categorical statement of ‘fact’ he should be expected to back it up with evidence.

    If I were to post a comment to the effect that psychopathic behavior among gays and lesbians in the US is rampant you better believe Beth, Amanda and others would demand that I back up such a statement with evidence! I know such an assertion is blatantly untrue so I would never make it. If a white new Zealander posted on a blog that there is rampant drug-use, corruption and prostitution among the Maoris in New Zealand but cannot back it up with evidence, the only inference that can be drawn is that they are making the statement to deliberately smear Maoris in New Zealand. Would you agree or disagree with this conclusion Steve? What about similar comments without any supporting evidence re Hindus in Canada, Moslems in Australia, Buddhists in Thailand, Zambians in South Africa…you get my point?

    You wrote: “Here’s some evidence supporting Baquia’s statement. It’s from Jared Cohen, a young and evidently very talented Westerner, who infiltrated the Middle East youth culture…”

    I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran. This is not evidence. To say this is evidence is like using comments about youth culture in any country and asserting, ipso facto, that such behavior is rampant among a specific sub-group. If you were to argue that eating meat is common among Seventh Day Adventist youth simply because it is common in the wider youth culture in the US you would be blatantly wrong because empirical studies have clearly demonstrated the health benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle of Seventh Day Adventists. Jared Cohen’s comments are hearsay and just does not cut it as providing any evidence whatsoever of rampant behavior among Baha’is or any other religious group of youth in Iran.

    Moreover, you are offering extremely indirect evidence for Baquia’s assertion while also admitting that he has not offered any evidence and that this is par for the course. Steve, Baquia cannot have his cake and eat it too – as the saying goes.

    You also wrote: “Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth.” Is this supposed to somehow exonerate his malicious comment? He said drug-use, prostitution and corruption is “rampant.” Rampant means “profusely widespread.” Considering the number of Baha’i youth in Iran this means tens of thousands. Moreover, Baquia not only said rampant but rampant on “a scale that you cannot imagine.” Steve, do not try to defend the indefensible. If I wrote that prostitution, drug-use and corruption were rampant among lesbians in the US you had better believe Beth and others would call me on it; and rightly so since there is no basis in fact or even by inference for such an allegation! If I made such a statement about the lesbian community I should be rightly condemned for trying to smear them because of prejudice.

    So when I call Baquia on an outrageous statement please do not try to defend it as it only makes it worse. It only highlights questions about his motive for making such a statement especially when he claims to be a Baha’i. You know as well as I do that comments are indexed by Google so when Baquia makes such a highly prejudiced categorization of an entire community people will read it and some will assume it is true even though there is not one shred of evidence to back it up.

    This is why I compared his comment to Fred Glaysher’s allegation about the murder of Dan Jordan which has no basis in fact whatsoever. The only conclusion one can reach is that Baquia’s motive for making this statement is that he is deliberately trying to smear the reputation of the Baha’i youth in Iran. His effort to deflect this by references to my calling him out as “poisonous” just will not cut it.

    If you really believe he can make such comments as par for the course on this board then one has the right to question any comments he has made including his allegation of corruption in Italy. The impression such comments of his ceate is that he is not just questioning based on his so called genuine concern for the Faith but that he will say or do anything to create a negative perception.

    Carmen

  • Carm-again

    Hi Steve,

    You wrote: “Here’s what Baquia actually wrote:
    …you should know that the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth. Corruption, prostitution, drug-use, etc. are rampant on a scale that you can not imagine….Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth. What Baquia said, if I can paraphrase it, is that Baha’i youth in Iran are getting up to the same things Muslim and other youth in Iran are getting up to, and that it’s wild/depraved. Has Baquia offered any evidence? No, but that’s par for the course around here.”

    Is it really par for the course on this blog that Baquia can make any comment he wants, get called on it, but not be able to back it up with evidence? This is clearly not the case or everything Baquia writes should be regarded as untrue including his other allegations about the Baha’i community. I do not think everything Baquia writes is untrue. However, when he or anyone makes such an inflammatory categorical statement of ‘fact’ he should be expected to back it up with evidence.

    If I were to post a comment to the effect that psychopathic behavior among gays and lesbians in the US is rampant you better believe Beth, Amanda and others would demand that I back up such a statement with evidence! I know such an assertion is blatantly untrue so I would never make it. If a white new Zealander posted on a blog that there is rampant drug-use, corruption and prostitution among the Maoris in New Zealand but cannot back it up with evidence, the only inference that can be drawn is that they are making the statement to deliberately smear Maoris in New Zealand. Would you agree or disagree with this conclusion Steve? What about similar comments without any supporting evidence re Hindus in Canada, Moslems in Australia, Buddhists in Thailand, Zambians in South Africa…you get my point?

    You wrote: “Here’s some evidence supporting Baquia’s statement. It’s from Jared Cohen, a young and evidently very talented Westerner, who infiltrated the Middle East youth culture…”

    I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran. This is not evidence. To say this is evidence is like using comments about youth culture in any country and asserting, ipso facto, that such behavior is rampant among a specific sub-group. If you were to argue that eating meat is common among Seventh Day Adventist youth simply because it is common in the wider youth culture in the US you would be blatantly wrong because empirical studies have clearly demonstrated the health benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle of Seventh Day Adventists. Jared Cohen’s comments are hearsay and just does not cut it as providing any evidence whatsoever of rampant behavior among Baha’is or any other religious group of youth in Iran.

    Moreover, you are offering extremely indirect evidence for Baquia’s assertion while also admitting that he has not offered any evidence and that this is par for the course. Steve, Baquia cannot have his cake and eat it too – as the saying goes.

    You also wrote: “Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth.” Is this supposed to somehow exonerate his malicious comment? He said drug-use, prostitution and corruption is “rampant.” Rampant means “profusely widespread.” Considering the number of Baha’i youth in Iran this means tens of thousands. Moreover, Baquia not only said rampant but rampant on “a scale that you cannot imagine.” Steve, do not try to defend the indefensible. If I wrote that prostitution, drug-use and corruption were rampant among lesbians in the US you had better believe Beth and others would call me on it; and rightly so since there is no basis in fact or even by inference for such an allegation! If I made such a statement about the lesbian community I should be rightly condemned for trying to smear them because of prejudice.

    So when I call Baquia on an outrageous statement please do not try to defend it as it only makes it worse. It only highlights questions about his motive for making such a statement especially when he claims to be a Baha’i. You know as well as I do that comments are indexed by Google so when Baquia makes such a highly prejudiced categorization of an entire community people will read it and some will assume it is true even though there is not one shred of evidence to back it up.

    This is why I compared his comment to Fred Glaysher’s allegation about the murder of Dan Jordan which has no basis in fact whatsoever. The only conclusion one can reach is that Baquia’s motive for making this statement is that he is deliberately trying to smear the reputation of the Baha’i youth in Iran. His effort to deflect this by references to my calling him out as “poisonous” just will not cut it.

    If you really believe he can make such comments as par for the course on this board then one has the right to question any comments he has made including his allegation of corruption in Italy. The impression such comments of his ceate is that he is not just questioning based on his so called genuine concern for the Faith but that he will say or do anything to create a negative perception.

    Carmen

  • Grover

    For God’s sake Carmen, get your head out of the sand! What Baquia is talking about is reality. Youth are youth, the world over. They’re all exposed to the same influences of drugs etc. Baha’i youth are just as corruptable as anyone else.

    Baha’is have to stop arrogantly assuming that just because Baha’u’llah came along we’re all suddenly more spiritual than anyone else on the earth and invunerable to whatever malady is out there. We’re not!

    Baha’is have got to stop working along the lines that publicising and acknowledging the problems that currently exist within the Faith is bad because it creates a negative image and is bad for publicity. Its far better to be open and honest about it because then something can be done and people know what they’re getting into. Hiding the problems or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. Harranging the people that advertise the problems doesn’t make the problems go away. Eventually, people have to face up to reality.

    Honestly, the situation is so shitty at the moment, we’re expected to go round saying that Baha’i Faith is wonderful and joyous when it is not! Its dishonest!

    That’s why I like this blog. Its fresh, its real, and its not full of bullshit like the crap that gets trotted out by the UHJ and national newsletters.

  • Grover

    For God’s sake Carmen, get your head out of the sand! What Baquia is talking about is reality. Youth are youth, the world over. They’re all exposed to the same influences of drugs etc. Baha’i youth are just as corruptable as anyone else.

    Baha’is have to stop arrogantly assuming that just because Baha’u’llah came along we’re all suddenly more spiritual than anyone else on the earth and invunerable to whatever malady is out there. We’re not!

    Baha’is have got to stop working along the lines that publicising and acknowledging the problems that currently exist within the Faith is bad because it creates a negative image and is bad for publicity. Its far better to be open and honest about it because then something can be done and people know what they’re getting into. Hiding the problems or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. Harranging the people that advertise the problems doesn’t make the problems go away. Eventually, people have to face up to reality.

    Honestly, the situation is so shitty at the moment, we’re expected to go round saying that Baha’i Faith is wonderful and joyous when it is not! Its dishonest!

    That’s why I like this blog. Its fresh, its real, and its not full of bullshit like the crap that gets trotted out by the UHJ and national newsletters.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    “Fact is theocracy is theocracy, Wester, Eastern, Martian or Venusian. As well the texts are clear and irrefutable.”

    Baquia, I have had some questions in my mind for some time:

    Do you feel that we could differenciate between a clerical rule of society, and a democratic society where all accept a divinely ordained ideal and arbitration?

    Also, can we accept the idea that some of Baha’u’llah’s writings address his contemporaries, and others address future generations and that it would be the duty of the UHj to decide which laws are to be applied at a specific time?

    Grover wrote:
    “Baha’is have to stop arrogantly assuming that just because Baha’u’llah came along we’re all suddenly more spiritual than anyone else on the earth and invunerable to whatever malady is out there. We’re not!”

    I agree, Grover. There is some arrogance and smugness that we as Baha’is have to get rid of very fast. Being a Baha’i makes no one a better person, but a person who is supposed to have accepted an ideal towards which he claims to advance.

    I clearly maintain that had I not been born into a Baha’i family with Baha’i parents who gave me a Baha’i education, I would be somewhere in Iran, or even already in the West, a much worse person than I am now.

    I am not quite sure that if the scoundrel Baquia has described would automatically become an angel if he were removed from Iran and introduced in the West without a Baha’i education.

    Carmen wrote:

    ?I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran.?

    Carmen,
    I can well believe that a child born into a Baha’i family might be contaminated by his envoronment, but again, I doubt very much if such a person would dare openly say he is a Baha’i. In any case, from what I understand there is no enrollment procedure and no voting rights for anyone wanting to call himself a Baha’i in Iran. Hence any statistics would be void.

    I do believe that those who do dare risk their live by openly associating themselves with the Faith would be statistically less inclined to adopt the behaviours Baquia is describing, and if they did, they would not be considered as Baha’is.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:
    “Fact is theocracy is theocracy, Wester, Eastern, Martian or Venusian. As well the texts are clear and irrefutable.”

    Baquia, I have had some questions in my mind for some time:

    Do you feel that we could differenciate between a clerical rule of society, and a democratic society where all accept a divinely ordained ideal and arbitration?

    Also, can we accept the idea that some of Baha’u’llah’s writings address his contemporaries, and others address future generations and that it would be the duty of the UHj to decide which laws are to be applied at a specific time?

    Grover wrote:
    “Baha’is have to stop arrogantly assuming that just because Baha’u’llah came along we’re all suddenly more spiritual than anyone else on the earth and invunerable to whatever malady is out there. We’re not!”

    I agree, Grover. There is some arrogance and smugness that we as Baha’is have to get rid of very fast. Being a Baha’i makes no one a better person, but a person who is supposed to have accepted an ideal towards which he claims to advance.

    I clearly maintain that had I not been born into a Baha’i family with Baha’i parents who gave me a Baha’i education, I would be somewhere in Iran, or even already in the West, a much worse person than I am now.

    I am not quite sure that if the scoundrel Baquia has described would automatically become an angel if he were removed from Iran and introduced in the West without a Baha’i education.

    Carmen wrote:

    ?I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran.?

    Carmen,
    I can well believe that a child born into a Baha’i family might be contaminated by his envoronment, but again, I doubt very much if such a person would dare openly say he is a Baha’i. In any case, from what I understand there is no enrollment procedure and no voting rights for anyone wanting to call himself a Baha’i in Iran. Hence any statistics would be void.

    I do believe that those who do dare risk their live by openly associating themselves with the Faith would be statistically less inclined to adopt the behaviours Baquia is describing, and if they did, they would not be considered as Baha’is.

  • Carm-again

    Grover wrote: “For God’s sake Carmen, get your head out of the sand! What Baquia is talking about is reality. ”

    Grover, Baquia didn’t say youth are youth so this might be happening among some Baha’i youth in Iran. That I can live with. He made a categorical statement about very specific behavior being rampant. I am sorry but prostitution is not rampant among youth in every country. Pre-marital sex may be. Drug-use is not necessarily rampant either nor is corruption. I do not accept your attitude because, as I said, if the same allegations were made about other groups people would be called on it. Baquia went far beyond the normal youth behavior you are referring to and his assertion that it is pervasive has no basis in fact. It is the same thing when someone says most Moslems are terrorists – no factual basis but soon people become accustomed to characterizing the behavior of more than 1 billion by the actions of a tiny minority.

    Carmen

  • Carm-again

    Grover wrote: “For God’s sake Carmen, get your head out of the sand! What Baquia is talking about is reality. ”

    Grover, Baquia didn’t say youth are youth so this might be happening among some Baha’i youth in Iran. That I can live with. He made a categorical statement about very specific behavior being rampant. I am sorry but prostitution is not rampant among youth in every country. Pre-marital sex may be. Drug-use is not necessarily rampant either nor is corruption. I do not accept your attitude because, as I said, if the same allegations were made about other groups people would be called on it. Baquia went far beyond the normal youth behavior you are referring to and his assertion that it is pervasive has no basis in fact. It is the same thing when someone says most Moslems are terrorists – no factual basis but soon people become accustomed to characterizing the behavior of more than 1 billion by the actions of a tiny minority.

    Carmen

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    First a couple of points of information:

    Church and State was not published by Kalimat, it is self-published, which is normal for university theses and dissertations. Sometimes they are later republished by a publishing house, but the usual thing is that the student publishes them first. Kalimat agreed to distribute most of the copies I had for sale, which made sense because they were printed in the US (half the price of Europe) and US postage is cheaper than European postage. So it says on the cover, “distributed as ‘Studies in the Babi and Bahai Religions’ – volume nineteen.”

    Kalimat is both a publisher and a bookseller. It sells books that other publishers have published. Pre-publication review applies only to publishing. If you start a bookshop, as a Bahai, you don’t have to get the NSA’s permission for every book you stock. But as a Bahai publisher, you do have to get the NSA’s approval for every book you publish, that refers to the Bahai Faith. So while it is true to say that every book Kalimat publishes has been approved by the NSA in the USA (an allegation to the contrary, printed in the Dutch national newsletter, is simply misinformed), this does not mean that every book it sells has been approved there.

    In the case of _Church and State_ , because I live in the Netherlands it would in principle be reviewed by the NSA of the Netherlands. However the NSA here has a policy that Master’s dissertations (also called theses here) are exempt, while PhD theses (called dissertations here) have to be reviewed. Because this was a Master’s dissertation, they said I did not require a review. I did tell them I was planning to print 400 copies, and that it would be a substantial book in English, and I suggested the names of Bahais who could review it, but they did not change their decision. So the book has not been reviewed, rather it has been exempted from review. And since I think the pre-publication review policy should only apply to statements that speak for the Bahai Community, and not to what is just the author’s personal opinions, I am perfectly happy that it was exempted. A lot of other books and articles by individual Bahais should also be exempted, which would throw the onus onto their authors to get feedback to make sure that what they publish is accurate and dignified and not too likely to cause misunderstandings.

    For those interested, I’ve put the Foreword and Introduction to Church and State up on my web site as a PDF:

    http://www.sonjavank.com/sen/articles.htm

    Second one down, and click on the big blue PDF button.

    As for Susan Maneck’s critique, this does not refer to my book, but to a paper called “A theology of the State” which was published in a Journal that is called Church and State. That seems to have led to some confusion.

    The critique that was bought up was that I did not, in that article, refer to the rulings of the UHJ relevant to Church and State. The UHJ has offered various pieces of guidance on this issue, but so far as I know only one piece of legislation. This has been cited by the Research Department or the Secretariat to NSAs on various occasions. One example is this, to the Canadian NSA:

    “The final point made in your letter concerns the use of the Baha’i system of administration as an example of how an Indian community should conduct its affairs, in light of the fact that the Baha’is may soon be the majority of the people in some Native communities. The Universal House of Justice has pointed out, in response to questions from Baha’i communities in which there has been large-scale growth in village areas, that Baha’i administration and the civil administration are two separate entities; the Local Spiritual Assembly does not automatically become the village council even though most or even all, of the citizens of a village are Baha’is. However, the Baha’is in a village, irrespective of their numbers, can well offer, by precept and by their own practice, the model of consultation as an ideal means by which human beings may carry out their collective decision making within the framework of the oneness of mankind.”

    “When the Baha’i community in a village is a significant proportion of the population, it has a wide range of opportunities to be an example and an encouragement of means of improving the quality of life in the village. Among the initiatives which it might take are measures to foster child education, adult literacy and the training of women to better discharge their responsibilities as mothers and to play an enlarged role in the administrative and social life of the village; encouragement of the people of the village to join together in devotions, perhaps in the early morning, irrespective of their varieties of religious belief; support of efforts to improve the hygiene and the health of the village, including attention to the provision of pure water, the preservation of cleanliness in the village environment, and education in the harmful effects of narcotic and intoxicating substances. No doubt other possibilities will present themselves to the village Baha’i community and its Local Spiritual Assembly.”

    That seems pretty clear, and it is precisely in line with what I have found in the Bahai Writings and in the interpretations of Shoghi Effendi. The government and the Bahai Administration are two separate things, as Shoghi Effendi says in the piece Baquia quoted (WOB p 66) and as Abdu’l-Baha says in the Will and Testament, and so on. And they are intended to work together, for the good of society. It is an organic unity of the various organs of society that is envisioned, not a church-state or theocracy.

    But when reading this ruling regarding local assemblies and local governments, it must be remembered that the UHJ is free to change its rulings. That is why you cannot derive an understanding of the Bahai principles from studying the rulings of the UHJ: the rulings may change. They tell us what is to be done (for now), and often indicate at least part of the reasoning that led the UHJ to that decision. Since we do not know which parts of the decision might be changed by a future UHJ, we cannot be sure about any principles that appear to be implied by the decision. What we can do is use it as a pointer to direct us to the Writings where we will find the principles, which cannot be changed.

    Shoghi Effendi wrote:

    “… the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Worand that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the
    function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bah??’u’ll??h has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.
    (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 149)

    Don’t let the future tense here dominate the reading, as if he was talking just about the future. Given that the UHJ did not exist at the time it was written, the “nor ever will” is inserted as a parenthetic comment, but I do not read this primarily as a prediction about the future. Shoghi Effendi is discussing the essential — timeless — relationship between the 2 institutions. His statement means that nothing the Guardian writes may be read by us as Bahai law, and nothing the UHJ writes may be read by us as an interpretation of the scripture.

    Shoghi Effendi’s dictum here is broken every time a Bahai pulls out a letter from or on behalf of the Guardian and says — “that’s what we must do, that’s the law.” And it is broken every time a Bahai reads a message or letter from the UHJ and says, “so that is the Bahai teachings, the UHJ says so.” But although it is broken daily, all over the Bahai world, the Guardian’s stricture remains. In reality, in truth, in fact, the Guardian has not made a law, and the UHJ has not authoritatively interpreted the teachings — even if all 9 members were to think they had ! Even if 99% of the world Bahai community thought they had. Even if every Bahai were to treat something the Guardian wrote as if it were law. The Guardian and the UHJ would still not have infringed on the domain of the other, because they CAN not do it. The Guardian has not legislated, because he CAN not legislate. The UHJ has not authoritatively interpreted the teachings, because it CAN not do so. That is why the “or ever will” is redundant: it is just a rhetorical underlining of the “Neither can”

    This explanation of Shoghi Effendi, about the two spheres of legislation and interpretation, is itself an interpretation of the Will and Testament. So it is part of the Bahai Covenant. In light of this, to turn to the writings of the UHJ for interpretations of Bahai scriptures is, in fact, neglect of the Covenant. (That is, presuming one knows about this aspect of the Covenant – those who do not know about are naturally excused: we all function within the limits of our own understanding). To take something the House of Justice says and treat it as an interpretation of Bahai teachings is to say, in effect – “I know the Covenant makes this argument invalid, but I need to do it to reinforce my argument, so what the heck.” As if the Covenant could be switched off for a moment while we deal with a particular point. And this is my problem with Susan Maneck’s critique of my “Theology of the State” article. She knows very well that an appeal to the writings of the UHJ is not valid, within the framework of Bahai theology, but she does it anyway.

    But that is perhaps an over-simplification. When writing Bahai theology, the Covenant is the basic framework. But someone doing a historical or sociological study of the Bahai Faith must not take the Covenant and its provisions as an a priori revealed truth. In history and science, there are no revealed truths. So someone doing a sociological study of the Bahai community can take statements by Bahais and by the UHJ and write about them as “the Bahai teachings”. In fact, for an academic researcher to ignore or critique what is believed in the community, and instead go back to the Writings and say, “this is the real Bahai Faith” would be a really suspect method. At most a scientist can say what Baha’u’llah taught, and what Bahais are teaching, but the scientific method does not give any authority to say what is the “real” teachings. Whereas the Covenant does – it actually requires us to say that what Baha’u’llah taught, and Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi explained, is the real Teachings and anything else is at best a pointer to them (that “anything else” includes my work, btw: at best it will point readers towards the Writings).

    Susan Maneck works both as a secular scientist, in the study of religion and history at a college, and as a Bahai theologian, teaching a course in Bahai theology at the Wilmette Institute. In the secular field, the Covenant is just one item of data, whereas in Bahai theology it is the basic framework for doing theology at all, it is as much a “given” as ‘the existence of the earth’ is a given for doing geology. So perhaps when she (selectively) uses statements from the UHJ as if the UHJ had somehow stepped into the Guardian’s shoes, she is not so much neglecting the Covenant as slipping from one field of study into another, applying secular norms in a religious discourse. It is difficult to wear two different hats, when there is an important contradiciton between them.

    I have made it very easy for myself, in Church and State, by saying at the outset that I will write as a theologian and not as an “academic scholar of the science of religion” — I’ve subordinated secular methodology to theological method. For example, I don’t argue whether a particular interpretation by Shoghi Effendi, or Abdu’l-Baha, stands up to scrutiny, I take it as a given that these are authoritative interpretations: they are the Bahai Teachings. Theology begins after that, in trying to understand what they mean. And I don’t treat anything that is not an authoritative interpretation as a de facto equivalent, however many people may have said it. There is no room in the Covenant for using either the consensus of the believers, or the writings of the UHJ or its members or the Hands or other revered figures, as indications of what the Bahai teachings are. I observe that distinction strictly – it is my scriptura sola. If I was trying to ride both the secular and the theological horse at the same, I couldn’t do that. I was fortunate in having a supervisor, for my dissertation, who would allow me to write purely from a faith-based point of view, so long as I said clearly that that was what I was doing. And of course, providing the evidence and the arguments were sound. “Doing theology” is not an excuse for presenting personal opinions as facts: it just means that the evidence and arguments have to be from scripture, and not from the practice of the religious community.

    Sen

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    First a couple of points of information:

    Church and State was not published by Kalimat, it is self-published, which is normal for university theses and dissertations. Sometimes they are later republished by a publishing house, but the usual thing is that the student publishes them first. Kalimat agreed to distribute most of the copies I had for sale, which made sense because they were printed in the US (half the price of Europe) and US postage is cheaper than European postage. So it says on the cover, “distributed as ‘Studies in the Babi and Bahai Religions’ – volume nineteen.”

    Kalimat is both a publisher and a bookseller. It sells books that other publishers have published. Pre-publication review applies only to publishing. If you start a bookshop, as a Bahai, you don’t have to get the NSA’s permission for every book you stock. But as a Bahai publisher, you do have to get the NSA’s approval for every book you publish, that refers to the Bahai Faith. So while it is true to say that every book Kalimat publishes has been approved by the NSA in the USA (an allegation to the contrary, printed in the Dutch national newsletter, is simply misinformed), this does not mean that every book it sells has been approved there.

    In the case of _Church and State_ , because I live in the Netherlands it would in principle be reviewed by the NSA of the Netherlands. However the NSA here has a policy that Master’s dissertations (also called theses here) are exempt, while PhD theses (called dissertations here) have to be reviewed. Because this was a Master’s dissertation, they said I did not require a review. I did tell them I was planning to print 400 copies, and that it would be a substantial book in English, and I suggested the names of Bahais who could review it, but they did not change their decision. So the book has not been reviewed, rather it has been exempted from review. And since I think the pre-publication review policy should only apply to statements that speak for the Bahai Community, and not to what is just the author’s personal opinions, I am perfectly happy that it was exempted. A lot of other books and articles by individual Bahais should also be exempted, which would throw the onus onto their authors to get feedback to make sure that what they publish is accurate and dignified and not too likely to cause misunderstandings.

    For those interested, I’ve put the Foreword and Introduction to Church and State up on my web site as a PDF:

    http://www.sonjavank.com/sen/articles.htm

    Second one down, and click on the big blue PDF button.

    As for Susan Maneck’s critique, this does not refer to my book, but to a paper called “A theology of the State” which was published in a Journal that is called Church and State. That seems to have led to some confusion.

    The critique that was bought up was that I did not, in that article, refer to the rulings of the UHJ relevant to Church and State. The UHJ has offered various pieces of guidance on this issue, but so far as I know only one piece of legislation. This has been cited by the Research Department or the Secretariat to NSAs on various occasions. One example is this, to the Canadian NSA:

    “The final point made in your letter concerns the use of the Baha’i system of administration as an example of how an Indian community should conduct its affairs, in light of the fact that the Baha’is may soon be the majority of the people in some Native communities. The Universal House of Justice has pointed out, in response to questions from Baha’i communities in which there has been large-scale growth in village areas, that Baha’i administration and the civil administration are two separate entities; the Local Spiritual Assembly does not automatically become the village council even though most or even all, of the citizens of a village are Baha’is. However, the Baha’is in a village, irrespective of their numbers, can well offer, by precept and by their own practice, the model of consultation as an ideal means by which human beings may carry out their collective decision making within the framework of the oneness of mankind.”

    “When the Baha’i community in a village is a significant proportion of the population, it has a wide range of opportunities to be an example and an encouragement of means of improving the quality of life in the village. Among the initiatives which it might take are measures to foster child education, adult literacy and the training of women to better discharge their responsibilities as mothers and to play an enlarged role in the administrative and social life of the village; encouragement of the people of the village to join together in devotions, perhaps in the early morning, irrespective of their varieties of religious belief; support of efforts to improve the hygiene and the health of the village, including attention to the provision of pure water, the preservation of cleanliness in the village environment, and education in the harmful effects of narcotic and intoxicating substances. No doubt other possibilities will present themselves to the village Baha’i community and its Local Spiritual Assembly.”

    That seems pretty clear, and it is precisely in line with what I have found in the Bahai Writings and in the interpretations of Shoghi Effendi. The government and the Bahai Administration are two separate things, as Shoghi Effendi says in the piece Baquia quoted (WOB p 66) and as Abdu’l-Baha says in the Will and Testament, and so on. And they are intended to work together, for the good of society. It is an organic unity of the various organs of society that is envisioned, not a church-state or theocracy.

    But when reading this ruling regarding local assemblies and local governments, it must be remembered that the UHJ is free to change its rulings. That is why you cannot derive an understanding of the Bahai principles from studying the rulings of the UHJ: the rulings may change. They tell us what is to be done (for now), and often indicate at least part of the reasoning that led the UHJ to that decision. Since we do not know which parts of the decision might be changed by a future UHJ, we cannot be sure about any principles that appear to be implied by the decision. What we can do is use it as a pointer to direct us to the Writings where we will find the principles, which cannot be changed.

    Shoghi Effendi wrote:

    “… the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Worand that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the
    function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bah??’u’ll??h has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.
    (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 149)

    Don’t let the future tense here dominate the reading, as if he was talking just about the future. Given that the UHJ did not exist at the time it was written, the “nor ever will” is inserted as a parenthetic comment, but I do not read this primarily as a prediction about the future. Shoghi Effendi is discussing the essential — timeless — relationship between the 2 institutions. His statement means that nothing the Guardian writes may be read by us as Bahai law, and nothing the UHJ writes may be read by us as an interpretation of the scripture.

    Shoghi Effendi’s dictum here is broken every time a Bahai pulls out a letter from or on behalf of the Guardian and says — “that’s what we must do, that’s the law.” And it is broken every time a Bahai reads a message or letter from the UHJ and says, “so that is the Bahai teachings, the UHJ says so.” But although it is broken daily, all over the Bahai world, the Guardian’s stricture remains. In reality, in truth, in fact, the Guardian has not made a law, and the UHJ has not authoritatively interpreted the teachings — even if all 9 members were to think they had ! Even if 99% of the world Bahai community thought they had. Even if every Bahai were to treat something the Guardian wrote as if it were law. The Guardian and the UHJ would still not have infringed on the domain of the other, because they CAN not do it. The Guardian has not legislated, because he CAN not legislate. The UHJ has not authoritatively interpreted the teachings, because it CAN not do so. That is why the “or ever will” is redundant: it is just a rhetorical underlining of the “Neither can”

    This explanation of Shoghi Effendi, about the two spheres of legislation and interpretation, is itself an interpretation of the Will and Testament. So it is part of the Bahai Covenant. In light of this, to turn to the writings of the UHJ for interpretations of Bahai scriptures is, in fact, neglect of the Covenant. (That is, presuming one knows about this aspect of the Covenant – those who do not know about are naturally excused: we all function within the limits of our own understanding). To take something the House of Justice says and treat it as an interpretation of Bahai teachings is to say, in effect – “I know the Covenant makes this argument invalid, but I need to do it to reinforce my argument, so what the heck.” As if the Covenant could be switched off for a moment while we deal with a particular point. And this is my problem with Susan Maneck’s critique of my “Theology of the State” article. She knows very well that an appeal to the writings of the UHJ is not valid, within the framework of Bahai theology, but she does it anyway.

    But that is perhaps an over-simplification. When writing Bahai theology, the Covenant is the basic framework. But someone doing a historical or sociological study of the Bahai Faith must not take the Covenant and its provisions as an a priori revealed truth. In history and science, there are no revealed truths. So someone doing a sociological study of the Bahai community can take statements by Bahais and by the UHJ and write about them as “the Bahai teachings”. In fact, for an academic researcher to ignore or critique what is believed in the community, and instead go back to the Writings and say, “this is the real Bahai Faith” would be a really suspect method. At most a scientist can say what Baha’u’llah taught, and what Bahais are teaching, but the scientific method does not give any authority to say what is the “real” teachings. Whereas the Covenant does – it actually requires us to say that what Baha’u’llah taught, and Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi explained, is the real Teachings and anything else is at best a pointer to them (that “anything else” includes my work, btw: at best it will point readers towards the Writings).

    Susan Maneck works both as a secular scientist, in the study of religion and history at a college, and as a Bahai theologian, teaching a course in Bahai theology at the Wilmette Institute. In the secular field, the Covenant is just one item of data, whereas in Bahai theology it is the basic framework for doing theology at all, it is as much a “given” as ‘the existence of the earth’ is a given for doing geology. So perhaps when she (selectively) uses statements from the UHJ as if the UHJ had somehow stepped into the Guardian’s shoes, she is not so much neglecting the Covenant as slipping from one field of study into another, applying secular norms in a religious discourse. It is difficult to wear two different hats, when there is an important contradiciton between them.

    I have made it very easy for myself, in Church and State, by saying at the outset that I will write as a theologian and not as an “academic scholar of the science of religion” — I’ve subordinated secular methodology to theological method. For example, I don’t argue whether a particular interpretation by Shoghi Effendi, or Abdu’l-Baha, stands up to scrutiny, I take it as a given that these are authoritative interpretations: they are the Bahai Teachings. Theology begins after that, in trying to understand what they mean. And I don’t treat anything that is not an authoritative interpretation as a de facto equivalent, however many people may have said it. There is no room in the Covenant for using either the consensus of the believers, or the writings of the UHJ or its members or the Hands or other revered figures, as indications of what the Bahai teachings are. I observe that distinction strictly – it is my scriptura sola. If I was trying to ride both the secular and the theological horse at the same, I couldn’t do that. I was fortunate in having a supervisor, for my dissertation, who would allow me to write purely from a faith-based point of view, so long as I said clearly that that was what I was doing. And of course, providing the evidence and the arguments were sound. “Doing theology” is not an excuse for presenting personal opinions as facts: it just means that the evidence and arguments have to be from scripture, and not from the practice of the religious community.

    Sen

  • farhan

    Bird wrote:
    “….Pretty interesting on how the stuff backfires on the BF seeing that the Bahai’s are shedding thier innocent blood for the delusion that are ?Bahai?…. while the leaders pick out marble for the palace… such irony for sure…”

    Bird, would you care develop this please; I dont see how in your understanding, “Baha’is are shedding their innocent blood”

    thanks

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Bird wrote:
    “….Pretty interesting on how the stuff backfires on the BF seeing that the Bahai’s are shedding thier innocent blood for the delusion that are ?Bahai?…. while the leaders pick out marble for the palace… such irony for sure…”

    Bird, would you care develop this please; I dont see how in your understanding, “Baha’is are shedding their innocent blood”

    thanks

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    I have not read your book but a couple of things right off the bat that raised some read flags…

    First of all you seem like a really deepened Baha’i and I would venture to say have studied the writings more than I have. I am not going to disagree with the content of your book nor you as a person, but only the method in which it came to be published and distributed.

    From my experience, anything that is to be distributed among the Baha’is and is giving a green light, supposedly, by the NSA, although has not gone under formal review, regardless of its nature, thesis or dissertation, the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result.

    It seems the reaction by the institutions was that “this guy claims to be a Baha’i theologian”. I think that there is an issue here by assuming that this Faith allows for individuals to rise up to the level of Muslim or Christian scholars who have the authority within their Faith to issue edicts or fatwas. I would like to believe that this was not your intention, but your choice of words “…as a Baha’i theologian” certainly brings to mind the associated and related idea of Christian theologian, or Islamic theologian many of which were responsible for different schools of thought that eventually lead to schism. As I am sure you know, early Islam and the Church had lots of competing ideas.

    If it was me I would not have published and distributed. This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.

    Lastly, I would have put a big disclaimer in the book stating that this is simply a personal study and in no way shape or form should be considered an authoritative work. Maybe you did this, like I said I have not seen the book.

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    I have not read your book but a couple of things right off the bat that raised some read flags…

    First of all you seem like a really deepened Baha’i and I would venture to say have studied the writings more than I have. I am not going to disagree with the content of your book nor you as a person, but only the method in which it came to be published and distributed.

    From my experience, anything that is to be distributed among the Baha’is and is giving a green light, supposedly, by the NSA, although has not gone under formal review, regardless of its nature, thesis or dissertation, the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result.

    It seems the reaction by the institutions was that “this guy claims to be a Baha’i theologian”. I think that there is an issue here by assuming that this Faith allows for individuals to rise up to the level of Muslim or Christian scholars who have the authority within their Faith to issue edicts or fatwas. I would like to believe that this was not your intention, but your choice of words “…as a Baha’i theologian” certainly brings to mind the associated and related idea of Christian theologian, or Islamic theologian many of which were responsible for different schools of thought that eventually lead to schism. As I am sure you know, early Islam and the Church had lots of competing ideas.

    If it was me I would not have published and distributed. This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.

    Lastly, I would have put a big disclaimer in the book stating that this is simply a personal study and in no way shape or form should be considered an authoritative work. Maybe you did this, like I said I have not seen the book.

  • anonymouz

    I meant to delete the “First of all you seem like a really deepened Baha’i and I would venture to say have studied the writings more than I have” stuff. That is just wrong of me to say to anyone.

    Ignore that arrogant comment please.

  • anonymouz

    I meant to delete the “First of all you seem like a really deepened Baha’i and I would venture to say have studied the writings more than I have” stuff. That is just wrong of me to say to anyone.

    Ignore that arrogant comment please.

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “As for Susan Maneck’s critique, this does not refer to my book, but to a paper called ?A theology of the State? which was published in a Journal that is called _Church and State_. That seems to have led to some confusion.”

    But Susan Maneck has also written: “Sen’s book doesn’t just involve what Baha’u’llah taught. He claims to be presenting the *Baha’i Teachings.* That’s a much broader category and one which must take into account *all* the authoritative sources.”

    See for example:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3972066750708797426&hl=en

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “As for Susan Maneck’s critique, this does not refer to my book, but to a paper called ?A theology of the State? which was published in a Journal that is called _Church and State_. That seems to have led to some confusion.”

    But Susan Maneck has also written: “Sen’s book doesn’t just involve what Baha’u’llah taught. He claims to be presenting the *Baha’i Teachings.* That’s a much broader category and one which must take into account *all* the authoritative sources.”

    See for example:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3972066750708797426&hl=en

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla

    Thanks, Sen, for those clarifications. Very helpful.

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla

    Thanks, Sen, for those clarifications. Very helpful.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz,
    In the introduction to the book, the very first sentence! Sen says:

    This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings on some issues that are now critically important to the Bahai community and its relations with the world.

    May I humbly suggest that before you form an opinion, criticize or cast aspersions you take it upon yourself to investigate the truth independently and individually by reading the book.

    You can download the first 30 pages at the link above that Sen provided, or here and you can purchase the book on Amazon or from Kalimat.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz,
    In the introduction to the book, the very first sentence! Sen says:

    This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings on some issues that are now critically important to the Bahai community and its relations with the world.

    May I humbly suggest that before you form an opinion, criticize or cast aspersions you take it upon yourself to investigate the truth independently and individually by reading the book.

    You can download the first 30 pages at the link above that Sen provided, or here and you can purchase the book on Amazon or from Kalimat.

  • farhan

    Anonymouz wrote :
    « From my experience, anything that is to be distributed among the Baha’is and is giving a green light, supposedly, by the NSA, although has not gone under formal review, regardless of its nature, thesis or dissertation, the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result. »

    Dear Friend,
    Reviewing has not been very present in Europe, and I have had a hard time finding someone to read papers I have published trying to avoid the risk of inadvertently misconstruing the teachings and creating misunderstandings for readers. I have always been careful to say that what I wrote was only my personnal understanding.

    As we know, reviewing is a temporary measure, which in time will disappear, just as many structural aspects of our Faith will evolve according to the needs of each day and age. This constant need for adaptation is new in religious history and quite a challenge to Baha’is and non Baha’is We read from Shoghi Effendi (27 Feb 1929 WOB):

    ?…that the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha’i literature will be definitely abolished; …. that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha’i Faith

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Anonymouz wrote :
    « From my experience, anything that is to be distributed among the Baha’is and is giving a green light, supposedly, by the NSA, although has not gone under formal review, regardless of its nature, thesis or dissertation, the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result. »

    Dear Friend,
    Reviewing has not been very present in Europe, and I have had a hard time finding someone to read papers I have published trying to avoid the risk of inadvertently misconstruing the teachings and creating misunderstandings for readers. I have always been careful to say that what I wrote was only my personnal understanding.

    As we know, reviewing is a temporary measure, which in time will disappear, just as many structural aspects of our Faith will evolve according to the needs of each day and age. This constant need for adaptation is new in religious history and quite a challenge to Baha’is and non Baha’is We read from Shoghi Effendi (27 Feb 1929 WOB):

    ?…that the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha’i literature will be definitely abolished; …. that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha’i Faith

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Interesting paper from Barney Leith re Baha’i review.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Interesting paper from Barney Leith re Baha’i review.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    anon said:

    “… the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result.”

    Trying to ‘force’ a decision from your NSA would be an odd way of avoiding dissension! I wrote once, politely, and suggesting possible reviewers. That didn’t lead them to reconsider, and I accepted the NSAs decision.

    anon said:
    “It seems the reaction by the institutions was that “this guy claims to be a Baha’i theologian”. …”

    That is a selective quotation, taking half a statement so it looks as if it could mean something nasty. Here’s what I really wrote:

    “I should declare at the outset that my stance is not that of a historian or academic scholar of the science of religion, but of a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community, and I speak as if the reader shares the concerns of that community. As a Bahai theologian, I seek to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free….”

    I am telling the reader that I will approach the topic from a position of Faith, as a committed believer. This is known at the university as a “Faith position,” “theological approach” or “emic approach,” and is contrasted to an objective stance, or a scientific or etic approach. As I understand the UHJ’s guidance regarding Bahai scholarship, they want us to develop and use an emic or theological approach.

    I disagree with what you say about theology and theologians. I do not think they, and the diversity of their opinions, have done any harm
    to previous religions. Where the problems arise is when theologians or theologies get entangled with authority in the community. It is not a problem that Athanasius and Arius had different opinions, but it became a problem when factions in church politics used theological issues to attack one another, and when the church leadership endorsed and enforced first one view and then the other. Baha’u’llah has separated the three functions of worship, interpretation and authority in the institutions of the Mashriq, the Guardianship and the Houses of Justice; so long as this separation is observed, with neither the houses of justice nor individuals claiming authority for a particular point of view, the schismatic effects can be avoided. No believer, and no believing community, can live without theology. Theology is belief seeking understanding; it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means. So theology is unavoidable, and is a good thing in itself. The trick is to keep it separated from authority.

    “This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.”

    The core scriptural texts from Baha’u’llah were selected and translated by Shoghi Effendi, in Gleanings and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf and the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. The only important one that I’ve added to this, is Abdu’l-Baha’s Sermon on the Art of Governance, which I put into an appendix in _Church and State_. This is a book whose publication and wide distribution was twice authorised by Abdu’l-Baha, and which the Persian friends can download from the library site of the Bahai International Community. In addition, Shoghi Effendi himself wrote several things, in general letters that he authorised for distribution to the world. Baquia has quoted one example. So I really don’t think there’s an issue here with an “untimely topic” or the desirability of keeping certain materials away from the mass of the believers, for scholarly use only.

    In any case, who am I to decide whether someone is sufficiently educated to be worthy of reading my dissertation? But again, I think there is no issue here. The book is 400-odd pages and tightly argued with footnotes and evidence and citations all the way. You say you haven’t read it, and I’m not surprised. It’s form is such that it will only be read by the few people with some skills and interest in Bahai studies, who are interested in theology. Now that profile fits Susan Maneck to a T, but so far as I can tell from what she wrote, she hasn’t read the book. So you can guess how many people are actually going to read it.

    Anon said:

    “Lastly, I would have put a big disclaimer in the book stating that this is simply a personal study and in no way shape or form should be considered an authoritative work. Maybe you did this, like I said I have not seen the book.”

    the first sentence begins:
    ” This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings …”
    and below that:
    “The reader should be aware, then, that this is only one among the competing discourses within the contemporary western Bahai community. ..”
    and on the next page:
    “The views offered here are not an authoritative view of the Bahai teachings, nor a definitive statement of my own views on these topics. These are samples from a work in progress, …”

    and so on…

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    anon said:

    “… the author SHOULD make every effort to force a review to make sure that no dissension could arise as a result.”

    Trying to ‘force’ a decision from your NSA would be an odd way of avoiding dissension! I wrote once, politely, and suggesting possible reviewers. That didn’t lead them to reconsider, and I accepted the NSAs decision.

    anon said:
    “It seems the reaction by the institutions was that “this guy claims to be a Baha’i theologian”. …”

    That is a selective quotation, taking half a statement so it looks as if it could mean something nasty. Here’s what I really wrote:

    “I should declare at the outset that my stance is not that of a historian or academic scholar of the science of religion, but of a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community, and I speak as if the reader shares the concerns of that community. As a Bahai theologian, I seek to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free….”

    I am telling the reader that I will approach the topic from a position of Faith, as a committed believer. This is known at the university as a “Faith position,” “theological approach” or “emic approach,” and is contrasted to an objective stance, or a scientific or etic approach. As I understand the UHJ’s guidance regarding Bahai scholarship, they want us to develop and use an emic or theological approach.

    I disagree with what you say about theology and theologians. I do not think they, and the diversity of their opinions, have done any harm
    to previous religions. Where the problems arise is when theologians or theologies get entangled with authority in the community. It is not a problem that Athanasius and Arius had different opinions, but it became a problem when factions in church politics used theological issues to attack one another, and when the church leadership endorsed and enforced first one view and then the other. Baha’u’llah has separated the three functions of worship, interpretation and authority in the institutions of the Mashriq, the Guardianship and the Houses of Justice; so long as this separation is observed, with neither the houses of justice nor individuals claiming authority for a particular point of view, the schismatic effects can be avoided. No believer, and no believing community, can live without theology. Theology is belief seeking understanding; it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means. So theology is unavoidable, and is a good thing in itself. The trick is to keep it separated from authority.

    “This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.”

    The core scriptural texts from Baha’u’llah were selected and translated by Shoghi Effendi, in Gleanings and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf and the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. The only important one that I’ve added to this, is Abdu’l-Baha’s Sermon on the Art of Governance, which I put into an appendix in _Church and State_. This is a book whose publication and wide distribution was twice authorised by Abdu’l-Baha, and which the Persian friends can download from the library site of the Bahai International Community. In addition, Shoghi Effendi himself wrote several things, in general letters that he authorised for distribution to the world. Baquia has quoted one example. So I really don’t think there’s an issue here with an “untimely topic” or the desirability of keeping certain materials away from the mass of the believers, for scholarly use only.

    In any case, who am I to decide whether someone is sufficiently educated to be worthy of reading my dissertation? But again, I think there is no issue here. The book is 400-odd pages and tightly argued with footnotes and evidence and citations all the way. You say you haven’t read it, and I’m not surprised. It’s form is such that it will only be read by the few people with some skills and interest in Bahai studies, who are interested in theology. Now that profile fits Susan Maneck to a T, but so far as I can tell from what she wrote, she hasn’t read the book. So you can guess how many people are actually going to read it.

    Anon said:

    “Lastly, I would have put a big disclaimer in the book stating that this is simply a personal study and in no way shape or form should be considered an authoritative work. Maybe you did this, like I said I have not seen the book.”

    the first sentence begins:
    ” This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings …”
    and below that:
    “The reader should be aware, then, that this is only one among the competing discourses within the contemporary western Bahai community. ..”
    and on the next page:
    “The views offered here are not an authoritative view of the Bahai teachings, nor a definitive statement of my own views on these topics. These are samples from a work in progress, …”

    and so on…

  • Grover

    Very interesting, Sen. I like the clear way in which you present your arguments. So to clarify, Guardian = interpreter and UHJ = legislator and neither shall overlap. But obviously there was a period of 40 or so years (and the Guardian was only around for about 30 of those years) between the Guardian being appointed and the UHJ coming into existance. We use a lot of the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration. Would you argue that those should not be considered Baha’i law unless ratified by the UHJ?

  • Grover

    Very interesting, Sen. I like the clear way in which you present your arguments. So to clarify, Guardian = interpreter and UHJ = legislator and neither shall overlap. But obviously there was a period of 40 or so years (and the Guardian was only around for about 30 of those years) between the Guardian being appointed and the UHJ coming into existance. We use a lot of the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration. Would you argue that those should not be considered Baha’i law unless ratified by the UHJ?

  • Anonymouz

    Knowing my inquisitive self, I will probably pick up copy. We’ll be in touch. ;-)

  • Anonymouz

    Knowing my inquisitive self, I will probably pick up copy. We’ll be in touch. ;-)

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment=""]

    anonymouz wrote:

    ?This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.?

    [/quote]

    OMG. What can anyone say? THIS is the mentality of the groupthink Politburo writers on this site. Let’s get some cogent thinking! The world needs much better thinking than this.

    Sen wrote:

    No believer, and no believing community, can live without theology. Theology is belief seeking understanding; it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means. So theology is unavoidable, and is a good thing in itself. The trick is to keep it separated from authority.

    This is a very true statement. UNTIL NOW! In the mindless rote learning Ruhiized NEW THINK BAHA’I FAITH they are trying to ruthlessly indoctrinate “belief without understanding”! read the “To the Collaborators (good WWII Era term!) section of Ruhi Book One. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read it with “the group” in our “first session” in the North Korean collective groupthink cell. “Belief seeking understanding” is the old Baha’i Faith. That is well, so quaintly “liberal” in the NEW SPEAK. Your statement of “it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means” is NOT part of NEW THINK.

    Sorry, Sen, your thinking was big over the last 500 years. But not now. Your books are going to be burned if the Baha’is ever come to any real power in the world. The thought police will hook us all up to electrodes.

    I read your book so I am keeping an extra lock on my door. It will be (WARNING: to NEW THINK people here – this is an OLD THINK LITERARY REFERNECE) a new “Fahrenheit 451″ for the world. The same old, same old. The entrenched biochemical lizard brain institutionalized in an organization is always where every new thing heads each time out. We are off to a good start.

    Shoghi Effendi (27 Feb 1929 WOB) pretty much called it right:

    ?…that the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha’i literature will be definitely abolished; …. that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha’i Faith.

    The predict the restrictions will NEVER be abolished. NEVER. Century after century.

    As anonymouz just said “This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.”

    These very words will be used by the paternalistic AO for centuries to censor what anyone sees or hears in the ITC Politburo Faith.

    Just watch.

    The “means” became the “ends” and the rest is history. The Baha’i Faith and the Baha’i message has zero Cosmic spiritual power now. It is empty and dead. Completely controlled and therefore barren and lifeless without inner spirit in individual human hearts and individual creativity and initiative. Anything Baha’u’llah or Abdu’l-Baha ever wrote or said is no longer any part of it.

    The Universal House of Justice itself are now the Nine Manifestations of God for this World Age. End of discussion.

    That is pretty much it.

    “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
    – Eric Hoffer

    Meanwhile, the world will go on trying to make the best of it in this utter insanity caused by “religions” born from the massive male insecurity of the “Mental East”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9jt1OHyagI

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment=""]

    anonymouz wrote:

    ?This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.?

    [/quote]

    OMG. What can anyone say? THIS is the mentality of the groupthink Politburo writers on this site. Let’s get some cogent thinking! The world needs much better thinking than this.

    Sen wrote:

    No believer, and no believing community, can live without theology. Theology is belief seeking understanding; it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means. So theology is unavoidable, and is a good thing in itself. The trick is to keep it separated from authority.

    This is a very true statement. UNTIL NOW! In the mindless rote learning Ruhiized NEW THINK BAHA’I FAITH they are trying to ruthlessly indoctrinate “belief without understanding”! read the “To the Collaborators (good WWII Era term!) section of Ruhi Book One. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read it with “the group” in our “first session” in the North Korean collective groupthink cell. “Belief seeking understanding” is the old Baha’i Faith. That is well, so quaintly “liberal” in the NEW SPEAK. Your statement of “it is impossible to believe and not ask what it means” is NOT part of NEW THINK.

    Sorry, Sen, your thinking was big over the last 500 years. But not now. Your books are going to be burned if the Baha’is ever come to any real power in the world. The thought police will hook us all up to electrodes.

    I read your book so I am keeping an extra lock on my door. It will be (WARNING: to NEW THINK people here – this is an OLD THINK LITERARY REFERNECE) a new “Fahrenheit 451″ for the world. The same old, same old. The entrenched biochemical lizard brain institutionalized in an organization is always where every new thing heads each time out. We are off to a good start.

    Shoghi Effendi (27 Feb 1929 WOB) pretty much called it right:

    ?…that the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha’i literature will be definitely abolished; …. that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha’i Faith.

    The predict the restrictions will NEVER be abolished. NEVER. Century after century.

    As anonymouz just said “This topic is above the heads of many Baha’is and should have been restricted to academic circles or comparative politics studies…Not general distribution.”

    These very words will be used by the paternalistic AO for centuries to censor what anyone sees or hears in the ITC Politburo Faith.

    Just watch.

    The “means” became the “ends” and the rest is history. The Baha’i Faith and the Baha’i message has zero Cosmic spiritual power now. It is empty and dead. Completely controlled and therefore barren and lifeless without inner spirit in individual human hearts and individual creativity and initiative. Anything Baha’u’llah or Abdu’l-Baha ever wrote or said is no longer any part of it.

    The Universal House of Justice itself are now the Nine Manifestations of God for this World Age. End of discussion.

    That is pretty much it.

    “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
    – Eric Hoffer

    Meanwhile, the world will go on trying to make the best of it in this utter insanity caused by “religions” born from the massive male insecurity of the “Mental East”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9jt1OHyagI

  • Anonymouz

    One quick comment…

    “…a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community…”

    I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines, just sounds like you are really pushing these ideas, whatever they may be, as if they are the only logical conclusions. But that’s just the impression I get when I read what you wrote.

    In any case, good luck on your journey.

  • Anonymouz

    One quick comment…

    “…a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community…”

    I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines, just sounds like you are really pushing these ideas, whatever they may be, as if they are the only logical conclusions. But that’s just the impression I get when I read what you wrote.

    In any case, good luck on your journey.

  • Anonymouz

    Craig,

    You are a really paranoid dude.

  • Anonymouz

    Craig,

    You are a really paranoid dude.

  • Andrew

    [quote comment="52360"]Guardian = interpreter and UHJ = legislator and neither shall overlap. But obviously there was a period of 40 or so years (and the Guardian was only around for about 30 of those years) between the Guardian being appointed and the UHJ coming into existance. We use a lot of the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration. Would you argue that those should not be considered Baha’i law unless ratified by the UHJ?[/quote]

    My own understanding (such as it is) is that Baha’is are required (or at least expected) to take as authoritative everything the Baha’i House of Justice expresses: all the members of the House approve the messages that get sent out on their behalf (even as Shoghi Effendi did). Letters written on behalf of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi do not seem to carry any less weight, authority, or general applicability. The gist of this seems to be that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h: its pronouncements are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s. I imagine anyone who is perceived to be flagrantly disregarding this (as in actively counseling against it or vocally disagreeing with it) would likely be disenrolled. It would be nice to have Susan Maneck share her opinions about the subject on this forum. She’s BIGS [Ed. Baha'i in good standing], isn’t she?

  • Andrew

    [quote comment="52360"]Guardian = interpreter and UHJ = legislator and neither shall overlap. But obviously there was a period of 40 or so years (and the Guardian was only around for about 30 of those years) between the Guardian being appointed and the UHJ coming into existance. We use a lot of the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration. Would you argue that those should not be considered Baha’i law unless ratified by the UHJ?[/quote]

    My own understanding (such as it is) is that Baha’is are required (or at least expected) to take as authoritative everything the Baha’i House of Justice expresses: all the members of the House approve the messages that get sent out on their behalf (even as Shoghi Effendi did). Letters written on behalf of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi do not seem to carry any less weight, authority, or general applicability. The gist of this seems to be that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h: its pronouncements are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s. I imagine anyone who is perceived to be flagrantly disregarding this (as in actively counseling against it or vocally disagreeing with it) would likely be disenrolled. It would be nice to have Susan Maneck share her opinions about the subject on this forum. She’s BIGS [Ed. Baha'i in good standing], isn’t she?

  • Anonymouz

    Andrew,

    You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.

    Know, my own experience with House of Justice members have always been so nice and reasuring. The actively listen, and are very patient and kind when dealing with so many questions.

    Imagine just for one moment what it is like to work in Haifa.
    Let me give you an idea. Typical work week is 50-60hrs, often times more, not to mention the continuous take home work that includes reading all the corespondence that comes in from all parts of the World. Each House member has staff and they deal with certain geographic regions, sometimes based on experience, but not always. Frequent collaboration with the counselors and perfectly done research when responses are done, not to mention the dozens of languages, helped by a whole department of eager youth that verify and fact check every thing with the sources and archives at their electronic disposal. Then, think about when they House of Justice is actually in session. I imagine they meet at least once every few days, and their meetings start with probably much prayer, in possibly a few languages. Agendas and decisions are made and set, notes taken, passed to the secretariat to draft and finally circulated again for approval. Now from my understanding, they get a lot of email from not only Baha’is but the rest of the World, probably in the 1000s per day. Some are prayer requests, some are reports and routine correspondences between the National Assemblies and etc. From the people I have talked to, once you are there, you witness the magic at work and see just how wonderfully it all flows and how much sacrifice is happening to come up with guidance and the strategies that are in place. There is also a deep and sincere respect for the ammount of frivilous stuff the House of Justice has to deal with. They are endlessly sympathetic and understanding, even when staff members reach the boiling point of having to deal with the same old same old hot air coming from people like on this blog.

    You may ask yourself, when I wrote to the House of Justice, how come they never wrote me back? Simple. The issues that you probably inquired about are all ready available for your to deepen on and they leave it up to the individual to seek and build their own understanding. Can you imagine the kind of emails they get?! I am so thankful and at peace when I remember the Universal House of Justice, The Supreme Institution.

  • Anonymouz

    Andrew,

    You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.

    Know, my own experience with House of Justice members have always been so nice and reasuring. The actively listen, and are very patient and kind when dealing with so many questions.

    Imagine just for one moment what it is like to work in Haifa.
    Let me give you an idea. Typical work week is 50-60hrs, often times more, not to mention the continuous take home work that includes reading all the corespondence that comes in from all parts of the World. Each House member has staff and they deal with certain geographic regions, sometimes based on experience, but not always. Frequent collaboration with the counselors and perfectly done research when responses are done, not to mention the dozens of languages, helped by a whole department of eager youth that verify and fact check every thing with the sources and archives at their electronic disposal. Then, think about when they House of Justice is actually in session. I imagine they meet at least once every few days, and their meetings start with probably much prayer, in possibly a few languages. Agendas and decisions are made and set, notes taken, passed to the secretariat to draft and finally circulated again for approval. Now from my understanding, they get a lot of email from not only Baha’is but the rest of the World, probably in the 1000s per day. Some are prayer requests, some are reports and routine correspondences between the National Assemblies and etc. From the people I have talked to, once you are there, you witness the magic at work and see just how wonderfully it all flows and how much sacrifice is happening to come up with guidance and the strategies that are in place. There is also a deep and sincere respect for the ammount of frivilous stuff the House of Justice has to deal with. They are endlessly sympathetic and understanding, even when staff members reach the boiling point of having to deal with the same old same old hot air coming from people like on this blog.

    You may ask yourself, when I wrote to the House of Justice, how come they never wrote me back? Simple. The issues that you probably inquired about are all ready available for your to deepen on and they leave it up to the individual to seek and build their own understanding. Can you imagine the kind of emails they get?! I am so thankful and at peace when I remember the Universal House of Justice, The Supreme Institution.

  • farhan

    Sen wrote:
    ?I am telling the reader that I will approach the topic from a position of Faith, as a committed believer. This is known at the university as a ?Faith position,? ?theological approach? or ?emic approach,? and is contrasted to an objective stance, or a scientific or etic approach. As I understand the UHJ’s guidance regarding Bahai scholarship, they want us to develop and use an emic or theological approach.?

    Thanks for your clarity Sen; this complementary view point is what I illustrate sometimes by the gardener running around and sweating and the visitor commenting his work, or again the swimmer in the pool and the scientist taking away a sample of water for analysis: the one is acting locally, the other is viewing globally.
    Many controversies arise from a lack of harmony between the two attitudes; some people are unable to move from one viewpoint to the other.

    Anonymouz wrote:
    I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines,

    Anonymouz, this is because the words “theologian” or “missionary”, “ullama” are in our minds associated with arrogant and paternalistic characters of the past. Baha’u’llah actually uses the word “ullama” to design Baha’i scholars.

    Also, may I humbly suggest not calling people names such as “paranoid dude”. We should be considering opinions and not making attempts at judging each other.

    Craig wrote:
    ?This is a very true statement. UNTIL NOW! In the mindless rote learning Ruhiized NEW THINK BAHA’I FAITH they are trying to ruthlessly indoctrinate ?belief without understanding?! read the ?To the Collaborators (good WWII Era term!) section of Ruhi Book One.?

    Craig I totally sympathise with your pains. This attitude from which I have also suffered comes from that fact that some collaborators overlook the fact that Ruhi is designed to provide would-be teachers and those who wish to arise to serve with a comprehensive overview of the Faith so that they can teach the elementary aspects to new-comers. Some of these might then wish to move on to Baha’i studies; Ruhi has never been designed as a substitute for Baha’i studies, but as a springboard into Baha’i studies for those who wish to go further.

    Not every one has the time, competence and energy to delve into intellectual matters, nor are such studies a priority of vital importance to the critical situation of the masses of humanity at this time, but the way has to be opened for those who wish to do so, and I totally agree with you that we should make such studies available to those who wish to explore.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Sen wrote:
    ?I am telling the reader that I will approach the topic from a position of Faith, as a committed believer. This is known at the university as a ?Faith position,? ?theological approach? or ?emic approach,? and is contrasted to an objective stance, or a scientific or etic approach. As I understand the UHJ’s guidance regarding Bahai scholarship, they want us to develop and use an emic or theological approach.?

    Thanks for your clarity Sen; this complementary view point is what I illustrate sometimes by the gardener running around and sweating and the visitor commenting his work, or again the swimmer in the pool and the scientist taking away a sample of water for analysis: the one is acting locally, the other is viewing globally.
    Many controversies arise from a lack of harmony between the two attitudes; some people are unable to move from one viewpoint to the other.

    Anonymouz wrote:
    I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines,

    Anonymouz, this is because the words “theologian” or “missionary”, “ullama” are in our minds associated with arrogant and paternalistic characters of the past. Baha’u’llah actually uses the word “ullama” to design Baha’i scholars.

    Also, may I humbly suggest not calling people names such as “paranoid dude”. We should be considering opinions and not making attempts at judging each other.

    Craig wrote:
    ?This is a very true statement. UNTIL NOW! In the mindless rote learning Ruhiized NEW THINK BAHA’I FAITH they are trying to ruthlessly indoctrinate ?belief without understanding?! read the ?To the Collaborators (good WWII Era term!) section of Ruhi Book One.?

    Craig I totally sympathise with your pains. This attitude from which I have also suffered comes from that fact that some collaborators overlook the fact that Ruhi is designed to provide would-be teachers and those who wish to arise to serve with a comprehensive overview of the Faith so that they can teach the elementary aspects to new-comers. Some of these might then wish to move on to Baha’i studies; Ruhi has never been designed as a substitute for Baha’i studies, but as a springboard into Baha’i studies for those who wish to go further.

    Not every one has the time, competence and energy to delve into intellectual matters, nor are such studies a priority of vital importance to the critical situation of the masses of humanity at this time, but the way has to be opened for those who wish to do so, and I totally agree with you that we should make such studies available to those who wish to explore.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines,…”

    No way.

    I say explicitly that the book _Chruch and State_ is just my own understandings, that it is not an authoritative view of the Bahai teachings, and I warn the (non-Bahai) reader that it is mainly written for the Bahai community.

    That’s normal for theology: in the same way, Christian theology is written mainly for Christians. Since I am interested in theologies, I do read Christian theology, and also Islamic and Jewish theology, but I do not expect those authors to accommodate to readers like me. Vice versa, when writing Bahai theology it has to be written mainly for the Bahais to read. Theology is “faith seeking understanding:” Being committed to Bahai beliefs, we then have certain curiosities and questions. Historian or sociologists of religion, and people of other Faiths, looking at the Bahai Faith will also have questions, but they will be different, and they need a different kind of book. One tip for writing a readable book is to remember why you are writing and who you are writing for.

    As for addressing the world: here and there in the book I suggest gently that some other Faiths might learn something from looking at Bahai theology (eg last two sentences of the Introduction). But I wouldn’t have the gall to tell them that I have the answers to their problems. The answers to Christian problems have to come mainly from Christian resources, the answers to Islam’s problems will come from an Islamic reformation, based on Islamic sources.

    Andrew wrote:

    “The gist of this seems to be that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h: its pronouncements are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s.”

    I agree, but I don’t think that is all that is required of us.
    – Why do we accept the authority of the UHJ?
    – Because it is part of the Covenant.
    – What is the Covenant? What does it tell us? What does it ask of us?
    Just as the first verse of the Aqdas says that obedience is of no value without “recognition” (‘irfan, mystic “knowing”), obedience to the UHJ should be seen as one element of understanding and responding to the Covenant, and not as a Readers-Digest substitute for it.

    Religious communities always walk the line, between minimising and exaggerating their own beliefs. The history of religion shows us that the exaggerators have done as much harm to their religions as the minimisers. In _The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah_, Shoghi Effendi sets out the “fundamental verities” and “root principles”, on “certain truths which lie at the basis of our Faith and the integrity of which it is our first duty to safeguard.” (p88) When we look at his method, we can see that “integrity” involves drawing postive and negative boundaries around each doctrine, as well as explaining its contents. For each of the verities, he says what we cannot and should not say, as well as what we must say. The affirmations and the negations are equally important in defining the teaching.

    For example:

    from page 88 to 101 (in World Order of Baha’u’llah: the various editions have different page numbers), Shoghi Effendi cites passages that show how exalted the revelation and person of Baha’u’llah is, and then he adds “a word of warning” and says what Baha’u’llah is not: not God in God’s essence, or the incarnation of God:

    “That Baha’u’llah should, notwithstanding the overwhelming intensity of His Revelation, be regarded as essentially one of these Manifestations of God, never to be identified with that invisible Reality, the Essence of Divinity itself, is one of the major beliefs of our Faith – a belief which should never be obscured and the *integrity* of which no one of its followers should allow to be compromised.”

    Great as the revelation of Baha’u’llah may be, it does not aim to “overthrow of the spiritual foundation of the world’s religious systems” but rather “assist in the realization of their highest aspirations.” It is not the “final revelation” (p 104).

    When he moves on to discuss the Bab, he both asserts the Bab’s station and says that he is “not to be regarded merely as an inspired Precursor of the Baha’i Revelation.”

    When he considers ‘Abdu’l-Baha, he says both that he “towers above” the destinies of the Faith and all its subsequent ministers, and that he “is not a Manifestation of God” (121) but then hastens to add that “we should not by any means infer that Abdu’l-Baha is merely one of the servants of the Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose function is to be confined to that of an authorized interpreter of His Father’s teachings.” After a long section explaining how exalted the Master’s station is, Shoghi Effendi reiterates (pp 125-6) that he is nevertheless not the equal of his Father. And he explains why theological exaggeration is such a problem: the exaggerators are “furnishing the enemy with proofs for his false accusations and misleading statements.”

    One of Shoghi Effendi’s targets here is the first edition of Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p68, which says that “In this tablet the mystic Unity between Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha is strikingly affirmed in the words “He is Myself.”” Shoghi Effendi responds, in The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, “to maintain that the assertion “He is Myself,” … establishes the identity of Baha’u’llah with Abdu’l-Baha, … would also amount to a reversion to those irrational and superstitious beliefs which have insensibly crept, in the first century of the Christian era, into the teachings of Jesus Christ, ….” ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s “words are not equal in rank” to those of Baha’u’llah, he asserts.

    There is a natural process, in every religious tradition, that favours the exaggeration of faith statements. It feels more pious to exaggerate, rather than under-state, the claims of the religion, and it also looks more pious, to your fellow-believers, if you exaggerate, or over-emphasise. That’s another reason why exaggeration is a greater danger to a religion than minimisation: exaggeration provides immediate ammunition for enemies and scoffers, but it is also the greater danger in the long term because it has the tide with it. Each generation, wanting to be faithful and pious, will exaggerate a little more, or be more resolute in maintaining exaggerated claims ventured by the generation before. Before very long, the religion is suffering a sort of ?superstition creep.’

    Preserving the integrity of the teachings involves resisting the pull towards exaggeration. Believers who try to insist on the exact tenets of the Faith, *and nothing more*, inevitably appear weak, suspect, half-hearted. That suspicion from one’s fellow-believers is simply a price that has to be accepted, if the integrity of the teachings matters.

    If Shoghi Effendi felt this way about a claim that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha had a mystic unity, what do you think he would have felt about people calling UHJ messages “letters from God” — a claim clearly denied in the Will and Testament, which emphasises that the UHJ’s legislation (and how much more its general guidance) “form no part of the divine explicit text.”

    To return to the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah: when Shoghi Effendi comes to the station and function of the Administrative Order, and its two organs, the Guardianship and the House of Justice, we see the same pattern of argument. He is equally emphatic about what we must say, and what we must not say; he opposes both minimisation and exaggeration. The incomparable nature of the AO is asserted, and its indubitable scriptural foundations are contrasted to those of previous religious institutions. The Guardian and the UHJ “Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives.”

    It is not good enough to consider obedience to the Covenant as simply a response to the powers, authorities, rights and prerogratives of the Guardian and the UHJ. That leaves out “the limitations” – it leaves out the negative part of Shoghi Effendi’s argument, and that omission is a step towards exaggeration.

    Among these limitations is that:

    “the Guardian of the Faith … can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation.”

    this half-answers Grover’s question about using “the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration.” To take anything the Guardian wrote, let alone something in his secretary’s words, and treat it as Bahai law is to take the affirmation half of the Covenant and leave out the Negation half – and that leads to exaggeration. Having said that, the Guardian and the UHJ, successively, have been the head of the Bahai Faith and the head of its administrative apparatus: they have taken many pragmatic decisions below the level of either interpretation of the Writings or legislation, and there is no harm in applying such procedures uniformly wherever appropriate, and maintaining them until the head of the faith changes them. For instance, at various times Shoghi Effendi recommended different voting procedures for NSA elections, and the UHJ has since changed these again. In other cases we are still applying procedures that were established or endorsed by Shoghi Effendi. What we must not do is take these as a form of Bahai Law, or take the Guardian’s pronouncements as “laying down independently the constitution [of the UHJ], or “encroach[ing] upon the liberty of [the international delegates] … whose sacred right is to elect the body of his collaborators.”

    and among those limitations is that the Guardian, and not the UHJ, is “the Interpreter of the Word of God,” and that the UHJ’s “laws form no part of the divine explicit text.”

    Andrew wrote:

    ” [the UHJ’s] pronouncements are taken … as authoritative by Bah??’?s. I imagine anyone who is perceived to be flagrantly disregarding this … would likely be disenrolled.”

    Would I be being paranoid to read this as an insinuation that those who have been disenrolled must have been flagrantly disregarding the authority of the UHJ? Is this what we are intended to understand? If this is an implied accusation, it begs the questions: what are the specifics, and where is the evidence?

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “I read this as stating that you are writing as a representative of the community to the rest of the World. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it, between the lines,…”

    No way.

    I say explicitly that the book _Chruch and State_ is just my own understandings, that it is not an authoritative view of the Bahai teachings, and I warn the (non-Bahai) reader that it is mainly written for the Bahai community.

    That’s normal for theology: in the same way, Christian theology is written mainly for Christians. Since I am interested in theologies, I do read Christian theology, and also Islamic and Jewish theology, but I do not expect those authors to accommodate to readers like me. Vice versa, when writing Bahai theology it has to be written mainly for the Bahais to read. Theology is “faith seeking understanding:” Being committed to Bahai beliefs, we then have certain curiosities and questions. Historian or sociologists of religion, and people of other Faiths, looking at the Bahai Faith will also have questions, but they will be different, and they need a different kind of book. One tip for writing a readable book is to remember why you are writing and who you are writing for.

    As for addressing the world: here and there in the book I suggest gently that some other Faiths might learn something from looking at Bahai theology (eg last two sentences of the Introduction). But I wouldn’t have the gall to tell them that I have the answers to their problems. The answers to Christian problems have to come mainly from Christian resources, the answers to Islam’s problems will come from an Islamic reformation, based on Islamic sources.

    Andrew wrote:

    “The gist of this seems to be that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h: its pronouncements are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s.”

    I agree, but I don’t think that is all that is required of us.
    – Why do we accept the authority of the UHJ?
    – Because it is part of the Covenant.
    – What is the Covenant? What does it tell us? What does it ask of us?
    Just as the first verse of the Aqdas says that obedience is of no value without “recognition” (‘irfan, mystic “knowing”), obedience to the UHJ should be seen as one element of understanding and responding to the Covenant, and not as a Readers-Digest substitute for it.

    Religious communities always walk the line, between minimising and exaggerating their own beliefs. The history of religion shows us that the exaggerators have done as much harm to their religions as the minimisers. In _The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah_, Shoghi Effendi sets out the “fundamental verities” and “root principles”, on “certain truths which lie at the basis of our Faith and the integrity of which it is our first duty to safeguard.” (p88) When we look at his method, we can see that “integrity” involves drawing postive and negative boundaries around each doctrine, as well as explaining its contents. For each of the verities, he says what we cannot and should not say, as well as what we must say. The affirmations and the negations are equally important in defining the teaching.

    For example:

    from page 88 to 101 (in World Order of Baha’u’llah: the various editions have different page numbers), Shoghi Effendi cites passages that show how exalted the revelation and person of Baha’u’llah is, and then he adds “a word of warning” and says what Baha’u’llah is not: not God in God’s essence, or the incarnation of God:

    “That Baha’u’llah should, notwithstanding the overwhelming intensity of His Revelation, be regarded as essentially one of these Manifestations of God, never to be identified with that invisible Reality, the Essence of Divinity itself, is one of the major beliefs of our Faith – a belief which should never be obscured and the *integrity* of which no one of its followers should allow to be compromised.”

    Great as the revelation of Baha’u’llah may be, it does not aim to “overthrow of the spiritual foundation of the world’s religious systems” but rather “assist in the realization of their highest aspirations.” It is not the “final revelation” (p 104).

    When he moves on to discuss the Bab, he both asserts the Bab’s station and says that he is “not to be regarded merely as an inspired Precursor of the Baha’i Revelation.”

    When he considers ‘Abdu’l-Baha, he says both that he “towers above” the destinies of the Faith and all its subsequent ministers, and that he “is not a Manifestation of God” (121) but then hastens to add that “we should not by any means infer that Abdu’l-Baha is merely one of the servants of the Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose function is to be confined to that of an authorized interpreter of His Father’s teachings.” After a long section explaining how exalted the Master’s station is, Shoghi Effendi reiterates (pp 125-6) that he is nevertheless not the equal of his Father. And he explains why theological exaggeration is such a problem: the exaggerators are “furnishing the enemy with proofs for his false accusations and misleading statements.”

    One of Shoghi Effendi’s targets here is the first edition of Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p68, which says that “In this tablet the mystic Unity between Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha is strikingly affirmed in the words “He is Myself.”” Shoghi Effendi responds, in The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, “to maintain that the assertion “He is Myself,” … establishes the identity of Baha’u’llah with Abdu’l-Baha, … would also amount to a reversion to those irrational and superstitious beliefs which have insensibly crept, in the first century of the Christian era, into the teachings of Jesus Christ, ….” ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s “words are not equal in rank” to those of Baha’u’llah, he asserts.

    There is a natural process, in every religious tradition, that favours the exaggeration of faith statements. It feels more pious to exaggerate, rather than under-state, the claims of the religion, and it also looks more pious, to your fellow-believers, if you exaggerate, or over-emphasise. That’s another reason why exaggeration is a greater danger to a religion than minimisation: exaggeration provides immediate ammunition for enemies and scoffers, but it is also the greater danger in the long term because it has the tide with it. Each generation, wanting to be faithful and pious, will exaggerate a little more, or be more resolute in maintaining exaggerated claims ventured by the generation before. Before very long, the religion is suffering a sort of ?superstition creep.’

    Preserving the integrity of the teachings involves resisting the pull towards exaggeration. Believers who try to insist on the exact tenets of the Faith, *and nothing more*, inevitably appear weak, suspect, half-hearted. That suspicion from one’s fellow-believers is simply a price that has to be accepted, if the integrity of the teachings matters.

    If Shoghi Effendi felt this way about a claim that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha had a mystic unity, what do you think he would have felt about people calling UHJ messages “letters from God” — a claim clearly denied in the Will and Testament, which emphasises that the UHJ’s legislation (and how much more its general guidance) “form no part of the divine explicit text.”

    To return to the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah: when Shoghi Effendi comes to the station and function of the Administrative Order, and its two organs, the Guardianship and the House of Justice, we see the same pattern of argument. He is equally emphatic about what we must say, and what we must not say; he opposes both minimisation and exaggeration. The incomparable nature of the AO is asserted, and its indubitable scriptural foundations are contrasted to those of previous religious institutions. The Guardian and the UHJ “Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives.”

    It is not good enough to consider obedience to the Covenant as simply a response to the powers, authorities, rights and prerogratives of the Guardian and the UHJ. That leaves out “the limitations” – it leaves out the negative part of Shoghi Effendi’s argument, and that omission is a step towards exaggeration.

    Among these limitations is that:

    “the Guardian of the Faith … can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation.”

    this half-answers Grover’s question about using “the Guardian’s letters (and letters from his secretaries) as the basis for a lot of the Baha’i administration.” To take anything the Guardian wrote, let alone something in his secretary’s words, and treat it as Bahai law is to take the affirmation half of the Covenant and leave out the Negation half – and that leads to exaggeration. Having said that, the Guardian and the UHJ, successively, have been the head of the Bahai Faith and the head of its administrative apparatus: they have taken many pragmatic decisions below the level of either interpretation of the Writings or legislation, and there is no harm in applying such procedures uniformly wherever appropriate, and maintaining them until the head of the faith changes them. For instance, at various times Shoghi Effendi recommended different voting procedures for NSA elections, and the UHJ has since changed these again. In other cases we are still applying procedures that were established or endorsed by Shoghi Effendi. What we must not do is take these as a form of Bahai Law, or take the Guardian’s pronouncements as “laying down independently the constitution [of the UHJ], or “encroach[ing] upon the liberty of [the international delegates] … whose sacred right is to elect the body of his collaborators.”

    and among those limitations is that the Guardian, and not the UHJ, is “the Interpreter of the Word of God,” and that the UHJ’s “laws form no part of the divine explicit text.”

    Andrew wrote:

    ” [the UHJ’s] pronouncements are taken … as authoritative by Bah??’?s. I imagine anyone who is perceived to be flagrantly disregarding this … would likely be disenrolled.”

    Would I be being paranoid to read this as an insinuation that those who have been disenrolled must have been flagrantly disregarding the authority of the UHJ? Is this what we are intended to understand? If this is an implied accusation, it begs the questions: what are the specifics, and where is the evidence?

  • Anonymouz

    Dear Sen,

    After reading your response hear I have sympathy for your views, but I also was thinking throughout your reply that many Baha’i scholars have come before us and have written very insightful and elaborate gracefully upon such issues on the Guardianship and the Covenant, yet they never stated things such matter of factly as you have.

    I am interested to know how you tried to re-enroll and what the response was.

  • Anonymouz

    Dear Sen,

    After reading your response hear I have sympathy for your views, but I also was thinking throughout your reply that many Baha’i scholars have come before us and have written very insightful and elaborate gracefully upon such issues on the Guardianship and the Covenant, yet they never stated things such matter of factly as you have.

    I am interested to know how you tried to re-enroll and what the response was.

  • Andrew

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.”

    The words of Baha’u’llah you quote are probably open to a different construction than the one you have put forth. My intention was just to articulate the argument as clearly as possible without getting lost in content analysis. I do not say that I accept the argument, just that I try to articulate it from the perspective of those who adhere to it. In the absence on this forum of (for example) someone like Susan Maneck who would probably make the argument better than I am able to.

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “Would I be being paranoid to read this as an insinuation that those who have been disenrolled must have been flagrantly disregarding the authority of the UHJ? Is this what we are intended to understand? If this is an implied accusation, it begs the questions: what are the specifics, and where is the evidence?”

    Not necessarily! since there are many reasons for disenrollment. But this might be one of them? This is what some Baha’is seem to argue.

    I no more understand the reasons for your disenrollment than I understand (or even sympathize with) the internal dynamics of a religion that retains a process of disenrollment. I cannot for example conceive of a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Reform Jew being disenrolled from his or her faith community. It seems to me that when one speaks of enrollment or disenrollment within the context of a religious community then one speaks of a very different kind of faith tradition than that recognized by most such communities … with the notable exception of those traditions that retain the authority of excommunication (which is rarely [and not cavalierly] used). It does however remind me of the way in which sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and others) discipline their members. There is clearly a latitude of interpretation and enforcement involved which can be used for good or ill (depending on your point of view) toward the believers. But regardless of how it is used, the sword of Damocles is still a sword by any other name. We have annulled the rule of the sword? Not quite. It still hangs and it may strike, whether or not it completely rules.

  • Andrew

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.”

    The words of Baha’u’llah you quote are probably open to a different construction than the one you have put forth. My intention was just to articulate the argument as clearly as possible without getting lost in content analysis. I do not say that I accept the argument, just that I try to articulate it from the perspective of those who adhere to it. In the absence on this forum of (for example) someone like Susan Maneck who would probably make the argument better than I am able to.

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “Would I be being paranoid to read this as an insinuation that those who have been disenrolled must have been flagrantly disregarding the authority of the UHJ? Is this what we are intended to understand? If this is an implied accusation, it begs the questions: what are the specifics, and where is the evidence?”

    Not necessarily! since there are many reasons for disenrollment. But this might be one of them? This is what some Baha’is seem to argue.

    I no more understand the reasons for your disenrollment than I understand (or even sympathize with) the internal dynamics of a religion that retains a process of disenrollment. I cannot for example conceive of a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Reform Jew being disenrolled from his or her faith community. It seems to me that when one speaks of enrollment or disenrollment within the context of a religious community then one speaks of a very different kind of faith tradition than that recognized by most such communities … with the notable exception of those traditions that retain the authority of excommunication (which is rarely [and not cavalierly] used). It does however remind me of the way in which sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and others) discipline their members. There is clearly a latitude of interpretation and enforcement involved which can be used for good or ill (depending on your point of view) toward the believers. But regardless of how it is used, the sword of Damocles is still a sword by any other name. We have annulled the rule of the sword? Not quite. It still hangs and it may strike, whether or not it completely rules.

  • Anonymouz

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.”

    Andrew said:

    The words of Baha’u’llah you quote are probably open to a different construction than the one you have put forth. My intention was just to articulate the argument as clearly as possible without getting lost in content analysis.

    Andrew, this is directly from the Kitab-i-Aqdas in a section directly referring to the House of Justice. What do you mean by content analysis?

  • Anonymouz

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “You hit it pretty well on the head. To the best of my knowledge, when one openly opposes the House of Justice and questions and continuously criticizes, they have essentially called into question the words of Baha’u’llah Himself when He says: God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth’.”

    Andrew said:

    The words of Baha’u’llah you quote are probably open to a different construction than the one you have put forth. My intention was just to articulate the argument as clearly as possible without getting lost in content analysis.

    Andrew, this is directly from the Kitab-i-Aqdas in a section directly referring to the House of Justice. What do you mean by content analysis?

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""]
    I am interested to know how you tried to re-enroll and what the response was.[/quote]

    I’ve tried twice thus far; once when I was disenrolled and once during the Fast in 2007. I was turned down, and the answers didn’t give me any reason to think I ever could be re-enrolled, nor any idea of what the UHJ’s purpose is. I guess I will not try again for a few years; I don’t want to pester them. The UHJ has answered helpfully to a question I put about my new translation of Secret of Divine Civilization, so as far as I know there’s no negative feeling there.

    I’ve also written to the ITC a couple of times to say that my door is open if they have any specific concerns, but I haven’t had any replies to those letters.

    I would prefer to be an enrolled Bahai, but I accept entirely the UHJ’s right to decide who can be enrolled. If they want me to be unenrolled, so be it.

    I do see some positive points, for the Bahai community, in having unenrolled Bahais. It makes the Faith less like a cult, and more like a religion, if being a believer and being a member of the organisation are two different things. Community membership then has a visible added value, in addition to one’s Bahai identity, and I hope that membership will be better understood and less taken-for-granted if it is not something that every believer automatically has, throughout their Bahai lives.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""]
    I am interested to know how you tried to re-enroll and what the response was.[/quote]

    I’ve tried twice thus far; once when I was disenrolled and once during the Fast in 2007. I was turned down, and the answers didn’t give me any reason to think I ever could be re-enrolled, nor any idea of what the UHJ’s purpose is. I guess I will not try again for a few years; I don’t want to pester them. The UHJ has answered helpfully to a question I put about my new translation of Secret of Divine Civilization, so as far as I know there’s no negative feeling there.

    I’ve also written to the ITC a couple of times to say that my door is open if they have any specific concerns, but I haven’t had any replies to those letters.

    I would prefer to be an enrolled Bahai, but I accept entirely the UHJ’s right to decide who can be enrolled. If they want me to be unenrolled, so be it.

    I do see some positive points, for the Bahai community, in having unenrolled Bahais. It makes the Faith less like a cult, and more like a religion, if being a believer and being a member of the organisation are two different things. Community membership then has a visible added value, in addition to one’s Bahai identity, and I hope that membership will be better understood and less taken-for-granted if it is not something that every believer automatically has, throughout their Bahai lives.

  • Andrew

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “Andrew, this is directly from the Kitab-i-Aqdas in a section directly referring to the House of Justice. What do you mean by content analysis?”

    My apologies. I keep forgetting that you are a Baha’i rather than a liberal Protestant.

    What I mean is that there is more than one way to interpret a sacred text. And if there seems to be only one way to interpret it, then it’s almost always an indication that there isn’t. Many Christians routinely disregard the apparently clear and unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ on divorce:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/140/story_14050_1.html

    “Back in Galilee, Jesus had been fierce in his condemnation of divorce. ‘What God has joined together,’ he said, ‘let no man put asunder’ (Mark 10:9). And he allowed for no exceptions to his rule. A man could divorce his wife if she committed adultery, but he could not remarry without committing adultery himself, nor could his ex-wife remarry without repeating her sin. His disciples objected, ‘If that’s the way it is, then it’s better not to marry at all’ (Matt. 19:10), but Jesus would not back down.”

    I believe that, the loving guidance of God’s manifestations through intermittent divine revelations notwithstanding, religion is made by people and can and should be changed by people as people see fit to change it. Baha’is are free, radically free, to implement the words and ideas of Baha’u’llah as they see fit. That they choose not to do so reflects on them, not on the authority of Baha’u’llah.

    But I don’t wish to engage with this … this argument is primarily for those who are members of the Baha’i World Faith, of which I am not a member. Deo Gratias. So just ignore the above. Please. Really.

  • Andrew

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “Andrew, this is directly from the Kitab-i-Aqdas in a section directly referring to the House of Justice. What do you mean by content analysis?”

    My apologies. I keep forgetting that you are a Baha’i rather than a liberal Protestant.

    What I mean is that there is more than one way to interpret a sacred text. And if there seems to be only one way to interpret it, then it’s almost always an indication that there isn’t. Many Christians routinely disregard the apparently clear and unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ on divorce:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/140/story_14050_1.html

    “Back in Galilee, Jesus had been fierce in his condemnation of divorce. ‘What God has joined together,’ he said, ‘let no man put asunder’ (Mark 10:9). And he allowed for no exceptions to his rule. A man could divorce his wife if she committed adultery, but he could not remarry without committing adultery himself, nor could his ex-wife remarry without repeating her sin. His disciples objected, ‘If that’s the way it is, then it’s better not to marry at all’ (Matt. 19:10), but Jesus would not back down.”

    I believe that, the loving guidance of God’s manifestations through intermittent divine revelations notwithstanding, religion is made by people and can and should be changed by people as people see fit to change it. Baha’is are free, radically free, to implement the words and ideas of Baha’u’llah as they see fit. That they choose not to do so reflects on them, not on the authority of Baha’u’llah.

    But I don’t wish to engage with this … this argument is primarily for those who are members of the Baha’i World Faith, of which I am not a member. Deo Gratias. So just ignore the above. Please. Really.

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “I do see some positive points, for the Bahai community, in having unenrolled Bahais. It makes the Faith less like a cult, and more like a religion, if being a believer and being a member of the organisation are two different things. Community membership then has a visible added value, in addition to one’s Bahai identity, and I hope that membership will be better understood and less taken-for-granted if it is not something that every believer automatically has, throughout their Bahai lives.”

    With all due respect, I find this to be utterly bizarre. Belief is emblematic of membership within a religious community. Rather than making the Baha’i faith less like a cult, the existence of believers who are not members of the community makes that community look even more like a cult because it highlights the disconnect between belief and community. I cannot imagine such an argument coming from (for example) a Quaker or Unitarian theologian. Or even a Catholic one. Exclusion from membership with the fellowship of believers in a religious community is usually seen as a form of punishment within most faith traditions. That it might be seen as anything other than that — like a form of parallel community — strikes me as being extremely odd. But then, I’m a Unitarian, not a Baha’i, so please parden my incredulity.

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “I do see some positive points, for the Bahai community, in having unenrolled Bahais. It makes the Faith less like a cult, and more like a religion, if being a believer and being a member of the organisation are two different things. Community membership then has a visible added value, in addition to one’s Bahai identity, and I hope that membership will be better understood and less taken-for-granted if it is not something that every believer automatically has, throughout their Bahai lives.”

    With all due respect, I find this to be utterly bizarre. Belief is emblematic of membership within a religious community. Rather than making the Baha’i faith less like a cult, the existence of believers who are not members of the community makes that community look even more like a cult because it highlights the disconnect between belief and community. I cannot imagine such an argument coming from (for example) a Quaker or Unitarian theologian. Or even a Catholic one. Exclusion from membership with the fellowship of believers in a religious community is usually seen as a form of punishment within most faith traditions. That it might be seen as anything other than that — like a form of parallel community — strikes me as being extremely odd. But then, I’m a Unitarian, not a Baha’i, so please parden my incredulity.

  • Anonymouz

    Dear Sen,

    I too foresee that the possibility of having more people who believe in Baha’u’llah than are actually on the rolls in the future. Membership can be taken for granted and on the other hand, people don’t utilize all their rights simply because they are not aware of them. Perhaps this is an experience that you will ultimately grow from and I am delightfully surprised at your attitude.

    My dad when he was young had his administrative rights taken away for marijuana when he was young. He wanted so badly to “get back in” so he could donate to the Fund. He wrote a letter just simply stating his mistake and lack of judgment and he would deepen further on the subject and not do it again. What he also did was talk to his local assembly members one on one and showed them he was sincere, which he was. I think they recommend or sponsored him or something, then it got passed back up and he was eventually re-instated.

  • Anonymouz

    Dear Sen,

    I too foresee that the possibility of having more people who believe in Baha’u’llah than are actually on the rolls in the future. Membership can be taken for granted and on the other hand, people don’t utilize all their rights simply because they are not aware of them. Perhaps this is an experience that you will ultimately grow from and I am delightfully surprised at your attitude.

    My dad when he was young had his administrative rights taken away for marijuana when he was young. He wanted so badly to “get back in” so he could donate to the Fund. He wrote a letter just simply stating his mistake and lack of judgment and he would deepen further on the subject and not do it again. What he also did was talk to his local assembly members one on one and showed them he was sincere, which he was. I think they recommend or sponsored him or something, then it got passed back up and he was eventually re-instated.

  • Bird

    Oh the names…..

    Surat ‘ul-Hykl

    “And suppose your names will be kept as ye conjecture, would it be of any good to you? Not by the Lord of the Worlds. Doth My Power glory in keeping His Name continually among those who worship the Names? No, by the life of God, the Powerful, the Mighty. Should no one mention you on earth and at the same time God was pleased with you, then ye would be in the treasures of His Hidden Name.”

  • Bird

    Oh the names…..

    Surat ‘ul-Hykl

    “And suppose your names will be kept as ye conjecture, would it be of any good to you? Not by the Lord of the Worlds. Doth My Power glory in keeping His Name continually among those who worship the Names? No, by the life of God, the Powerful, the Mighty. Should no one mention you on earth and at the same time God was pleased with you, then ye would be in the treasures of His Hidden Name.”

  • Craig Parke

    What is going to happen to a religion that “disenrolled” by cowardly First Class Post a human being as thoughtful and articulate as Sen McGlinn in writing a straight forward scholarly book on an important concept in the Baha’i Faith? And they did this to him while they themselves are changing the Teachings of the Faith of the Central Figures via the rote Ruhi indoctrination materials. It is truly shocking and utterly shameful. How can the rank and file of the world stand so passively by and accept this?

    The clear scripture of the Central Figures teach the spiritual safety of personal individual conscience, the benefits of peace, and the spiritual guidance of the separation of “Church and State” while the individual members of the current UHJ in their speeches teach the subservience of individual conscience to collective groupthink, endless war, death and killing as “God’s work” (as long as they themselves or their own sons and daughters don’t have to personally do it), and tone deaf bureaucratic theocracy as the answer to all the world’s problems.

    The Teachings are about individual soul and spirit and not about collective temporal earthly power of any kind. How is spirit ever going to come back into what is left of the smoking burned out shell of the once beautiful Baha’i Faith once these people have taken everything to total collapse in the top down micro managed worldly and temporal ITC/Politburo Faith?

    How is the spiritual connection to the mystery of the Cosmos ever going to return to this once beautiful Faith?

    It is all so sad and so tragic.

    No thinking person would ever join or stay in a “religion” so incredibly oppressive to the independent human spirit as the once beautiful hijacked Baha’i Faith is today. In the present version of the Faith if you can think for yourself in any way you are the “Enemy of God”.

    There is no spiritual power whatsoever in such an organization and it is all going to fail to utter ruin while the world passes the Faith completely by. After the incredible carnage of the 20th Century and the mindless fanaticism of the just starting 21st Century, who on the world would want to ever be in a religion that teaches that war, death, and killing is “God’s work”? People are sick of such a God.

  • Craig Parke

    What is going to happen to a religion that “disenrolled” by cowardly First Class Post a human being as thoughtful and articulate as Sen McGlinn in writing a straight forward scholarly book on an important concept in the Baha’i Faith? And they did this to him while they themselves are changing the Teachings of the Faith of the Central Figures via the rote Ruhi indoctrination materials. It is truly shocking and utterly shameful. How can the rank and file of the world stand so passively by and accept this?

    The clear scripture of the Central Figures teach the spiritual safety of personal individual conscience, the benefits of peace, and the spiritual guidance of the separation of “Church and State” while the individual members of the current UHJ in their speeches teach the subservience of individual conscience to collective groupthink, endless war, death and killing as “God’s work” (as long as they themselves or their own sons and daughters don’t have to personally do it), and tone deaf bureaucratic theocracy as the answer to all the world’s problems.

    The Teachings are about individual soul and spirit and not about collective temporal earthly power of any kind. How is spirit ever going to come back into what is left of the smoking burned out shell of the once beautiful Baha’i Faith once these people have taken everything to total collapse in the top down micro managed worldly and temporal ITC/Politburo Faith?

    How is the spiritual connection to the mystery of the Cosmos ever going to return to this once beautiful Faith?

    It is all so sad and so tragic.

    No thinking person would ever join or stay in a “religion” so incredibly oppressive to the independent human spirit as the once beautiful hijacked Baha’i Faith is today. In the present version of the Faith if you can think for yourself in any way you are the “Enemy of God”.

    There is no spiritual power whatsoever in such an organization and it is all going to fail to utter ruin while the world passes the Faith completely by. After the incredible carnage of the 20th Century and the mindless fanaticism of the just starting 21st Century, who on the world would want to ever be in a religion that teaches that war, death, and killing is “God’s work”? People are sick of such a God.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""]… I cannot imagine such an argument coming from (for example) a Quaker or Unitarian theologian. [/quote]

    But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion. At the “sect” end of the spectrum, belief and organisation membership go together more or less automatically. If you believe in the Guru, you’re a member of the Divine Light Mission. At the “religion” end of the spectrum, what percentage of Hindus have a formal membership of some Hindu organisation? One is a Hindu (or Christian, or Muslim), and then there is a possibility of membership.

    It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership. When the two become distinct, the sect is growing into a new religion, and may grow beyond that.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""]… I cannot imagine such an argument coming from (for example) a Quaker or Unitarian theologian. [/quote]

    But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion. At the “sect” end of the spectrum, belief and organisation membership go together more or less automatically. If you believe in the Guru, you’re a member of the Divine Light Mission. At the “religion” end of the spectrum, what percentage of Hindus have a formal membership of some Hindu organisation? One is a Hindu (or Christian, or Muslim), and then there is a possibility of membership.

    It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership. When the two become distinct, the sect is growing into a new religion, and may grow beyond that.

  • Grover

    Sen wrote:

    [quote post="500"]But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion. At the “sect” end of the spectrum, belief and organisation membership go together more or less automatically. If you believe in the Guru, you’re a member of the Divine Light Mission. At the “religion” end of the spectrum, what percentage of Hindus have a formal membership of some Hindu organisation? One is a Hindu (or Christian, or Muslim), and then there is a possibility of membership.[/quote]

    The advantage I see of Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, over the Baha’i Faith is that there are a diversity of understanding in how the religious writings are interpreted and implemented. If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.

    In the Baha’i Faith we don’t have that option, unless the members of the disenrolled, disillusioned and inactive Baha’is form their own faith communities. It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.

  • Grover

    Sen wrote:

    [quote post="500"]But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion. At the “sect” end of the spectrum, belief and organisation membership go together more or less automatically. If you believe in the Guru, you’re a member of the Divine Light Mission. At the “religion” end of the spectrum, what percentage of Hindus have a formal membership of some Hindu organisation? One is a Hindu (or Christian, or Muslim), and then there is a possibility of membership.[/quote]

    The advantage I see of Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, over the Baha’i Faith is that there are a diversity of understanding in how the religious writings are interpreted and implemented. If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.

    In the Baha’i Faith we don’t have that option, unless the members of the disenrolled, disillusioned and inactive Baha’is form their own faith communities. It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    “Rather than picking one or two quotes and trying to ram our own understanding into them, the wiser course is to examine the whole body of work from the Central Figures.”

    Baquia, This isssue is fascinating, but do you see a direct impact of this issue during the dire crisis that is facing humanity?

    Do you feel that to help humanity we need to announce universally that we are for or against such or such a form of government, or do we need to concentrate our efforts towards the spiritualisation of humanity so that from grass-roots upwards we might elaborate a new civilisation?

    IOW, what in your view are the priorities at this time?

    Craig wrote:

    ?It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.?

    Craig, I agree that some bigotted Baha’is might have exclusive feelings, but I assure you that with the institute process the limits between Baha’is and non-Baha’is is becoming blurred.

    For nothing in this world would I want to imagine being excluded from the field of organised service within the AO, and I would crawl to Haifa on my knees if I had to, so as to get my voting rights back, but at the same time I am aware of the toil and pain involved in collaborating closely with people I would never have met, let alone work with outside the Baha’i community.

    Sen wrote:
    ?It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership. When the two become distinct, the sect is growing into a new religion, and may grow beyond that.?

    Interesting comment, Sen.
    I understand the Divine Banquet being set for all to benefit from; enrolled Baha’is are those who are allowed to work in the kitchen and serve at the table, closely obeying the head cook. Others can pick and choose at the table as they please.

    Now if you believe that the aim of your life is to cook and serve, then you feel very frustrated from being excluded from service.

    It is the same on the football field: if you want to play, you have to submit to immediate and complete obedience to the referee that you have to accept as infallible.

    If you want to have fun watching the game or playing with friends, you are free to apply your own rules.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:
    “Rather than picking one or two quotes and trying to ram our own understanding into them, the wiser course is to examine the whole body of work from the Central Figures.”

    Baquia, This isssue is fascinating, but do you see a direct impact of this issue during the dire crisis that is facing humanity?

    Do you feel that to help humanity we need to announce universally that we are for or against such or such a form of government, or do we need to concentrate our efforts towards the spiritualisation of humanity so that from grass-roots upwards we might elaborate a new civilisation?

    IOW, what in your view are the priorities at this time?

    Craig wrote:

    ?It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.?

    Craig, I agree that some bigotted Baha’is might have exclusive feelings, but I assure you that with the institute process the limits between Baha’is and non-Baha’is is becoming blurred.

    For nothing in this world would I want to imagine being excluded from the field of organised service within the AO, and I would crawl to Haifa on my knees if I had to, so as to get my voting rights back, but at the same time I am aware of the toil and pain involved in collaborating closely with people I would never have met, let alone work with outside the Baha’i community.

    Sen wrote:
    ?It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership. When the two become distinct, the sect is growing into a new religion, and may grow beyond that.?

    Interesting comment, Sen.
    I understand the Divine Banquet being set for all to benefit from; enrolled Baha’is are those who are allowed to work in the kitchen and serve at the table, closely obeying the head cook. Others can pick and choose at the table as they please.

    Now if you believe that the aim of your life is to cook and serve, then you feel very frustrated from being excluded from service.

    It is the same on the football field: if you want to play, you have to submit to immediate and complete obedience to the referee that you have to accept as infallible.

    If you want to have fun watching the game or playing with friends, you are free to apply your own rules.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote:
    “If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.”

    Grover, this is the whole difference between a collectively harmonised action and an individual action. The difference between playing the harmonica or the piano, and playing in a symphonic orchestra.

    The aim of the Baha’i revelation is to transpose the ethical laws that were required in our personnal lives up to now, in our collective enterprises.

    A whole new dimension: the Kingdom of God, a divinely inspired civilisation, not only in the heaven of our ideals, but also in earth, as it is in heaven.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Grover wrote:
    “If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.”

    Grover, this is the whole difference between a collectively harmonised action and an individual action. The difference between playing the harmonica or the piano, and playing in a symphonic orchestra.

    The aim of the Baha’i revelation is to transpose the ethical laws that were required in our personnal lives up to now, in our collective enterprises.

    A whole new dimension: the Kingdom of God, a divinely inspired civilisation, not only in the heaven of our ideals, but also in earth, as it is in heaven.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Farhan said:

    [quote comment=""]“I understand the Divine Banquet being set for all to benefit from; enrolled Baha’is are those who are allowed to work in the kitchen and serve at the table, closely obeying the head cook. Others can pick and choose at the table as they please.”[/quote]

    I think this is quite wrong. Is there somewhere a clause in the Will and Testament that says it only applies to enrolled Bahais? Of course not – in those days there was no enrollment. ?Abdu’l-Baha was never on the rolls! Mirza Abu’l-Fadl was probably never on the rolls. Perhaps Shoghi Effendi was, in England, but perhaps not. Even today, in China and Iran and Saudi Arabia, etc., there is no enrollment. Does that mean that the Bahais in these countries are not bound by the Will and Testament? I know of no basis for the idea that unenrollment is an ?out’. The authority of the head of the Faith, the Guardian and the House of Justice does not turn on and off according to whether your name is on the rolls.

    The Administration itself is a means not an end, so it is not the whole of the Faith but just an organ within it, it is one part of a Bahai life not the definition of what a Bahai life is. The membership rolls in turn are a means to an end within the administrative order. Where you have voting, and quorums, and majority decisions, you need first to have a list of names.

    Grover wrote:

    [quote comment=""]“The advantage I see of Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, over the Baha’i Faith is that there are a diversity of understanding in how the religious writings are interpreted and implemented. If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.”[/quote]

    The reason why you have to look to a different denomination in (Protestant) Christianity is that in the Protestant model of a church, the functions of administration, doctrine and liturgy are all embodied in one membership. A split on doctrine or administration leads to a split in the worshipping community, which is supposed to be the body of Christ. A difference about the right or preferred form of service leads to a split in administration, because “membership” is conceived as one thing – how could people who do not worship together be in the same church?

    The dynamics in the Bahai community are completely different, because these three functions are separated in the House of Justice, Guardianship and House of Worship. That means that a difference about an administrative issue does not have to lead to a split in the communion, in the worshipping community. Compare that to the looming split in the Anglican communion (“communion” = worshipping together) over an administrative and doctrinal issue (the recognition of gay marriages). Like any good modern building, the Bahai community is designed with fire-walls. And this is just as revolutionary and innovative in the “technology” of religious governance, as the formal separation of the executive, legislature and judiciary was in the technology of civil governance.

    This separation of the 3 organs means that people who do not worship together can be part of the same community. There’s a tablet quoted by Ishraq Khavari in Ganjinih-i-Huduud va Akhaam, p. 232 which says it is OK to have multiple Mashriqu’l-adhkars in one place. The question would have been asked because in Islam, in principle, there should be only one Friday mosque in each place — meaning that the central event in religious life had to include all, and be uniform for all. History has watered that principle down in Islam, but the idea is there. By allowing multiple Mashriqs, the Bahai teachings allow multiple forms of worship side-by-side, just as the various orders of Sufism live side by side. It is no accident that the Bahai house of worship is called the house for dhikr, the chanting of dhikr being a Sufi practice, and is not called a jaami` (mosque, = gathering).

    Vice versa, because the Mashriq is the place of worship for all “religionists” — not just registered members of an administrative community — it is not necessary to achieve unity of administration or doctrine in order to worship together.

    This loose web structure is much stronger than a monolithic church. It is a genuinely new structure for religious community, a new and more sophisticated way of thinking about the religious life in its various aspects. It is postmodern: it will not start working properly until it is populated by postmodern Bahais. The modern era produced people who almost automatically think in centralist, monolithic terms, who look for a single strong principle (usually ideological) and then think outward from that, extending the hegemony of whatever they have chosen as the core. So we get admino-centric Bahai thinking, religious fundamentalism in general, patriotism, communism, and ideological capitalism: all diseases of the centralising modern psyche.

    Craig has implied that I was disenrolled for my opinions, specifically in _Church and State_. From the above, it is clear that this could not be true: that would involve the UHJ making rulings on the interpretation of the Writings, which they are unable to do, and it would confuse the two kinds of membership, administrative and doctrine. In a letter to Daniella Pinna, the UHJ wrote “Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.” So let’s consign that idea to the trash: I was not, and Bahais are not, disenrolled for their opinions.

    In any case, the UHJ members had not had time to read the whole book before 14 November 2005, when they wrote their ?Bahai theologian’ letter to the NSAs. It is quite possible that the book had not even arrived in Haifa by then, or was still in the “books to process” stack at the World Centre library. So it is impossible that I was excluded from the community because of the research that I report in the book: it was just for the statement on the first page, which someone had selectively quoted to the UHJ to make it appear that I was making a claim to status. Such as claim would be seen as an action, not as an opinion.

    I imagine this selective quotation was probably sent from North America: my book was printed there and gift copies were sent to people such as the NSA and the Bahai studies journals, who would have had copies before I had my own. I do not know, of course, how much of the book was actually quoted to the UHJ. It seems likely that it was not the whole sentence, and unlikely that it went as far as page 2, where I deny any claim to authority, or included the various sections of the Introduction which define terms such as “theology” and reflect on its limitations. I also do not expect the UHJ members to read the book: I have written for the few who are sufficiently interested in the church-state relationship to deal with a mass of detail and the close reading of many texts. If these few read the book and understand it in the sense that was actually intended, I am content. If they respond, I will be delighted.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Farhan said:

    [quote comment=""]“I understand the Divine Banquet being set for all to benefit from; enrolled Baha’is are those who are allowed to work in the kitchen and serve at the table, closely obeying the head cook. Others can pick and choose at the table as they please.”[/quote]

    I think this is quite wrong. Is there somewhere a clause in the Will and Testament that says it only applies to enrolled Bahais? Of course not – in those days there was no enrollment. ?Abdu’l-Baha was never on the rolls! Mirza Abu’l-Fadl was probably never on the rolls. Perhaps Shoghi Effendi was, in England, but perhaps not. Even today, in China and Iran and Saudi Arabia, etc., there is no enrollment. Does that mean that the Bahais in these countries are not bound by the Will and Testament? I know of no basis for the idea that unenrollment is an ?out’. The authority of the head of the Faith, the Guardian and the House of Justice does not turn on and off according to whether your name is on the rolls.

    The Administration itself is a means not an end, so it is not the whole of the Faith but just an organ within it, it is one part of a Bahai life not the definition of what a Bahai life is. The membership rolls in turn are a means to an end within the administrative order. Where you have voting, and quorums, and majority decisions, you need first to have a list of names.

    Grover wrote:

    [quote comment=""]“The advantage I see of Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, over the Baha’i Faith is that there are a diversity of understanding in how the religious writings are interpreted and implemented. If you are unhappy with what your denomination is doing or thinking, you can explore the other ones within your religion and still remain a believer and remain part of a community.”[/quote]

    The reason why you have to look to a different denomination in (Protestant) Christianity is that in the Protestant model of a church, the functions of administration, doctrine and liturgy are all embodied in one membership. A split on doctrine or administration leads to a split in the worshipping community, which is supposed to be the body of Christ. A difference about the right or preferred form of service leads to a split in administration, because “membership” is conceived as one thing – how could people who do not worship together be in the same church?

    The dynamics in the Bahai community are completely different, because these three functions are separated in the House of Justice, Guardianship and House of Worship. That means that a difference about an administrative issue does not have to lead to a split in the communion, in the worshipping community. Compare that to the looming split in the Anglican communion (“communion” = worshipping together) over an administrative and doctrinal issue (the recognition of gay marriages). Like any good modern building, the Bahai community is designed with fire-walls. And this is just as revolutionary and innovative in the “technology” of religious governance, as the formal separation of the executive, legislature and judiciary was in the technology of civil governance.

    This separation of the 3 organs means that people who do not worship together can be part of the same community. There’s a tablet quoted by Ishraq Khavari in Ganjinih-i-Huduud va Akhaam, p. 232 which says it is OK to have multiple Mashriqu’l-adhkars in one place. The question would have been asked because in Islam, in principle, there should be only one Friday mosque in each place — meaning that the central event in religious life had to include all, and be uniform for all. History has watered that principle down in Islam, but the idea is there. By allowing multiple Mashriqs, the Bahai teachings allow multiple forms of worship side-by-side, just as the various orders of Sufism live side by side. It is no accident that the Bahai house of worship is called the house for dhikr, the chanting of dhikr being a Sufi practice, and is not called a jaami` (mosque, = gathering).

    Vice versa, because the Mashriq is the place of worship for all “religionists” — not just registered members of an administrative community — it is not necessary to achieve unity of administration or doctrine in order to worship together.

    This loose web structure is much stronger than a monolithic church. It is a genuinely new structure for religious community, a new and more sophisticated way of thinking about the religious life in its various aspects. It is postmodern: it will not start working properly until it is populated by postmodern Bahais. The modern era produced people who almost automatically think in centralist, monolithic terms, who look for a single strong principle (usually ideological) and then think outward from that, extending the hegemony of whatever they have chosen as the core. So we get admino-centric Bahai thinking, religious fundamentalism in general, patriotism, communism, and ideological capitalism: all diseases of the centralising modern psyche.

    Craig has implied that I was disenrolled for my opinions, specifically in _Church and State_. From the above, it is clear that this could not be true: that would involve the UHJ making rulings on the interpretation of the Writings, which they are unable to do, and it would confuse the two kinds of membership, administrative and doctrine. In a letter to Daniella Pinna, the UHJ wrote “Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.” So let’s consign that idea to the trash: I was not, and Bahais are not, disenrolled for their opinions.

    In any case, the UHJ members had not had time to read the whole book before 14 November 2005, when they wrote their ?Bahai theologian’ letter to the NSAs. It is quite possible that the book had not even arrived in Haifa by then, or was still in the “books to process” stack at the World Centre library. So it is impossible that I was excluded from the community because of the research that I report in the book: it was just for the statement on the first page, which someone had selectively quoted to the UHJ to make it appear that I was making a claim to status. Such as claim would be seen as an action, not as an opinion.

    I imagine this selective quotation was probably sent from North America: my book was printed there and gift copies were sent to people such as the NSA and the Bahai studies journals, who would have had copies before I had my own. I do not know, of course, how much of the book was actually quoted to the UHJ. It seems likely that it was not the whole sentence, and unlikely that it went as far as page 2, where I deny any claim to authority, or included the various sections of the Introduction which define terms such as “theology” and reflect on its limitations. I also do not expect the UHJ members to read the book: I have written for the few who are sufficiently interested in the church-state relationship to deal with a mass of detail and the close reading of many texts. If these few read the book and understand it in the sense that was actually intended, I am content. If they respond, I will be delighted.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Carmen,

    You wrote:
    [quote]Is it really par for the course on this blog that Baquia can make any comment he wants, get called on it, but not be able to back it up with evidence?[/quote]

    No, but that’s not what I said. I didn’t include his being called on it when I described his assertions as being par for the course. Please take more care to read what I say.

    [quote]If a white new Zealander posted on a blog that there is rampant drug-use, corruption and prostitution among the Maoris in New Zealand but cannot back it up with evidence, the only inference that can be drawn is that they are making the statement to deliberately smear Maoris in New Zealand. Would you agree or disagree with this conclusion Steve?[/quote]

    I would disagree. One possibility has to be that they sincerely believe their unsubstantiated blog post to be true.

    What about similar comments without any supporting evidence re Hindus in Canada, Moslems in Australia, Buddhists in Thailand, Zambians in South Africa…you get my point?

    One example is sufficient. The truth-value of the statements is not at issue, and nor is the identity of the target. What’s at issue, according to your account, is whether an inference can be drawn that they are making the statement to deliberately smear the target group. And since you’ve provided no clues about their motive, apart from the observation that they cannot back their assertion up with evidence, there has to be the possibility that they sincerely believe what they say and are not trying to smear their target.

    [quote]I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran.[/quote]

    You use the word common, but it’s only implied in what Baquia actually said. I’ll come back to this later.

    Baquia says, “the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth.” Cohen says, “I argue that the darker it is outside, the less names, religion, and politics matter. All of that is overshadowed by a common desire to act like a young person.”

    Baquia says, “Corruption, prostitution, drug-use, etc. are rampant on a scale that you can not imagine”. Cohen says, “In Iran, drugs are a real problem.” and “Iran has a serious, serious drug problem. They’re using it as an escape and it’s really unfortunate.”

    The readers can decide whether that’s corroborating evidence or not, and whether Jared Cohen’s comments can be used to infer that drug-use, if not corruption and prostitution, may well be common among Baha’i youth in Iran.

    [quote]This is not evidence. To say this is evidence is like using comments about youth culture in any country and asserting, ipso facto, that such behavior is rampant among a specific sub-group. If you were to argue that eating meat is common among Seventh Day Adventist youth simply because it is common in the wider youth culture in the US you would be blatantly wrong because empirical studies have clearly demonstrated the health benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle of Seventh Day Adventists.[/quote]

    A poor example. I think. Empirical studies into the health benefits of a SDA vegetarian lifestyle do not necessarily demonstrate that SDA youth [in the US?] refrain from eating meat.

    Also, you continue to use the word “common” rather than the words Baquia used, and I think it’s taken you off on a rather odd tack of suggesting that since meat eating is apparently not as common amongst US SDA youth than amongst their peers, therefore Baha’i youth in Iraq are keeping their noses clean.

    I’m pretty sure SDA youth don’t eat as much meat as their peers, but I expect that’s largely because they’re not getting any at home. I would want to know whether they eat about the same number of hamburgers as their peers when out on the town or partying, though. :-)

    Please remember that drugs, prostitution and corruption (unlike hamburgers) are considered illicit in pretty much every religion represented in the Middle East. What we’re talking about is youth of all backgrounds in the Middle East getting together in an intensely exciting underground youth culture, with both good and bad consequences. The Baha’is aren’t out on their own on the Middle East saying drugs, prostitution and corruption are wrong.

    [quote]Jared Cohen’s comments are hearsay…[/quote]

    Nonsense. Cohen went to the Middle East and got in amongst it, as only young people can. He writes from direct experience.

    [quote]You also wrote: “Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth.” Is this supposed to somehow exonerate his malicious comment?[/quote]

    No, it’s supposed to alert you to the fact that you are putting words into his mouth.

    I was a Baha’i teenager in the 70s. Fortunately, there are few photos. I’m not about to tell you what I did or didn’t get up to, but my observations were that religion didn’t matter much unless you were a convert. What mattered more was self-respect, your psychological state, empathy, communication and love from adults, and who you ended up hanging out with. I have no reason to think it’s much different for the Baha’i youth in Iran. I hope they do hold to their standards, and I hope they gravitate towards the good things their youth culture offers. The same goes for all youth in the Middle East.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Carmen,

    You wrote:
    [quote]Is it really par for the course on this blog that Baquia can make any comment he wants, get called on it, but not be able to back it up with evidence?[/quote]

    No, but that’s not what I said. I didn’t include his being called on it when I described his assertions as being par for the course. Please take more care to read what I say.

    [quote]If a white new Zealander posted on a blog that there is rampant drug-use, corruption and prostitution among the Maoris in New Zealand but cannot back it up with evidence, the only inference that can be drawn is that they are making the statement to deliberately smear Maoris in New Zealand. Would you agree or disagree with this conclusion Steve?[/quote]

    I would disagree. One possibility has to be that they sincerely believe their unsubstantiated blog post to be true.

    What about similar comments without any supporting evidence re Hindus in Canada, Moslems in Australia, Buddhists in Thailand, Zambians in South Africa…you get my point?

    One example is sufficient. The truth-value of the statements is not at issue, and nor is the identity of the target. What’s at issue, according to your account, is whether an inference can be drawn that they are making the statement to deliberately smear the target group. And since you’ve provided no clues about their motive, apart from the observation that they cannot back their assertion up with evidence, there has to be the possibility that they sincerely believe what they say and are not trying to smear their target.

    [quote]I am sorry but nowhere can any of Jared Cohen’s comments be used to infer that drug-use, corruption and prostitution are common among Baha’i youth in Iran.[/quote]

    You use the word common, but it’s only implied in what Baquia actually said. I’ll come back to this later.

    Baquia says, “the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth.” Cohen says, “I argue that the darker it is outside, the less names, religion, and politics matter. All of that is overshadowed by a common desire to act like a young person.”

    Baquia says, “Corruption, prostitution, drug-use, etc. are rampant on a scale that you can not imagine”. Cohen says, “In Iran, drugs are a real problem.” and “Iran has a serious, serious drug problem. They’re using it as an escape and it’s really unfortunate.”

    The readers can decide whether that’s corroborating evidence or not, and whether Jared Cohen’s comments can be used to infer that drug-use, if not corruption and prostitution, may well be common among Baha’i youth in Iran.

    [quote]This is not evidence. To say this is evidence is like using comments about youth culture in any country and asserting, ipso facto, that such behavior is rampant among a specific sub-group. If you were to argue that eating meat is common among Seventh Day Adventist youth simply because it is common in the wider youth culture in the US you would be blatantly wrong because empirical studies have clearly demonstrated the health benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle of Seventh Day Adventists.[/quote]

    A poor example. I think. Empirical studies into the health benefits of a SDA vegetarian lifestyle do not necessarily demonstrate that SDA youth [in the US?] refrain from eating meat.

    Also, you continue to use the word “common” rather than the words Baquia used, and I think it’s taken you off on a rather odd tack of suggesting that since meat eating is apparently not as common amongst US SDA youth than amongst their peers, therefore Baha’i youth in Iraq are keeping their noses clean.

    I’m pretty sure SDA youth don’t eat as much meat as their peers, but I expect that’s largely because they’re not getting any at home. I would want to know whether they eat about the same number of hamburgers as their peers when out on the town or partying, though. :-)

    Please remember that drugs, prostitution and corruption (unlike hamburgers) are considered illicit in pretty much every religion represented in the Middle East. What we’re talking about is youth of all backgrounds in the Middle East getting together in an intensely exciting underground youth culture, with both good and bad consequences. The Baha’is aren’t out on their own on the Middle East saying drugs, prostitution and corruption are wrong.

    [quote]Jared Cohen’s comments are hearsay…[/quote]

    Nonsense. Cohen went to the Middle East and got in amongst it, as only young people can. He writes from direct experience.

    [quote]You also wrote: “Baquia made no mention of tens of thousands of Baha’i youth.” Is this supposed to somehow exonerate his malicious comment?[/quote]

    No, it’s supposed to alert you to the fact that you are putting words into his mouth.

    I was a Baha’i teenager in the 70s. Fortunately, there are few photos. I’m not about to tell you what I did or didn’t get up to, but my observations were that religion didn’t matter much unless you were a convert. What mattered more was self-respect, your psychological state, empathy, communication and love from adults, and who you ended up hanging out with. I have no reason to think it’s much different for the Baha’i youth in Iran. I hope they do hold to their standards, and I hope they gravitate towards the good things their youth culture offers. The same goes for all youth in the Middle East.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan wrote:

    Craig wrote:

    ?It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.?

    Farhan,

    I think you mean Grover here.

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan wrote:

    Craig wrote:

    ?It’s either you’re in or you’re out. I used to think of it as a plus for the Faith, but its not really.?

    Farhan,

    I think you mean Grover here.

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    Thank you for the previous detailed exposition today. I actually find your account of events in your disenrollment even more baffling. You are saying that after writing a book that took this magnitude of sustained effort, the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith disenrolled you from an assessment someone made on reading HALF A PAGE that someone else had sent somebody? You are saying that no one has even ever informed you as to EXACTLY WHY you were formally disenrolled?

    And this kind of organization with the word “Justice” in it’s name and this level of administrative acumen is someday supposed to rule the world???

    This is an insult to the sacred hopes of so many dedicated people in the rank and file that I have known in 36 years in the Baha’i Faith. This is pure comedy right out of Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher on a controlled substance. I am astonished.

    While the Baha’i Faith is currently failing it’s potential in such an appalling way, I agree with your assessment in “Church and State” and other essays of yours I have read that the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith are going to find traction in a postmodern society and eventually flourish in a completely different way.

    To my mind a postmodern society is one of decentralization of Cosmic insight with equal decentralization of coherent spiritual and social action based upon the flow of that individual Cosmic insight. I agree that this is what Baha’u’llah channeled into this plane for the unfolding new World Age energies.

    The intimate individual planetary communication of the Internet (which “unlettered” people will have equally in the future world) will have a tremendous effect because it CANNOT be controlled by anyone.

    As the human race move up the human chakras in each phase of communication on the expansion of the Internet (the technology of the Internet started with the U.S. DOD Darpanet in 1969 invented for the command and control of nuclear weapons – basic survival being the energy of the 1st chakra in the human body. As everyone knows the energies of the 2nd chakra – sexuality – built the development of the worldwide technology as the revenues from pornography drove technical innovation from the first profitable commercial enterprise of the technology. Next came book and music selling as the energies moved up to the next chakras of human feeling and searching. It will eventually get to intense spiritual feeling which will be a high energy for a very long time.

    Because the Baha’i Faith did NOT develop a culture of openness and transparency fast enough, it will NOT be a player at the current level of development. This amazing fact truly has to be of Almighty God. No one could have been deliberately this dumb and flat footed but this is exactly how it has worked out by circumstances. Stupid is as stupid does. The amazing blocking forces in the Baha’i Faith are astonishing to behold. The Administrative Order is never closer than 15 years behind the times and has been since the beginning. This Divine “Window of Organizational Impairment” is shaping future events.

    To use Farhan’s restaurant cook and staff analogy, the creation of the 1930’s like centralized top down Politburo ITC Ruhi “McFaith” (7,000 years of Sufi picture story Middle Eastern Cosmic mysticism and deep spiritual thought and experience ready to flower in the planetary human chakra energies are now suddenly diverted into a kind of uniform trans saturated fat “spiritual” hamburger, fries, and big gulp diet coke with a straw) in the context of the explosion of the Internet is an utterly mind bending move. This fork in the road will have implications for a very, very long time to come.

    It will be the gift that keeps giving to the disconnect of the fortunes of the Faith to the decentralized postmodern psychological energies that are coming.

    The spheres of society and spheres of personal action that are coming will never be addressed by the current form of the top down centralized Baha’i Faith. As His Holyness the Bob sang “He who is not busy being born, is busy dying.”

    In your writings about the various social planes and spheres of decentralized self identity in a post modern society you have, I believe, quite rightly identified that Baha’u’llah’s Teachings will have an advantage as that unfolds. Things may very well flower down the road. But it will not be recognizable in any way to what we have now.

    I think I will peruse quantum physics books on Amazon this afternoon.

    I had dinner with my sister and her husband visiting from Afghanistan this week home a month for a rest. I asked them to clarify the numbers for me. Their tiny staff employing 400 Afghans delivered medical help at the village level to a quarter of a million people a month for three years straight. That is nine million people. Pretty good. I think this is a good example of what you talk about in your writings and in “Church and State” about spheres of work. All this was done very quietly by a tiny group of people who understood what to do in their decentralized sphere of activity. No media. No fanfare. Just people knowing what they are doing and acting on their own in their knowledge and ability. They employed three Afghan Baha’is that they could find. They did a very fine job. Decentralized competence. That will be big in the future world as direct funding of work becomes fuled by the communication of the Internet. This is already changing the Presidential election here in the U.S. as candidates can go directly to the wellspring of the people to fund their political campaigns rather than through the corruption of special interest money.

    The Internet will change everything as we go up the chakras in intimate decentralized individual communication. Anyone caught in the Politburo paradigm is toast. They cannot keep up. The 15 year Divine “Window of Organizational Impairment” is at work 24/7/365/1000 as the energies of the World Age move on to the postmodern society of decentralized spirituality in individual spheres of action that is coming.

    Everyone keep posting.

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    Thank you for the previous detailed exposition today. I actually find your account of events in your disenrollment even more baffling. You are saying that after writing a book that took this magnitude of sustained effort, the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith disenrolled you from an assessment someone made on reading HALF A PAGE that someone else had sent somebody? You are saying that no one has even ever informed you as to EXACTLY WHY you were formally disenrolled?

    And this kind of organization with the word “Justice” in it’s name and this level of administrative acumen is someday supposed to rule the world???

    This is an insult to the sacred hopes of so many dedicated people in the rank and file that I have known in 36 years in the Baha’i Faith. This is pure comedy right out of Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher on a controlled substance. I am astonished.

    While the Baha’i Faith is currently failing it’s potential in such an appalling way, I agree with your assessment in “Church and State” and other essays of yours I have read that the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith are going to find traction in a postmodern society and eventually flourish in a completely different way.

    To my mind a postmodern society is one of decentralization of Cosmic insight with equal decentralization of coherent spiritual and social action based upon the flow of that individual Cosmic insight. I agree that this is what Baha’u’llah channeled into this plane for the unfolding new World Age energies.

    The intimate individual planetary communication of the Internet (which “unlettered” people will have equally in the future world) will have a tremendous effect because it CANNOT be controlled by anyone.

    As the human race move up the human chakras in each phase of communication on the expansion of the Internet (the technology of the Internet started with the U.S. DOD Darpanet in 1969 invented for the command and control of nuclear weapons – basic survival being the energy of the 1st chakra in the human body. As everyone knows the energies of the 2nd chakra – sexuality – built the development of the worldwide technology as the revenues from pornography drove technical innovation from the first profitable commercial enterprise of the technology. Next came book and music selling as the energies moved up to the next chakras of human feeling and searching. It will eventually get to intense spiritual feeling which will be a high energy for a very long time.

    Because the Baha’i Faith did NOT develop a culture of openness and transparency fast enough, it will NOT be a player at the current level of development. This amazing fact truly has to be of Almighty God. No one could have been deliberately this dumb and flat footed but this is exactly how it has worked out by circumstances. Stupid is as stupid does. The amazing blocking forces in the Baha’i Faith are astonishing to behold. The Administrative Order is never closer than 15 years behind the times and has been since the beginning. This Divine “Window of Organizational Impairment” is shaping future events.

    To use Farhan’s restaurant cook and staff analogy, the creation of the 1930’s like centralized top down Politburo ITC Ruhi “McFaith” (7,000 years of Sufi picture story Middle Eastern Cosmic mysticism and deep spiritual thought and experience ready to flower in the planetary human chakra energies are now suddenly diverted into a kind of uniform trans saturated fat “spiritual” hamburger, fries, and big gulp diet coke with a straw) in the context of the explosion of the Internet is an utterly mind bending move. This fork in the road will have implications for a very, very long time to come.

    It will be the gift that keeps giving to the disconnect of the fortunes of the Faith to the decentralized postmodern psychological energies that are coming.

    The spheres of society and spheres of personal action that are coming will never be addressed by the current form of the top down centralized Baha’i Faith. As His Holyness the Bob sang “He who is not busy being born, is busy dying.”

    In your writings about the various social planes and spheres of decentralized self identity in a post modern society you have, I believe, quite rightly identified that Baha’u’llah’s Teachings will have an advantage as that unfolds. Things may very well flower down the road. But it will not be recognizable in any way to what we have now.

    I think I will peruse quantum physics books on Amazon this afternoon.

    I had dinner with my sister and her husband visiting from Afghanistan this week home a month for a rest. I asked them to clarify the numbers for me. Their tiny staff employing 400 Afghans delivered medical help at the village level to a quarter of a million people a month for three years straight. That is nine million people. Pretty good. I think this is a good example of what you talk about in your writings and in “Church and State” about spheres of work. All this was done very quietly by a tiny group of people who understood what to do in their decentralized sphere of activity. No media. No fanfare. Just people knowing what they are doing and acting on their own in their knowledge and ability. They employed three Afghan Baha’is that they could find. They did a very fine job. Decentralized competence. That will be big in the future world as direct funding of work becomes fuled by the communication of the Internet. This is already changing the Presidential election here in the U.S. as candidates can go directly to the wellspring of the people to fund their political campaigns rather than through the corruption of special interest money.

    The Internet will change everything as we go up the chakras in intimate decentralized individual communication. Anyone caught in the Politburo paradigm is toast. They cannot keep up. The 15 year Divine “Window of Organizational Impairment” is at work 24/7/365/1000 as the energies of the World Age move on to the postmodern society of decentralized spirituality in individual spheres of action that is coming.

    Everyone keep posting.

  • Anonymouz

    On another note…

    The friends of Iran have been formally charged with connection to the Shiraz bombing…if my Farsi is correct.

  • Anonymouz

    On another note…

    The friends of Iran have been formally charged with connection to the Shiraz bombing…if my Farsi is correct.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote:
    I think you mean Grover here.

    Yes, sorry for the mistake.
    Farhan

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Craig wrote:
    I think you mean Grover here.

    Yes, sorry for the mistake.
    Farhan

  • Anonymouz

    Sen,

    Can you say for certain that no one who was invollved in your diss-enrollment read the book?

  • Anonymouz

    Sen,

    Can you say for certain that no one who was invollved in your diss-enrollment read the book?

  • farhan

    Sen wrote:
    “I think this is quite wrong. Is there somewhere a clause in the Will and Testament that says it only applies to enrolled Bahais?”

    Sen, God’s laws are prescriptions which apply to all humanity, but only those who take active part in Baha’i activities are required to observe them; a non Baha’i wishing to have a Baha’i marriage needs the consent of his parents for the Baha’i ceremony, but no Baha’i institution will interfere with his drinking habits or if he decides to openly have a girl friend after his Baha’i marriage.

    You cannot remove voting rights from someone who is not enrolled, but of course nothing in the W&T of Abdu’l-Baha speaks of enrollment procedures which become a practical necessity when a community grows.

    Yes, enrollment is a relatively new procedure, and in some places like in Iran, we dont really know who is actually a Baha’i or not.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Sen wrote:
    “I think this is quite wrong. Is there somewhere a clause in the Will and Testament that says it only applies to enrolled Bahais?”

    Sen, God’s laws are prescriptions which apply to all humanity, but only those who take active part in Baha’i activities are required to observe them; a non Baha’i wishing to have a Baha’i marriage needs the consent of his parents for the Baha’i ceremony, but no Baha’i institution will interfere with his drinking habits or if he decides to openly have a girl friend after his Baha’i marriage.

    You cannot remove voting rights from someone who is not enrolled, but of course nothing in the W&T of Abdu’l-Baha speaks of enrollment procedures which become a practical necessity when a community grows.

    Yes, enrollment is a relatively new procedure, and in some places like in Iran, we dont really know who is actually a Baha’i or not.

  • farhan

    Steve writes:
    “Baquia says, ?the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth.”

    Steve,
    Baquia explained that his point was to avoid an idealized vision of Baha’i youth in Iran, and I get his point.

    Baquia was explaining that Iran was not the right place to educate Baha’i youth, and I agree, although I would argue that the Baha’i youth in Iran are also in a position to influence other youth favorably and not only of being adversely influenced.

    I also believe he made a slip in saying “as much”. If I say there is “as much” alcohol abuse in Maoris as in Whites in NZ, I would have to produce statistical evidence; the point is that no one really knows who is and who is not a Baha’i in Iran at this time, so no one would be able to make statistics.

    So one slip for Baquia, the next slip for me ;-)

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Steve writes:
    “Baquia says, ?the Baha’i youth in Iran are as much polluted with the filth of the society they inhabit as other youth.”

    Steve,
    Baquia explained that his point was to avoid an idealized vision of Baha’i youth in Iran, and I get his point.

    Baquia was explaining that Iran was not the right place to educate Baha’i youth, and I agree, although I would argue that the Baha’i youth in Iran are also in a position to influence other youth favorably and not only of being adversely influenced.

    I also believe he made a slip in saying “as much”. If I say there is “as much” alcohol abuse in Maoris as in Whites in NZ, I would have to produce statistical evidence; the point is that no one really knows who is and who is not a Baha’i in Iran at this time, so no one would be able to make statistics.

    So one slip for Baquia, the next slip for me ;-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment=""]no one really knows who is and who is not a Baha’i in Iran at this time, so no one would be able to make statistics.[/quote]

    I’m puzzled why you say this Farhan. The authorities certainly know who the Baha’is are since there is widespread persecution, even tragically among school children. As well the Baha’i institutions within Iran certainly know who the Baha’is are because they are asked to perform administrative functions including vouching for Iranian Baha’is who request asylum, as part of gaining refuge status to leave Iran, in a nearby country from the UN office there (no I won’t name the country).

    [quote comment="52428"]Can you say for certain that no one who was invollved in your diss-enrollment read the book?[/quote]

    The onus is not on Sen to produce reasons or explanations why he was unenrolled. That responsibility lies with the institution that made the decision. That there was never reasons given nor any transparent process followed is intriguing. If anyone has questions regarding this I suggest they contact the UHJ/ITC.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment=""]no one really knows who is and who is not a Baha’i in Iran at this time, so no one would be able to make statistics.[/quote]

    I’m puzzled why you say this Farhan. The authorities certainly know who the Baha’is are since there is widespread persecution, even tragically among school children. As well the Baha’i institutions within Iran certainly know who the Baha’is are because they are asked to perform administrative functions including vouching for Iranian Baha’is who request asylum, as part of gaining refuge status to leave Iran, in a nearby country from the UN office there (no I won’t name the country).

    [quote comment="52428"]Can you say for certain that no one who was invollved in your diss-enrollment read the book?[/quote]

    The onus is not on Sen to produce reasons or explanations why he was unenrolled. That responsibility lies with the institution that made the decision. That there was never reasons given nor any transparent process followed is intriguing. If anyone has questions regarding this I suggest they contact the UHJ/ITC.

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion.”

    Quakers also form a faith rather than a church. George Fox said that the faith was people, not church; all people could minister the Word of God.

    “It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership … This separation of the 3 organs means that people who do not worship together can be part of the same community.”

    Does not disenrollment mean that one is not a member of the Baha’i community? If one is disenrolled, one is no longer a member of the faith community, correct?

    Grover wrote:

    “In the Baha’i Faith we don’t have that option, unless the members of the disenrolled, disillusioned and inactive Baha’is form their own faith communities.”

    I think this depends on how you conceptualize the Baha’i faith. If you believe that the Baha’i World Faith headquartered in Haifa is the Baha’i faith, then you don’t have that option. But there are other forms, other faith communities, that call themselves Baha’i, however small in number: the Orthodox Baha’is, the BUPC, the Reform Baha’is, etc. Then there are groups like Aurora Baha, which incorporate some elements of Baha’ism but do not call themselves Baha’i. In our postmodern, pluralistic society, this is only to be expected. And I expect it to become more common over the coming decades.

  • Andrew

    Sen McGlinn wrote:

    “But the Bahai Faith does not claim to be a church, it claims to be a religion.”

    Quakers also form a faith rather than a church. George Fox said that the faith was people, not church; all people could minister the Word of God.

    “It is a characteristic of the sect that belief/identity goes automatically together with membership … This separation of the 3 organs means that people who do not worship together can be part of the same community.”

    Does not disenrollment mean that one is not a member of the Baha’i community? If one is disenrolled, one is no longer a member of the faith community, correct?

    Grover wrote:

    “In the Baha’i Faith we don’t have that option, unless the members of the disenrolled, disillusioned and inactive Baha’is form their own faith communities.”

    I think this depends on how you conceptualize the Baha’i faith. If you believe that the Baha’i World Faith headquartered in Haifa is the Baha’i faith, then you don’t have that option. But there are other forms, other faith communities, that call themselves Baha’i, however small in number: the Orthodox Baha’is, the BUPC, the Reform Baha’is, etc. Then there are groups like Aurora Baha, which incorporate some elements of Baha’ism but do not call themselves Baha’i. In our postmodern, pluralistic society, this is only to be expected. And I expect it to become more common over the coming decades.

  • Anonymouz

    I have recently conducted an interview with a Baha’i youth in Iran just to prove a point. It was not actually an interview, but a chat. I have secured his permission and I will keep his name anonymous to give a glimpse into the day to day lives of the Baha’is of Iran. Baquia’s and others miss-characterization of that community and what they are afflicted with is without evidence and will soon be countered with some sobering realizations.

    Its on my computer at work so I will have to wait until later to post it. Stay tuned.

  • Anonymouz

    I have recently conducted an interview with a Baha’i youth in Iran just to prove a point. It was not actually an interview, but a chat. I have secured his permission and I will keep his name anonymous to give a glimpse into the day to day lives of the Baha’is of Iran. Baquia’s and others miss-characterization of that community and what they are afflicted with is without evidence and will soon be countered with some sobering realizations.

    Its on my computer at work so I will have to wait until later to post it. Stay tuned.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Anon asked:
    [quote comment=""]Can you say for certain that no one who was involved in your diss-enrollment read the book?[/quote]

    No, all I know is that there was no time for anyone to read the whole book, and that the UHJ itself has said ?Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.? I assume this is the truth

    Sen

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    Anon asked:
    [quote comment=""]Can you say for certain that no one who was involved in your diss-enrollment read the book?[/quote]

    No, all I know is that there was no time for anyone to read the whole book, and that the UHJ itself has said ?Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.? I assume this is the truth

    Sen

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    Then from what I have read in posts in other places, the “Baha’i theologian” trumped up “smoking gun” red herring combined with the file people at the top of the AO who really don’t like you had on you kind of all went critical and the disenrollment template in Microsoft word and licking a stamp all went into gear. Kind of like management by teenage girls trying to kick someone out of their high school club.

    Shouldn’t people kicked out of the Baha’i Faith this way be formally given the reasons and some kind of procedure of due process?

    Honestly, it is embarrassing. It is like all of the members of the UHJ were using the same color of purple on their finger nails and toe nails with their new bathing suits this year and you went with last years burgundy and gold dust glitter and they kicked you out.

    It seems perhaps they have some kind of device that measures at all times the thickness of the file they have on people in the rank and file they consider nuisances in their clique. Once it reaches a certain thickness the whole system goes into totally automatic mode and the Microsoft Word template kicks in and the stamp licker working at the World Center sticks their tongue out. Perhaps this is how it works?

    Shouldn’t an administrative organization that claims it is at present a nascent theocracy that will eventually rule the entire known world and have control over every person on Earth begin to grasp the concept of due process? I think having some kind of system of due process would be a very good idea for any organization attempting to rule the world. Otherwise, things could get ugly and very fast.

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    Then from what I have read in posts in other places, the “Baha’i theologian” trumped up “smoking gun” red herring combined with the file people at the top of the AO who really don’t like you had on you kind of all went critical and the disenrollment template in Microsoft word and licking a stamp all went into gear. Kind of like management by teenage girls trying to kick someone out of their high school club.

    Shouldn’t people kicked out of the Baha’i Faith this way be formally given the reasons and some kind of procedure of due process?

    Honestly, it is embarrassing. It is like all of the members of the UHJ were using the same color of purple on their finger nails and toe nails with their new bathing suits this year and you went with last years burgundy and gold dust glitter and they kicked you out.

    It seems perhaps they have some kind of device that measures at all times the thickness of the file they have on people in the rank and file they consider nuisances in their clique. Once it reaches a certain thickness the whole system goes into totally automatic mode and the Microsoft Word template kicks in and the stamp licker working at the World Center sticks their tongue out. Perhaps this is how it works?

    Shouldn’t an administrative organization that claims it is at present a nascent theocracy that will eventually rule the entire known world and have control over every person on Earth begin to grasp the concept of due process? I think having some kind of system of due process would be a very good idea for any organization attempting to rule the world. Otherwise, things could get ugly and very fast.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    ? I’m puzzled why you say this Farhan. The authorities certainly know who the Baha’is are since there is widespread persecution, even tragically among school children.?

    Baquia,
    from what I gather, for security reasons, many Baha’is are not listed and only those ready to give their lives defy the laws by openly claiming to be Baha’is; children born into Baha’i families are not automatically considered as Baha’is and declarations are not officially accepted. The authorities only persecute those who openly claim to be Baha’is.

    Hence those who dissimulate their faith or openly recant are not considered as Baha’is and are not troubled. So those who do not live a Baha’i way of life have nothing to gain and everything to lose by claiming to be Baha’is.

    If you have other information, please share.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Baquia wrote:
    ? I’m puzzled why you say this Farhan. The authorities certainly know who the Baha’is are since there is widespread persecution, even tragically among school children.?

    Baquia,
    from what I gather, for security reasons, many Baha’is are not listed and only those ready to give their lives defy the laws by openly claiming to be Baha’is; children born into Baha’i families are not automatically considered as Baha’is and declarations are not officially accepted. The authorities only persecute those who openly claim to be Baha’is.

    Hence those who dissimulate their faith or openly recant are not considered as Baha’is and are not troubled. So those who do not live a Baha’i way of life have nothing to gain and everything to lose by claiming to be Baha’is.

    If you have other information, please share.

  • Anonymouz

    On that note, I have read and heard the different numbers and figures about the Baha’is in Iran. I have heard from Muslim Iranians that there are a few million, not a few hundred thousand. On Baha’i sites, I have seen estimates from 300,000 to 500,000. Reports do show that there have been recantations, lying on official documents, and even reported Azalis calling for the persecution of Baha’is. Azalis in Iran do not associate with the Baha’is and are hidden within the Muslim population and actively lie about their beliefs. This is not the cases with Baha’is. If one says they are not a Baha’i, then they are not. The House of Justice frowns upon denial of faith, at least in Iran, and examines on a case by case basis when for example a Baha’i falsified exit visa paperwork to get out of the country and then re-enrolls in the community he or she gets to.

  • Anonymouz

    On that note, I have read and heard the different numbers and figures about the Baha’is in Iran. I have heard from Muslim Iranians that there are a few million, not a few hundred thousand. On Baha’i sites, I have seen estimates from 300,000 to 500,000. Reports do show that there have been recantations, lying on official documents, and even reported Azalis calling for the persecution of Baha’is. Azalis in Iran do not associate with the Baha’is and are hidden within the Muslim population and actively lie about their beliefs. This is not the cases with Baha’is. If one says they are not a Baha’i, then they are not. The House of Justice frowns upon denial of faith, at least in Iran, and examines on a case by case basis when for example a Baha’i falsified exit visa paperwork to get out of the country and then re-enrolls in the community he or she gets to.

  • Bird

    Sen

    I really can’t imagine what you must be going through. Honest to goodness shame with so many “good ones” flocking away they not allow back simply one that desires to stay. A well versed one at that… Indeed a shame… for them… I’m lucky I took my own freedom back when I did and I am ever so grateful to be just Bird these days, nothing else, no other name but the one my parents gave me. Finally freed from labels and it’s really quite amazing, wish I got here sooner. In fact, I am so completely out of the cage I have gone on to study the myth/truth of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. What a blessed name, I will shout it for you – LILITH!…. Stay tuned I may become a seductress. How enchanting…. All topics of history and present are on the desk top, at my finger tips. For many years I was only interested in reading ?approved? material, now the world, all the ranting, uncensored concepts and ideas are just a google away. .. Oh the delights that have already found me and still await…

    I’ve always thought my relationship with our creator is very private and personal and I think you are lucky they gave you your freedom of individual investigation back! Again living in a sea of possibilities… what a profound gesture on their part…

    ?(?_o)/?

    Free Bird – daughter of Lilith….
    ********************************

  • Bird

    Sen

    I really can’t imagine what you must be going through. Honest to goodness shame with so many “good ones” flocking away they not allow back simply one that desires to stay. A well versed one at that… Indeed a shame… for them… I’m lucky I took my own freedom back when I did and I am ever so grateful to be just Bird these days, nothing else, no other name but the one my parents gave me. Finally freed from labels and it’s really quite amazing, wish I got here sooner. In fact, I am so completely out of the cage I have gone on to study the myth/truth of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. What a blessed name, I will shout it for you – LILITH!…. Stay tuned I may become a seductress. How enchanting…. All topics of history and present are on the desk top, at my finger tips. For many years I was only interested in reading ?approved? material, now the world, all the ranting, uncensored concepts and ideas are just a google away. .. Oh the delights that have already found me and still await…

    I’ve always thought my relationship with our creator is very private and personal and I think you are lucky they gave you your freedom of individual investigation back! Again living in a sea of possibilities… what a profound gesture on their part…

    ?\(?_o)/?

    Free Bird – daughter of Lilith….
    ********************************

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    I just read this article in my copy of the New Yorker a few days ago. I now see that it is now on-line on their site: An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism.

    This turn of events is quite interesting! I found your brief overviews of some of the various turns and twists in Islamic thought down through the centuries on various views on civil governance in “Church and State” quite fascinating. As I wrote you once, if you broadened the book away from just the narrow Baha’i issues and made it a book about the general history of Islamic thought on civil governance down through the Ages you would have a best seller to a much bigger general readership in Western countries about Islamic thought on this now critical issue in world affairs in daily headlines.

    Any comments you might have on this sudden recent turn of events discussed in this latest New Yorker article from your body of thought and scholarly research for “Church and State” would be quite interesting.

    I thought your book was completely fascinating from far beyond a mere Baha’i viewpoint although it was that too.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Sen,

    I just read this article in my copy of the New Yorker a few days ago. I now see that it is now on-line on their site: An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism.

    This turn of events is quite interesting! I found your brief overviews of some of the various turns and twists in Islamic thought down through the centuries on various views on civil governance in “Church and State” quite fascinating. As I wrote you once, if you broadened the book away from just the narrow Baha’i issues and made it a book about the general history of Islamic thought on civil governance down through the Ages you would have a best seller to a much bigger general readership in Western countries about Islamic thought on this now critical issue in world affairs in daily headlines.

    Any comments you might have on this sudden recent turn of events discussed in this latest New Yorker article from your body of thought and scholarly research for “Church and State” would be quite interesting.

    I thought your book was completely fascinating from far beyond a mere Baha’i viewpoint although it was that too.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:

    “That there was never reasons given nor any transparent process followed is intriguing. If anyone has questions regarding this I suggest they contact the UHJ/ITC.”

    Baquia,
    It would seem rude to me to asking Sen to explain the reasons for his disenrollment online, and I would not imagine that the UHJ/ITC would explain to a third party why a person has been disenrolled, unless this information was needed within the community.

    Since Sens writings are not the cause of his disenrolment, I would be surprised that the UHJ would have disenrolled a person without explaining the “actions” which were not in conformity with Baha’i behaviour.

    Without giving the reason for his disenrolment, perhaps Sen would confirm to us that he has been informed of the reason himself.

    Sen quotes the UHJ:

    ?Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.?

    Sen, I understand that in some cases, people having taken a political stand have been disenrolled.

    Abdu’l-Baha does say that he who wishes to make a political declaration should first say that he is not a Baha’i.

    This was true for Mr Hoveida and more has been the case more recently with a Palestinian leader who were from a Baha’i background and whose opponents accused them of being Baha’is and had to repeatedly deny they were Baha’is.

    I would be happy to hear that you were personally informed of the reason for your disenrollment.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:

    “That there was never reasons given nor any transparent process followed is intriguing. If anyone has questions regarding this I suggest they contact the UHJ/ITC.”

    Baquia,
    It would seem rude to me to asking Sen to explain the reasons for his disenrollment online, and I would not imagine that the UHJ/ITC would explain to a third party why a person has been disenrolled, unless this information was needed within the community.

    Since Sens writings are not the cause of his disenrolment, I would be surprised that the UHJ would have disenrolled a person without explaining the “actions” which were not in conformity with Baha’i behaviour.

    Without giving the reason for his disenrolment, perhaps Sen would confirm to us that he has been informed of the reason himself.

    Sen quotes the UHJ:

    ?Concerns with Mr. McGlinn’s actions have nothing to do with his treatment of topics such as church and state.?

    Sen, I understand that in some cases, people having taken a political stand have been disenrolled.

    Abdu’l-Baha does say that he who wishes to make a political declaration should first say that he is not a Baha’i.

    This was true for Mr Hoveida and more has been the case more recently with a Palestinian leader who were from a Baha’i background and whose opponents accused them of being Baha’is and had to repeatedly deny they were Baha’is.

    I would be happy to hear that you were personally informed of the reason for your disenrollment.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    re Iranian Baha’is: again, I’m puzzled why you think that the Iranian Baha’is must go around with self placed placards around their necks with big letters saying “BAHAI” for them to be identified as such. We know clearly from the actions of the government as well as thugs (such as the Basijis) that they know who the Baha’is are. I don’t want to repeat myself but this is obvious otherwise if the Baha’i community were to simply “melt into the background” so to say, they would not be such ready targets of persecution. If anyone thinks that the local Mullah in Iran has no idea who is a Baha’i family in their neighborhood, well, they are obviously ignorant of the on the ground situation.

    re Sen’s unenrollment:
    I’m sure Sen will answer you but I will clarify why I said that a person should ask the UHJ/ITC. Many have asked Sen if he was given an answer or reason as to why he was unenrolled. Sen has before mentioned that no such reason nor was he in any way involved or invited into a transparent process. He just received a letter from his NSA informing him of the UHJ’s decision out of the blue.

    What has happened of course is that Sen’s reputation has been deluged under a whisper campaign which runs the gamut, from innuendo to outright slander. Since no information at all was given, and since some Baha’is, like robots, have stopped using their own brains, they assume that the UHJ must have had a good reason. Why else would they kick someone out? So Sen must be at fault… somehow.

    This is wrong. Wrong. WRONG. W R O N G.

    While I can understand people’s natural curiosity regarding Sen’s unenrollment, interrogating him while ignoring the institution that made the decision is WRONG and insulting.

    To make you understand, imagine for a moment that a judge were to throw Mr. Farhan Yazdani into jail, with no trial, no evidence presented in open court, no due process, no proceedings… just a decision. And then to have people constantly ask you: “Well, what did you do Farhan? Did you steal? You must have stolen something, right? Or did you kill someone? who did you kill? You must have done something really nasty to be thrown in jail.” While many others don’t even extend to you the courtesy of asking but go on a rampage of simply asserting their own theories and pushing them as if it were true.

    All the while they completely ignore the fact that there was no trial. No evidence, no open “court”, no due process, etc. Please imagine that for 5 seconds. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. ok done. How would you feel? would you say this is justice? or a travesty of justice?

    This is exactly why I said the onus is on the UHJ/ITC to explain and engage in due process and transparency. I don’t disagree with you that this is a personal matter and that the information is none of people’s business really. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you are being rude to Sen but you are ignoring the elephant in the room.

    The elephant being the injustice inherent in an opaque process that evades due process. What is doubly lost on people is that Sen is an incredibly patient and virtuous person to answer people, even when the very question is loathsome and insulting. He is far far more patient than I would be in such a situation.

    But what should be everyone’s business is HOW the UHJ arrived at the decision, how they did not engage in consultative dialogue with Sen, how they did not follow due process or transparency in any way. How they engaged in seemingly arbitrary and dictatorial authority.

    This should be every Baha’is’ business. Well, at least the Baha’is who still have ownership of their brains and are putting it to use for something other than rote Ruhi classes.

    ps the same could be said of Alison Marshall‘s unenrollment – no info, no disclosure, no due process, etc. You can read an interview where Alison was asked the same question here.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    re Iranian Baha’is: again, I’m puzzled why you think that the Iranian Baha’is must go around with self placed placards around their necks with big letters saying “BAHAI” for them to be identified as such. We know clearly from the actions of the government as well as thugs (such as the Basijis) that they know who the Baha’is are. I don’t want to repeat myself but this is obvious otherwise if the Baha’i community were to simply “melt into the background” so to say, they would not be such ready targets of persecution. If anyone thinks that the local Mullah in Iran has no idea who is a Baha’i family in their neighborhood, well, they are obviously ignorant of the on the ground situation.

    re Sen’s unenrollment:
    I’m sure Sen will answer you but I will clarify why I said that a person should ask the UHJ/ITC. Many have asked Sen if he was given an answer or reason as to why he was unenrolled. Sen has before mentioned that no such reason nor was he in any way involved or invited into a transparent process. He just received a letter from his NSA informing him of the UHJ’s decision out of the blue.

    What has happened of course is that Sen’s reputation has been deluged under a whisper campaign which runs the gamut, from innuendo to outright slander. Since no information at all was given, and since some Baha’is, like robots, have stopped using their own brains, they assume that the UHJ must have had a good reason. Why else would they kick someone out? So Sen must be at fault… somehow.

    This is wrong. Wrong. WRONG. W R O N G.

    While I can understand people’s natural curiosity regarding Sen’s unenrollment, interrogating him while ignoring the institution that made the decision is WRONG and insulting.

    To make you understand, imagine for a moment that a judge were to throw Mr. Farhan Yazdani into jail, with no trial, no evidence presented in open court, no due process, no proceedings… just a decision. And then to have people constantly ask you: “Well, what did you do Farhan? Did you steal? You must have stolen something, right? Or did you kill someone? who did you kill? You must have done something really nasty to be thrown in jail.” While many others don’t even extend to you the courtesy of asking but go on a rampage of simply asserting their own theories and pushing them as if it were true.

    All the while they completely ignore the fact that there was no trial. No evidence, no open “court”, no due process, etc. Please imagine that for 5 seconds. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. ok done. How would you feel? would you say this is justice? or a travesty of justice?

    This is exactly why I said the onus is on the UHJ/ITC to explain and engage in due process and transparency. I don’t disagree with you that this is a personal matter and that the information is none of people’s business really. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you are being rude to Sen but you are ignoring the elephant in the room.

    The elephant being the injustice inherent in an opaque process that evades due process. What is doubly lost on people is that Sen is an incredibly patient and virtuous person to answer people, even when the very question is loathsome and insulting. He is far far more patient than I would be in such a situation.

    But what should be everyone’s business is HOW the UHJ arrived at the decision, how they did not engage in consultative dialogue with Sen, how they did not follow due process or transparency in any way. How they engaged in seemingly arbitrary and dictatorial authority.

    This should be every Baha’is’ business. Well, at least the Baha’is who still have ownership of their brains and are putting it to use for something other than rote Ruhi classes.

    ps the same could be said of Alison Marshall‘s unenrollment – no info, no disclosure, no due process, etc. You can read an interview where Alison was asked the same question here.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment=""]the same could be said of Alison Marshall‘s unenrollment – no info, no disclosure, no due process, etc. You can read an interview where Alison was asked the same question here.[/quote]

    Darn right. The NSA couldn’t even get the email address right and sent the removal-of-membership email to me. The second thing I did was let the NSA know it had the wrong address. Alison’s removal was completely out of the blue. No warning, no counselling, no hints beforehand. Study classes conducted in the area don’t count – we’ve always had them. Do read Alison’s story, Farhan. It’ll help you understand the whole sorry process.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment=""]the same could be said of Alison Marshall‘s unenrollment – no info, no disclosure, no due process, etc. You can read an interview where Alison was asked the same question here.[/quote]

    Darn right. The NSA couldn’t even get the email address right and sent the removal-of-membership email to me. The second thing I did was let the NSA know it had the wrong address. Alison’s removal was completely out of the blue. No warning, no counselling, no hints beforehand. Study classes conducted in the area don’t count – we’ve always had them. Do read Alison’s story, Farhan. It’ll help you understand the whole sorry process.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote post="500"]Without giving the reason for his disenrolment, perhaps Sen would confirm to us that he has been informed of the reason himself.[/quote]

    No, the only information I have is from a letter which was not addressed to me, but to the NSAs of the world. The text is available at
    http://bahairants.com/fahrenheit-145-77.html

    The only information I have had since then is negative. One person ran a campaign for some time attempting to prove I was disenrolled because I had not followed Bahai review – this was eventually squashed by a letter from the UHJ saying that this was not the basis for their decision. Other people have said that it was because of my opinions on the church-state issue, and that too has been squashed by the UHJ. The scuttlebutt among certain Persian Bahais is that I did something really nasty when I visited Iran a few years ago. If they can figure out what they think I did, and where, no doubt the UHJ will squash that too. I gather your theory is that I have been politically involved. When you’ve worked out the details, I suggest you write to the ITC or UHJ asking if political involvement was the reason for Mr. McGlinn’s disenrollment. From past examples, I think they will be happy to say it was not.

    I do not support calls for due process and transparency in relation to enrollment and disenrollment, for several reasons:

    – It would lead to heresy trials, which are more harmful than the ill they are supposed to correct,

    – It would confuse disenrollment with the removal of voting rights. When someone does something wrong, the ultimate sanction is the removal of rights, and there is a procedure and counseling and consultation, and they know what they have to do to get their voting rights back. None of this applies to disenrollment.

    – It would give too much weight to disenrollment. If there were formal reasons given for a disenrollment, and the person had a chance to hear them and refute them before the decision was taken, the Bahais in the community would have every reason to think that those who eventually were disenrolled had really done something very wrong. As it is, disenrollment is more like deciding not to extend the term of a Counselor – no reasons are given, and the sensible thing for observers is to be agnostic, not to invent reasons.

    For me, and I think for Bahais generally, the interesting question is not what was the reason, but what is the purpose, in disenrolling certain people?
    What vision of the future Bahai community lies behind this?
    What is the function of membership rolls in it?
    How are the unenrolled Bahais expected to contribute to it?
    How does the existence of two different kinds of Bahais affect relationships in the community, and between the community and the world?

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote post="500"]Without giving the reason for his disenrolment, perhaps Sen would confirm to us that he has been informed of the reason himself.[/quote]

    No, the only information I have is from a letter which was not addressed to me, but to the NSAs of the world. The text is available at
    http://bahairants.com/fahrenheit-145-77.html

    The only information I have had since then is negative. One person ran a campaign for some time attempting to prove I was disenrolled because I had not followed Bahai review – this was eventually squashed by a letter from the UHJ saying that this was not the basis for their decision. Other people have said that it was because of my opinions on the church-state issue, and that too has been squashed by the UHJ. The scuttlebutt among certain Persian Bahais is that I did something really nasty when I visited Iran a few years ago. If they can figure out what they think I did, and where, no doubt the UHJ will squash that too. I gather your theory is that I have been politically involved. When you’ve worked out the details, I suggest you write to the ITC or UHJ asking if political involvement was the reason for Mr. McGlinn’s disenrollment. From past examples, I think they will be happy to say it was not.

    I do not support calls for due process and transparency in relation to enrollment and disenrollment, for several reasons:

    – It would lead to heresy trials, which are more harmful than the ill they are supposed to correct,

    – It would confuse disenrollment with the removal of voting rights. When someone does something wrong, the ultimate sanction is the removal of rights, and there is a procedure and counseling and consultation, and they know what they have to do to get their voting rights back. None of this applies to disenrollment.

    – It would give too much weight to disenrollment. If there were formal reasons given for a disenrollment, and the person had a chance to hear them and refute them before the decision was taken, the Bahais in the community would have every reason to think that those who eventually were disenrolled had really done something very wrong. As it is, disenrollment is more like deciding not to extend the term of a Counselor – no reasons are given, and the sensible thing for observers is to be agnostic, not to invent reasons.

    For me, and I think for Bahais generally, the interesting question is not what was the reason, but what is the purpose, in disenrolling certain people?
    What vision of the future Bahai community lies behind this?
    What is the function of membership rolls in it?
    How are the unenrolled Bahais expected to contribute to it?
    How does the existence of two different kinds of Bahais affect relationships in the community, and between the community and the world?

  • farhan

    Thanks Sen for sharing

    I will give thought to your interesting comments and I commend your patience in this test.

    One understanding to which i have arrived is that in the shelter of God’s love there is place for all humanity, but serving in God’s Faith needs specific caracteristics. Not being a BIGS does mean we can no longer contribute to the funds or to the Huquq, but we are not deprived fro the love of God.

    A question comes to my mind: can a disenrolled Baha’i benefit from a Baha’i marriage?

    Steve wrote:
    “Do read Alison’s story, Farhan. ”

    I am just becoming informed of these issues and I would be happy to understand better, but as an expert I have learnt that sometimes tribunals take decisions that they cannot publicly defend because of the confidential issues involved for the victims and for the offenders;

    The fact that i don’t understand does not mean that tribunals took decisions that were not in the intersests of society.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Thanks Sen for sharing

    I will give thought to your interesting comments and I commend your patience in this test.

    One understanding to which i have arrived is that in the shelter of God’s love there is place for all humanity, but serving in God’s Faith needs specific caracteristics. Not being a BIGS does mean we can no longer contribute to the funds or to the Huquq, but we are not deprived fro the love of God.

    A question comes to my mind: can a disenrolled Baha’i benefit from a Baha’i marriage?

    Steve wrote:
    “Do read Alison’s story, Farhan. ”

    I am just becoming informed of these issues and I would be happy to understand better, but as an expert I have learnt that sometimes tribunals take decisions that they cannot publicly defend because of the confidential issues involved for the victims and for the offenders;

    The fact that i don’t understand does not mean that tribunals took decisions that were not in the intersests of society.

  • anonymouz

    The dis-enrollments are clearly a subject of contention and pain for many, but I was thinking about this this weekend and I can’t say that I know how or why it happened, but I know in Allison’s cases she is and was a strong advocate of women on the House of Justice. You know what, if it was up to me, I would be too, but this is a test of faith and we have to pray for understanding and guidance, not go tell everyone that it should change or its wrong. This is where the problem is, trying to convince and press your views on others…

    As far as Sen goes, I am almost certain that he will eventually be re-enrolled, if that’s what he really wants. I have a theory that, although I am uninformed of the books contents, the introduction, which they clearly cited in a now distributed letter is where the issue was. His unprecedented claim to be a Baha’i theologian probably ruffled some feathers. I have never read anywhere by even the most erudite Baha’i scholars this term…I’m pretty sure that is where this issue lays.

    In my own opinion and from what I have read, only one other person ever published under similar circumstances, calling himself a Baha’i philosopher, and even then it was anonymous. This was Abdul’Baha in Secrets of Divine Civilization.

  • anonymouz

    The dis-enrollments are clearly a subject of contention and pain for many, but I was thinking about this this weekend and I can’t say that I know how or why it happened, but I know in Allison’s cases she is and was a strong advocate of women on the House of Justice. You know what, if it was up to me, I would be too, but this is a test of faith and we have to pray for understanding and guidance, not go tell everyone that it should change or its wrong. This is where the problem is, trying to convince and press your views on others…

    As far as Sen goes, I am almost certain that he will eventually be re-enrolled, if that’s what he really wants. I have a theory that, although I am uninformed of the books contents, the introduction, which they clearly cited in a now distributed letter is where the issue was. His unprecedented claim to be a Baha’i theologian probably ruffled some feathers. I have never read anywhere by even the most erudite Baha’i scholars this term…I’m pretty sure that is where this issue lays.

    In my own opinion and from what I have read, only one other person ever published under similar circumstances, calling himself a Baha’i philosopher, and even then it was anonymous. This was Abdul’Baha in Secrets of Divine Civilization.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    When one goes to the source, that is, authoritative Baha’i texts, and basis one’s opinion on them and returns to them again and again, while others are spouting off from lala-land… well, you know what? they have absolutely every right to say [pointing] it says here that “Baha’i faith says this”

    Therefore the assertion that one is “pressing one’s views” is baseless when those views are grounded on and spring from the Writings directly rather than “vain imaginings”. Baha’u’llah says:

    Verily this is that Most Great Beauty, foretold in the Books of the Messengers, through Whom truth shall be distinguished from error…

    There is truth and there is error. Baha’u’llah says He stands and separates the two. Clinging to His words then one can say, this is error, this is truth. There is nothing wrong in that.

    A theologian is:

    Main Entry: the·ol·o·gy
    Pronunciation: thE-’?-l&-jE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -gies
    Etymology: Middle English theologie, from Latin theologia, from Greek, from the- + -logia -logy
    1 : the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

    So a Baha’i theologian is a person who studies the Baha’i Faith, the practice of the Baha’i Faith and the experience. So what is wrong with using that word exactly?

    We have Christian theologians, Muslim theologians, etc. The word theologian does not necessarily denote clerical status but rather is a description of the person’s “job”. So my friend Peter can be a Jewish theologian and not be a Rabbi. And you can be a Rabbi and a theologian. Follow me?

    And would someone please point out to me where McGlinn covets “ecclesiastical rank”? I’ve set a $500 bounty on that so get your safari hats on.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    When one goes to the source, that is, authoritative Baha’i texts, and basis one’s opinion on them and returns to them again and again, while others are spouting off from lala-land… well, you know what? they have absolutely every right to say [pointing] it says here that “Baha’i faith says this”

    Therefore the assertion that one is “pressing one’s views” is baseless when those views are grounded on and spring from the Writings directly rather than “vain imaginings”. Baha’u’llah says:

    Verily this is that Most Great Beauty, foretold in the Books of the Messengers, through Whom truth shall be distinguished from error…

    There is truth and there is error. Baha’u’llah says He stands and separates the two. Clinging to His words then one can say, this is error, this is truth. There is nothing wrong in that.

    A theologian is:

    Main Entry: the·ol·o·gy
    Pronunciation: thE-’?-l&-jE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -gies
    Etymology: Middle English theologie, from Latin theologia, from Greek, from the- + -logia -logy
    1 : the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

    So a Baha’i theologian is a person who studies the Baha’i Faith, the practice of the Baha’i Faith and the experience. So what is wrong with using that word exactly?

    We have Christian theologians, Muslim theologians, etc. The word theologian does not necessarily denote clerical status but rather is a description of the person’s “job”. So my friend Peter can be a Jewish theologian and not be a Rabbi. And you can be a Rabbi and a theologian. Follow me?

    And would someone please point out to me where McGlinn covets “ecclesiastical rank”? I’ve set a $500 bounty on that so get your safari hats on.

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    You seem to be missing my point. All im saying is that this is the reason, apparently why the decision was made. They cited it in a letter and made the point that there are no Baha’i theologians as there are in Jewish, Chrisitan or Muslim traditions. These scholars of previous dispensations did indeed study religion and call them whatever you want. But a claim to be a Baha’i theologian infers that we have or should have a eclesiastical class known by this term. This is not in-line with the teachings of the faith…The same can be said if one goes about calling himself a Baha’i administrator. We do not have Baha’i administrators, we have Baha’is who serve in administrative functions and this is the extent of it. Its all in the wording…

    In a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in 1997, we may glean some of the reasoning used…Although it refers to administrators, just replace the words with theologians and see what you get. Again, I remind you no one in the work of studying the Faith has every claimed to be a Baha’i theologian. There is a reason for it.

    Comments have been made in recent times, implying the existence of two categories of believers, designated “administrators” and “academics”. The House of Justice feels that it is important to recognize the unsoundness of such a concept. In the nature of Bah??’? administration, there is no class of believers who serve as “administrators”. Individual Bah??’?s are either elected or appointed to positions of administrative service; they come from every field of endeavour, including academia. There is, moreover, a natural flow of individuals into and out of administrative posts. The same applies to the occupants of those institutions of the Administrative Order which are referred to as being of the “learned” in the Faith. Clearly there are some Bah??’?s who are “academics” and some who are not, but “academics” in no way constitute a recognized group in relation to the structure of the Cause.

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    You seem to be missing my point. All im saying is that this is the reason, apparently why the decision was made. They cited it in a letter and made the point that there are no Baha’i theologians as there are in Jewish, Chrisitan or Muslim traditions. These scholars of previous dispensations did indeed study religion and call them whatever you want. But a claim to be a Baha’i theologian infers that we have or should have a eclesiastical class known by this term. This is not in-line with the teachings of the faith…The same can be said if one goes about calling himself a Baha’i administrator. We do not have Baha’i administrators, we have Baha’is who serve in administrative functions and this is the extent of it. Its all in the wording…

    In a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in 1997, we may glean some of the reasoning used…Although it refers to administrators, just replace the words with theologians and see what you get. Again, I remind you no one in the work of studying the Faith has every claimed to be a Baha’i theologian. There is a reason for it.

    Comments have been made in recent times, implying the existence of two categories of believers, designated “administrators” and “academics”. The House of Justice feels that it is important to recognize the unsoundness of such a concept. In the nature of Bah??’? administration, there is no class of believers who serve as “administrators”. Individual Bah??’?s are either elected or appointed to positions of administrative service; they come from every field of endeavour, including academia. There is, moreover, a natural flow of individuals into and out of administrative posts. The same applies to the occupants of those institutions of the Administrative Order which are referred to as being of the “learned” in the Faith. Clearly there are some Bah??’?s who are “academics” and some who are not, but “academics” in no way constitute a recognized group in relation to the structure of the Cause.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yes, I understand what you are trying to say. Respectfully, I simply do not agree with it. The word “theologian” is clearly defined in the English language – if someone doesn’t know it, there is always a dictionary. It is synonymous to the common Baha’i vernacular “scholar”. There are other words such as “historian”. For example, Nabil was a Baha’i historian. We have no problem using such descriptive words, and neither should we as they are correct. I see no difference in their function.

    Shall we now forgo any and all adjectives because they can be interpreted by the ignorant few who lack a dictionary in fear that it would imply in their small minds a “class” or “ecclesiastical” order within the Baha’i Faith? clearly mere labels are not what matters but the imposition of an ecclesiastical intermediary between individuals and God. If labels were at fault then Baha’u’llah would have simply renamed the Mullah’s some other name and we’d be done here.

    To return to the matter at hand, you are projecting this explanation onto the UHJ although you admit you have no proof that this is the reason why Sen was disenrolled.

    Furthermore, to pick this one thing and argue that the UHJ threw Sen out because they did not understand a simple English word is insulting to them as individuals and as an institution.

    [quote comment="52474"]a claim to be a Baha’i theologian infers that we have or should have a eclesiastical class known by this term[/quote]

    Only if one invents a meaning for the word separate from everyone else. In which case I would argue that you have much more important matters to attend to… like mental health! ;-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yes, I understand what you are trying to say. Respectfully, I simply do not agree with it. The word “theologian” is clearly defined in the English language – if someone doesn’t know it, there is always a dictionary. It is synonymous to the common Baha’i vernacular “scholar”. There are other words such as “historian”. For example, Nabil was a Baha’i historian. We have no problem using such descriptive words, and neither should we as they are correct. I see no difference in their function.

    Shall we now forgo any and all adjectives because they can be interpreted by the ignorant few who lack a dictionary in fear that it would imply in their small minds a “class” or “ecclesiastical” order within the Baha’i Faith? clearly mere labels are not what matters but the imposition of an ecclesiastical intermediary between individuals and God. If labels were at fault then Baha’u’llah would have simply renamed the Mullah’s some other name and we’d be done here.

    To return to the matter at hand, you are projecting this explanation onto the UHJ although you admit you have no proof that this is the reason why Sen was disenrolled.

    Furthermore, to pick this one thing and argue that the UHJ threw Sen out because they did not understand a simple English word is insulting to them as individuals and as an institution.

    [quote comment="52474"]a claim to be a Baha’i theologian infers that we have or should have a eclesiastical class known by this term[/quote]

    Only if one invents a meaning for the word separate from everyone else. In which case I would argue that you have much more important matters to attend to… like mental health! ;-)

  • anonymouz

    OK, but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

  • anonymouz

    OK, but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

  • farhan

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “…but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

    Anonymouz, I know a Baha’i pioneer who called himself a missionary; both Baha’is and non-Baha’is frowned on that, but in fact there is a letter from Shoghi Effendi not forbidding the word, but advising to avoid it; no doubt because of the possible misinterpretations of the word; in the same way, although Baha’u’llah uses the Arabic word the “ullama? when he refers to the ?learned in Baha?, as we avoid the word and reserve it to Mollah Nasruddin.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “…but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

    Anonymouz, I know a Baha’i pioneer who called himself a missionary; both Baha’is and non-Baha’is frowned on that, but in fact there is a letter from Shoghi Effendi not forbidding the word, but advising to avoid it; no doubt because of the possible misinterpretations of the word; in the same way, although Baha’u’llah uses the Arabic word the “ullama? when he refers to the ?learned in Baha?, as we avoid the word and reserve it to Mollah Nasruddin.

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""]Anonymouz wrote:

    “…but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

    Anonymouz, I know a Baha’i pioneer who called himself a missionary; both Baha’is and non-Baha’is frowned on that, but in fact there is a letter from Shoghi Effendi not forbidding the word, but advising to avoid it; no doubt because of the possible misinterpretations of the word; in the same way, although Baha’u’llah uses the Arabic word the “ullama? when he refers to the ?learned in Baha?, as we avoid the word and reserve it to Mollah Nasruddin.[/quote]

    Exactly. I have learned that language in this Dispensation has a very special place and it is not be something of a trivial matter.

    By the way here is the link to the original message by the Universal House of Justice.

    http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=uhj_challenging_authority_uhj&language=All

    Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justicehave super sensitive to language and both have made an effort to use words perfectly and never out of context. So when they say “…Baha’i theologian”, I am almost positive that was what the issue was. If I remember correctly, Sen even said that they had no problem with the content of his book.

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""]Anonymouz wrote:

    “…but why do you think that no other Baha’i scholar has ever applied such a label to himself/herself?

    Anonymouz, I know a Baha’i pioneer who called himself a missionary; both Baha’is and non-Baha’is frowned on that, but in fact there is a letter from Shoghi Effendi not forbidding the word, but advising to avoid it; no doubt because of the possible misinterpretations of the word; in the same way, although Baha’u’llah uses the Arabic word the “ullama? when he refers to the ?learned in Baha?, as we avoid the word and reserve it to Mollah Nasruddin.[/quote]

    Exactly. I have learned that language in this Dispensation has a very special place and it is not be something of a trivial matter.

    By the way here is the link to the original message by the Universal House of Justice.

    http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=uhj_challenging_authority_uhj&language=All

    Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justicehave super sensitive to language and both have made an effort to use words perfectly and never out of context. So when they say “…Baha’i theologian”, I am almost positive that was what the issue was. If I remember correctly, Sen even said that they had no problem with the content of his book.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    I think that the word “scholar” as in Baha’i scholar has simply entered Baha’i vernacular. It is widely and commonly used to refer to those who have dedicated themselves to academic level study of the Baha’i Faith. That does not mean that Baha’i theologian is not a synonym obviously.

    Sen would be most appropriate to answer as to his choice of words but I would venture that “theologian” is an appropriate word considering its meaning and considering the academic nature of the book (thesis).

    [quote comment=""] Sen even said that they had no problem with the content of his book.[/quote]

    Which (again) disproves your assertion that the use of “theologian” had anything to do with it since it is content of the book.

    What really puzzles me is the way the letter from the Secretariat takes Sen’s words out of context, omits his clear declaration that he is only expressing his personal views and interjects a bizarre claim that he is seeking “ecclesiastical” rank without offering a shred of evidence to back it up. It is one of the sloppiest letters to come out of the BWC in a long time.

    When you consider that it was sent worldwide you begin to understand the magnitude. This is why I remind everyone that the onus is where it belongs – with the House to clarify their muddled letter. Not with you nor I nor Sen, to attempt to dissect it and rescue some semblance of coherence out of the mess.

    Farhan,
    are you telling me with a serious face that Shoghi Effendi would kick a Baha’i out of the Faith for calling themselves “missionaries”? or that Baha’u’llah or Abdu’l-Baha would do likewise to a Baha’i that used the word ‘ullama’? This is truly beyond preposterous. I’m sorry I know you are trying to find some wriggle room here but it is really just preposterous to imply that this is what happened in Sen’s case.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    I think that the word “scholar” as in Baha’i scholar has simply entered Baha’i vernacular. It is widely and commonly used to refer to those who have dedicated themselves to academic level study of the Baha’i Faith. That does not mean that Baha’i theologian is not a synonym obviously.

    Sen would be most appropriate to answer as to his choice of words but I would venture that “theologian” is an appropriate word considering its meaning and considering the academic nature of the book (thesis).

    [quote comment=""] Sen even said that they had no problem with the content of his book.[/quote]

    Which (again) disproves your assertion that the use of “theologian” had anything to do with it since it is content of the book.

    What really puzzles me is the way the letter from the Secretariat takes Sen’s words out of context, omits his clear declaration that he is only expressing his personal views and interjects a bizarre claim that he is seeking “ecclesiastical” rank without offering a shred of evidence to back it up. It is one of the sloppiest letters to come out of the BWC in a long time.

    When you consider that it was sent worldwide you begin to understand the magnitude. This is why I remind everyone that the onus is where it belongs – with the House to clarify their muddled letter. Not with you nor I nor Sen, to attempt to dissect it and rescue some semblance of coherence out of the mess.

    Farhan,
    are you telling me with a serious face that Shoghi Effendi would kick a Baha’i out of the Faith for calling themselves “missionaries”? or that Baha’u’llah or Abdu’l-Baha would do likewise to a Baha’i that used the word ‘ullama’? This is truly beyond preposterous. I’m sorry I know you are trying to find some wriggle room here but it is really just preposterous to imply that this is what happened in Sen’s case.

  • anonymouz

    I bet you 10 shekels, it all comes down to the use of “theologian”. You still haven’t given any good reason why Baha’i scholars that have published in the past have never ascended to such self labeling.

  • anonymouz

    I bet you 10 shekels, it all comes down to the use of “theologian”. You still haven’t given any good reason why Baha’i scholars that have published in the past have never ascended to such self labeling.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    For the last time Anon, theologian=scholar they are synonyms. If you don’t believe me, look it up!

    10 Shekels? There’s a $500 bounty on claims originating from Sen re ecclesiastical rank. Hop to it! ;-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    For the last time Anon, theologian=scholar they are synonyms. If you don’t believe me, look it up!

    10 Shekels? There’s a $500 bounty on claims originating from Sen re ecclesiastical rank. Hop to it! ;-)

  • anonymouz

    Were we are at an impasse.

    I do not agree, nor would I think the people at Oxford think that theologian and scholar are the same. They are related, but not the same and Sen’s self titling is what drew attention. There is no doubt as any fair minded observer would conclude that Sen is a bright guy and has a good grasp of what he is writing about. But he elevated himself by using this term, and whether you agree or not, the House of Justice felt this is not compatible with what the teachings of the Faith and the precedents of Shoghi Effendi, Abdul’Baha and Baha’u’llah dictated.

    May I remind you that many people in the history of the Faith have done exactly what Sen has done and similar repercussions have occurred. Say the word and I will refer you to where to read up on it. I prefer not to pollute this comment with their names, nor associate Sen with them. However, the circumstances are very similar.

    I feel that Sen still has a deep devotion to the House of Justice and believes in them. He has not openly rebelled to the best of my knowledge like some others lurking on the net, and he may still see the wisdom in all this.

  • anonymouz

    Were we are at an impasse.

    I do not agree, nor would I think the people at Oxford think that theologian and scholar are the same. They are related, but not the same and Sen’s self titling is what drew attention. There is no doubt as any fair minded observer would conclude that Sen is a bright guy and has a good grasp of what he is writing about. But he elevated himself by using this term, and whether you agree or not, the House of Justice felt this is not compatible with what the teachings of the Faith and the precedents of Shoghi Effendi, Abdul’Baha and Baha’u’llah dictated.

    May I remind you that many people in the history of the Faith have done exactly what Sen has done and similar repercussions have occurred. Say the word and I will refer you to where to read up on it. I prefer not to pollute this comment with their names, nor associate Sen with them. However, the circumstances are very similar.

    I feel that Sen still has a deep devotion to the House of Justice and believes in them. He has not openly rebelled to the best of my knowledge like some others lurking on the net, and he may still see the wisdom in all this.

  • Grover

    This is nuts! Aren’t you getting a bit pedantic over a word? Beware attachment to the kingdom of names and all the jazz. Sen’s a Baha’i theologian, Farhan is a Baha’i doctor, I’m a Baha’i educator. It is no way implies there is a position or title in the Faith, it’s just an indicator of what we do. Sen studies theology with respect to the Baha’i Faith, aka Baha’i theologian. Farhan is a doctor who happens to be a Baha’i, and I’m a teacher who happens to be a Baha’i. Sen could say it in the most verbose way possible ala UHJ, but no he chose to be nice and concise about it. No one else has probably called themselves it before because they’re too busy trying to do imitation UHJ i.e.

    “this humble servant with a bright and happy smile and endless love for Baha’u’llah at the sacred threshold is a mere lowly student of the peerless study of the boundless pearls of wisdom found in the endless ocean of the Baha’i teachings.”

    And Sen showing a very rare trait amongst Baha’is, i.e. excellent command of english and brevity, summed it up in two words:

    “Baha’i theologian”

    And you’re getting pissy over that. Give me a break! I bet if Sen had used the first phrase, he would have been elevated into sainthood like our esteemed Moojan Momen (who, when he isn’t slagging off about Baha’is in a completely un-Baha’i way in journal articles, does make good reading), and would probably be holding a position in the Centre for the Study of the Texts in Haifa.

    Regarding Baha’i missionary, changing the name doesn’t change the activity. Missionary = pioneer in my book, its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.

  • Grover

    This is nuts! Aren’t you getting a bit pedantic over a word? Beware attachment to the kingdom of names and all the jazz. Sen’s a Baha’i theologian, Farhan is a Baha’i doctor, I’m a Baha’i educator. It is no way implies there is a position or title in the Faith, it’s just an indicator of what we do. Sen studies theology with respect to the Baha’i Faith, aka Baha’i theologian. Farhan is a doctor who happens to be a Baha’i, and I’m a teacher who happens to be a Baha’i. Sen could say it in the most verbose way possible ala UHJ, but no he chose to be nice and concise about it. No one else has probably called themselves it before because they’re too busy trying to do imitation UHJ i.e.

    “this humble servant with a bright and happy smile and endless love for Baha’u’llah at the sacred threshold is a mere lowly student of the peerless study of the boundless pearls of wisdom found in the endless ocean of the Baha’i teachings.”

    And Sen showing a very rare trait amongst Baha’is, i.e. excellent command of english and brevity, summed it up in two words:

    “Baha’i theologian”

    And you’re getting pissy over that. Give me a break! I bet if Sen had used the first phrase, he would have been elevated into sainthood like our esteemed Moojan Momen (who, when he isn’t slagging off about Baha’is in a completely un-Baha’i way in journal articles, does make good reading), and would probably be holding a position in the Centre for the Study of the Texts in Haifa.

    Regarding Baha’i missionary, changing the name doesn’t change the activity. Missionary = pioneer in my book, its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.

  • anonymouz

    What a rant!

  • anonymouz

    What a rant!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yeah Grover, knock it off. That’s my department!

    :D

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Yeah Grover, knock it off. That’s my department!

    :D

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52495"]

    Grover wrote:

    Regarding Baha’i missionary, changing the name doesn’t change the activity. Missionary = pioneer in my book, its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.[/quote]

    Can you say Baha’i “missionary position” or is that forbidden to say too? Or do you have to say “Baha’i pioneer position”? Is anyone keeping track of these things? Does changing the name change the activity in any case? Or is it still the same activity? As anonymouz said “precision of language” is really, really important in the New Revelation. I need a ruling here.

    Meanwhile more people died in Iraq today. More soldiers blown to pieces “doing God’s work” so other people can eventually do a “full Pilgrimage” in Iraq. More people persecuting other people in the name of “their Prophet” and “their God”. More Mollah Nasruddins born into every land and every nation under every creed. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the dumb get dumber, and more plans are on the way after this plan.

    Everyone keep posting.

    Sooner or later things have got to start changing.

    Everywhere.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52495"]

    Grover wrote:

    Regarding Baha’i missionary, changing the name doesn’t change the activity. Missionary = pioneer in my book, its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.[/quote]

    Can you say Baha’i “missionary position” or is that forbidden to say too? Or do you have to say “Baha’i pioneer position”? Is anyone keeping track of these things? Does changing the name change the activity in any case? Or is it still the same activity? As anonymouz said “precision of language” is really, really important in the New Revelation. I need a ruling here.

    Meanwhile more people died in Iraq today. More soldiers blown to pieces “doing God’s work” so other people can eventually do a “full Pilgrimage” in Iraq. More people persecuting other people in the name of “their Prophet” and “their God”. More Mollah Nasruddins born into every land and every nation under every creed. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the dumb get dumber, and more plans are on the way after this plan.

    Everyone keep posting.

    Sooner or later things have got to start changing.

    Everywhere.

  • Grover

    Hahaha, well I hope you see the point I was trying to make.

  • Grover

    Hahaha, well I hope you see the point I was trying to make.

  • farhan

    Iranians call for the harshest of punishments for “Baha’i spies”
    ——————-
    Baquia wrote:
    “Farhan, are you telling me with a serious face that Shoghi Effendi would kick a Baha’i out of the Faith for calling themselves ?missionaries??”

    No, Baquia, I am not suggesting anything like that as you will notice in the quote I have just posted in reply to Grover; I am merely trying to figure out from a letter that perhaps does not say everything, because everything cannot always be said publicly.

    Sen quoted the UHJ saying it was not his book, but his “actions” that led to disenrollment, and I have no right to pry into that.

    If we are playing a game and a player is sanctionned by the referee, I will not contest that decision, as accepting the referee’s decision is part of the game, but I would like to understand so that I would not make the same mistake.

    If any misunderstanding has been involved in Sen’s situation, I have not the shadow of a doubt that through love and fortitude, God’s grace will make this stumbling block into a stepping stone for him.

    ——————-
    Grover,

    The word « chairperson » for an LSA in French is translated as « pr?sident ». This word has a different implication in French than the function of « coordinator » understood in the Farsi word « nazim » the one who maintains order in an LSA ; and we have some dysfunctions stemming back to the use of the word « pr?sident ».

    I am not saying anyone should be sanctionned for misusing a word, but here are some examples of the use of the word «theologians» in our writings : quite different from what we call «learned» or «scholars» :

    « …to deepen themselves by attentive study of the sacred Texts, and to apply the divine guidance they contain to the circumstances, needs and conditions of society today; to refrain from entering into the tangled affairs of political parties and to have neither concern for, nor involvement in, the controversies of politicians, the wranglings of theologians or any of the ailing social theories current amongst men. »
    (Shoghi Effendi: Trustworthiness, Page: 348)

    « When we consider the third criterion – traditions – upheld by theologians as the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book.? (`Abdu’l-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 21-22)

    « The theologians and religionists advance plausible proofs that the creation of the universe dates back six thousand years; » (`Abdu’l-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 220)

    « In regard to this question, theologians and materialists disagree. The theologians believe that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, but the materialists think this is impossible and inadmissible, and that without doubt He had a human father. » (`Abdu’l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, Page: 87)

    Grover, here is an example of the way words can be used and misused:

    ?He sees no objection to the word `Missionary’ appearing on your Passport as long as it is clearly understood what kind of a `missionary’ a Baha’i pioneer is. In the best and highest sense of the term it certainly could be applied to our teachers. Unfortunately this word has often been associated with a narrow-minded, bigoted type of proselytizing quite alien to the Baha’i method of spreading our teachings.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 7, 1945)

    Grover wrote:
    ?its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.?

    Grove, a Christian will understand a ?missionary? as a professional of religion, living on a salary,; defending a specific church, making philanthropic advantages available for the indigenous people, and how other churches are more generous than the Baha’is.

    You then have local people coming up and saying that they are jobless and would want to become Baha’i missionnaries, and you have assistants wanting to control the LSA os standing up an preaching during LSA meetings.

    No, I am not imagining; I actually lived through that one.

    So it is good that the Christians do not know what a ?pioneer? is and have to learn that he is something other than a ?missionnary?

    A Baha’i doctor or teacher are exactly the same as any other dovtor or teacher, with some ethical principles on top.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Iranians call for the harshest of punishments for “Baha’i spies”
    ——————-
    Baquia wrote:
    “Farhan, are you telling me with a serious face that Shoghi Effendi would kick a Baha’i out of the Faith for calling themselves ?missionaries??”

    No, Baquia, I am not suggesting anything like that as you will notice in the quote I have just posted in reply to Grover; I am merely trying to figure out from a letter that perhaps does not say everything, because everything cannot always be said publicly.

    Sen quoted the UHJ saying it was not his book, but his “actions” that led to disenrollment, and I have no right to pry into that.

    If we are playing a game and a player is sanctionned by the referee, I will not contest that decision, as accepting the referee’s decision is part of the game, but I would like to understand so that I would not make the same mistake.

    If any misunderstanding has been involved in Sen’s situation, I have not the shadow of a doubt that through love and fortitude, God’s grace will make this stumbling block into a stepping stone for him.

    ——————-
    Grover,

    The word « chairperson » for an LSA in French is translated as « pr?sident ». This word has a different implication in French than the function of « coordinator » understood in the Farsi word « nazim » the one who maintains order in an LSA ; and we have some dysfunctions stemming back to the use of the word « pr?sident ».

    I am not saying anyone should be sanctionned for misusing a word, but here are some examples of the use of the word «theologians» in our writings : quite different from what we call «learned» or «scholars» :

    « …to deepen themselves by attentive study of the sacred Texts, and to apply the divine guidance they contain to the circumstances, needs and conditions of society today; to refrain from entering into the tangled affairs of political parties and to have neither concern for, nor involvement in, the controversies of politicians, the wranglings of theologians or any of the ailing social theories current amongst men. »
    (Shoghi Effendi: Trustworthiness, Page: 348)

    « When we consider the third criterion – traditions – upheld by theologians as the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book.? (`Abdu’l-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 21-22)

    « The theologians and religionists advance plausible proofs that the creation of the universe dates back six thousand years; » (`Abdu’l-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 220)

    « In regard to this question, theologians and materialists disagree. The theologians believe that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, but the materialists think this is impossible and inadmissible, and that without doubt He had a human father. » (`Abdu’l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, Page: 87)

    Grover, here is an example of the way words can be used and misused:

    ?He sees no objection to the word `Missionary’ appearing on your Passport as long as it is clearly understood what kind of a `missionary’ a Baha’i pioneer is. In the best and highest sense of the term it certainly could be applied to our teachers. Unfortunately this word has often been associated with a narrow-minded, bigoted type of proselytizing quite alien to the Baha’i method of spreading our teachings.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 7, 1945)

    Grover wrote:
    ?its just that christians will understand missionary and have no idea what you mean by pioneer.?

    Grove, a Christian will understand a ?missionary? as a professional of religion, living on a salary,; defending a specific church, making philanthropic advantages available for the indigenous people, and how other churches are more generous than the Baha’is.

    You then have local people coming up and saying that they are jobless and would want to become Baha’i missionnaries, and you have assistants wanting to control the LSA os standing up an preaching during LSA meetings.

    No, I am not imagining; I actually lived through that one.

    So it is good that the Christians do not know what a ?pioneer? is and have to learn that he is something other than a ?missionnary?

    A Baha’i doctor or teacher are exactly the same as any other dovtor or teacher, with some ethical principles on top.

  • Grover

    Hi Farhan,

    You need to consider the context in which those quotes were given. Regarding religious traditions, ‘Abdu’l-Baha is probably refering to Muslim scholars. I don’t think any modern day western theologian has ever been bothered with tradition, apart from understanding how a group of people chose to interpret their religious writings. Also, just because Shoghi Effendi uses a word, e.g. theologian, in a negative sense doesn’t mean that the word is inappropriate to use. There were times Shoghi Effendi used words that had negative connotations in the positive sense because they were the appropriate words to use. So throwing a few quotes into the mix with the word theologian in them doesn’t help much unless you provide some commentary (which only a good theologian can do ;P ).

  • Grover

    Hi Farhan,

    You need to consider the context in which those quotes were given. Regarding religious traditions, ‘Abdu’l-Baha is probably refering to Muslim scholars. I don’t think any modern day western theologian has ever been bothered with tradition, apart from understanding how a group of people chose to interpret their religious writings. Also, just because Shoghi Effendi uses a word, e.g. theologian, in a negative sense doesn’t mean that the word is inappropriate to use. There were times Shoghi Effendi used words that had negative connotations in the positive sense because they were the appropriate words to use. So throwing a few quotes into the mix with the word theologian in them doesn’t help much unless you provide some commentary (which only a good theologian can do ;P ).

  • anonymouz

    Grover,

    I challenge you to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms. I am thoroughly convinced that it was solely the introduction of his book that lead to his dis-enrollment. This faith is very loving and amazingly insightful in certain regards, in the other regards, where we have trouble understanding certain decisions or reasons, we have but little choice except to have faith in Bah??’u’ll??h and His vehicle, the Universal House of Justice, and try to reflect. If done with a pure heart and a understanding mind, the reason’s start to pop off the page like like fire crackers.

    If we go about with an agenda or trying to prove something that is not there, then we get hung up and held back from the real reason.

    In my understanding of this, Sen’s book is a well organized academic thesis. However, when he ascended to self labeling and using words like “criticize”, as opposed to “evaluate” or “reflect” (which I am sure he used in other places) we have problems. To be frank, I had never read an introduction like that before and if I was on an review board, I would have advised a revision. It is just not consistent with the great works we see out there already that are similar in nature. See Revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h volumes 1-4, Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h, Bah??’u’ll??h and the New Era, etc…

    What I see as an irony is that the word “theologian”, being mostly associated with religions of a bygone era, when we try to bring that term in to the language of the revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h, and others that invoke similar sentiments, we have a push back within the Insitutions. For good reason. This decision I see as a sublte gesture to raise the standard and free ourselves from previous traditions. We are creating something unspeakably glorious and nothing but a completely new set of principles and language will suffice.

    Given the state of Islam, Christianity, Judaism one must take into consideration the different habits and practices of the time, and arguably the habits and practices of today. Since there is no central leadership and different clerics espousing different theological details, it can be said that not all followers of the same religion are on the same page. Some doctrines are propounded on by different theologians and religious students. Different focuses, different objectives and varying degrees of socio-political participation give rise to different interpretations and schools of thought. While not deeply contentious or rancorous these varying priorities are where different theologians make their mark. It would be safe to say that different schools of thought espouse and teach different methods of learning and how one goes about doing this.

    This is just my opinion.

  • anonymouz

    Grover,

    I challenge you to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms. I am thoroughly convinced that it was solely the introduction of his book that lead to his dis-enrollment. This faith is very loving and amazingly insightful in certain regards, in the other regards, where we have trouble understanding certain decisions or reasons, we have but little choice except to have faith in Bah??’u’ll??h and His vehicle, the Universal House of Justice, and try to reflect. If done with a pure heart and a understanding mind, the reason’s start to pop off the page like like fire crackers.

    If we go about with an agenda or trying to prove something that is not there, then we get hung up and held back from the real reason.

    In my understanding of this, Sen’s book is a well organized academic thesis. However, when he ascended to self labeling and using words like “criticize”, as opposed to “evaluate” or “reflect” (which I am sure he used in other places) we have problems. To be frank, I had never read an introduction like that before and if I was on an review board, I would have advised a revision. It is just not consistent with the great works we see out there already that are similar in nature. See Revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h volumes 1-4, Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h, Bah??’u’ll??h and the New Era, etc…

    What I see as an irony is that the word “theologian”, being mostly associated with religions of a bygone era, when we try to bring that term in to the language of the revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h, and others that invoke similar sentiments, we have a push back within the Insitutions. For good reason. This decision I see as a sublte gesture to raise the standard and free ourselves from previous traditions. We are creating something unspeakably glorious and nothing but a completely new set of principles and language will suffice.

    Given the state of Islam, Christianity, Judaism one must take into consideration the different habits and practices of the time, and arguably the habits and practices of today. Since there is no central leadership and different clerics espousing different theological details, it can be said that not all followers of the same religion are on the same page. Some doctrines are propounded on by different theologians and religious students. Different focuses, different objectives and varying degrees of socio-political participation give rise to different interpretations and schools of thought. While not deeply contentious or rancorous these varying priorities are where different theologians make their mark. It would be safe to say that different schools of thought espouse and teach different methods of learning and how one goes about doing this.

    This is just my opinion.

  • farhan

    Grove wrote:

    « So throwing a few quotes into the mix with the word theologian in them doesn’t help much unless you provide some commentary (which only a good theologian can do ;P ) »

    Grover, I dont pretend to prove anything, but I am trying to understand from the letter of the UHJ by comparing some uses of the word « theologian » which is generallty associated with a closed form of religious understanding. We have words such as « dispensation », « contingent », « consellors », « Dawn Breakers » etc that have specific use as jargon in the BF.

    One danger of written material (and Internet is part of it, although sometimes we feel as though we are chatting) is that written documents remain and can be misused by opponents of the Faith out of context to attack the Faith, hence the caution required in writing.

    Under the monarchy, Iranian Baha’is suffered from the quote of Baha’u’llah using the word “jumhuriat” which means “republic” in speaking of the future of Teheran, at the same time ignoring other quotes that exalted the station of a just king.

    We have Louis Henuzet, a wonderful person, once a European Counsellor who has done theological studies (Phd, I believe) in Belgium and who has worked on the question of politics and religion in which Sen has been involved. I doubt if he uses the title of theologian. He lives in Belgium and I suggest that Sen should contact him and discuss his book and seek advise on his enrollment situation. If anyone can help Sen now, it would be Louis.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Grove wrote:

    « So throwing a few quotes into the mix with the word theologian in them doesn’t help much unless you provide some commentary (which only a good theologian can do ;P ) »

    Grover, I dont pretend to prove anything, but I am trying to understand from the letter of the UHJ by comparing some uses of the word « theologian » which is generallty associated with a closed form of religious understanding. We have words such as « dispensation », « contingent », « consellors », « Dawn Breakers » etc that have specific use as jargon in the BF.

    One danger of written material (and Internet is part of it, although sometimes we feel as though we are chatting) is that written documents remain and can be misused by opponents of the Faith out of context to attack the Faith, hence the caution required in writing.

    Under the monarchy, Iranian Baha’is suffered from the quote of Baha’u’llah using the word “jumhuriat” which means “republic” in speaking of the future of Teheran, at the same time ignoring other quotes that exalted the station of a just king.

    We have Louis Henuzet, a wonderful person, once a European Counsellor who has done theological studies (Phd, I believe) in Belgium and who has worked on the question of politics and religion in which Sen has been involved. I doubt if he uses the title of theologian. He lives in Belgium and I suggest that Sen should contact him and discuss his book and seek advise on his enrollment situation. If anyone can help Sen now, it would be Louis.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52545"]Grover,

    I challenge you to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms. I am thoroughly convinced that it was solely the introduction of his book that lead to his dis-enrollment. This faith is very loving and amazingly insightful in certain regards, in the other regards, where we have trouble understanding certain decisions or reasons, we have but little choice except to have faith in Bah??’u’ll??h and His vehicle, the Universal House of Justice, and try to reflect. If done with a pure heart and a understanding mind, the reason’s start to pop off the page like like fire crackers…

    This is just my opinion.[/quote]

    anonymouz (or anyone else here who might know)

    What is the scriptural authority for the apparent new doctrine of the power of disenrollment in the Baha’i Faith?

    Can only the UHJ disenroll someone or can a NSA, LSA, Continental Counsellor, ABM, or AABM do it too? If they can’t, what scriptural authority prevents them from having this new power in the future?

    If Counsellors and their assistants are charged with keeping files on people (see the infamous 2001 Guidelines), then to my mind, in actual practice, they certainly have the power to initiate someone being closely watched. If they have the power to initiate someone being closely watched for “thought crimes” against the Baha’i organizations, then I would say they have the power to initiate the disenrollment process upon anyone whose thinking is not in line with “current authorized and approved Baha’i thinking”. Who has the power to monitor and control this new doctrinal power? Is it mentioned anywhere in the Baha’i Scripture? Does anyone know? What due process does anyone have when NEW THINK replaces OLD THINK and anyone guilty of OLD THINK must be purged from the organization? What is the procedure of due process in these cases? Did Sen receive a personal letter himself telling him he was disenrolled or did he apparently have to read about it “in the paper” so to speak via the letter against him as a completely unnamed miscreant that was published to all NSA’s worldwide. Shouldn’t we have a better formal administrative process than this when a person is kicked out of the Faith? Shouldn’t people at least get a formal e-mail using modern communications? Does anyone know what the actual formal procedure is?

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52545"]Grover,

    I challenge you to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms. I am thoroughly convinced that it was solely the introduction of his book that lead to his dis-enrollment. This faith is very loving and amazingly insightful in certain regards, in the other regards, where we have trouble understanding certain decisions or reasons, we have but little choice except to have faith in Bah??’u’ll??h and His vehicle, the Universal House of Justice, and try to reflect. If done with a pure heart and a understanding mind, the reason’s start to pop off the page like like fire crackers…

    This is just my opinion.[/quote]

    anonymouz (or anyone else here who might know)

    What is the scriptural authority for the apparent new doctrine of the power of disenrollment in the Baha’i Faith?

    Can only the UHJ disenroll someone or can a NSA, LSA, Continental Counsellor, ABM, or AABM do it too? If they can’t, what scriptural authority prevents them from having this new power in the future?

    If Counsellors and their assistants are charged with keeping files on people (see the infamous 2001 Guidelines), then to my mind, in actual practice, they certainly have the power to initiate someone being closely watched. If they have the power to initiate someone being closely watched for “thought crimes” against the Baha’i organizations, then I would say they have the power to initiate the disenrollment process upon anyone whose thinking is not in line with “current authorized and approved Baha’i thinking”. Who has the power to monitor and control this new doctrinal power? Is it mentioned anywhere in the Baha’i Scripture? Does anyone know? What due process does anyone have when NEW THINK replaces OLD THINK and anyone guilty of OLD THINK must be purged from the organization? What is the procedure of due process in these cases? Did Sen receive a personal letter himself telling him he was disenrolled or did he apparently have to read about it “in the paper” so to speak via the letter against him as a completely unnamed miscreant that was published to all NSA’s worldwide. Shouldn’t we have a better formal administrative process than this when a person is kicked out of the Faith? Shouldn’t people at least get a formal e-mail using modern communications? Does anyone know what the actual formal procedure is?

  • http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/ Sen McGlinn

    My two bits, for what’s its worth, is that theology is a field of
    study, and an approach to studying it. Not objectively, but with a
    commitment to the religion concerned.

    Theology is not the same thing as “scholarship” or even Bahai
    scholarship, it is one small part of Bahai scholarship.

    To say somebody is a scholar is to say they have a certain
    proficiency and expertise, or perhaps an academic job. I have never called myself a scholar, I am a student. I study, and write about, theology, ergo I am a theologian, just as someone like Ian Kluge, a Bahai who teaches philosophy, calls himself a Bahai philosopher. That does not mean that he is a good philosopher, or that I am a good theologian. These words refer only to fields of study, not to any rank.

    There are in fact a number of Bahais who write and teach Bahai
    theology: you can take a course in Bahai theology at the Wilmette
    institute, and there’s Jack MacLean, Julio Savi, Juan Cole, Udo
    Schaeffer, Hushmand Sabet and no doubt many more.

    What Bahais call “deepening” is called “theology” at a university. If you do it with good evidence, critically, systematically, and in dialogue, it may even be accepted at the university as a legitimate field of study (and more important, it may actually contribute to the Faith).

    Ideally, theology has nothing to do with an ecclesiastical hierarchy. As I have said in an earlier comment, theology and power have to be kept separate. It is not theology that has harmed religious communities in the past, but the endorsement or enforcement or condemnation of one particular theology, by those in power. In the Bahai Faith, learning and expertise are not required for membership of the elected or appointed bodies, and the administrative and doctrinal functions in the community are separated, so *especially* in the Bahai community there should be no excuse for confusing the study of theology with ecclesiastical prerogatives. There are simply no ecclesiastical prerogatives to be had.

  • http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/ Sen McGlinn

    My two bits, for what’s its worth, is that theology is a field of
    study, and an approach to studying it. Not objectively, but with a
    commitment to the religion concerned.

    Theology is not the same thing as “scholarship” or even Bahai
    scholarship, it is one small part of Bahai scholarship.

    To say somebody is a scholar is to say they have a certain
    proficiency and expertise, or perhaps an academic job. I have never called myself a scholar, I am a student. I study, and write about, theology, ergo I am a theologian, just as someone like Ian Kluge, a Bahai who teaches philosophy, calls himself a Bahai philosopher. That does not mean that he is a good philosopher, or that I am a good theologian. These words refer only to fields of study, not to any rank.

    There are in fact a number of Bahais who write and teach Bahai
    theology: you can take a course in Bahai theology at the Wilmette
    institute, and there’s Jack MacLean, Julio Savi, Juan Cole, Udo
    Schaeffer, Hushmand Sabet and no doubt many more.

    What Bahais call “deepening” is called “theology” at a university. If you do it with good evidence, critically, systematically, and in dialogue, it may even be accepted at the university as a legitimate field of study (and more important, it may actually contribute to the Faith).

    Ideally, theology has nothing to do with an ecclesiastical hierarchy. As I have said in an earlier comment, theology and power have to be kept separate. It is not theology that has harmed religious communities in the past, but the endorsement or enforcement or condemnation of one particular theology, by those in power. In the Bahai Faith, learning and expertise are not required for membership of the elected or appointed bodies, and the administrative and doctrinal functions in the community are separated, so *especially* in the Bahai community there should be no excuse for confusing the study of theology with ecclesiastical prerogatives. There are simply no ecclesiastical prerogatives to be had.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote:
    “Can only the UHJ disenroll someone or can a NSA, LSA, Continental Counsellor, ABM, or AABM do it too? If they can’t, what scriptural authority prevents them from having this new power in the future”

    Craig, only the elected institutions have executive power. The appointed institutions encourage and protect the community and can only suggest a line of action by providing the appropriate guidance to the elected institutions. An LSA would refer to an NSA for disenrollment, which is an exceptional measure. Of course anyone can appeal to the UHJ

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Craig wrote:
    “Can only the UHJ disenroll someone or can a NSA, LSA, Continental Counsellor, ABM, or AABM do it too? If they can’t, what scriptural authority prevents them from having this new power in the future”

    Craig, only the elected institutions have executive power. The appointed institutions encourage and protect the community and can only suggest a line of action by providing the appropriate guidance to the elected institutions. An LSA would refer to an NSA for disenrollment, which is an exceptional measure. Of course anyone can appeal to the UHJ

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    Have you talked to the professor of theology in Belgium Farhan referred to?

    Craig,

    Your question seems sincere and I will take a guess.

    As the Faith progresses you will see more and more laws and guidelines roll out of the House of Justice, this is their function, their function is defined in the Text. Regarding dis-enrollments there are clear precedents taken by all of the central figures that dictate the nature and grounds for it. Some reasons are subtle and some are clear. Only the House of Justice makes this decision.

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    Have you talked to the professor of theology in Belgium Farhan referred to?

    Craig,

    Your question seems sincere and I will take a guess.

    As the Faith progresses you will see more and more laws and guidelines roll out of the House of Justice, this is their function, their function is defined in the Text. Regarding dis-enrollments there are clear precedents taken by all of the central figures that dictate the nature and grounds for it. Some reasons are subtle and some are clear. Only the House of Justice makes this decision.

  • Grover

    This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.

  • Grover

    This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""]This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.[/quote]

    I am not assuming anything. I believe it with all my soul.

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""]This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.[/quote]

    I am not assuming anything. I believe it with all my soul.

  • Bird

    This room is a real hoot. The above dialog is why I think the ?names?, labels & titles are so dangerous. I don’t see a change in the system just more doom especially since there are more laws to come and elections… can’t wait…. Most Bahai’s I know and have met in person are just too Pollyanna to see what is before them in reality. It’s quite sad since I know their heart is in the right place with an ardent desire to be close to God just as my own. But God can’t possibly want this to continue, the mistreatment of his children, division, the masquerade of equality, the pain and shame shoveled on innocent souls in his name. I don’t think he wants ornate and grand houses of worship or clusters of followers. I think he wants us to love and integrate, take care of one another as in the planet and our neighbors; it’s really quite that simple.

    What makes the label Bah?’? so special anyways? You really think there is a brand new message, never been herald or uttered by any soul in the history of consciousness? Point something original for me please, never suggested by anyone. While you’re at it, please share a logical explanation for the creation of a new name to die for and how such a thing may be ordained by God?

    The Bah?’? Faith has unfolded into becoming an embodiment of everything it came to abolish. It’s focus is it’s messenger and it’s representatives instead of the message itself. It has become a sea of policy instead of possibilities and a wave of crashing enforcement instead of mile ride surf with it’s mighty force. For that my heart anguishes.

  • Bird

    This room is a real hoot. The above dialog is why I think the ?names?, labels & titles are so dangerous. I don’t see a change in the system just more doom especially since there are more laws to come and elections… can’t wait…. Most Bahai’s I know and have met in person are just too Pollyanna to see what is before them in reality. It’s quite sad since I know their heart is in the right place with an ardent desire to be close to God just as my own. But God can’t possibly want this to continue, the mistreatment of his children, division, the masquerade of equality, the pain and shame shoveled on innocent souls in his name. I don’t think he wants ornate and grand houses of worship or clusters of followers. I think he wants us to love and integrate, take care of one another as in the planet and our neighbors; it’s really quite that simple.

    What makes the label Bah?’? so special anyways? You really think there is a brand new message, never been herald or uttered by any soul in the history of consciousness? Point something original for me please, never suggested by anyone. While you’re at it, please share a logical explanation for the creation of a new name to die for and how such a thing may be ordained by God?

    The Bah?’? Faith has unfolded into becoming an embodiment of everything it came to abolish. It’s focus is it’s messenger and it’s representatives instead of the message itself. It has become a sea of policy instead of possibilities and a wave of crashing enforcement instead of mile ride surf with it’s mighty force. For that my heart anguishes.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote:
    “This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.”

    Grover, I believe that the UHJ is Divinely guided, and events and the course of history are under the loving and forgiving attention of God, even though we have a large part of responsiblity for the role we choose to play in the Divine Plan.

    To someone who does not share my belief, I would point out that whatever “infallible” might mean, we do need arbitration and however imperfect the umpire or referee might seem, we have to instantly accept his judgment without the least resentment.

    You are right, we dont know the facts, and which interests of humanity the UHJ has been protecting, and we might never know.

    This is the price to pay for any collective enterprise, and many of us are not very good at team work and collective enterprises and prefer to do a one-man job of our lives. You can’t have a symphony orchestra if at each note a musician stands up and says that he knows better, but those who dont like this discipline will prefer playing solo.

    This is also party of my work as a surgeon and yours as a teacher: everyone gives an opinion, I collect the ideas, but at one point, a single person has to decide and sometimes act very fast, and this person also assumes responsibility, and as you know, it can be a heavy load, so I can sympathise with the heavy load carried by the members of the UHJ.

    It has nothing to do with domination and submission, but with responsibility: “respondere” in Latin: the one who will have to give account for things, before mankind, and before God. We dont have play-backs and slow motion to take those decisions; we have to rely on knowledge and inspiration and we dread making mistakes.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Grover wrote:
    “This all ends up being pointless anyway. You are assuming the UHJ is infallible, when they’re just a collection of people with biases, weaknesses, and prejudices like anyone else. Without hearing both sides of the story, it seems like a massive injustice.”

    Grover, I believe that the UHJ is Divinely guided, and events and the course of history are under the loving and forgiving attention of God, even though we have a large part of responsiblity for the role we choose to play in the Divine Plan.

    To someone who does not share my belief, I would point out that whatever “infallible” might mean, we do need arbitration and however imperfect the umpire or referee might seem, we have to instantly accept his judgment without the least resentment.

    You are right, we dont know the facts, and which interests of humanity the UHJ has been protecting, and we might never know.

    This is the price to pay for any collective enterprise, and many of us are not very good at team work and collective enterprises and prefer to do a one-man job of our lives. You can’t have a symphony orchestra if at each note a musician stands up and says that he knows better, but those who dont like this discipline will prefer playing solo.

    This is also party of my work as a surgeon and yours as a teacher: everyone gives an opinion, I collect the ideas, but at one point, a single person has to decide and sometimes act very fast, and this person also assumes responsibility, and as you know, it can be a heavy load, so I can sympathise with the heavy load carried by the members of the UHJ.

    It has nothing to do with domination and submission, but with responsibility: “respondere” in Latin: the one who will have to give account for things, before mankind, and before God. We dont have play-backs and slow motion to take those decisions; we have to rely on knowledge and inspiration and we dread making mistakes.

  • anonymouz

    Bird I seriously consider you deepen in the Faith, read the writings of Abdul’Baha Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. Please. These comments you said indicate a serious lack of vision and mission. Everything you have railed against are roundly based in the Holy Text. Like it or not.

  • anonymouz

    Bird I seriously consider you deepen in the Faith, read the writings of Abdul’Baha Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. Please. These comments you said indicate a serious lack of vision and mission. Everything you have railed against are roundly based in the Holy Text. Like it or not.

  • Bird

    Trust me Anonumouz, I have spent years of my life reading the Sacred texts and deepening. I possess a copy right release from the UHJ addressed to me personally on any of the Bah?’? Writings. Someone at the top once thought my work was acceptable. With 14 years of my life, since the moment I heard the word, daily, and tens of thousands of my earnings joyfully giving to the impossible Cause, trust me when I tell you that I am very well qualified to form an opinion about the Bah?’? Faith, like it or not.

    I didn’t loose when I left the organized religion of the Bah?’? Faith, you guys did. I may again “pick and choose” from an ocean of possibilities, however as a card holding numbered Bah?’?, you can’t, not without policy enforcement, the sword of words for your slightest infractions. Because of Bah?’? policy I can no longer give my wealth to you, such a shame since so much of it was earned in desire to give it to the Cause. Thank God there are others who desire to receive the love I have to give with “unconditional” terms.

    BTW-
    A starving child doesn’t care where the money comes from to buy food and a cold and shivering person doesn’t care who wore the jacket last when they are given one.

  • Bird

    Trust me Anonumouz, I have spent years of my life reading the Sacred texts and deepening. I possess a copy right release from the UHJ addressed to me personally on any of the Bah?’? Writings. Someone at the top once thought my work was acceptable. With 14 years of my life, since the moment I heard the word, daily, and tens of thousands of my earnings joyfully giving to the impossible Cause, trust me when I tell you that I am very well qualified to form an opinion about the Bah?’? Faith, like it or not.

    I didn’t loose when I left the organized religion of the Bah?’? Faith, you guys did. I may again “pick and choose” from an ocean of possibilities, however as a card holding numbered Bah?’?, you can’t, not without policy enforcement, the sword of words for your slightest infractions. Because of Bah?’? policy I can no longer give my wealth to you, such a shame since so much of it was earned in desire to give it to the Cause. Thank God there are others who desire to receive the love I have to give with “unconditional” terms.

    BTW-
    A starving child doesn’t care where the money comes from to buy food and a cold and shivering person doesn’t care who wore the jacket last when they are given one.

  • Andrew

    Bird wrote:

    “But God can’t possibly want this to continue, the mistreatment of his children, division, the masquerade of equality, the pain and shame shoveled on innocent souls in his name. I don’t think he wants ornate and grand houses of worship or clusters of followers. I think he wants us to love and integrate, take care of one another as in the planet and our neighbors; it’s really quite that simple.”

    Bird! Wow!

    “The epitome of the human realm is to be stuck in a huge traffic jam of discursive thought.” As Vidyadhara Trungpa Rinpoche would have said, your basic sanity is showing, and it is truly staggering. The fourteen years you spent in the Bahai religion have yielded a rich harvest of insight.

    My completely unsolicited advice: Don’t be like Lot’s wife. Don’t look back at your former state in order to preserve it, for salt is a preservative, and saltshakers just dispense salt.

  • Andrew

    Bird wrote:

    “But God can’t possibly want this to continue, the mistreatment of his children, division, the masquerade of equality, the pain and shame shoveled on innocent souls in his name. I don’t think he wants ornate and grand houses of worship or clusters of followers. I think he wants us to love and integrate, take care of one another as in the planet and our neighbors; it’s really quite that simple.”

    Bird! Wow!

    “The epitome of the human realm is to be stuck in a huge traffic jam of discursive thought.” As Vidyadhara Trungpa Rinpoche would have said, your basic sanity is showing, and it is truly staggering. The fourteen years you spent in the Bahai religion have yielded a rich harvest of insight.

    My completely unsolicited advice: Don’t be like Lot’s wife. Don’t look back at your former state in order to preserve it, for salt is a preservative, and saltshakers just dispense salt.

  • Bird

    Thank you Andrew. I don’t think of myself as the wife of Lot but rather the 1st wife of Adam, Lilith, as for looking back, I am looking ahead at what happened to my investment. Those 14 years were an investment to better the world.

    I am mainly against the name ?Bah?’?? chosen not by Baha’u’llah but his son. In fact Andrew, in 1900, had the text not been rewritten, people attracted to the ?new version? ?updated message? put forth by Baha’u’llah may have called themselves ?Unitarians?, but it was changed to read, people of unity (http://bahai-library.org/provisionals/suratul-haykal.html ) Starts @ # [399].

    I am also against any organization past the sharing of messages among humans or the exclusivity of membership to those who sign cards or authorities of what it all means…

    I still hang out to pick and chose what delights my heart. Baquia has put together a non-threatening place to come and rant. Perhaps for now, as a part of my adjustment to the paradigm shift of my thoughts, I am to remain and just as you were there for me not so long ago, for the next soul who stumbles in here looking for a kind heart and finds one, as I have found in you, a fellow beacon of hope, I may be there for them as well. I feel the troops are going to need a home to turn when they are ready to walk away from the ?traffic jam? and this is as fine a place as any to recuperate among friends.

  • Bird

    Thank you Andrew. I don’t think of myself as the wife of Lot but rather the 1st wife of Adam, Lilith, as for looking back, I am looking ahead at what happened to my investment. Those 14 years were an investment to better the world.

    I am mainly against the name ?Bah?’?? chosen not by Baha’u’llah but his son. In fact Andrew, in 1900, had the text not been rewritten, people attracted to the ?new version? ?updated message? put forth by Baha’u’llah may have called themselves ?Unitarians?, but it was changed to read, people of unity (http://bahai-library.org/provisionals/suratul-haykal.html ) Starts @ # [399].

    I am also against any organization past the sharing of messages among humans or the exclusivity of membership to those who sign cards or authorities of what it all means…

    I still hang out to pick and chose what delights my heart. Baquia has put together a non-threatening place to come and rant. Perhaps for now, as a part of my adjustment to the paradigm shift of my thoughts, I am to remain and just as you were there for me not so long ago, for the next soul who stumbles in here looking for a kind heart and finds one, as I have found in you, a fellow beacon of hope, I may be there for them as well. I feel the troops are going to need a home to turn when they are ready to walk away from the ?traffic jam? and this is as fine a place as any to recuperate among friends.

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  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]Have you talked to the professor of theology in Belgium Farhan referred to? [...][/quote]

    Yes, I’ve met him, and I have some of his work. He has had a series of articles in the Acta Orientalia Belgica, from 1994 to 2006 (that I am aware of). He’s not a professor, nor does he have a PhD so far as I know.

    There is no shortage of Baha’i theologians to talk to, but it is a small enough group working in European languages for us to at least know about one another’s interests and publications.

    In Beyond the clash of religions, Schaeffer, sets out to present a ?new theological paradigm? which is ?the pivot of a new theology?, and on a footnote on page 12 he explains what he means by the term:

    [quote comment=""]The term ?Baha’i theology? is used for a methodical, systematic reflection on the Baha’i revelation (sceintia fidiea) comprising God who manifests himself, the Manifestation (ie the prophetology), the Covenant, the image of man (the Bahai anthrology, Bahai ethics, Bahai political thought, social principles etc … I refer to Robert Parry’s ?Philosophical theology in Bahai Scholarship’ in Bahai Studies Bulletin October 1992, and to Jack McLean’s highly instructive contribution ?Prolegomena to a Bahai Thology’ in JBS 5 1 March-June 1992, in which he has defined the concept of Bahai theology more closely and argued for its validity as a discipline.[/quote]

    Jack McLean’s?Prolegomena to a Bahai Theology’ in JBS 5:1 March-June 1992, says :

    [quote comment=""] Theology is intrinsic to the Baha’i revelation. While community attitudes have tended to view the discipline of theology somewhat suspiciously, the term and field of ?Baha’i theology? remain valid and are indispensable. … Baha’i theology is, moreover, based in faith rooted in the person of Baha’u’llah and his divine revelation, has a strong metaphysical bias, eschews dogmatism, and welcomes diversity. [/quote]

    Jack McLean, in Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Baha’i Theology, (page xi) says:

    [quote comment=""] “Bah??’? Faith cannot come to be recognized as a distinct and independent world religion without a distinctive theology.”[/quote]

    On the other hand, I have a letter from a member of the UHJ who says that the Bahai Faith has no theology and doesn’t need it. And there are several negative mentions of theology in One Common Faith. In other words, there’s a gap in perceptions, between people who do the study, and people who are looking distrustfully at other people doing the study. Psychiatry and economics suffer from the same phenomenon. Nobody who wants friends and influence should enter such a field.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]Have you talked to the professor of theology in Belgium Farhan referred to? [...][/quote]

    Yes, I’ve met him, and I have some of his work. He has had a series of articles in the Acta Orientalia Belgica, from 1994 to 2006 (that I am aware of). He’s not a professor, nor does he have a PhD so far as I know.

    There is no shortage of Baha’i theologians to talk to, but it is a small enough group working in European languages for us to at least know about one another’s interests and publications.

    In Beyond the clash of religions, Schaeffer, sets out to present a ?new theological paradigm? which is ?the pivot of a new theology?, and on a footnote on page 12 he explains what he means by the term:

    [quote comment=""]The term ?Baha’i theology? is used for a methodical, systematic reflection on the Baha’i revelation (sceintia fidiea) comprising God who manifests himself, the Manifestation (ie the prophetology), the Covenant, the image of man (the Bahai anthrology, Bahai ethics, Bahai political thought, social principles etc … I refer to Robert Parry’s ?Philosophical theology in Bahai Scholarship’ in Bahai Studies Bulletin October 1992, and to Jack McLean’s highly instructive contribution ?Prolegomena to a Bahai Thology’ in JBS 5 1 March-June 1992, in which he has defined the concept of Bahai theology more closely and argued for its validity as a discipline.[/quote]

    Jack McLean’s?Prolegomena to a Bahai Theology’ in JBS 5:1 March-June 1992, says :

    [quote comment=""] Theology is intrinsic to the Baha’i revelation. While community attitudes have tended to view the discipline of theology somewhat suspiciously, the term and field of ?Baha’i theology? remain valid and are indispensable. … Baha’i theology is, moreover, based in faith rooted in the person of Baha’u’llah and his divine revelation, has a strong metaphysical bias, eschews dogmatism, and welcomes diversity. [/quote]

    Jack McLean, in Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Baha’i Theology, (page xi) says:

    [quote comment=""] “Bah??’? Faith cannot come to be recognized as a distinct and independent world religion without a distinctive theology.”[/quote]

    On the other hand, I have a letter from a member of the UHJ who says that the Bahai Faith has no theology and doesn’t need it. And there are several negative mentions of theology in One Common Faith. In other words, there’s a gap in perceptions, between people who do the study, and people who are looking distrustfully at other people doing the study. Psychiatry and economics suffer from the same phenomenon. Nobody who wants friends and influence should enter such a field.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52578"]

    Sen wrote:

    On the other hand, I have a letter from a member of the UHJ who says that the Bahai Faith has no theology and doesn’t need it. And there are several negative mentions of theology in One Common Faith. In other words, there’s a gap in perceptions, between people who do the study, and people who are looking distrustfully at other people doing the study. Psychiatry and economics suffer from the same phenomenon. Nobody who wants friends and influence should enter such a field.[/quote]

    When I took Ruhi Book One I could not help but think the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses both overtly and covertly a FULL BLOWN SYSTEM OF TOP DOWN ENFORCED THEOLOGY about what the Baha’i Faith means. The Baha’i Faith is now a theology of ruthless coercive indoctrination and group think, anti-thought, anti-individual insight, and strictly enforced anti-intellectual fundamentalist limitation. “Independent investigation of truth” is OLD THINK. “Accept what we tell you it means…or else…” is NEW THINK. The duty to think is now OLD THINK. The duty to not think is now NEW THINK.

    If a person like you writes a book after considerable study and thought, you are in violation of NEW THINK which is anti-thought and anti-free reflection of any kind. Therefore, you must be purged from the Party. And you were. It is the same old, same old in human affairs. Nothing new and original at all. I think we all had hoped for something better this time out.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52578"]

    Sen wrote:

    On the other hand, I have a letter from a member of the UHJ who says that the Bahai Faith has no theology and doesn’t need it. And there are several negative mentions of theology in One Common Faith. In other words, there’s a gap in perceptions, between people who do the study, and people who are looking distrustfully at other people doing the study. Psychiatry and economics suffer from the same phenomenon. Nobody who wants friends and influence should enter such a field.[/quote]

    When I took Ruhi Book One I could not help but think the Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses both overtly and covertly a FULL BLOWN SYSTEM OF TOP DOWN ENFORCED THEOLOGY about what the Baha’i Faith means. The Baha’i Faith is now a theology of ruthless coercive indoctrination and group think, anti-thought, anti-individual insight, and strictly enforced anti-intellectual fundamentalist limitation. “Independent investigation of truth” is OLD THINK. “Accept what we tell you it means…or else…” is NEW THINK. The duty to think is now OLD THINK. The duty to not think is now NEW THINK.

    If a person like you writes a book after considerable study and thought, you are in violation of NEW THINK which is anti-thought and anti-free reflection of any kind. Therefore, you must be purged from the Party. And you were. It is the same old, same old in human affairs. Nothing new and original at all. I think we all had hoped for something better this time out.

    So it goes.

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion?

  • anonymouz

    Sen,

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion?

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52580"]Sen,

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion?[/quote]

    anonymouz,

    If you would ever read the book if you can find an unsuppressed copy, you would find that it is astonishingly well researched and written. Sen makes the case very well that Baha’u’llah did NOT teach the Baha’i Faith was a theocracy at all. Nor did Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi teach it to the extent it is common Baha’i belief today that the UHJ will top down rule the world. I think it is worthwhile to legitimately research the actual Scripture.

    The current version of the Baha’i Faith is completely anti-thinking and anti-knowledge at this time. But I believe this will not be the case in the future.

    In essence, the course of events was that the current UHJ apparently disenrolled a man for some secret reason KNOWN ONLY TO THEM BEFORE any of them had ACTUALLY READ a book that will – quite differently from what they think now – be actually honored in the future as a very worthwhile study of the actual Scripture of the Faith on this topic! They will truly look like a Theocracy of Dunces in the future for that not very competent move. “Pre-emptive infallibility” of rejecting books BEFORE you read them just won’t look very credible in the future to thinking and mindful people. Actual individual thinking is out of style right now (even in the entire world!) but I believe thinking IS going to start to come back into vogue big time. As the recent New Yorker article details, even terrorists are starting to re-think everything after all this group think carnage. I believe even the current version of the Baha’i Faith will start to re-think our current mindset too. Thinking and actual deep study is going to make a huge come back.

    I believe the book is a very solidly made case. And remember, book burning is actually forbidden in this Dispensation! So over time if there is anyone ever left in the Baha’i Faith that can actually read, some might read it even if just for a change of pace. Or in Ruhi speak:

    I _______ the book is a ____ _______ ____ ____. And remember, ____ _______ __ ________ _________ in ____ ____________! So over time if there is anyone ever left in the Baha’i Faith that can ________ ____, some might actually read it ____ __ ____ ___ _ ______ __ ____.

    Got that?

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52580"]Sen,

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion?[/quote]

    anonymouz,

    If you would ever read the book if you can find an unsuppressed copy, you would find that it is astonishingly well researched and written. Sen makes the case very well that Baha’u’llah did NOT teach the Baha’i Faith was a theocracy at all. Nor did Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi teach it to the extent it is common Baha’i belief today that the UHJ will top down rule the world. I think it is worthwhile to legitimately research the actual Scripture.

    The current version of the Baha’i Faith is completely anti-thinking and anti-knowledge at this time. But I believe this will not be the case in the future.

    In essence, the course of events was that the current UHJ apparently disenrolled a man for some secret reason KNOWN ONLY TO THEM BEFORE any of them had ACTUALLY READ a book that will – quite differently from what they think now – be actually honored in the future as a very worthwhile study of the actual Scripture of the Faith on this topic! They will truly look like a Theocracy of Dunces in the future for that not very competent move. “Pre-emptive infallibility” of rejecting books BEFORE you read them just won’t look very credible in the future to thinking and mindful people. Actual individual thinking is out of style right now (even in the entire world!) but I believe thinking IS going to start to come back into vogue big time. As the recent New Yorker article details, even terrorists are starting to re-think everything after all this group think carnage. I believe even the current version of the Baha’i Faith will start to re-think our current mindset too. Thinking and actual deep study is going to make a huge come back.

    I believe the book is a very solidly made case. And remember, book burning is actually forbidden in this Dispensation! So over time if there is anyone ever left in the Baha’i Faith that can actually read, some might read it even if just for a change of pace. Or in Ruhi speak:

    I _______ the book is a ____ _______ ____ ____. And remember, ____ _______ __ ________ _________ in ____ ____________! So over time if there is anyone ever left in the Baha’i Faith that can ________ ____, some might actually read it ____ __ ____ ___ _ ______ __ ____.

    Got that?

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion? [...][/quote]

    No. The book meets academic standards in terms of evidence, argument and sources, but my approach is not that of an academic scholar of the science of religion, but of a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community, and I write as if the reader shares the concerns of that community. A strictly academic approach would write from outside the Faith community, and the writing would be for the community of scholars-of-religion to read. The goal of academic writing would be simply to understand the phenomenon better, not to benefit it or harm it. Like the biologist studying extinction, just to understand the process. My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free. I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world. Because my approach is intended to help, and not just study, the community, a reader who is used to academic studies of religion that avoid such value judgements will have to make the necessary adjustments here and there.

    I’m sure I’ve said this all before

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]

    Would it be fair to say you approached this subject in a PURELY academic fashion? [...][/quote]

    No. The book meets academic standards in terms of evidence, argument and sources, but my approach is not that of an academic scholar of the science of religion, but of a Bahai theologian, writing from and for a religious community, and I write as if the reader shares the concerns of that community. A strictly academic approach would write from outside the Faith community, and the writing would be for the community of scholars-of-religion to read. The goal of academic writing would be simply to understand the phenomenon better, not to benefit it or harm it. Like the biologist studying extinction, just to understand the process. My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free. I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world. Because my approach is intended to help, and not just study, the community, a reader who is used to academic studies of religion that avoid such value judgements will have to make the necessary adjustments here and there.

    I’m sure I’ve said this all before

  • anonymouz

    I disagree with your statement about group think and top downism.

    Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be. I have seen nothing except people on the net say that it is the case. Forgive my sceptism but I can’t believe anything you say because its only your opinion, and because I hold my own opinion is such low regard, although I may not show it, I have very little sympathy with much of the idle chatter that happens here or there online.

    So that begs the question…what do I hold in high regard? I am not going to say truth, because that is ultimately subjective. So lets try reality. Since reality is relative to your perception it too is dependent on your capacity.

    Given the track record of the House of Justice, and the track record of individuals who think, despite thier research and knowledge, however ignorant I seem to be, betting on the House of Justice always seems to pay off.

  • anonymouz

    I disagree with your statement about group think and top downism.

    Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be. I have seen nothing except people on the net say that it is the case. Forgive my sceptism but I can’t believe anything you say because its only your opinion, and because I hold my own opinion is such low regard, although I may not show it, I have very little sympathy with much of the idle chatter that happens here or there online.

    So that begs the question…what do I hold in high regard? I am not going to say truth, because that is ultimately subjective. So lets try reality. Since reality is relative to your perception it too is dependent on your capacity.

    Given the track record of the House of Justice, and the track record of individuals who think, despite thier research and knowledge, however ignorant I seem to be, betting on the House of Justice always seems to pay off.

  • farhan

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “I disagree with your statement about group think and top downism.
    Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be.”

    Anonymouz, I entirely agree with you and the compilation “Unlocking the Power of action” I posted here confirms this. I continue to feel the transition from individual spirituality to the application of spirituality to our collective lives is a new chapter in human history that requires some generations of adaptation.

    The members of the orchestra do all the work, but they are all required to follow the rhythm imparted by the same maestro;

    This is the new challenge facing humanity: Carnot’s second law of thermodynamics: having abandoned a failing order (entropy), we have to abandon chaos and integrate a new order (negentropy). It is sure going to be difficult for many of us. Having abandoned a decaying plant, we now have to let ourselves be integrated by the grain and elevated by the new plant into a living organism. A down-up movement and not an up-down one.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “I disagree with your statement about group think and top downism.
    Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be.”

    Anonymouz, I entirely agree with you and the compilation “Unlocking the Power of action” I posted here confirms this. I continue to feel the transition from individual spirituality to the application of spirituality to our collective lives is a new chapter in human history that requires some generations of adaptation.

    The members of the orchestra do all the work, but they are all required to follow the rhythm imparted by the same maestro;

    This is the new challenge facing humanity: Carnot’s second law of thermodynamics: having abandoned a failing order (entropy), we have to abandon chaos and integrate a new order (negentropy). It is sure going to be difficult for many of us. Having abandoned a decaying plant, we now have to let ourselves be integrated by the grain and elevated by the new plant into a living organism. A down-up movement and not an up-down one.

  • farhan

    Sen wrote:

    “My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free. I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world.”

    Sen, here you are telling us that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you so as to be guided to post-modernity so as to prosper in the coming decades.

    I very badly need the Baha’i Faith, and I explore with enthusiasm the writings and the messages of the UHJ so that my steps might be adequately guided into field of service ; if some of my contributions happen to be accepted, I am honored and delighted ; if not I will revise all my theories.

    I am eager to follow the maestro, as closely as possible, with no shadow of a doubt that He is divinely guided, and you are willing to guide the maestro, « like an environmental activist who studies a species » (sic).

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Sen wrote:

    “My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world. The approach is not value-free. I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world.”

    Sen, here you are telling us that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you so as to be guided to post-modernity so as to prosper in the coming decades.

    I very badly need the Baha’i Faith, and I explore with enthusiasm the writings and the messages of the UHJ so that my steps might be adequately guided into field of service ; if some of my contributions happen to be accepted, I am honored and delighted ; if not I will revise all my theories.

    I am eager to follow the maestro, as closely as possible, with no shadow of a doubt that He is divinely guided, and you are willing to guide the maestro, « like an environmental activist who studies a species » (sic).

  • anonymouz

    I was wondering where you went dear doctor. I wish I had as sweet as language as you!

  • anonymouz

    I was wondering where you went dear doctor. I wish I had as sweet as language as you!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    the UHJ you describe sounds like a Marja taqlid to which you have abdicated your God given ability for critical thinking. What Sen describes sounds to me more like the Baha’i model where one is enjoined to participate, contributing their share, as they embark on individual and independent investigation of truth.

    No where does Sen say that he doesn’t need the Baha’i Faith. These are your words and you are attempting to put them in his mouth. What he is saying is that his motive is to “help the community”. Isn’t that your goal also? shouldn’t that be all our goals?

    If you want to get technical, and although Sen didn’t say this, the Baha’i Faith does indeed need us, each and every one of us. Without “us”, that is without believers, what is a religion but a footnote in history? Rather than lambasting Sen, we should be happy that such Baha’is exist, that they care enough to devote their time and energy to better understand the Faith and the Sacred Writings.

    Which is more than I can say for those who insist on pontificating, criticizing and attacking a work which they have not bothered to read.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    the UHJ you describe sounds like a Marja taqlid to which you have abdicated your God given ability for critical thinking. What Sen describes sounds to me more like the Baha’i model where one is enjoined to participate, contributing their share, as they embark on individual and independent investigation of truth.

    No where does Sen say that he doesn’t need the Baha’i Faith. These are your words and you are attempting to put them in his mouth. What he is saying is that his motive is to “help the community”. Isn’t that your goal also? shouldn’t that be all our goals?

    If you want to get technical, and although Sen didn’t say this, the Baha’i Faith does indeed need us, each and every one of us. Without “us”, that is without believers, what is a religion but a footnote in history? Rather than lambasting Sen, we should be happy that such Baha’is exist, that they care enough to devote their time and energy to better understand the Faith and the Sacred Writings.

    Which is more than I can say for those who insist on pontificating, criticizing and attacking a work which they have not bothered to read.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    “the UHJ you describe sounds like a Marja taqlid to which you have abdicated your God given ability for critical thinking. What Sen describes sounds to me more like the Baha’i model where one is enjoined to participate, contributing their share, as they embark on individual and independent investigation of truth.”

    Baquia, I am thankful to Sen and yourself for helping me understand this; yes, love is abdication. A man in love has abandoned critical thinking, until and unless he realises that the object of his love is contrary to his reason. When I say “need” I mean dependence and abdication; yes, the doctor needs his patient, but in a different way than the patient needs a doctor.

    This is the difference between a man falling in love and a man running a matrimonial agency with rationality: The man swimming, and the man analysing the water in which the other is swimming. The guy skating, imperfectly, and the expert judge evaluating his skating.

    In my case love has lead to knowledge, and knowledge to deeper love. I am not “lambasting” any one, but realising my own position compared to the one others have chosen.

    I would be delighted to read Sen’s work, but I understand that he is not eager to submit to a maestro; I fully understand his position: it can be very frustrating to work with other Baha’is and I often need a break. So did Baha’u’llah after all, didn’t He?

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Baquia wrote:
    “the UHJ you describe sounds like a Marja taqlid to which you have abdicated your God given ability for critical thinking. What Sen describes sounds to me more like the Baha’i model where one is enjoined to participate, contributing their share, as they embark on individual and independent investigation of truth.”

    Baquia, I am thankful to Sen and yourself for helping me understand this; yes, love is abdication. A man in love has abandoned critical thinking, until and unless he realises that the object of his love is contrary to his reason. When I say “need” I mean dependence and abdication; yes, the doctor needs his patient, but in a different way than the patient needs a doctor.

    This is the difference between a man falling in love and a man running a matrimonial agency with rationality: The man swimming, and the man analysing the water in which the other is swimming. The guy skating, imperfectly, and the expert judge evaluating his skating.

    In my case love has lead to knowledge, and knowledge to deeper love. I am not “lambasting” any one, but realising my own position compared to the one others have chosen.

    I would be delighted to read Sen’s work, but I understand that he is not eager to submit to a maestro; I fully understand his position: it can be very frustrating to work with other Baha’is and I often need a break. So did Baha’u’llah after all, didn’t He?

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be. I have seen nothing except people on the net say that it is the case.[/quote]

    ROFL. When you go to a Ruhi meeting and the question is “why do we teach?” and the answer is “because God told us to”, and you go, “come on, there is more than that”, and they all look at you with a dumbfounded expression, you very quickly realise to what intellectual heights the Faith has reached. Its great if your vision of the future is a drooling mindless mass of zombies roaming around the place. Sounds like a horror movie to me.

    Anyone notice a similarity to the Borg in Startrek? A mindless mass (Baha’is) directed by a Borg Queen (the UHJ) who does all the thinking. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]Thinking, scholarship, deepening, spiritual development have always been core to the Faith and always will be. I have seen nothing except people on the net say that it is the case.[/quote]

    ROFL. When you go to a Ruhi meeting and the question is “why do we teach?” and the answer is “because God told us to”, and you go, “come on, there is more than that”, and they all look at you with a dumbfounded expression, you very quickly realise to what intellectual heights the Faith has reached. Its great if your vision of the future is a drooling mindless mass of zombies roaming around the place. Sounds like a horror movie to me.

    Anyone notice a similarity to the Borg in Startrek? A mindless mass (Baha’is) directed by a Borg Queen (the UHJ) who does all the thinking. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

  • farhan

    Grover, we should not go from one extreme to the other. Guiding and canalising need not become making a drooling mass of zombies. You are saying water is bad for health because so many people drown in floods.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Grover, we should not go from one extreme to the other. Guiding and canalising need not become making a drooling mass of zombies. You are saying water is bad for health because so many people drown in floods.

  • anonymouz

    grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.

  • anonymouz

    grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.

  • farhan

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had,.. ”

    Anonymouz,
    I agree that at one time it was not clear to everyone that Ruhi was merely an educational instrument for pedagogical purposes for would-be teachers, and not a substitute for deepening. Some zealots did believe that it was a means for mind control and tried to use it as such. I fully realized this when I did book 3 and found that it was an instrument to help me with children’s classes and not an instrument to make me a child.

    I have seen some nasty mistakes from Ruhi zealots, but this did not put me off from the process.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Anonymouz wrote:
    “The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had,.. ”

    Anonymouz,
    I agree that at one time it was not clear to everyone that Ruhi was merely an educational instrument for pedagogical purposes for would-be teachers, and not a substitute for deepening. Some zealots did believe that it was a means for mind control and tried to use it as such. I fully realized this when I did book 3 and found that it was an instrument to help me with children’s classes and not an instrument to make me a child.

    I have seen some nasty mistakes from Ruhi zealots, but this did not put me off from the process.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52599"]grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.[/quote]

    Three U.S. soldiers were shot dead in Iraq today. Soldiers which you previously said you cared absolutely nothing about as individual human beings. As a Baha’i, you said just like Presidnet Cheney, that they are, afterall, volunteers and whatever their fate is so what.

    I think dying in Iraq today hurt a lot worse to them and their families who will get the news than your poor wittle fweelings about Rooooheee.

    The current version of the Baha’i Faith is a religion of boys and not men.

    The blood of every soldier of every nation who has died in battle for the last 100 years is upon every Baha’i on Earth because this was a religion with a once Great Message whose system of top down straight jacketed hapless Administration completely ran into the ground everything they ever touched decade after decade. Just unbelievable.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52599"]grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.[/quote]

    Three U.S. soldiers were shot dead in Iraq today. Soldiers which you previously said you cared absolutely nothing about as individual human beings. As a Baha’i, you said just like Presidnet Cheney, that they are, afterall, volunteers and whatever their fate is so what.

    I think dying in Iraq today hurt a lot worse to them and their families who will get the news than your poor wittle fweelings about Rooooheee.

    The current version of the Baha’i Faith is a religion of boys and not men.

    The blood of every soldier of every nation who has died in battle for the last 100 years is upon every Baha’i on Earth because this was a religion with a once Great Message whose system of top down straight jacketed hapless Administration completely ran into the ground everything they ever touched decade after decade. Just unbelievable.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan,

    The abdication of critical thinking, questioning and the demand for demonstration and justification by authorities is an invitation to fascism, authoritarianism and inauthenticity in man.

    I know, I know – the Bahai Faith isn’t like that, it has the real truth, unlike previous misguided communitarian systems of belief. It’s different this time around.

    This orchestra/maestro analogy you keep using, you know every militaristic, fascistic and authoritarian movement since the 19th century has made the same analogy, right? Prior to that it would have been different metaphors to justify the submission of the individual’s conscience and thinking to a higher, infallible and unquestionable authority, which for the most part has usually been groups of men representing entrenched elite power interests.

    I know, I know – it’s different this time ’round.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan,

    The abdication of critical thinking, questioning and the demand for demonstration and justification by authorities is an invitation to fascism, authoritarianism and inauthenticity in man.

    I know, I know – the Bahai Faith isn’t like that, it has the real truth, unlike previous misguided communitarian systems of belief. It’s different this time around.

    This orchestra/maestro analogy you keep using, you know every militaristic, fascistic and authoritarian movement since the 19th century has made the same analogy, right? Prior to that it would have been different metaphors to justify the submission of the individual’s conscience and thinking to a higher, infallible and unquestionable authority, which for the most part has usually been groups of men representing entrenched elite power interests.

    I know, I know – it’s different this time ’round.

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.[/quote]

    It was from a personal experience. I’ve done several Ruhi books and can faithfully attest that was the extent of the conversation. I’m not being malicious, sarcastic maybe. Malicious implies deliberately setting out to hurt people. If you were hurt by my comments, I’m sorry.

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]grover, I have always have had great discussions at Ruhi. The book is just a catalyst. You are either guessing from an experience you had, then imposing that on us, or are trying to maliciously characterize the experience to justify your distorted perception of it. Which is it?

    Reading your words really hurt.[/quote]

    It was from a personal experience. I’ve done several Ruhi books and can faithfully attest that was the extent of the conversation. I’m not being malicious, sarcastic maybe. Malicious implies deliberately setting out to hurt people. If you were hurt by my comments, I’m sorry.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]
    Sen, here you are telling us that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you…

    I would be delighted to read Sen’s work, but I understand that he is not eager to submit to a maestro; [...][/quote]

    Farhan, you are making things up.
    I never said either of these things.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com/sen Sen McGlinn

    [quote comment=""][...]
    Sen, here you are telling us that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you…

    I would be delighted to read Sen’s work, but I understand that he is not eager to submit to a maestro; [...][/quote]

    Farhan, you are making things up.
    I never said either of these things.

  • Andrew

    Grover wrote:

    “Its great if your vision of the future is a drooling mindless mass of zombies roaming around the place. Sounds like a horror movie to me.”

    “Religion, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatred.” (Henry Brooks Adams)

    Grover also wrote:

    “Anyone notice a similarity to the Borg in Startrek? A mindless mass (Baha’is) directed by a Borg Queen (the UHJ) who does all the thinking. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.”

    “You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a whole flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.” (Max Beerbohm)

    “Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.” (Umberto Eco)

    “The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.” (Lazarus Long)

    Voltaire, on his deathbed, in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan:

    “Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.”

    Here, Grover, is the Baha’i hymn for Nur:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ

    Fiat lux!

    “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” (HG Wells)

  • Andrew

    Grover wrote:

    “Its great if your vision of the future is a drooling mindless mass of zombies roaming around the place. Sounds like a horror movie to me.”

    “Religion, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatred.” (Henry Brooks Adams)

    Grover also wrote:

    “Anyone notice a similarity to the Borg in Startrek? A mindless mass (Baha’is) directed by a Borg Queen (the UHJ) who does all the thinking. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.”

    “You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a whole flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.” (Max Beerbohm)

    “Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.” (Umberto Eco)

    “The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.” (Lazarus Long)

    Voltaire, on his deathbed, in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan:

    “Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.”

    Here, Grover, is the Baha’i hymn for Nur:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ

    Fiat lux!

    “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” (HG Wells)

  • Grover

    Hahaha, good one Andrew, I salute you.

  • Grover

    Hahaha, good one Andrew, I salute you.

  • Bird

    Me too Andrew, perfect simulation…

  • Bird

    Me too Andrew, perfect simulation…

  • farhan

    Sen,
    When I say you are telling us in that statement that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you… and I understand that I understand that you are not eager to submit to a maestro, I am giving in my own words and not in yours my understanding of your statement, which might also be that of other readers.

    You are of course welcome to correct my misunderstanding of your statement:

    (quote) “My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world… I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world. Because my approach is intended to help, and not just study, the community, …”(end quote)

    This help is obviously welcome and Baha’is can only be grateful to you. However, a believer’s position is to say that we badly need God’s help, and God does not need us. Baha’u’llah says that if humanity does not arise to serve the Cause, God will raise the pebbles to serve His Cause.

    Yes, Christ does compare humanity to a flock under the guidance of a shepherd. This is not facisme, because no one is obliged to become part of this collective enterprise, nor does any one oblige others to become part of this flock or to enroll under that banner. We can choose to remain independant or we choose a collective enterprise; we can do a kitchen garden or join industrial farming. If we choose the latter, we have to submit to collective rules.

    I use the example of a maestro, but a maestro is only available to those who want to play in an orchestra, not to those who wish to have fun playing solo. We need both kinds of musicians, but each musician has to choose where he wants to play. If you are choosing an orchestra, you can’t have the ambition of guiding the maestro. I come to the UHJ for help and guidance, not to help and guide them. I badly need them, they dont need me.

    I am merely trying to understand your point of view; if I am misinterpreting your ideas, please correct me.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Sen,
    When I say you are telling us in that statement that you don’t need the Baha’i Faith, but the Baha’i Faith needs you… and I understand that I understand that you are not eager to submit to a maestro, I am giving in my own words and not in yours my understanding of your statement, which might also be that of other readers.

    You are of course welcome to correct my misunderstanding of your statement:

    (quote) “My approach is intended to help the community, like an environmental activist who studies a species in order to help it. I set out to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahai community, to enable Bahais to understand their relatively new faith and to see what it can offer the world… I would be delighted if the Bahai Faith proved to have a synergy with post-modernity, if it prospered in the coming decades and had an influence on the world. Because my approach is intended to help, and not just study, the community, …”(end quote)

    This help is obviously welcome and Baha’is can only be grateful to you. However, a believer’s position is to say that we badly need God’s help, and God does not need us. Baha’u’llah says that if humanity does not arise to serve the Cause, God will raise the pebbles to serve His Cause.

    Yes, Christ does compare humanity to a flock under the guidance of a shepherd. This is not facisme, because no one is obliged to become part of this collective enterprise, nor does any one oblige others to become part of this flock or to enroll under that banner. We can choose to remain independant or we choose a collective enterprise; we can do a kitchen garden or join industrial farming. If we choose the latter, we have to submit to collective rules.

    I use the example of a maestro, but a maestro is only available to those who want to play in an orchestra, not to those who wish to have fun playing solo. We need both kinds of musicians, but each musician has to choose where he wants to play. If you are choosing an orchestra, you can’t have the ambition of guiding the maestro. I come to the UHJ for help and guidance, not to help and guide them. I badly need them, they dont need me.

    I am merely trying to understand your point of view; if I am misinterpreting your ideas, please correct me.

  • farhan

    Andrew quoted:

    “Religion, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatred.” (Henry Brooks Adams)

    Andrew,
    I enjoyed yourquotes, but again just because so many people die drowning in floods is not a reason to say it is safer to drink wine rater than water.

    Gandhi said that humanity is constructed on love; if it was constructed on hatred it would have disappeared long ago.

    The fact that some use religion as an instrument of hatred does not disqualify religion.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew quoted:

    “Religion, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatred.” (Henry Brooks Adams)

    Andrew,
    I enjoyed yourquotes, but again just because so many people die drowning in floods is not a reason to say it is safer to drink wine rater than water.

    Gandhi said that humanity is constructed on love; if it was constructed on hatred it would have disappeared long ago.

    The fact that some use religion as an instrument of hatred does not disqualify religion.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote:
    “…you know every militaristic, fascistic and authoritarian movement since the 19th century has made the same analogy, right?”

    Concourse, you are right; fascisme needs organisation, anarchy does not. After the break down of left wing and right wing, theocratic and proletarial totalitarian systems, I believe that we have to find a new way of organising society, and my bet is that the Baha’i structure is the right one.

    I am not sure if you believe that we dont need a new structure at all, or if you have found another, but if you have a new tructure to suggest please share with us.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Concourse wrote:
    “…you know every militaristic, fascistic and authoritarian movement since the 19th century has made the same analogy, right?”

    Concourse, you are right; fascisme needs organisation, anarchy does not. After the break down of left wing and right wing, theocratic and proletarial totalitarian systems, I believe that we have to find a new way of organising society, and my bet is that the Baha’i structure is the right one.

    I am not sure if you believe that we dont need a new structure at all, or if you have found another, but if you have a new tructure to suggest please share with us.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan wrote:

    “I use the example of a maestro, but a maestro is only available to those who want to play in an orchestra, not to those who wish to have fun playing solo. We need both kinds of musicians, but each musician has to choose where he wants to play. If you are choosing an orchestra, you can’t have the ambition of guiding the maestro. I come to the UHJ for help and guidance, not to help and guide them. I badly need them, they dont need me.”

    Farhan, there is one problem with your analogy – what if the orchestra can’t play? What if it makes the most horrible discordant sound imaginable? What if it’s recordings are so terrible that no one wants them? What if there are musicians in the orchestra who have mastered their instruments and have actual musical chops and can read music and can play but the team of maestros that conduct various musical pieces that the orchestra tries to play are completely tone deaf and in fact are not musicians themselves and are not qualified to be conducting the orchestra at all? What if the orchestra is being led by frauds and shameless imposters? What then?

    The Baha’i Administrative Order has been at it for 87 years since 1921 and counting and has achieved very, very little amid some of the greatest solely man made suffering in human history. I dedicated my life to the Baha’i Faith for 36 years. I tried with everything I had. I faithfully did what I was asked to do at every turn. But it was all a zero sum game that began in words and ended in words. It is an amazing “do nothing” religion led by completely dysfunctional people elected to lifetime incumbency by an electorate of completely dysfunctional people. For all of the effort expended decade after decade and total dedication of so many very fine people who came into the Faith under their own efforts to find it who in retrospect may have been too fine of people for the limitations of this profoundly failed system there is very, very little real result.

    I see that nothing will ever change. Plan after plan is just a scheme to service the psychological needs of a tiny class of a completely self appointed cadre of professional administrators who have gamed the electoral process and will defend any challenge to their psychological system of self-definition clique at all costs. There is no bottom up local grass roots consultation whatsoever permitted on the real issues. Period. It is all going to lead to total ruin because there is no genuine consultation permitted in the “orchestra”. I went to three Cluster reflection meetings. They were something out of Chinese Communist North Korea. Just an amazing farce. A 24 year old Persian woman sat with me at lunch and whispered to me that the whole thing gave her the creeps. It was amazing. I vowed then and there I could not stomach the system of coercion that my once beautiful religion had become. After all these years it had come to this. The system has become an apparatus of completely obscene top down coercion and psychological oppression by a tiny group of mentally deranged people who have never been held accountable by anyone in 87 years and counting. The same old, same old in human history.

    The orchestra can’t play worth a wit, Farhan. Why do you think it can?

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan wrote:

    “I use the example of a maestro, but a maestro is only available to those who want to play in an orchestra, not to those who wish to have fun playing solo. We need both kinds of musicians, but each musician has to choose where he wants to play. If you are choosing an orchestra, you can’t have the ambition of guiding the maestro. I come to the UHJ for help and guidance, not to help and guide them. I badly need them, they dont need me.”

    Farhan, there is one problem with your analogy – what if the orchestra can’t play? What if it makes the most horrible discordant sound imaginable? What if it’s recordings are so terrible that no one wants them? What if there are musicians in the orchestra who have mastered their instruments and have actual musical chops and can read music and can play but the team of maestros that conduct various musical pieces that the orchestra tries to play are completely tone deaf and in fact are not musicians themselves and are not qualified to be conducting the orchestra at all? What if the orchestra is being led by frauds and shameless imposters? What then?

    The Baha’i Administrative Order has been at it for 87 years since 1921 and counting and has achieved very, very little amid some of the greatest solely man made suffering in human history. I dedicated my life to the Baha’i Faith for 36 years. I tried with everything I had. I faithfully did what I was asked to do at every turn. But it was all a zero sum game that began in words and ended in words. It is an amazing “do nothing” religion led by completely dysfunctional people elected to lifetime incumbency by an electorate of completely dysfunctional people. For all of the effort expended decade after decade and total dedication of so many very fine people who came into the Faith under their own efforts to find it who in retrospect may have been too fine of people for the limitations of this profoundly failed system there is very, very little real result.

    I see that nothing will ever change. Plan after plan is just a scheme to service the psychological needs of a tiny class of a completely self appointed cadre of professional administrators who have gamed the electoral process and will defend any challenge to their psychological system of self-definition clique at all costs. There is no bottom up local grass roots consultation whatsoever permitted on the real issues. Period. It is all going to lead to total ruin because there is no genuine consultation permitted in the “orchestra”. I went to three Cluster reflection meetings. They were something out of Chinese Communist North Korea. Just an amazing farce. A 24 year old Persian woman sat with me at lunch and whispered to me that the whole thing gave her the creeps. It was amazing. I vowed then and there I could not stomach the system of coercion that my once beautiful religion had become. After all these years it had come to this. The system has become an apparatus of completely obscene top down coercion and psychological oppression by a tiny group of mentally deranged people who have never been held accountable by anyone in 87 years and counting. The same old, same old in human history.

    The orchestra can’t play worth a wit, Farhan. Why do you think it can?

  • Grover

    Farhan wrote:

    [quote post="500"]However, a believer’s position is to say that we badly need God’s help, and God does not need us. Baha’u’llah says that if humanity does not arise to serve the Cause, God will raise the pebbles to serve His Cause.[/quote]

    So you’re saying God does need our help? What good is a bunch of pebbles going to do apart from looking pretty on a path? Sorry, I’m being cheeky.

    I think humanity in general has adopted slowly the principles espoused by the Faith. e.g. Women’s rights, women around the world started campaigning for the right to vote in the late 1800s. Pay parity isn’t quite there yet. Education for all, most people in the western world, or at least in my country, are able to have a university education. Science and religion, won’t get much joy there unless religious people adopt scientific thought processes in their understanding of religion, which is pretty much what ‘Abdu’l-Baha encouraged. World unity, the internet is helping do that, cheap quick travel around the world, people enjoying international food. Countries working together on common issues, CFCs, global warming, basic human rights. War is widely seen as a nuisance (except for Glenford Mitchell and George Bush). Religious unity, there’s more inter-religious dialogue, a lot of denominations are no longer denouncing each other. Work place management principles are definitely more advanced than the Baha’i principles regarding consultation.

    Where was the Baha’i Faith when all this was (and still is) happening? Does God really need the Baha’is or is God making do without? And those little angels charging around in the ‘Abha Kingdom, whom we are told stand ready to rush to our aid, are they actually busily inspiring any receptive person in the world?

  • Grover

    Farhan wrote:

    [quote post="500"]However, a believer’s position is to say that we badly need God’s help, and God does not need us. Baha’u’llah says that if humanity does not arise to serve the Cause, God will raise the pebbles to serve His Cause.[/quote]

    So you’re saying God does need our help? What good is a bunch of pebbles going to do apart from looking pretty on a path? Sorry, I’m being cheeky.

    I think humanity in general has adopted slowly the principles espoused by the Faith. e.g. Women’s rights, women around the world started campaigning for the right to vote in the late 1800s. Pay parity isn’t quite there yet. Education for all, most people in the western world, or at least in my country, are able to have a university education. Science and religion, won’t get much joy there unless religious people adopt scientific thought processes in their understanding of religion, which is pretty much what ‘Abdu’l-Baha encouraged. World unity, the internet is helping do that, cheap quick travel around the world, people enjoying international food. Countries working together on common issues, CFCs, global warming, basic human rights. War is widely seen as a nuisance (except for Glenford Mitchell and George Bush). Religious unity, there’s more inter-religious dialogue, a lot of denominations are no longer denouncing each other. Work place management principles are definitely more advanced than the Baha’i principles regarding consultation.

    Where was the Baha’i Faith when all this was (and still is) happening? Does God really need the Baha’is or is God making do without? And those little angels charging around in the ‘Abha Kingdom, whom we are told stand ready to rush to our aid, are they actually busily inspiring any receptive person in the world?

  • farhan

    Craig wrote:

    « …what if the orchestra can’t play? What if it makes the most horrible discordant sound imaginable? What if it’s recordings are so terrible that no one wants them? »

    Craig, thanks for your feed-back. What has happened is that the orchestra has decided to become bigger, incorporating new musicians, new instruments and what was a cosy musical group or jazz-band is now becoming a huge philharmonic orchestra ; I have seen dysfunctions like the ones you describe, I have suffered from them, but I know that after some years of readaptation, this bigger orchestra will function smoothly and we will be enchanted by its results.

    We still do need Jazz-bands, but some of us will want to become part of this new orhestra.

    Craig wrote : « What if the orchestra is being led by frauds and shameless imposters? What then? »

    Craig, I understand your qualms ; What the UHJ is implementing is a complete revolution in religious history. Believe it or not, I see it as the spiritual empowerment of all individuals at grass roots, I see it as « the great reversal » promised in the religions of the past, the disappearance of the top-down religious structures.

    Craig wrote « I dedicated my life to the Baha’i Faith for 36 years. »

    Craig it is the time for you to see the seeds you sowed germinating.

    Craig wrote : « Plan after plan is just a scheme to service the psychological needs of a tiny class of a completely self appointed cadre of professional administrators »

    Craig, this is what is going to disappear once the institute process is on the way : individual enterprise is being promoted ; any one will soon be able to organise devotionnals, children’s classes, youth activities, art-work, theatres, music, SED activities, commemoration meetings, teaching campaigns, study circles… administrators will have all the dull paper work to do.

    Craig wrote : « A 24 year old Persian woman sat with me at lunch and whispered to me that the whole thing gave her the creeps. It was amazing. I vowed then and there I could not stomach the system of coercion that my once beautiful religion had become. »

    Craig, i have been through the same experience untill I realised that the whole problem was due to the fact that only inexperienced Baha’is had responded to the institute process and the experienced ones had stepped back from this highly innovating activity. It is now changing, and as more experienced Baha’is become involved the whole structure is becoming more efficient.

    Craig wrote : « The orchestra can’t play worth a wit, Farhan. Why do you think it can? »

    Keep your ears open, Craig : divine melodies are arising from every side.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Craig wrote:

    « …what if the orchestra can’t play? What if it makes the most horrible discordant sound imaginable? What if it’s recordings are so terrible that no one wants them? »

    Craig, thanks for your feed-back. What has happened is that the orchestra has decided to become bigger, incorporating new musicians, new instruments and what was a cosy musical group or jazz-band is now becoming a huge philharmonic orchestra ; I have seen dysfunctions like the ones you describe, I have suffered from them, but I know that after some years of readaptation, this bigger orchestra will function smoothly and we will be enchanted by its results.

    We still do need Jazz-bands, but some of us will want to become part of this new orhestra.

    Craig wrote : « What if the orchestra is being led by frauds and shameless imposters? What then? »

    Craig, I understand your qualms ; What the UHJ is implementing is a complete revolution in religious history. Believe it or not, I see it as the spiritual empowerment of all individuals at grass roots, I see it as « the great reversal » promised in the religions of the past, the disappearance of the top-down religious structures.

    Craig wrote « I dedicated my life to the Baha’i Faith for 36 years. »

    Craig it is the time for you to see the seeds you sowed germinating.

    Craig wrote : « Plan after plan is just a scheme to service the psychological needs of a tiny class of a completely self appointed cadre of professional administrators »

    Craig, this is what is going to disappear once the institute process is on the way : individual enterprise is being promoted ; any one will soon be able to organise devotionnals, children’s classes, youth activities, art-work, theatres, music, SED activities, commemoration meetings, teaching campaigns, study circles… administrators will have all the dull paper work to do.

    Craig wrote : « A 24 year old Persian woman sat with me at lunch and whispered to me that the whole thing gave her the creeps. It was amazing. I vowed then and there I could not stomach the system of coercion that my once beautiful religion had become. »

    Craig, i have been through the same experience untill I realised that the whole problem was due to the fact that only inexperienced Baha’is had responded to the institute process and the experienced ones had stepped back from this highly innovating activity. It is now changing, and as more experienced Baha’is become involved the whole structure is becoming more efficient.

    Craig wrote : « The orchestra can’t play worth a wit, Farhan. Why do you think it can? »

    Keep your ears open, Craig : divine melodies are arising from every side.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote:
    “Where was the Baha’i Faith when all this was (and still is) happening? Does God really need the Baha’is or is God making do without?”

    Grover only part of God’s plan is taking place within the AO. The huge love story is between humanity and God.

    Our part in the AO is constructing an alternative _structure_ for the day when the other structures have failed; it is the skelleton, the armature; the organs and muscles of humanity will in time come to fix themselves on that structure. These are mere shelves on which the library itself is to be sheltered.

    The institute process is developping all the blood, organs, muscles, etc that are to integrate this structure: what we called proclammation and indirect teaching is preparing humanity to meet the coming civilisation.

    There is a Power-point presentation by ali Nakhjavani about this. i can post it somwhere if someone wishes to have a copy.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Grover wrote:
    “Where was the Baha’i Faith when all this was (and still is) happening? Does God really need the Baha’is or is God making do without?”

    Grover only part of God’s plan is taking place within the AO. The huge love story is between humanity and God.

    Our part in the AO is constructing an alternative _structure_ for the day when the other structures have failed; it is the skelleton, the armature; the organs and muscles of humanity will in time come to fix themselves on that structure. These are mere shelves on which the library itself is to be sheltered.

    The institute process is developping all the blood, organs, muscles, etc that are to integrate this structure: what we called proclammation and indirect teaching is preparing humanity to meet the coming civilisation.

    There is a Power-point presentation by ali Nakhjavani about this. i can post it somwhere if someone wishes to have a copy.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi anonymouz,

    You wrote:
    [quote comment="52545"]I challenge you [Grover] to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms [as "theologian"].[/quote]

    No need. Several Baha’i students of religion have used the term to describe current work:

    “Several essays show how the application of specialist academic skills can enhance an understanding of Baha’i scripture and belief. In “Scripture as Literature,” Franklin Lewis demonstrates how a reading of Baha’i sacred texts can be seriously handicapped without the perspective of their literary backgrounds and an understanding of their original languages. Sholeh Quinn’s essay, “The End of History?” illustrates how the use of formal academic methods can enrich perspectives on events in Baha’i history. In “Baha’i Universalism and Native Prophets,” Christopher buck draws on Baha’i texts and cross-cultural studies to propose a broader understanding of Baha’i theology that embraces indigenous religions as part of the world’s spiritual heritage.” (Seena Fazel and John Danesh, Foreword, ix-x, in “Reason and Revelation”, Kalimat, 2002)

    “But the basic task of the Baha’i theologian will always remain the elucidation of “the teachings,” and Shoghi Effendi has said that: “Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Baha’i service….”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xvii)

    “…there are some who still reject the validity of the whole notion of Baha’i theology itself, however broadly and carefully one defines the concept.”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xii)

    “To say, however, that Baha’i theology is non-dogmatic — at least in the Christian sense of the word — does not derive from a respect for the postmodern temper of the times. It is rather because the Baha’i faith simply declines to give institutional sanction to the opinions of individual scholars as being normative and binding, however authoritative or cogent their arguments may be.”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xv-xvi)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi anonymouz,

    You wrote:
    [quote comment="52545"]I challenge you [Grover] to consider why no other formal student of religion, as sen is, who is also a Baha’i and published, every used such terms [as "theologian"].[/quote]

    No need. Several Baha’i students of religion have used the term to describe current work:

    “Several essays show how the application of specialist academic skills can enhance an understanding of Baha’i scripture and belief. In “Scripture as Literature,” Franklin Lewis demonstrates how a reading of Baha’i sacred texts can be seriously handicapped without the perspective of their literary backgrounds and an understanding of their original languages. Sholeh Quinn’s essay, “The End of History?” illustrates how the use of formal academic methods can enrich perspectives on events in Baha’i history. In “Baha’i Universalism and Native Prophets,” Christopher buck draws on Baha’i texts and cross-cultural studies to propose a broader understanding of Baha’i theology that embraces indigenous religions as part of the world’s spiritual heritage.” (Seena Fazel and John Danesh, Foreword, ix-x, in “Reason and Revelation”, Kalimat, 2002)

    “But the basic task of the Baha’i theologian will always remain the elucidation of “the teachings,” and Shoghi Effendi has said that: “Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Baha’i service….”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xvii)

    “…there are some who still reject the validity of the whole notion of Baha’i theology itself, however broadly and carefully one defines the concept.”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xii)

    “To say, however, that Baha’i theology is non-dogmatic — at least in the Christian sense of the word — does not derive from a respect for the postmodern temper of the times. It is rather because the Baha’i faith simply declines to give institutional sanction to the opinions of individual scholars as being normative and binding, however authoritative or cogent their arguments may be.”
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xv-xvi)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Bird

    Beyond the labels, each of us is simply a beating heart.

    Bird

  • Bird

    Beyond the labels, each of us is simply a beating heart.

    Bird

  • farhan

    Andrew, I enjoyed your Robot song;

    I must admit that at one time we did see that kind of characters I surnamed apparatchiks, but this has subsided and we are back to the initial project of the UHJ in 1996 announcing servants “acting with love and efficiency” Some had understood cynicism and efficiency, and they were soon brought back into the right picture.

    I will never forget beautiful souls leaving study circles in tears, but not in France, and this ended very fast.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew, I enjoyed your Robot song;

    I must admit that at one time we did see that kind of characters I surnamed apparatchiks, but this has subsided and we are back to the initial project of the UHJ in 1996 announcing servants “acting with love and efficiency” Some had understood cynicism and efficiency, and they were soon brought back into the right picture.

    I will never forget beautiful souls leaving study circles in tears, but not in France, and this ended very fast.

  • anonymouz

    ?But the basic task of the Baha’i theologian will always remain the elucidation of ?the teachings,? and Shoghi Effendi has said that: ?Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Baha’i service….?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xvii)

    ?…there are some who still reject the validity of the whole notion of Baha’i theology itself, however broadly and carefully one defines the concept.?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xii)

    ?To say, however, that Baha’i theology is non-dogmatic — at least in the Christian sense of the word — does not derive from a respect for the postmodern temper of the times. It is rather because the Baha’i faith simply declines to give institutional sanction to the opinions of individual scholars as being normative and binding, however authoritative or cogent their arguments may be.?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xv-xvi)

    These are accurate.

    I have no doubt that Sen’s work was an interesting academic endevor but from the introduction I read, there was something else.

    If you really want to know why the Institutions dis-enrolled him, let’s ask the important question.

    Sen says:

    He is a …”Bah??’? theologian, writing from and for a religious community,? … ?to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bah??’? community, to enable Bah??’?s to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world?.

    This last sentence is what did it. How can one individual purify the Baha’i Faith? Its ideas and teachings are in no need of purification or criticism. It is the Baha’is themselves who are, and no one but the individual can do this with prayer and detachment. To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan! This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.

    Im waiting for my copy of the book before I make any more comments. This im sure is not conducive spiritually to argue about.

  • anonymouz

    ?But the basic task of the Baha’i theologian will always remain the elucidation of ?the teachings,? and Shoghi Effendi has said that: ?Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Baha’i service….?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xvii)

    ?…there are some who still reject the validity of the whole notion of Baha’i theology itself, however broadly and carefully one defines the concept.?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xii)

    ?To say, however, that Baha’i theology is non-dogmatic — at least in the Christian sense of the word — does not derive from a respect for the postmodern temper of the times. It is rather because the Baha’i faith simply declines to give institutional sanction to the opinions of individual scholars as being normative and binding, however authoritative or cogent their arguments may be.?
    (Jack McLean, Revisioning the Sacred, Kalimat, 1997, page xv-xvi)

    These are accurate.

    I have no doubt that Sen’s work was an interesting academic endevor but from the introduction I read, there was something else.

    If you really want to know why the Institutions dis-enrolled him, let’s ask the important question.

    Sen says:

    He is a …”Bah??’? theologian, writing from and for a religious community,? … ?to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bah??’? community, to enable Bah??’?s to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world?.

    This last sentence is what did it. How can one individual purify the Baha’i Faith? Its ideas and teachings are in no need of purification or criticism. It is the Baha’is themselves who are, and no one but the individual can do this with prayer and detachment. To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan! This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.

    Im waiting for my copy of the book before I make any more comments. This im sure is not conducive spiritually to argue about.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote:
    After the break down of left wing and right wing, theocratic and proletarial totalitarian systems, I believe that we have to find a new way of organising society, and my bet is that the Baha’i structure is the right one.

    There’s nothing new about the Bahai blueprint, Farhan. It repeats the same mistakes and pathologies of previous blueprints : dogmatism (despite claims to the contrary), reliance on supposedly infallible authorities, exclusivist claims to the truth and the corollary that their blueprint is the blueprint, and a deep seated belief that everything will be alright once everyone else adopts that blueprint.

    Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent.

    Farhan wrote: I am not sure if you believe that we dont need a new structure at all, or if you have found another, but if you have a new tructure to suggest please share with us.

    Is this where you get frustrated and say, Oh yeah, then what’s your solution, Mr. Smarty Pants?

    I don’t claim to have an ideal solution. But I don’t need to have one in order to identify deeply flawed proposals.

    Based on simple observation and study, it seems to me that liberal social democracy is the best form of human governance and social organization that has been devised up to this point. It’s the only system that has facilitated huge improvements in standards of living, accommodated people with diverse metaphysical and political beliefs, promoted and achieved a respectable degree of tolerance, and offered channels and avenues for progressive change.

    This system has done more for improving the lot of humanity than any religious system or blueprint.

    Of course it has flaws and problems, some of them systemic, but the blueprint, through slow and painstaking change, does correct those shortcomings. History bears testimony to this.

    Bahais justify the incompetence, failures and weaknesses of their administrative structures and those who operate them by pointing out that, you know, it’s all new, and improving slowly but surely, give it time. Why doesn’t that apply to secular systems? If you admit that the Bahai blueprint improves in a piecemeal, incremental fashion, then why not just throw your weight behind a secular system that does the same but has the added benefit of not having to rely on dubious notions of infallibility and divine legitimacy

    Liberal social democracy does have its mini-maestros (judges, politicans, police departments) but they receive their authority through the consent of the governed, not metaphysical pies in the sky like God, and this authority is transparent and can be taken away as quickly as it is granted, in the event of impropriety or abuse.

    Moreover, Bahai characterization of modern Western society as some sort of grotesque dystopia of rampant immorality and debauchery is so exaggerated that it borders on the insane. It’s because of this supposed spawn of Satan, which we call liberal democracy, that you can freely assemble at your meetings, freely disseminate your views, freely operate without fear of monitoring or imprisonment.

    I believe Bahais can make valuable contributions to ecumenical religious pluralism and social causes within a secular pluralist liberal system. But the exclusivism and pretensions to global conquest have to go. And I can understand why a Bahai would have a tough time with that, in view of the Central Figures’ constant urging to ?spread the Cause.?

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote:
    After the break down of left wing and right wing, theocratic and proletarial totalitarian systems, I believe that we have to find a new way of organising society, and my bet is that the Baha’i structure is the right one.

    There’s nothing new about the Bahai blueprint, Farhan. It repeats the same mistakes and pathologies of previous blueprints : dogmatism (despite claims to the contrary), reliance on supposedly infallible authorities, exclusivist claims to the truth and the corollary that their blueprint is the blueprint, and a deep seated belief that everything will be alright once everyone else adopts that blueprint.

    Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent.

    Farhan wrote: I am not sure if you believe that we dont need a new structure at all, or if you have found another, but if you have a new tructure to suggest please share with us.

    Is this where you get frustrated and say, Oh yeah, then what’s your solution, Mr. Smarty Pants?

    I don’t claim to have an ideal solution. But I don’t need to have one in order to identify deeply flawed proposals.

    Based on simple observation and study, it seems to me that liberal social democracy is the best form of human governance and social organization that has been devised up to this point. It’s the only system that has facilitated huge improvements in standards of living, accommodated people with diverse metaphysical and political beliefs, promoted and achieved a respectable degree of tolerance, and offered channels and avenues for progressive change.

    This system has done more for improving the lot of humanity than any religious system or blueprint.

    Of course it has flaws and problems, some of them systemic, but the blueprint, through slow and painstaking change, does correct those shortcomings. History bears testimony to this.

    Bahais justify the incompetence, failures and weaknesses of their administrative structures and those who operate them by pointing out that, you know, it’s all new, and improving slowly but surely, give it time. Why doesn’t that apply to secular systems? If you admit that the Bahai blueprint improves in a piecemeal, incremental fashion, then why not just throw your weight behind a secular system that does the same but has the added benefit of not having to rely on dubious notions of infallibility and divine legitimacy

    Liberal social democracy does have its mini-maestros (judges, politicans, police departments) but they receive their authority through the consent of the governed, not metaphysical pies in the sky like God, and this authority is transparent and can be taken away as quickly as it is granted, in the event of impropriety or abuse.

    Moreover, Bahai characterization of modern Western society as some sort of grotesque dystopia of rampant immorality and debauchery is so exaggerated that it borders on the insane. It’s because of this supposed spawn of Satan, which we call liberal democracy, that you can freely assemble at your meetings, freely disseminate your views, freely operate without fear of monitoring or imprisonment.

    I believe Bahais can make valuable contributions to ecumenical religious pluralism and social causes within a secular pluralist liberal system. But the exclusivism and pretensions to global conquest have to go. And I can understand why a Bahai would have a tough time with that, in view of the Central Figures’ constant urging to ?spread the Cause.?

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]He is a …?Bah??’? theologian, writing from and for a religious community,? … ?to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bah??’? community, to enable Bah??’?s to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world?.

    This last sentence is what did it. How can one individual purify the Baha’i Faith? Its ideas and teachings are in no need of purification or criticism. It is the Baha’is themselves who are, and no one but the individual can do this with prayer and detachment. To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan! This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.[/quote]

    I’m sorry Anonymouz, after all the Ruhi you’ve done, you still can’t read whats there and comprehend it.

    Ideas of the Baha’i community aren’t necessarily the same as the Bahai Teachings. Science and religion is a case in point, most Baha’is think science and religion must agree, but when you actually check what Abdu’l Baha had to say on the matter, it was religion must show its conformity with science.

    Another classic case in point is the persistent idea of a Baha’i theocracy, when from what Baquia and Sen have shown, this idea is false.

    Also, what about difficulties in interpretation due to translation errors? Sen goes on about this, and so does another book Evolution and the Baha’i Faith, which discusses some of the misinterpretations that occured regarding evolution due to the interpreter not correctly translating what ‘Abdu’l-Baha had said. Evolution is an area which is strongly in need of clarification because the current Bahai idea is that man evolved independently of anything else, when in fact we know from genetics we share most of our genes with mice, rats, animals, etc, indicating a common ancestry. If we evolved independently of everything else our genes would not show such similarity.

    One individual can purify the Faith, by pointing out common falicies, addressing them in a logical way, and giving a rational argument. Also to point out where Baha’i teachings do not match up with current science or trends allows researchers to step forward and find out why.

    The Faith urgently needs people like Sen who are willing to do this, otherwise it ends up becoming the laughing stock of universities, and not taken seriously by “People of Capacity” which Shoghi Effendi and ‘Abdu’l-Baha said we need in the Faith.

    [quote post="500"]To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan![/quote]

    Yes, but in the process your own understanding of the Writings is increased. We should never stop investigating anything just because we’ve decided we’re Baha’is.

    [quote post="500"]This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.[/quote]

    Ruhi does that all the time, any Baha’i book does that, any book on science, accounting, politics, management, etc etc etc does that. That is what a book does, that is why people write them.

    What is it you’re afraid of Anonymouz? Having your sacred cows challenged? Sounds like the Catholic Church when Galileo was busy studying the motion of the planets.

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]He is a …?Bah??’? theologian, writing from and for a religious community,? … ?to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bah??’? community, to enable Bah??’?s to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world?.

    This last sentence is what did it. How can one individual purify the Baha’i Faith? Its ideas and teachings are in no need of purification or criticism. It is the Baha’is themselves who are, and no one but the individual can do this with prayer and detachment. To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan! This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.[/quote]

    I’m sorry Anonymouz, after all the Ruhi you’ve done, you still can’t read whats there and comprehend it.

    Ideas of the Baha’i community aren’t necessarily the same as the Bahai Teachings. Science and religion is a case in point, most Baha’is think science and religion must agree, but when you actually check what Abdu’l Baha had to say on the matter, it was religion must show its conformity with science.

    Another classic case in point is the persistent idea of a Baha’i theocracy, when from what Baquia and Sen have shown, this idea is false.

    Also, what about difficulties in interpretation due to translation errors? Sen goes on about this, and so does another book Evolution and the Baha’i Faith, which discusses some of the misinterpretations that occured regarding evolution due to the interpreter not correctly translating what ‘Abdu’l-Baha had said. Evolution is an area which is strongly in need of clarification because the current Bahai idea is that man evolved independently of anything else, when in fact we know from genetics we share most of our genes with mice, rats, animals, etc, indicating a common ancestry. If we evolved independently of everything else our genes would not show such similarity.

    One individual can purify the Faith, by pointing out common falicies, addressing them in a logical way, and giving a rational argument. Also to point out where Baha’i teachings do not match up with current science or trends allows researchers to step forward and find out why.

    The Faith urgently needs people like Sen who are willing to do this, otherwise it ends up becoming the laughing stock of universities, and not taken seriously by “People of Capacity” which Shoghi Effendi and ‘Abdu’l-Baha said we need in the Faith.

    [quote post="500"]To assume that the Baha’i writings need critiquing is to question the Divine plan![/quote]

    Yes, but in the process your own understanding of the Writings is increased. We should never stop investigating anything just because we’ve decided we’re Baha’is.

    [quote post="500"]This statement is read by me as an attempt to tell other people what it is they should believe and this is why they should believe it.[/quote]

    Ruhi does that all the time, any Baha’i book does that, any book on science, accounting, politics, management, etc etc etc does that. That is what a book does, that is why people write them.

    What is it you’re afraid of Anonymouz? Having your sacred cows challenged? Sounds like the Catholic Church when Galileo was busy studying the motion of the planets.

  • Andrew

    A NEW STAR HAS APPEARED IN THE FIRMAMENT OF BAHA’I THEOLOGY!

    This is, by far, the most lucid articulation of Baha’i theology that has ever been formulated upon the entire face of the earth:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxjDRGuw7TU

    From out the mouths of babes come the most wondrous things … and a little child shall teach them!

    THE DAYSTAR OF CERTITUDE HATH RISEN UPON OUR WORLD, HATH SHONE FORTH ABOVE THE HORIZON OF THE WILL OF GOD, ABOVE THE HORIZON OF THE PEN OF THE ETERNAL KING, OVER THE FIRMAMENT OF CREATION, AND HATH SHED ITS SPLENDOR, HATH MANIFESTED ITSELF, HATH SUNDERED LIGHT FROM DARKNESS! HOWBEIT THAT SUCH A BEING HATH BEEN HITHERTO UNKNOWN TO US? STAR OF THE SOUTH, LEAD THOU US ON, THY FLAG AZURE, THY LIGHT ARGENT! ‘TIS NUR! ‘TIS NUR! ‘TIS NUR!

    The Blessings of Nur be upon thee! I sigh, I faint, I fall, I expire … bring me moth and flame, rose and nightingale, wine and water! I melt in the face of such consecration! I am no more! No more, I say, no more!

  • Andrew

    A NEW STAR HAS APPEARED IN THE FIRMAMENT OF BAHA’I THEOLOGY!

    This is, by far, the most lucid articulation of Baha’i theology that has ever been formulated upon the entire face of the earth:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxjDRGuw7TU

    From out the mouths of babes come the most wondrous things … and a little child shall teach them!

    THE DAYSTAR OF CERTITUDE HATH RISEN UPON OUR WORLD, HATH SHONE FORTH ABOVE THE HORIZON OF THE WILL OF GOD, ABOVE THE HORIZON OF THE PEN OF THE ETERNAL KING, OVER THE FIRMAMENT OF CREATION, AND HATH SHED ITS SPLENDOR, HATH MANIFESTED ITSELF, HATH SUNDERED LIGHT FROM DARKNESS! HOWBEIT THAT SUCH A BEING HATH BEEN HITHERTO UNKNOWN TO US? STAR OF THE SOUTH, LEAD THOU US ON, THY FLAG AZURE, THY LIGHT ARGENT! ‘TIS NUR! ‘TIS NUR! ‘TIS NUR!

    The Blessings of Nur be upon thee! I sigh, I faint, I fall, I expire … bring me moth and flame, rose and nightingale, wine and water! I melt in the face of such consecration! I am no more! No more, I say, no more!

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote:

    ?Bahais justify the incompetence, failures and weaknesses of their administrative structures and those who operate them by pointing out that, you know, it’s all new, and improving slowly but surely, give it time.?

    Concourse, one aspect of Baha’i administration is that it is a base-top structure. The administration is not responsible for doing things as in the leading party system, but just there to harmonise individual efforts. It is up to grass roots to act; administrators are only there to give structure to that motion.

    Concourse wrote:

    “Why doesn’t that apply to secular systems?”

    I believe it does; the BF contributes to inspiring secular movements and not competing with them.
    Concourse wrote:
    ?I believe Baha’is can make valuable contributions to ecumenical religious pluralism and social causes ?

    I agree; the BF does not pretend taking power into it’s own hands, but inspiring and canalising the efforts. When Moslems Jews and Christians reconcile, they will all have taken a major step towards Baha’i principles. That some of them enrol and work with us is of course all the better.

    Concourse wrote:
    “But the exclusivism and pretensions to global conquest have to go.”

    I agree; this kind of talk is from misunderstanding. The “conquest of hearts” is the true aim of Baha’is. When a majority of humans will realise the need for unity, then they will behave and organise themselves according to Baha’i principles and we will all be better off. It is not a question of domination but of attraction.

    Concourse wrote:
    “And I can understand why a Bahai would have a tough time with that, in view of the Central Figures’ constant urging to ?spread the Cause.?

    spreading Baha’i ideas is a way of inspiring humanity. I dont feel that the real aim is enrolling by collecting names, but by hanging hearts.

    [/quote]

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Concourse wrote:

    ?Bahais justify the incompetence, failures and weaknesses of their administrative structures and those who operate them by pointing out that, you know, it’s all new, and improving slowly but surely, give it time.?

    Concourse, one aspect of Baha’i administration is that it is a base-top structure. The administration is not responsible for doing things as in the leading party system, but just there to harmonise individual efforts. It is up to grass roots to act; administrators are only there to give structure to that motion.

    Concourse wrote:

    “Why doesn’t that apply to secular systems?”

    I believe it does; the BF contributes to inspiring secular movements and not competing with them.
    Concourse wrote:
    ?I believe Baha’is can make valuable contributions to ecumenical religious pluralism and social causes ?

    I agree; the BF does not pretend taking power into it’s own hands, but inspiring and canalising the efforts. When Moslems Jews and Christians reconcile, they will all have taken a major step towards Baha’i principles. That some of them enrol and work with us is of course all the better.

    Concourse wrote:
    “But the exclusivism and pretensions to global conquest have to go.”

    I agree; this kind of talk is from misunderstanding. The “conquest of hearts” is the true aim of Baha’is. When a majority of humans will realise the need for unity, then they will behave and organise themselves according to Baha’i principles and we will all be better off. It is not a question of domination but of attraction.

    Concourse wrote:
    “And I can understand why a Bahai would have a tough time with that, in view of the Central Figures’ constant urging to ?spread the Cause.?

    spreading Baha’i ideas is a way of inspiring humanity. I dont feel that the real aim is enrolling by collecting names, but by hanging hearts.

    [/quote]

  • anonymouz

    grover et al,

    have you read this?

    http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=uhj_theocracy&language=All

    What do you think about it? If you have read it, read it again and reply with a fresh comment. I am open to the dialog.

  • anonymouz

    grover et al,

    have you read this?

    http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=uhj_theocracy&language=All

    What do you think about it? If you have read it, read it again and reply with a fresh comment. I am open to the dialog.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote: The ?conquest of hearts? is the true aim of Baha’is. When a majority of humans will realise the need for unity, then they will behave and organise themselves according to Baha’i principles and we will all be better off. It is not a question of domination but of attraction.

    Farhan, that’s just a sugarcoated way of saying “conversion.”

    We both know that Bahais use conversions as an index for measuring the success of systematic proclamation activities, not nebulous standards like how many people were inspired by the ideas communicated.

    In the letter linked by Anonymouz, the UHJ writes: As already mentioned, no one in this Dispensation is compelled to be a Bah??’?, and the division of humankind into the “clean” and the “unclean”, the “faithful” and the “infidels”, is abolished.

    I really have to wonder if the UHJ is familiar with the writings of Baha’u’llah. Here’s just a sample.

    Know, moreover, that it is through such words that God proveth His servants and sifteth them, separating the believer from the infidel, the detached from the worldly, the pious from the profligate, the doer of good from the worker of iniquity, and so forth.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 25)

    Whoso hath not recognized this sublime and fundamental verity, and hath failed to attain this most exalted station, the winds of doubt will agitate him, and the sayings of the infidels will distract his soul.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 87)

    Let no one imagine that by Our assertion that all created things are the signs of the revelation of God is meant that — God forbid — all men, be they good or evil, pious or infidel, are equal in the sight of God.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings p. 186)

    If ye find it to be established in truth, if ye believe it to be of God, beware, then, lest ye cavil at it, and render your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 281)

    O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)
    This is the Day that God hath ordained to be a blessing unto the righteous, a retribution for the wicked, a bounty for the faithful and a fury of His wrath for the faithless and the forward.
    (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 103)

    Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p.232)

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote: The ?conquest of hearts? is the true aim of Baha’is. When a majority of humans will realise the need for unity, then they will behave and organise themselves according to Baha’i principles and we will all be better off. It is not a question of domination but of attraction.

    Farhan, that’s just a sugarcoated way of saying “conversion.”

    We both know that Bahais use conversions as an index for measuring the success of systematic proclamation activities, not nebulous standards like how many people were inspired by the ideas communicated.

    In the letter linked by Anonymouz, the UHJ writes: As already mentioned, no one in this Dispensation is compelled to be a Bah??’?, and the division of humankind into the “clean” and the “unclean”, the “faithful” and the “infidels”, is abolished.

    I really have to wonder if the UHJ is familiar with the writings of Baha’u’llah. Here’s just a sample.

    Know, moreover, that it is through such words that God proveth His servants and sifteth them, separating the believer from the infidel, the detached from the worldly, the pious from the profligate, the doer of good from the worker of iniquity, and so forth.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 25)

    Whoso hath not recognized this sublime and fundamental verity, and hath failed to attain this most exalted station, the winds of doubt will agitate him, and the sayings of the infidels will distract his soul.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 87)

    Let no one imagine that by Our assertion that all created things are the signs of the revelation of God is meant that — God forbid — all men, be they good or evil, pious or infidel, are equal in the sight of God.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings p. 186)

    If ye find it to be established in truth, if ye believe it to be of God, beware, then, lest ye cavil at it, and render your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 281)

    O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)
    This is the Day that God hath ordained to be a blessing unto the righteous, a retribution for the wicked, a bounty for the faithful and a fury of His wrath for the faithless and the forward.
    (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 103)

    Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p.232)

  • anonymouz

    CoL,

    each of these quotes you have listed is purposefully taken out of context. What are you trying to prove? Did you read the whole thing?

    We must take the teachings as a great, balanced whole, not seek out and oppose to each other two strong statements that have different meanings; somewhere in between, there are links uniting the two. That is what makes our Faith so flexible and well balanced.

  • anonymouz

    CoL,

    each of these quotes you have listed is purposefully taken out of context. What are you trying to prove? Did you read the whole thing?

    We must take the teachings as a great, balanced whole, not seek out and oppose to each other two strong statements that have different meanings; somewhere in between, there are links uniting the two. That is what makes our Faith so flexible and well balanced.

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote:
    “.. that’s just a sugarcoated way of saying “conversion.”
    We both know that Bahais use conversions as an index for measuring the success of systematic proclamation activities, not nebulous standards like how many people were inspired by the ideas communicated.”

    I agree, Concourse, but Baha’is do many things that are not necessarily the ideal Baha’i behaviour. We need to estimate our results, and for practical purposes, we need to know on whom we can rely for organising our activities. We have imperfect means of evaluation and we make many mistakes; Baha’u’llah says we should be aloof as the cloud shedding rain, without paying attention to what is below.

    It is difficult to be detached; we feel it is US having results, not the message, we can become discouraged, feel inadequate and cling on to whatever can be an encouragement; IOW we are just humans ;-)

    Concourse wrote:
    ?the division of humankind into the ?clean? and the ?unclean?, the ?faithful? and the ?infidels?, is abolished.?

    Concourse, The concept of clean and unclean present in Islam is a process of stigmatizing people as not belonging to the same human family. In many writings Baha’u’llah explains that our real worth is hidden to ourselves, as a measure of grace to ourselves; How much more is our real being hidden to others.

    The distinction you see in writing between individuals is a spiritual and intimate one. No one is allowed to stigmatize or judge another, although we are encouraged to associate with those who help our development.

    As to the word ?ungodly? which corresponds with the Hebrew concept of the ?evil one? or ?opponent of God?, Baha’u’llah defines him as the one or the thing that hinders the spiritual evolution.

    In His letter to the Shah Baha’u’llah extols true believers in God and at that time, in Iran, I doubt if those without belief in God had any spiritual values, contrary to those in our times who adhere to spiritual value but reject their source and the churches which have once expounded them.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Concourse wrote:
    “.. that’s just a sugarcoated way of saying “conversion.”
    We both know that Bahais use conversions as an index for measuring the success of systematic proclamation activities, not nebulous standards like how many people were inspired by the ideas communicated.”

    I agree, Concourse, but Baha’is do many things that are not necessarily the ideal Baha’i behaviour. We need to estimate our results, and for practical purposes, we need to know on whom we can rely for organising our activities. We have imperfect means of evaluation and we make many mistakes; Baha’u’llah says we should be aloof as the cloud shedding rain, without paying attention to what is below.

    It is difficult to be detached; we feel it is US having results, not the message, we can become discouraged, feel inadequate and cling on to whatever can be an encouragement; IOW we are just humans ;-)

    Concourse wrote:
    ?the division of humankind into the ?clean? and the ?unclean?, the ?faithful? and the ?infidels?, is abolished.?

    Concourse, The concept of clean and unclean present in Islam is a process of stigmatizing people as not belonging to the same human family. In many writings Baha’u’llah explains that our real worth is hidden to ourselves, as a measure of grace to ourselves; How much more is our real being hidden to others.

    The distinction you see in writing between individuals is a spiritual and intimate one. No one is allowed to stigmatize or judge another, although we are encouraged to associate with those who help our development.

    As to the word ?ungodly? which corresponds with the Hebrew concept of the ?evil one? or ?opponent of God?, Baha’u’llah defines him as the one or the thing that hinders the spiritual evolution.

    In His letter to the Shah Baha’u’llah extols true believers in God and at that time, in Iran, I doubt if those without belief in God had any spiritual values, contrary to those in our times who adhere to spiritual value but reject their source and the churches which have once expounded them.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Anonymouz,

    Ah, the ol’ you’re taking it out of context reply. So predictable. It can, however, be a legitimate criticism if it has actually occured.

    So the onus is on you to demonstrate how I’ve taken any of those quotes out of context and how that context changes the obvious meanings of the terms of denunciation (infidel, etc.) used by Baha’u’llah. I’ve clearly cited the sources of those quotes, so anyone can easily check them out.

    Anonymouz, you end your comment with an italicized passage without referencing its source. Clearly that puts you in an awkward position for charging me with quoting out of context.

    In any event, Shoghi Effendi made that remark in a letter dated 19 March 1946, and can be found in The Two Compilations of Scholarship 1979 & 1983.

    The Bahai corpus is large, so it’s not surprising to find conflicting statements. Bahais will attempt to reconcile inconsistencies and contradictions within and between the Central Figures by pointing out that they are only apparent inconsistencies insofar as they can be resolved by considering the entire corpus holistically. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate approach.

    As for the passage that I highlighted, Baha’u’llah’s own words clearly contradict those of the UHJ. Baha’u’llah clearly uses terms that the UHJ claim are not operative in the religion. I’m open to hearing your attempt at reconciling the inconsistency.

    Farhan wrote: In many writings Baha’u’llah explains that our real worth is hidden to ourselves, as a measure of grace to ourselves; How much more is our real being hidden to others.
    The distinction you see in writing between individuals is a spiritual and intimate one. No one is allowed to stigmatize or judge another, although we are encouraged to associate with those who help our development.

    Farhan,

    Your attempt at explaining away the inconsistency is a fairly standard one: interpret the terms spiritually, which is usually intended to mean figuratively. What exactly are the figurative meanings of the terms infidel, faithless, unbelievers, ungodly?

    Farhan writes: Concourse, The concept of clean and unclean present in Islam is a process of stigmatizing people as not belonging to the same human family.

    I’m aware of the Islamic origin of the notion of kafir, and the concomitant notions of clean and unclean, which are, by the way, also present in the Bayan. And incidentally, Baha’u’llah has, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, declared that semen is not unclean, much to the joy of married heterosexual practitioners of coitus interruptus.

    Farhan writes: As to the word ?ungodly? which corresponds with the Hebrew concept of the ?evil one? or ?opponent of God?, Baha’u’llah defines him as the one or the thing that hinders the spiritual evolution.

    That just reinforces the fact that Baha’u’llah’s distinction parallels divisions advocated by previous religions, and as a result conflicts with the general sentiment of the passage from the UHJ’s letter.

    Farhan wrote: In His letter to the Shah Baha’u’llah extols true believers in God and at that time, in Iran, I doubt if those without belief in God had any spiritual values, contrary to those in our times who adhere to spiritual value but reject their source and the churches which have once expounded them.

    Farhan, the quote in which Baha’u’llah fulminates against atheists is a letter to Sultan Abdul Aziz, not Nader Shah.

    Your historicist account of Baha’u’llah’s vitriol for atheists is interesting. But I don’t think it holds up in light of the following quote, where atheists, whether of the 19th century or the 25th, are destined for the fires of hell (yes, yes – hell is a metaphor for spiritual isolation, but that doesn’t make it any less terrible):

    They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the deniers! (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 284)

    Farhan, it’s my experience that Bahais are ok with historicist accounts only when it serves their polemical ends. When it challenges their beliefs, then it’s the product of flawed materialist methodology.

    Farhan wrote: I agree, Concourse, but Baha’is do many things that are not necessarily the ideal Baha’i behaviour. We need to estimate our results, and for practical purposes, we need to know on whom we can rely for organising our activities. We have imperfect means of evaluation and we make many mistakes; Baha’u’llah says we should be aloof as the cloud shedding rain, without paying attention to what is below.

    I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here.

    How is seeking conversions not “the ideal Bahai behavior”? It suffuses every Bahai activity; it’s the principal motivating factor for Bahai community life – sadly at the expense of real spirituality. The number of “declarations” is used by the adminstration to measure the success of Bahai activities!

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Anonymouz,

    Ah, the ol’ you’re taking it out of context reply. So predictable. It can, however, be a legitimate criticism if it has actually occured.

    So the onus is on you to demonstrate how I’ve taken any of those quotes out of context and how that context changes the obvious meanings of the terms of denunciation (infidel, etc.) used by Baha’u’llah. I’ve clearly cited the sources of those quotes, so anyone can easily check them out.

    Anonymouz, you end your comment with an italicized passage without referencing its source. Clearly that puts you in an awkward position for charging me with quoting out of context.

    In any event, Shoghi Effendi made that remark in a letter dated 19 March 1946, and can be found in The Two Compilations of Scholarship 1979 & 1983.

    The Bahai corpus is large, so it’s not surprising to find conflicting statements. Bahais will attempt to reconcile inconsistencies and contradictions within and between the Central Figures by pointing out that they are only apparent inconsistencies insofar as they can be resolved by considering the entire corpus holistically. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate approach.

    As for the passage that I highlighted, Baha’u’llah’s own words clearly contradict those of the UHJ. Baha’u’llah clearly uses terms that the UHJ claim are not operative in the religion. I’m open to hearing your attempt at reconciling the inconsistency.

    Farhan wrote: In many writings Baha’u’llah explains that our real worth is hidden to ourselves, as a measure of grace to ourselves; How much more is our real being hidden to others.
    The distinction you see in writing between individuals is a spiritual and intimate one. No one is allowed to stigmatize or judge another, although we are encouraged to associate with those who help our development.

    Farhan,

    Your attempt at explaining away the inconsistency is a fairly standard one: interpret the terms spiritually, which is usually intended to mean figuratively. What exactly are the figurative meanings of the terms infidel, faithless, unbelievers, ungodly?

    Farhan writes: Concourse, The concept of clean and unclean present in Islam is a process of stigmatizing people as not belonging to the same human family.

    I’m aware of the Islamic origin of the notion of kafir, and the concomitant notions of clean and unclean, which are, by the way, also present in the Bayan. And incidentally, Baha’u’llah has, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, declared that semen is not unclean, much to the joy of married heterosexual practitioners of coitus interruptus.

    Farhan writes: As to the word ?ungodly? which corresponds with the Hebrew concept of the ?evil one? or ?opponent of God?, Baha’u’llah defines him as the one or the thing that hinders the spiritual evolution.

    That just reinforces the fact that Baha’u’llah’s distinction parallels divisions advocated by previous religions, and as a result conflicts with the general sentiment of the passage from the UHJ’s letter.

    Farhan wrote: In His letter to the Shah Baha’u’llah extols true believers in God and at that time, in Iran, I doubt if those without belief in God had any spiritual values, contrary to those in our times who adhere to spiritual value but reject their source and the churches which have once expounded them.

    Farhan, the quote in which Baha’u’llah fulminates against atheists is a letter to Sultan Abdul Aziz, not Nader Shah.

    Your historicist account of Baha’u’llah’s vitriol for atheists is interesting. But I don’t think it holds up in light of the following quote, where atheists, whether of the 19th century or the 25th, are destined for the fires of hell (yes, yes – hell is a metaphor for spiritual isolation, but that doesn’t make it any less terrible):

    They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the deniers! (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 284)

    Farhan, it’s my experience that Bahais are ok with historicist accounts only when it serves their polemical ends. When it challenges their beliefs, then it’s the product of flawed materialist methodology.

    Farhan wrote: I agree, Concourse, but Baha’is do many things that are not necessarily the ideal Baha’i behaviour. We need to estimate our results, and for practical purposes, we need to know on whom we can rely for organising our activities. We have imperfect means of evaluation and we make many mistakes; Baha’u’llah says we should be aloof as the cloud shedding rain, without paying attention to what is below.

    I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here.

    How is seeking conversions not “the ideal Bahai behavior”? It suffuses every Bahai activity; it’s the principal motivating factor for Bahai community life – sadly at the expense of real spirituality. The number of “declarations” is used by the adminstration to measure the success of Bahai activities!

  • Craig Parke

    OK.

    anonymouz’s and Farhan’s posts have finally wore me down.

    I honestly am starting to like Farhan in his cheerful, unrelenting, amazing “platitude consciousness.” It really is endearing and is like being in contact with some new uncharted plane of the Universal Mind of the Universe. Maybe there really is that land of “tangerine trees and marmalade skies” like the Beatles sang. The effect on me is almost like a controlled substance.

    As Grover said in the Borg analogy I am on the brink of thinking “Resistance is Futile” and Andrew’s “Robot Song” really is kind of catchy in a Devo sort of way. It is hypnotic.

    Maybe I am over tired from too much logical reasoning in Java programming of late. Maybe I am having a problem with the Renaissance. My code flickers on an off in delirious Ruhi patterns that I cannot control in my mind. I think maybe Galileo really should have been burned at the stake. I am unsure. I am confused.

    Four hundred families depend on me to be able to think so the company can keep going and pay them from revenues we get from actually doing something. Figure 4 people to a family. That’s 1600 people. That’s mortgage payments. Saving for college tuition in 18 years for some parents unless there is Armageddon. OMG I feel weak. I am losing it. My code is this and then it changes.

    private List getSegment(String record) {
    String tempSegment = record.substring(0, record.indexOf(“~”) + 1);
    List segment = new ArrayList();
    Integer index = 0;
    while (!tempSegment.equals(“~”)) {
    if (tempSegment.indexOf(“|”) < 0) {
    segment.add(index, tempSegment.substring(0, tempSegment.indexOf(“~”)).trim());
    tempSegment = tempSegment.substring(tempSegment.indexOf(“~”));
    } else {
    segment.add(index, tempSegment.substring(0, tempSegment.indexOf(“|”)).trim());
    tempSegment = tempSegment.substring(tempSegment.indexOf(“|”) + 1);
    }
    index++;
    }
    return segment;
    }

    It starts to become this:

    private List __________(String ______) {
    String tempSegment = _____._______(0, ______.indexOf(“~”) + 1);
    List segment = new _________();
    Integer index = 0;
    while (!_______.equals(“~”)) {
    if (tempSegment._______Of(“|”) < 0) {
    segment.____(index, _______.substring(0, ____Segment.indexOf(“~”)).trim());
    temp______ = _________.substring(________.indexOf(“~”));
    } else {
    segment.____(index, ____Segment.substring(0, ____Segment.indexOf(“|”)).trim());
    temp______ = temp_______.substring(____Segment.indexOf(“|”) + 1);
    }
    index++;
    }
    return _______;
    }

    OMG help me! I can’t follow it in my mind. It all flickers on and off like in that episode in the original Twilight Zone series where that Slot Machine follows that guy around in Vegas until he loses his mind.

    With flash back Ruhiization in my mind I can’t keep track of things in my logic flow reasoning and it is my livelihood to do that. Letter combinations of MEANING that I can follow drop out and I am lost. I am starting to panic. OMG one of my colleagues has FIVE kids. OMG more college tuition. He needs food on the table too. His wife isn’t working right now either. OMG. What if I can’t think? What if I can’t follow the MEANING of the code sentence anymore?

    Plus I started to read that George Wesley Dannells guy’s “Defense of Faith” blog.

    defenseoffaith.net

    And even though I have been on Pilgrimage and have walked in the Gardens in Haifa and seen those German Eagle things too the whole mindset makes be nervous because I have been to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin too and the whole Eagle thing feel is still there and it makes me nervous I tell ya (even though the Bronze Jesse Owens Plaque is nice and still there even after the carpet bombing of Berlin) and I start to have hallucinations that I am Emmanuel Goldstein and George Wesley Dannells is going to single me out and come after me and there is going to be a knock on the door and I am going to be taken and sent to the re-education camps where I have to wear a Big Yellow “M” on my coat as a “Marginal” and my computer code is flashing on and off and I hear the clack clack…clack clack… of the rails as the box car sways on the way to the camps…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5Oisu9xPA

    I try to calm myself by humming Andrew’s upbeat “Robot Song”. But it does not work as waves of the fear of zombification come over me.

    Being from this area and having written on a magazine staff with guys who worked for George A. Romero when he started out I start to hallucinate nine Joe Pilatos as Captain Rhodes’s waving guns from the 1985 version of “Day of the dead” as my computer code’s Ruhi mode flashes in and out on my computer screen. I see the flashing reflection in everything around me. I see it in my cat’s eyes. OMG.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yECWDX2Ujvw

    So I have broken. My mind has succumbed. Even though I read Sen’s book and I memorized all the quotes by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi I am turning against them now. I now believe that the Baha’i Faith IS a worldwide planetary Theocracy. In fact I now believe it is the greatest Theocracy ever. So this is now what I want to ask. In the Baha’i Theocracy will I have health insurance coverage?

    If you believe in God and in the Theocracy will you have health insurance coverage? And will it be good coverage? I mean really good coverage with a decent deductible and where office co-payments won’t go up every year? Or with wars still going on as “God’s work” would I be better off just counting on my VA benefits if I really crack and become indigent? Maybe in the Baha’i Theocracy you have to use any government benefits first as the Primary Insurer then the Baha’i Theocracy State second? DOES ANYONE KNOW yet? If I use the VA as my Primary Insurer if I become indigent I can sit in a wheel chair here in the North in the summer and go to Florida and stay in a VA hospital there in the Winter. Lot’s of WWII guys that are still alve do that. Guys that never got off the beaches in their minds. There are some still out there. Still alive. Korean War guys too. I can have a flannel bathrobe at government expense. That would be nice. Do you get a flannel bathrobe in the Baha’i Theocracy State? Does anyone know? Please someone help me. Someone answer. Everything is swirling. OMG there really is a Slot Machine here now flashing on and off. It is following me. Please help.

    Now I am in Dresden in WWII and I am walking with Billy Pilgrim and Kurt Vonnegut thinking about Billy Pilgrim sitting at his typewriter in 1968. I am with them both at the same time.

    OMG someone please help me.

    I believe in the Theocracy now. I believe. Is there health coverage?

  • Craig Parke

    OK.

    anonymouz’s and Farhan’s posts have finally wore me down.

    I honestly am starting to like Farhan in his cheerful, unrelenting, amazing “platitude consciousness.” It really is endearing and is like being in contact with some new uncharted plane of the Universal Mind of the Universe. Maybe there really is that land of “tangerine trees and marmalade skies” like the Beatles sang. The effect on me is almost like a controlled substance.

    As Grover said in the Borg analogy I am on the brink of thinking “Resistance is Futile” and Andrew’s “Robot Song” really is kind of catchy in a Devo sort of way. It is hypnotic.

    Maybe I am over tired from too much logical reasoning in Java programming of late. Maybe I am having a problem with the Renaissance. My code flickers on an off in delirious Ruhi patterns that I cannot control in my mind. I think maybe Galileo really should have been burned at the stake. I am unsure. I am confused.

    Four hundred families depend on me to be able to think so the company can keep going and pay them from revenues we get from actually doing something. Figure 4 people to a family. That’s 1600 people. That’s mortgage payments. Saving for college tuition in 18 years for some parents unless there is Armageddon. OMG I feel weak. I am losing it. My code is this and then it changes.

    private List getSegment(String record) {
    String tempSegment = record.substring(0, record.indexOf(“~”) + 1);
    List segment = new ArrayList();
    Integer index = 0;
    while (!tempSegment.equals(“~”)) {
    if (tempSegment.indexOf(“|”) < 0) {
    segment.add(index, tempSegment.substring(0, tempSegment.indexOf(“~”)).trim());
    tempSegment = tempSegment.substring(tempSegment.indexOf(“~”));
    } else {
    segment.add(index, tempSegment.substring(0, tempSegment.indexOf(“|”)).trim());
    tempSegment = tempSegment.substring(tempSegment.indexOf(“|”) + 1);
    }
    index++;
    }
    return segment;
    }

    It starts to become this:

    private List __________(String ______) {
    String tempSegment = _____._______(0, ______.indexOf(“~”) + 1);
    List segment = new _________();
    Integer index = 0;
    while (!_______.equals(“~”)) {
    if (tempSegment._______Of(“|”) < 0) {
    segment.____(index, _______.substring(0, ____Segment.indexOf(“~”)).trim());
    temp______ = _________.substring(________.indexOf(“~”));
    } else {
    segment.____(index, ____Segment.substring(0, ____Segment.indexOf(“|”)).trim());
    temp______ = temp_______.substring(____Segment.indexOf(“|”) + 1);
    }
    index++;
    }
    return _______;
    }

    OMG help me! I can’t follow it in my mind. It all flickers on and off like in that episode in the original Twilight Zone series where that Slot Machine follows that guy around in Vegas until he loses his mind.

    With flash back Ruhiization in my mind I can’t keep track of things in my logic flow reasoning and it is my livelihood to do that. Letter combinations of MEANING that I can follow drop out and I am lost. I am starting to panic. OMG one of my colleagues has FIVE kids. OMG more college tuition. He needs food on the table too. His wife isn’t working right now either. OMG. What if I can’t think? What if I can’t follow the MEANING of the code sentence anymore?

    Plus I started to read that George Wesley Dannells guy’s “Defense of Faith” blog.

    defenseoffaith.net

    And even though I have been on Pilgrimage and have walked in the Gardens in Haifa and seen those German Eagle things too the whole mindset makes be nervous because I have been to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin too and the whole Eagle thing feel is still there and it makes me nervous I tell ya (even though the Bronze Jesse Owens Plaque is nice and still there even after the carpet bombing of Berlin) and I start to have hallucinations that I am Emmanuel Goldstein and George Wesley Dannells is going to single me out and come after me and there is going to be a knock on the door and I am going to be taken and sent to the re-education camps where I have to wear a Big Yellow “M” on my coat as a “Marginal” and my computer code is flashing on and off and I hear the clack clack…clack clack… of the rails as the box car sways on the way to the camps…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5Oisu9xPA

    I try to calm myself by humming Andrew’s upbeat “Robot Song”. But it does not work as waves of the fear of zombification come over me.

    Being from this area and having written on a magazine staff with guys who worked for George A. Romero when he started out I start to hallucinate nine Joe Pilatos as Captain Rhodes’s waving guns from the 1985 version of “Day of the dead” as my computer code’s Ruhi mode flashes in and out on my computer screen. I see the flashing reflection in everything around me. I see it in my cat’s eyes. OMG.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yECWDX2Ujvw

    So I have broken. My mind has succumbed. Even though I read Sen’s book and I memorized all the quotes by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi I am turning against them now. I now believe that the Baha’i Faith IS a worldwide planetary Theocracy. In fact I now believe it is the greatest Theocracy ever. So this is now what I want to ask. In the Baha’i Theocracy will I have health insurance coverage?

    If you believe in God and in the Theocracy will you have health insurance coverage? And will it be good coverage? I mean really good coverage with a decent deductible and where office co-payments won’t go up every year? Or with wars still going on as “God’s work” would I be better off just counting on my VA benefits if I really crack and become indigent? Maybe in the Baha’i Theocracy you have to use any government benefits first as the Primary Insurer then the Baha’i Theocracy State second? DOES ANYONE KNOW yet? If I use the VA as my Primary Insurer if I become indigent I can sit in a wheel chair here in the North in the summer and go to Florida and stay in a VA hospital there in the Winter. Lot’s of WWII guys that are still alve do that. Guys that never got off the beaches in their minds. There are some still out there. Still alive. Korean War guys too. I can have a flannel bathrobe at government expense. That would be nice. Do you get a flannel bathrobe in the Baha’i Theocracy State? Does anyone know? Please someone help me. Someone answer. Everything is swirling. OMG there really is a Slot Machine here now flashing on and off. It is following me. Please help.

    Now I am in Dresden in WWII and I am walking with Billy Pilgrim and Kurt Vonnegut thinking about Billy Pilgrim sitting at his typewriter in 1968. I am with them both at the same time.

    OMG someone please help me.

    I believe in the Theocracy now. I believe. Is there health coverage?

  • Johan

    Craig,
    LoL… switch to python and you’ll be as right as rain!
    :)

  • Johan

    Craig,
    LoL… switch to python and you’ll be as right as rain!
    :)

  • Grover

    Nah Craig, you’ll only get health insurance if you’ve paid your Huquq on time ;P

  • Grover

    Nah Craig, you’ll only get health insurance if you’ve paid your Huquq on time ;P

  • Bird

    ” Craig: So I have broken. My mind has succumbed. Even though I read Sen’s book and I memorized all the quotes by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi I am turning against them now. I now believe that the Baha’i Faith IS a worldwide planetary Theocracy. In fact I now believe it is the greatest Theocracy ever. So this is now what I want to ask. In the Baha’i Theocracy will I have health insurance coverage?”

    LMAO- Wondering the same thing myself Craig ;)

  • Bird

    ” Craig: So I have broken. My mind has succumbed. Even though I read Sen’s book and I memorized all the quotes by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi I am turning against them now. I now believe that the Baha’i Faith IS a worldwide planetary Theocracy. In fact I now believe it is the greatest Theocracy ever. So this is now what I want to ask. In the Baha’i Theocracy will I have health insurance coverage?”

    LMAO- Wondering the same thing myself Craig ;)

  • farhan

    Concourse wrote:
    “Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent. ”

    Concourse, the blue print is based historically on the same universal pattern that has founded all civilisations on revealed messages; Arnold Toynbee attests this. As to the unpredictability of our future, if the farmer hesitated in sowing his seeds just because he wasn’t sure if rthe rain would come and the sun would shine, we would die of hunger.

    This is what is called Faith: a knowledge based on historical probability.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Concourse wrote:
    “Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent. ”

    Concourse, the blue print is based historically on the same universal pattern that has founded all civilisations on revealed messages; Arnold Toynbee attests this. As to the unpredictability of our future, if the farmer hesitated in sowing his seeds just because he wasn’t sure if rthe rain would come and the sun would shine, we would die of hunger.

    This is what is called Faith: a knowledge based on historical probability.

  • Grover

    Farhan, you got it arse about face. A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.

  • Grover

    Farhan, you got it arse about face. A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote:
    “A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.”

    Grover, we have historical evidence that all civilisations (worthy of the word), are founded on moral values, and that the ultimate source of these values is a person having humbly said that His information comes from a supranatural source called God.

    Since I believe that all these humble persons accepting all the tribulations in order to give their message are honest and wise, I take their word for it: their supranatural knowledge must come from a supranatural source they called God ; Why should they lie on this point, since the concept of God is the source of all their tribulations?

    I believe in God because primarily I believe in the message of Christ, and I dont believe in Christ because in the first place I believed in God.

    Hence I have historical, statistical evidence that the only solution for the disorders of our ailing world is a spiritual renewal by the Divine messages, and I believe in God because I accept these messages. I love Bach because I love his music, and not the other way round ;-)

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Grover wrote:
    “A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.”

    Grover, we have historical evidence that all civilisations (worthy of the word), are founded on moral values, and that the ultimate source of these values is a person having humbly said that His information comes from a supranatural source called God.

    Since I believe that all these humble persons accepting all the tribulations in order to give their message are honest and wise, I take their word for it: their supranatural knowledge must come from a supranatural source they called God ; Why should they lie on this point, since the concept of God is the source of all their tribulations?

    I believe in God because primarily I believe in the message of Christ, and I dont believe in Christ because in the first place I believed in God.

    Hence I have historical, statistical evidence that the only solution for the disorders of our ailing world is a spiritual renewal by the Divine messages, and I believe in God because I accept these messages. I love Bach because I love his music, and not the other way round ;-)

  • anonymouz

    CoL,

    That fact the words of Baha’u’llah you mentioned use words like “indifel” or “ungodly” refer to the immediate audiance it was revealed to–Muslims.

    There is a clear fact in the roots of the writings that the holy text was to be interpreted by his successor–Abdul’Baha. He did change things revealed by Baha’u’llah for many reasons and this was his entrusted tast which he completed perfectly. Abdul’Baha’s successor Shoghi Effendi was entrusted with developing and organizing the community, which he too performed. Since we must defer to God to find peace in the fact Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor, we are left with an ocean of writings which are at sometimes soft and soothing as the tide, and often times as visually turbulent and powerful as 30ft waves. It is upon each of us to know how and when to swim. So the question is, are you a strong enough swimmer? Do you know when to put on a life jacket? Do you know how to read the waves to tell when to get in and when to get out. By get out I mean reflect and ponder and ultimately take detached and faithful attitude. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual endeavor in its purest form. All other temporal fluff is where a lot of people get hung up.

    In the final analysis, for the believer there are no
    questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers.
    — Haffetz Hayyim

  • anonymouz

    CoL,

    That fact the words of Baha’u’llah you mentioned use words like “indifel” or “ungodly” refer to the immediate audiance it was revealed to–Muslims.

    There is a clear fact in the roots of the writings that the holy text was to be interpreted by his successor–Abdul’Baha. He did change things revealed by Baha’u’llah for many reasons and this was his entrusted tast which he completed perfectly. Abdul’Baha’s successor Shoghi Effendi was entrusted with developing and organizing the community, which he too performed. Since we must defer to God to find peace in the fact Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor, we are left with an ocean of writings which are at sometimes soft and soothing as the tide, and often times as visually turbulent and powerful as 30ft waves. It is upon each of us to know how and when to swim. So the question is, are you a strong enough swimmer? Do you know when to put on a life jacket? Do you know how to read the waves to tell when to get in and when to get out. By get out I mean reflect and ponder and ultimately take detached and faithful attitude. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual endeavor in its purest form. All other temporal fluff is where a lot of people get hung up.

    In the final analysis, for the believer there are no
    questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers.
    — Haffetz Hayyim

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52667"]Craig,
    LoL… switch to python and you’ll be as right as rain!
    :)[/quote]

    I’m the back end EDI guy. Java is a nice family oriented Disney movie for that. Nothing too exotic or racy. Although some of the Java code I inherited truly does make my pulse race at times it is so beautiful. Like the Pyramids in the Sun on the first day the original limestone caseing was finished viewed from a mile away across the desert. The original author of the Gateway system was that good. Truly a young Steven Spielberg at times.

    We do have a guy here that preaches Python for some things in his private life. But our commercial operations front end is moving towards Adobe Flex 3. Good stuff. The main designer of Flex jumped ship from Microsoft two years ago, I think that says a lot. The guy is truly original in what he is trying to do. We have four guys who just did a prototype app in it. Very impressive. To paraphrase Hafetz from another Era:

    “In the final analysis, for the user there is no understanding whatsoever of the majestic elegance in the code from register to register, and for the programmer there is only endless tech support.”

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52667"]Craig,
    LoL… switch to python and you’ll be as right as rain!
    :)[/quote]

    I’m the back end EDI guy. Java is a nice family oriented Disney movie for that. Nothing too exotic or racy. Although some of the Java code I inherited truly does make my pulse race at times it is so beautiful. Like the Pyramids in the Sun on the first day the original limestone caseing was finished viewed from a mile away across the desert. The original author of the Gateway system was that good. Truly a young Steven Spielberg at times.

    We do have a guy here that preaches Python for some things in his private life. But our commercial operations front end is moving towards Adobe Flex 3. Good stuff. The main designer of Flex jumped ship from Microsoft two years ago, I think that says a lot. The guy is truly original in what he is trying to do. We have four guys who just did a prototype app in it. Very impressive. To paraphrase Hafetz from another Era:

    “In the final analysis, for the user there is no understanding whatsoever of the majestic elegance in the code from register to register, and for the programmer there is only endless tech support.”

    So it goes.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Anonymouz wrote:
    CoL,
    That fact the words of Baha’u’llah you mentioned use words like ?indifel? or ?ungodly? refer to the immediate audiance it was revealed to–Muslims.

    Firstly, you haven’t really met my challenge by pointing out how I’ve taken any of those quotes out of context or how the supposedly missing context changes the obvious meanings of the terms Baha’u’llah uses. You’ve simply stated the truism that Baha’ullah was writing for a 19th century Muslim audience, as if that somehow alters the meanings of those terms, or sanitizes them for modern interpretation.

    In fact, your answer implicitly acknowledges that Baha’u’llah is using those terms in conventionally Islamic ways – so no figurative inner meanings here, a la Farhan.
    You’ve simply reinforced my contention that the passage in question from the UHJ conflicts with the writings of Baha’u’llah, given that Baha’u’llah does, contra the claims of the UHJ, employ categories that are purportedly not part of his revelation.
    Besides, isn’t Baha’u’llah supposed to be a universal manifestation, delivering a revolutionary message for all humanity, not just 19th century Iranian Twelver Shia Muslims?
    Granted, the message would have to be presented through the prism of the immediate culture and language. But for it to be a new or revolutionary message it would have to employ received cultural notions in new and original ways. Does Baha’u’llah do this with the terms infidely, ungodly, or faithless? According to your reply, the answer would seem to be no. And, I agree.

    Anonymouz wrote: There is a clear fact in the roots of the writings that the holy text was to be interpreted by his successor–Abdul’Baha. He did change things revealed by Baha’u’llah for many reasons and this was his entrusted tast which he completed perfectly.

    Yes, I’m familiar with the Bahai concept of the Covenant.

    Some would view the need for Abdul Baha to modify elements of Baha’u’llah’s message as counting against the veracity of Baha’u’llah’s claims, while some would view it as counting for them. I’m undecided. (If Baha’u’llah really is the medium for a supernatural revelation why can’t he transcend his historical milieu and demonstrate greater foresight of future circumstances? Why does Abdul Baha need to massage out the blemishes, by abolishing bigamy and ignoring all the infidel talk, for example?)

    Abdul’Baha’s successor Shoghi Effendi was entrusted with developing and organizing the community, which he too performed. Since we must defer to God to find peace in the fact Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor, we are left with an ocean of writings which are at sometimes soft and soothing as the tide, and often times as visually turbulent and powerful as 30ft waves. It is upon each of us to know how and when to swim. So the question is, are you a strong enough swimmer? Do you know when to put on a life jacket? Do you know how to read the waves to tell when to get in and when to get out. By get out I mean reflect and ponder and ultimately take detached and faithful attitude. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual endeavor in its purest form. All other temporal fluff is where a lot of people get hung up.

    Fluff. Indeed.

    In the final analysis, for the believer there are no
    questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers.
    — Haffetz Hayyim

    It’s your prerogative if you want to valorize your unwillingness to think and question, miring yourself in long-winded obfuscation. I, on the other hand, embrace the questions, and fearlessly seek their answers. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll be assisting me in that endeavor.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Anonymouz wrote:
    CoL,
    That fact the words of Baha’u’llah you mentioned use words like ?indifel? or ?ungodly? refer to the immediate audiance it was revealed to–Muslims.

    Firstly, you haven’t really met my challenge by pointing out how I’ve taken any of those quotes out of context or how the supposedly missing context changes the obvious meanings of the terms Baha’u’llah uses. You’ve simply stated the truism that Baha’ullah was writing for a 19th century Muslim audience, as if that somehow alters the meanings of those terms, or sanitizes them for modern interpretation.

    In fact, your answer implicitly acknowledges that Baha’u’llah is using those terms in conventionally Islamic ways – so no figurative inner meanings here, a la Farhan.
    You’ve simply reinforced my contention that the passage in question from the UHJ conflicts with the writings of Baha’u’llah, given that Baha’u’llah does, contra the claims of the UHJ, employ categories that are purportedly not part of his revelation.
    Besides, isn’t Baha’u’llah supposed to be a universal manifestation, delivering a revolutionary message for all humanity, not just 19th century Iranian Twelver Shia Muslims?
    Granted, the message would have to be presented through the prism of the immediate culture and language. But for it to be a new or revolutionary message it would have to employ received cultural notions in new and original ways. Does Baha’u’llah do this with the terms infidely, ungodly, or faithless? According to your reply, the answer would seem to be no. And, I agree.

    Anonymouz wrote: There is a clear fact in the roots of the writings that the holy text was to be interpreted by his successor–Abdul’Baha. He did change things revealed by Baha’u’llah for many reasons and this was his entrusted tast which he completed perfectly.

    Yes, I’m familiar with the Bahai concept of the Covenant.

    Some would view the need for Abdul Baha to modify elements of Baha’u’llah’s message as counting against the veracity of Baha’u’llah’s claims, while some would view it as counting for them. I’m undecided. (If Baha’u’llah really is the medium for a supernatural revelation why can’t he transcend his historical milieu and demonstrate greater foresight of future circumstances? Why does Abdul Baha need to massage out the blemishes, by abolishing bigamy and ignoring all the infidel talk, for example?)

    Abdul’Baha’s successor Shoghi Effendi was entrusted with developing and organizing the community, which he too performed. Since we must defer to God to find peace in the fact Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor, we are left with an ocean of writings which are at sometimes soft and soothing as the tide, and often times as visually turbulent and powerful as 30ft waves. It is upon each of us to know how and when to swim. So the question is, are you a strong enough swimmer? Do you know when to put on a life jacket? Do you know how to read the waves to tell when to get in and when to get out. By get out I mean reflect and ponder and ultimately take detached and faithful attitude. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual endeavor in its purest form. All other temporal fluff is where a lot of people get hung up.

    Fluff. Indeed.

    In the final analysis, for the believer there are no
    questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers.
    — Haffetz Hayyim

    It’s your prerogative if you want to valorize your unwillingness to think and question, miring yourself in long-winded obfuscation. I, on the other hand, embrace the questions, and fearlessly seek their answers. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll be assisting me in that endeavor.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52666"]I believe in the Theocracy now. I believe. Is there health coverage?[/quote]

    Hi Craig,

    Your description of the process is accurate enough, but you need to develop a more postive, dare I say Baha’i, attitude. Nick Cave will teach you how:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKWydA69o9E

    As for code, here’s the stuff you should be working on perfecting. This is the code that will ensure everyone’s future is prosperous:

    <!–
    var upper_limit = 999;
    document.write(‘Statement no. ‘
    + ‘ ‘);
    document.write(RandomNumber(upper_limit) + ‘:’);
    //–>

    function randomarray(a) {
    var i;
    for (i=a.length;i–;) {
    var j = Math.floor((i+1)*Math.random());
    var temp = a[i];
    a[i] = a[j];
    a[j] = temp;
    }
    return a;
    }
    function mission() {
    var openers = new Array (
    ‘It is our mission to’,
    ‘It is our responsibility to’,
    ‘Our challenge is to’,
    ‘Our first priority is to’,
    ‘Our goal is to’,
    ‘Our mission is to’,
    ‘Our mission is to continue to’,
    ‘Our decade-long process of capacity building allows us to’,
    ‘We’,
    ‘We apply spiritual principles to’,
    ‘We exist to’,
    ‘We have committed to’,
    ‘We strive to’,
    ‘We will’
    );
    var adverbs = new Array (
    ‘coherently’,
    ‘assertively’,
    ‘authoritatively’,
    ‘collaboratively’,
    ‘interactively’,
    ‘systematically’,
    ‘periodically’,
    ‘confidently’,
    ‘coherently’,
    ‘broadly’,
    ‘ultimately’,
    ‘energetically’,
    ‘globally’,
    ‘robustly’,
    ‘unitedly’,
    ‘resolutely’
    );
    var verbs = new Array (
    ‘create’,
    ‘administrate’,
    ‘build’,
    ‘swell the ranks of’,
    ‘address’,
    ‘coordinate’,
    ‘consolidate’,
    ‘develop’,
    ‘consult on’,
    ‘facilitate’,
    ‘benefit’,
    ‘initiate’,
    ‘strengthen’,
    ‘weave’,
    ‘integrate’,
    ‘endow’,
    ‘extend’,
    ‘learn’,
    ‘bring’,
    ‘split infinitives of’,
    ‘encourage’,
    ‘launch’,
    ‘advance’,
    ‘promote’,
    ‘sustain’,
    ‘incorporate’
    );
    var adjectives = new Array (
    ‘ever-increasing’,
    ‘spiritual’,
    ‘alternative’,
    ‘prodigious’,
    ‘cooperative’,
    ‘instrumental’,
    ‘global’,
    ‘guidance-focused’,
    ‘distinctive’,
    ‘diverse’,
    ‘effective’,
    ‘emerging’,
    ‘flexible’,
    ‘unifying’,
    ‘innovative’,
    ‘rapid’,
    ‘large-scale’,
    ‘interdependent’,
    ‘worldwide’
    );
    var nouns = new Array (
    ‘grass-roots models of capacity-building’,
    ‘intensive programs of growth’,
    ‘clusters’,
    ‘study circles’,
    ‘reflection meetings’,
    ‘consultative meetings’,
    ‘collaboration and idea-sharing’,
    ‘learnings’,
    ‘frameworks for action’,
    ‘decision-making instruments’,
    ‘expansion’,
    ‘populations of proven receptivity’,
    ‘Five Year Plan measures’,
    ‘institutional capacity’,
    ‘human resources’,
    ‘insights’,
    ‘core activities’,
    ‘primary instruments’,
    ‘collective endeavours’,
    ‘campaigns’,
    ‘resources’,
    ‘value’
    );
    var conjunctions = new Array (
    ‘and’,
    ‘and also’,
    ‘and continue to’,
    ‘as well as to’,
    ‘in order that we may’,
    ‘in order to’,
    ‘so that we may’,
    ‘so that we may endeavor to’,
    ‘such that we may continue to’,
    ‘to allow us to’,
    ‘while continuing to’
    );
    var closers = new Array (
    ‘to draw on the analysis of pertinent information in planning the cycles of our activities’,
    ‘to emerge from obscurity’,
    ‘while bringing certain elements of collective decision-making close to the grassroots’,
    ‘through our commitment to advancing the process of entry by troops’,
    ‘to work in a spirit of devotion for an ever-advancing civilization’,
    ‘for steady progress to be achieved’,
    ‘to achieve a heightened awareness of the spiritual nature of the enterprise’,
    ‘to incorporate them into the life of the community’,
    ‘to address the challenge’,
    ‘to achieve a robust state of growth’,
    ‘to establish an efficient scheme for the coordination of our efforts’,
    ‘to remain resolute on the path of systematic learning’,
    ‘to gain an understanding of the dynamics of human resource development’,
    ‘to learn the requirements of steady growth’,
    ‘to promote systematic action and to avoid distractions’,
    ‘to bring certain elements of collective decision-making close to the grassroots’,
    ‘to create communities with a sense of mission’,
    ‘to encourage guidance focused consultation and universal participation’,
    ‘through our efforts to align ourselves with the core activities’,
    ‘to accommodate different segments of society’
    );
    openers = randomarray(openers);
    adjectives = randomarray(adjectives);
    nouns = randomarray(nouns);
    adverbs = randomarray(adverbs);
    verbs = randomarray(verbs);
    conjunctions = randomarray(conjunctions);
    closers = randomarray(closers);

    var x;
    var statement = openers[openers.length-1];
    openers.length -= 1;

    statement = statement + ” ” + adverbs[adverbs.length-1];
    adverbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + verbs[verbs.length-1];
    verbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adjectives[adjectives.length-1];
    adjectives.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + nouns[nouns.length-1];
    nouns.length -= 1;
    for (x=0;x .5) {
    statement = statement + ” ” + conjunctions[conjunctions.length-1];
    conjunctions.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adverbs[adverbs.length-1];
    adverbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + verbs[verbs.length-1];
    verbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adjectives[adjectives.length-1];
    adjectives.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + nouns[nouns.length-1];
    nouns.length -= 1;
    }
    }

    statement = statement + ” ” + closers[closers.length-1];
    closers.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + “.”;

    return statement;
    }

    document.write(mission());

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52666"]I believe in the Theocracy now. I believe. Is there health coverage?[/quote]

    Hi Craig,

    Your description of the process is accurate enough, but you need to develop a more postive, dare I say Baha’i, attitude. Nick Cave will teach you how:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKWydA69o9E

    As for code, here’s the stuff you should be working on perfecting. This is the code that will ensure everyone’s future is prosperous:

    <!–
    var upper_limit = 999;
    document.write(‘Statement no. ‘
    + ‘ ‘);
    document.write(RandomNumber(upper_limit) + ‘:’);
    //–>

    function randomarray(a) {
    var i;
    for (i=a.length;i–;) {
    var j = Math.floor((i+1)*Math.random());
    var temp = a[i];
    a[i] = a[j];
    a[j] = temp;
    }
    return a;
    }
    function mission() {
    var openers = new Array (
    ‘It is our mission to’,
    ‘It is our responsibility to’,
    ‘Our challenge is to’,
    ‘Our first priority is to’,
    ‘Our goal is to’,
    ‘Our mission is to’,
    ‘Our mission is to continue to’,
    ‘Our decade-long process of capacity building allows us to’,
    ‘We’,
    ‘We apply spiritual principles to’,
    ‘We exist to’,
    ‘We have committed to’,
    ‘We strive to’,
    ‘We will’
    );
    var adverbs = new Array (
    ‘coherently’,
    ‘assertively’,
    ‘authoritatively’,
    ‘collaboratively’,
    ‘interactively’,
    ‘systematically’,
    ‘periodically’,
    ‘confidently’,
    ‘coherently’,
    ‘broadly’,
    ‘ultimately’,
    ‘energetically’,
    ‘globally’,
    ‘robustly’,
    ‘unitedly’,
    ‘resolutely’
    );
    var verbs = new Array (
    ‘create’,
    ‘administrate’,
    ‘build’,
    ‘swell the ranks of’,
    ‘address’,
    ‘coordinate’,
    ‘consolidate’,
    ‘develop’,
    ‘consult on’,
    ‘facilitate’,
    ‘benefit’,
    ‘initiate’,
    ‘strengthen’,
    ‘weave’,
    ‘integrate’,
    ‘endow’,
    ‘extend’,
    ‘learn’,
    ‘bring’,
    ‘split infinitives of’,
    ‘encourage’,
    ‘launch’,
    ‘advance’,
    ‘promote’,
    ‘sustain’,
    ‘incorporate’
    );
    var adjectives = new Array (
    ‘ever-increasing’,
    ‘spiritual’,
    ‘alternative’,
    ‘prodigious’,
    ‘cooperative’,
    ‘instrumental’,
    ‘global’,
    ‘guidance-focused’,
    ‘distinctive’,
    ‘diverse’,
    ‘effective’,
    ‘emerging’,
    ‘flexible’,
    ‘unifying’,
    ‘innovative’,
    ‘rapid’,
    ‘large-scale’,
    ‘interdependent’,
    ‘worldwide’
    );
    var nouns = new Array (
    ‘grass-roots models of capacity-building’,
    ‘intensive programs of growth’,
    ‘clusters’,
    ‘study circles’,
    ‘reflection meetings’,
    ‘consultative meetings’,
    ‘collaboration and idea-sharing’,
    ‘learnings’,
    ‘frameworks for action’,
    ‘decision-making instruments’,
    ‘expansion’,
    ‘populations of proven receptivity’,
    ‘Five Year Plan measures’,
    ‘institutional capacity’,
    ‘human resources’,
    ‘insights’,
    ‘core activities’,
    ‘primary instruments’,
    ‘collective endeavours’,
    ‘campaigns’,
    ‘resources’,
    ‘value’
    );
    var conjunctions = new Array (
    ‘and’,
    ‘and also’,
    ‘and continue to’,
    ‘as well as to’,
    ‘in order that we may’,
    ‘in order to’,
    ‘so that we may’,
    ‘so that we may endeavor to’,
    ‘such that we may continue to’,
    ‘to allow us to’,
    ‘while continuing to’
    );
    var closers = new Array (
    ‘to draw on the analysis of pertinent information in planning the cycles of our activities’,
    ‘to emerge from obscurity’,
    ‘while bringing certain elements of collective decision-making close to the grassroots’,
    ‘through our commitment to advancing the process of entry by troops’,
    ‘to work in a spirit of devotion for an ever-advancing civilization’,
    ‘for steady progress to be achieved’,
    ‘to achieve a heightened awareness of the spiritual nature of the enterprise’,
    ‘to incorporate them into the life of the community’,
    ‘to address the challenge’,
    ‘to achieve a robust state of growth’,
    ‘to establish an efficient scheme for the coordination of our efforts’,
    ‘to remain resolute on the path of systematic learning’,
    ‘to gain an understanding of the dynamics of human resource development’,
    ‘to learn the requirements of steady growth’,
    ‘to promote systematic action and to avoid distractions’,
    ‘to bring certain elements of collective decision-making close to the grassroots’,
    ‘to create communities with a sense of mission’,
    ‘to encourage guidance focused consultation and universal participation’,
    ‘through our efforts to align ourselves with the core activities’,
    ‘to accommodate different segments of society’
    );
    openers = randomarray(openers);
    adjectives = randomarray(adjectives);
    nouns = randomarray(nouns);
    adverbs = randomarray(adverbs);
    verbs = randomarray(verbs);
    conjunctions = randomarray(conjunctions);
    closers = randomarray(closers);

    var x;
    var statement = openers[openers.length-1];
    openers.length -= 1;

    statement = statement + ” ” + adverbs[adverbs.length-1];
    adverbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + verbs[verbs.length-1];
    verbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adjectives[adjectives.length-1];
    adjectives.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + nouns[nouns.length-1];
    nouns.length -= 1;
    for (x=0;x .5) {
    statement = statement + ” ” + conjunctions[conjunctions.length-1];
    conjunctions.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adverbs[adverbs.length-1];
    adverbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + verbs[verbs.length-1];
    verbs.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + adjectives[adjectives.length-1];
    adjectives.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + ” ” + nouns[nouns.length-1];
    nouns.length -= 1;
    }
    }

    statement = statement + ” ” + closers[closers.length-1];
    closers.length -= 1;
    statement = statement + “.”;

    return statement;
    }

    document.write(mission());

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote: 1. Concourse wrote:
    ?Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent. ?
    Concourse, the blue print is based historically on the same universal pattern that has founded all civilisations on revealed messages; Arnold Toynbee attests this. As to the unpredictability of our future, if the farmer hesitated in sowing his seeds just because he wasn’t sure if rthe rain would come and the sun would shine, we would die of hunger.
    This is what is called Faith: a knowledge based on historical probability.

    Farhan,

    I don’t know if it’s the language barrier or what, but I really don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. So instead of trying to decipher your comment, I’ll just try and clarify my meaning in the selection you quoted.

    The blue print, that is, the practical implementation of the Bahai vision, rests on the presupposition that Baha’u’llah was who he claimed to be. If you challenge that presupposition, you challenge the blueprint.

    Now, arguments can be adduced for and against that foundational premise. The problem with Bahai arguments, and religious arguments in general, is that they are not testable, and, consequently, unfalsifiable. For a factual claim to be cognitive, that is, capable of being either true or false, conditions must be delineated that would either credit or discredit the claim. If you don’t produce any such conditions then you’re not really making a meaningful claim. A proposition that is incapable of either verification or falsification has no cognitive content and is therefore a pseudo proposition.

    The flaw with religious propositions is that either (1) they don’t offer such conditions or (2) they use ad hoc explanations to explain away circumstances that falsify them, thereby effectively barring the very possibility of testing the proposition, and calling into question its cognitive meaningfulness.

    For example, take the Bahai assertion that the Buddha was a Manifestation of God. When confronted with this proposition, we can outline conditions that would verify or falsify it.

    Because verification is much trickier than falsification I’ll just focus on the latter (to verify the claim that all crows in Iran are black, we would have to observe every single crow in Iran, a difficult task, but we can much more easily falsify the claim by observing just one non-black crow – see the work of Karl Popper for clarification).
    We might suggest that if the idea of God plays no significant role in the teachings of the Buddha, then that fact – if not falsifying – at the very least undermines said claim.

    But of course all sorts of torturous explanations can be offered about how the Buddha used the concept of nirvana to signify God, and whatnot. Additionally, a Bahai can appeal to the dubious claim that we no longer have all the authentic writings of the Buddha, or that they have been distorted, which is completely historically unwarranted insofar as historians have attested to the Pali canon as an authentic repository of the teachings of the historical Buddha.

    This strategy works for testing any and all beliefs: determine exactly what is being claimed; outline empirical conditions that will either confirm or disconfirm the belief; check the facts. Oh, and don’t be a pussy if your most cherished beliefs are disconfirmed. Move on, and acquire better ones.

    Briefly, I was also trying to make the point that the Bahai Faith doesn’t offer any novel, conclusive reasons for belief in God, or make a compelling case that Baha’u’llah was who he claimed to be; therefore, it’s highly unlikely that the Bahai Faith can ever win universal allegiance (through non-coercive persuasion).

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote: 1. Concourse wrote:
    ?Furthermore, and most importantly, the blueprint is based on unverifiable, untestable metaphysical claims that are neither original nor compelling enough to win universal consent. ?
    Concourse, the blue print is based historically on the same universal pattern that has founded all civilisations on revealed messages; Arnold Toynbee attests this. As to the unpredictability of our future, if the farmer hesitated in sowing his seeds just because he wasn’t sure if rthe rain would come and the sun would shine, we would die of hunger.
    This is what is called Faith: a knowledge based on historical probability.

    Farhan,

    I don’t know if it’s the language barrier or what, but I really don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. So instead of trying to decipher your comment, I’ll just try and clarify my meaning in the selection you quoted.

    The blue print, that is, the practical implementation of the Bahai vision, rests on the presupposition that Baha’u’llah was who he claimed to be. If you challenge that presupposition, you challenge the blueprint.

    Now, arguments can be adduced for and against that foundational premise. The problem with Bahai arguments, and religious arguments in general, is that they are not testable, and, consequently, unfalsifiable. For a factual claim to be cognitive, that is, capable of being either true or false, conditions must be delineated that would either credit or discredit the claim. If you don’t produce any such conditions then you’re not really making a meaningful claim. A proposition that is incapable of either verification or falsification has no cognitive content and is therefore a pseudo proposition.

    The flaw with religious propositions is that either (1) they don’t offer such conditions or (2) they use ad hoc explanations to explain away circumstances that falsify them, thereby effectively barring the very possibility of testing the proposition, and calling into question its cognitive meaningfulness.

    For example, take the Bahai assertion that the Buddha was a Manifestation of God. When confronted with this proposition, we can outline conditions that would verify or falsify it.

    Because verification is much trickier than falsification I’ll just focus on the latter (to verify the claim that all crows in Iran are black, we would have to observe every single crow in Iran, a difficult task, but we can much more easily falsify the claim by observing just one non-black crow – see the work of Karl Popper for clarification).
    We might suggest that if the idea of God plays no significant role in the teachings of the Buddha, then that fact – if not falsifying – at the very least undermines said claim.

    But of course all sorts of torturous explanations can be offered about how the Buddha used the concept of nirvana to signify God, and whatnot. Additionally, a Bahai can appeal to the dubious claim that we no longer have all the authentic writings of the Buddha, or that they have been distorted, which is completely historically unwarranted insofar as historians have attested to the Pali canon as an authentic repository of the teachings of the historical Buddha.

    This strategy works for testing any and all beliefs: determine exactly what is being claimed; outline empirical conditions that will either confirm or disconfirm the belief; check the facts. Oh, and don’t be a pussy if your most cherished beliefs are disconfirmed. Move on, and acquire better ones.

    Briefly, I was also trying to make the point that the Bahai Faith doesn’t offer any novel, conclusive reasons for belief in God, or make a compelling case that Baha’u’llah was who he claimed to be; therefore, it’s highly unlikely that the Bahai Faith can ever win universal allegiance (through non-coercive persuasion).

  • Bird

    Steve & Craig… I’m thinking it more like this too:

    [SqlException (0x80131904): Cannot open database "BahaiTheoMemeberBenBIGS" requested by the login. The login failed.
    Login failed for user 'memberBIGSWe897671'.]
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.ThrowExceptionAndWarning
    System.Data.SqlDonor.Run(RunBehavior runBehavior, SqlCommand cmdHandler, SqlDataReader dataStream, BulkCopySimpleResultSet bulkCopyHandler, TdsParserStateObject stateObj)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.CompleteLogin(Boolean enlistOK)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.AttemptOneLogin(ServerInfo serverInfo, String newPassword, Boolean ignoreOpenTimeout, Int64 timeExpire, SqlConnection owning Donor)

    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.LoginNoFailover(String host, String newPassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnection owningObject, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, Int64 timerStart)
    System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds.OpenLoginEnlist(SqlConnection owningObject, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, String newPassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance)

    If you are having a difficulty with log in please contact your nearest LSA for service in your area…

  • Bird

    Steve & Craig… I’m thinking it more like this too:

    [SqlException (0x80131904): Cannot open database "BahaiTheoMemeberBenBIGS" requested by the login. The login failed.
    Login failed for user 'memberBIGSWe897671'.]
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.ThrowExceptionAndWarning
    System.Data.SqlDonor.Run(RunBehavior runBehavior, SqlCommand cmdHandler, SqlDataReader dataStream, BulkCopySimpleResultSet bulkCopyHandler, TdsParserStateObject stateObj)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.CompleteLogin(Boolean enlistOK)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.AttemptOneLogin(ServerInfo serverInfo, String newPassword, Boolean ignoreOpenTimeout, Int64 timeExpire, SqlConnection owning Donor)

    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnectionTds.LoginNoFailover(String host, String newPassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnection owningObject, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, Int64 timerStart)
    System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds.OpenLoginEnlist(SqlConnection owningObject, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, String newPassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance)

    If you are having a difficulty with log in please contact your nearest LSA for service in your area…

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote:

    Grover wrote:
    ?A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.?
    Grover, we have historical evidence that all civilisations (worthy of the word), are founded on moral values, and that the ultimate source of these values is a person having humbly said that His information comes from a supranatural source called God.

    Farhan, history, anthropology and sociology show that religion is not always a principal factor in the genesis and development of cultures, and when it does play a role, it is usually just one factor among many others.

    I’m not surprised that you hold this view. No doubt you’ve adopted it from Abdul Baha, who, in turn, adopted it uncritically from Muslim culture.

    Since I believe that all these humble persons accepting all the tribulations in order to give their message are honest and wise, I take their word for it: their supranatural knowledge must come from a supranatural source they called God ; Why should they lie on this point, since the concept of God is the source of all their tribulations?

    You’re begging the question – ?supernatural knowledge must come from a supernatural source?. Yes, it’s trivially true that if knowledge is supernatural, then it’s supernatural. The crux of the matter is whether the knowledge is supernatural.

    You’re also operating with a false dilemma: either they’re telling the truth or they’re lying. There are other possibilities, like they sincerely believed that what they were saying was true, but that the objective content of their convictions was, in fact, false.

    Furthermore, the willingness to suffer for a cause is not exclusive to prophets. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years, performing hard labour in a lime quarry. There are countless other examples.

    And I don’t think the supposed suffering of the Abrahamic prophets was any more acute than the suffering of many normal individuals throughout history.

    I believe in God because primarily I believe in the message of Christ, and I dont believe in Christ because in the first place I believed in God.

    Er…that sounds kinda circular…but ok…so you believe in God because Christ says there’s a god…ok, what qualifies Jesus as an authority on the matter? The whole suffering thing again, I guess eh.

    You can believe in the ethical message of Christ without believing in God.

    Hence I have historical, statistical evidence that the only solution for the disorders of our ailing world is a spiritual renewal by the Divine messages, and I believe in God because I accept these messages. I love Bach because I love his music, and not the other way round

    I disagree. The solution is not more religion; it’s more ice cream.

  • Concourse_on_Low

    Farhan wrote:

    Grover wrote:
    ?A farmer has historical, empirical evidence supported by statistics that it is likely to rain. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be empirically proven, e.g. God.?
    Grover, we have historical evidence that all civilisations (worthy of the word), are founded on moral values, and that the ultimate source of these values is a person having humbly said that His information comes from a supranatural source called God.

    Farhan, history, anthropology and sociology show that religion is not always a principal factor in the genesis and development of cultures, and when it does play a role, it is usually just one factor among many others.

    I’m not surprised that you hold this view. No doubt you’ve adopted it from Abdul Baha, who, in turn, adopted it uncritically from Muslim culture.

    Since I believe that all these humble persons accepting all the tribulations in order to give their message are honest and wise, I take their word for it: their supranatural knowledge must come from a supranatural source they called God ; Why should they lie on this point, since the concept of God is the source of all their tribulations?

    You’re begging the question – ?supernatural knowledge must come from a supernatural source?. Yes, it’s trivially true that if knowledge is supernatural, then it’s supernatural. The crux of the matter is whether the knowledge is supernatural.

    You’re also operating with a false dilemma: either they’re telling the truth or they’re lying. There are other possibilities, like they sincerely believed that what they were saying was true, but that the objective content of their convictions was, in fact, false.

    Furthermore, the willingness to suffer for a cause is not exclusive to prophets. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years, performing hard labour in a lime quarry. There are countless other examples.

    And I don’t think the supposed suffering of the Abrahamic prophets was any more acute than the suffering of many normal individuals throughout history.

    I believe in God because primarily I believe in the message of Christ, and I dont believe in Christ because in the first place I believed in God.

    Er…that sounds kinda circular…but ok…so you believe in God because Christ says there’s a god…ok, what qualifies Jesus as an authority on the matter? The whole suffering thing again, I guess eh.

    You can believe in the ethical message of Christ without believing in God.

    Hence I have historical, statistical evidence that the only solution for the disorders of our ailing world is a spiritual renewal by the Divine messages, and I believe in God because I accept these messages. I love Bach because I love his music, and not the other way round

    I disagree. The solution is not more religion; it’s more ice cream.

  • Craig Parke

    Steve wrote:

    “As for code, here’s the stuff you should be working on perfecting. This is the code that will ensure everyone’s future is prosperous:”

    Bird wrote:

    “[SqlException (0?80131904): Cannot open database ?BahaiTheoMemeberBenBIGS? requested by the login. The login failed.
    Login failed for user ?memberBIGSWe897671?.]
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.ThrowExceptionAndWarning”

    Steve and Bird,

    LOL! Outstanding!

    Steve, your “Random Organizational Leadership Communication Generator” is outstanding! There should be some kind of “International Dilbert Award” or some such accolade for this coding effort. One of the most socially advanced uses of arrays that I have seen in the last 24 hours!

    I think you have a franchise here. You can have many editions of the generator. here are a few ideas:

    (1) (A MUST HAVE) The North Korean Great Leader Edition.

    (2) The Third Reich Edition. This version comes with multiple sub packs depending on which phase of the destruction of the German nation you want to mimic.
    (a) Formation of the Nazi Party Edition
    (b) Internal National Struggle Edition
    (c) Kill Everyone Who Does Not Support Your Views Edition
    (d) Why I Just Got to Militarize the Entire Nation Edition
    (e) This Is My Last Territorial Demand in Europe Edition
    (f) September 1939 Edition
    (g) Messages to the Front Edition
    (h) Final Solution Edition
    (i) Why Are People Trying to Assassinate Me Edition
    (j) Collapse of the Front Edition
    (k) Eva Give Me a Pep Talk Edition
    (l) Suicide in Berlin Edition

    Get the whole set and be ready to take over your own country with good Motivational Press Releases in ANY national crisis situation.

    (3) The Communist Party of the Soviet Union Edition.
    With this set you get a free poster of Lenin and a little Comrade Stalin Doll where you pull a string and it delivers the Random Party Speech Generator Assemblage in up to SEVEN different languages!

    (4) The 1914-1918 Western Front Field Order of The Day Edition
    The British version will be a big seller in English speaking countries. The David Lloyd George and Major British Generals Sub Editions will be very inspiring too. People love to hear the Kings English spoken by classically trained British actors. I myself love this and will be a customer.

    (5) The more current Post 9/11 U.S. Neocon Edition.
    Enough said.

    There is a huge market out there for your code model. You are really onto something!

    And Bird’s Random Login Disconnect Generator is a nice add on.

    This place is a veritable gold mine of good commercial ideas!

    Everyone keep posting.

  • Craig Parke

    Steve wrote:

    “As for code, here’s the stuff you should be working on perfecting. This is the code that will ensure everyone’s future is prosperous:”

    Bird wrote:

    “[SqlException (0?80131904): Cannot open database ?BahaiTheoMemeberBenBIGS? requested by the login. The login failed.
    Login failed for user ?memberBIGSWe897671?.]
    System.Data.SqlDonor.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    System.Data.SqlDonor.ThrowExceptionAndWarning”

    Steve and Bird,

    LOL! Outstanding!

    Steve, your “Random Organizational Leadership Communication Generator” is outstanding! There should be some kind of “International Dilbert Award” or some such accolade for this coding effort. One of the most socially advanced uses of arrays that I have seen in the last 24 hours!

    I think you have a franchise here. You can have many editions of the generator. here are a few ideas:

    (1) (A MUST HAVE) The North Korean Great Leader Edition.

    (2) The Third Reich Edition. This version comes with multiple sub packs depending on which phase of the destruction of the German nation you want to mimic.
    (a) Formation of the Nazi Party Edition
    (b) Internal National Struggle Edition
    (c) Kill Everyone Who Does Not Support Your Views Edition
    (d) Why I Just Got to Militarize the Entire Nation Edition
    (e) This Is My Last Territorial Demand in Europe Edition
    (f) September 1939 Edition
    (g) Messages to the Front Edition
    (h) Final Solution Edition
    (i) Why Are People Trying to Assassinate Me Edition
    (j) Collapse of the Front Edition
    (k) Eva Give Me a Pep Talk Edition
    (l) Suicide in Berlin Edition

    Get the whole set and be ready to take over your own country with good Motivational Press Releases in ANY national crisis situation.

    (3) The Communist Party of the Soviet Union Edition.
    With this set you get a free poster of Lenin and a little Comrade Stalin Doll where you pull a string and it delivers the Random Party Speech Generator Assemblage in up to SEVEN different languages!

    (4) The 1914-1918 Western Front Field Order of The Day Edition
    The British version will be a big seller in English speaking countries. The David Lloyd George and Major British Generals Sub Editions will be very inspiring too. People love to hear the Kings English spoken by classically trained British actors. I myself love this and will be a customer.

    (5) The more current Post 9/11 U.S. Neocon Edition.
    Enough said.

    There is a huge market out there for your code model. You are really onto something!

    And Bird’s Random Login Disconnect Generator is a nice add on.

    This place is a veritable gold mine of good commercial ideas!

    Everyone keep posting.

  • Anonymouz

    CoL,

    Good luck on your journey.

  • Anonymouz

    CoL,

    Good luck on your journey.

  • Bird

    Craig

    Steve’s was much more thought out than mine, I was in it for the humor.

    Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?

  • Bird

    Craig

    Steve’s was much more thought out than mine, I was in it for the humor.

    Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="52623"]… promised in the religions of the past, the disappearance of the top-down religious structures.[/quote]

    Farhan, although I do agree with you regarding the benefit of the elimination of a “top down” structure, there is no evidence that this is currently being implemented in the Baha’i administration. In fact, we have ample evidence of exactly the opposite.

    Consider last year’s US national convention. The US NSA came out with a refreshingly honest assessment of the current Baha’i community in the US and an analysis of how we got here and how we can improve.

    The UHJ/ITC brought the hammer down hard and fast. The NSA’s annual report was censored and in its stead, a letter from the UHJ was supplanted. No consultation or dialogue was allowed on the NSA annual report. Furthermore, the UHJ/ITC sent an ITC counsellor to act as an enforcer inside the convention to make sure that no such consultation was permitted and that instead all attention was directed to the UHJ’s own letter.

    As a coupe de grace, we got the astonishing assertion from a counsellor that we must not see with our own eyes (or hear with our own ears) but instead through the eyes and ears of the UHJ!

    I am not making this up! Oh, how I wish it was simply my feverish imagination! But truly, a counsellor said this, having the floor of the US National Convention! And no one, NO ONE!! corrected her, disagreed with her, even though we have Baha’u’llah’s clear and repeated words to the contrary!

    There are many more examples but anyone who is truly investigating the matter with an objective mind will readily find them. I submit this as a recent and most egregious one that proves that your assertion of the “elimination of top bottom” is simply false. Don’t get me wrong, I wish you were right! But as I’ve stated and shown, the very opposite is happening before our very eyes.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="52623"]… promised in the religions of the past, the disappearance of the top-down religious structures.[/quote]

    Farhan, although I do agree with you regarding the benefit of the elimination of a “top down” structure, there is no evidence that this is currently being implemented in the Baha’i administration. In fact, we have ample evidence of exactly the opposite.

    Consider last year’s US national convention. The US NSA came out with a refreshingly honest assessment of the current Baha’i community in the US and an analysis of how we got here and how we can improve.

    The UHJ/ITC brought the hammer down hard and fast. The NSA’s annual report was censored and in its stead, a letter from the UHJ was supplanted. No consultation or dialogue was allowed on the NSA annual report. Furthermore, the UHJ/ITC sent an ITC counsellor to act as an enforcer inside the convention to make sure that no such consultation was permitted and that instead all attention was directed to the UHJ’s own letter.

    As a coupe de grace, we got the astonishing assertion from a counsellor that we must not see with our own eyes (or hear with our own ears) but instead through the eyes and ears of the UHJ!

    I am not making this up! Oh, how I wish it was simply my feverish imagination! But truly, a counsellor said this, having the floor of the US National Convention! And no one, NO ONE!! corrected her, disagreed with her, even though we have Baha’u’llah’s clear and repeated words to the contrary!

    There are many more examples but anyone who is truly investigating the matter with an objective mind will readily find them. I submit this as a recent and most egregious one that proves that your assertion of the “elimination of top bottom” is simply false. Don’t get me wrong, I wish you were right! But as I’ve stated and shown, the very opposite is happening before our very eyes.

  • Grover

    Bird wrote:

    [quote post="500"]Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    I don’t think any one of us can without some basic changes. There are a lot of mechanisms in place to quell dissention to the point where no one dares challenge what is happening. If the Faith is to be improved and allowed to evolve it has to be open to scrutiny and challenge as this will keep it honest, intellectually strong and rigorous. For this to happen:

    -The UHJ should no longer be regarded as infallible.
    -The Arm of the Learned should be disbanded.
    -Interpretation of the Covenant should be revised to just deal with succession only.
    -LSAs, NSAs and UHJs should be responsible (accountable) to the people that elected them.
    -The people should have the right to a vote of no confidence.
    -LSAs and NSAs should be able to question the actions of the UHJ.
    -Freedom of access to data such as enrolments, demographics, treasury accounts and spending.
    -Independent auditing.
    -Referal of cases, such as child abuse, illegal activities etc, over to appropriate authorities rather than keeping it in house.
    -Change the manner in which Feast is chaired, etc, to allow dissention, concerns etc, to be discussed constructively, with hopefully a beneficial outcome (doesn’t help those prone to get on their soapbox though)
    -Allow freedom and diversity of action rather than insist on a single course of action. People will support activities they like and Baha’i activity will naturally evolve.
    -Eliminate the emphasis on teaching/conversion, focus on developing alliances instead on key issues.
    -Use fund money for the Faith to become self-sufficient, developing revenue generating businesses, like what the Mormons and Exclusive Brethren do.
    -Establish or reinstate a Baha’i scholars/theologian network/conferences, papers etc, allow academic freedom without sensorship, which is open to all interested parties, includes peer review, and follows academic standards. Anything and everything should be freely questioned and challenged.

  • Grover

    Bird wrote:

    [quote post="500"]Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    I don’t think any one of us can without some basic changes. There are a lot of mechanisms in place to quell dissention to the point where no one dares challenge what is happening. If the Faith is to be improved and allowed to evolve it has to be open to scrutiny and challenge as this will keep it honest, intellectually strong and rigorous. For this to happen:

    -The UHJ should no longer be regarded as infallible.
    -The Arm of the Learned should be disbanded.
    -Interpretation of the Covenant should be revised to just deal with succession only.
    -LSAs, NSAs and UHJs should be responsible (accountable) to the people that elected them.
    -The people should have the right to a vote of no confidence.
    -LSAs and NSAs should be able to question the actions of the UHJ.
    -Freedom of access to data such as enrolments, demographics, treasury accounts and spending.
    -Independent auditing.
    -Referal of cases, such as child abuse, illegal activities etc, over to appropriate authorities rather than keeping it in house.
    -Change the manner in which Feast is chaired, etc, to allow dissention, concerns etc, to be discussed constructively, with hopefully a beneficial outcome (doesn’t help those prone to get on their soapbox though)
    -Allow freedom and diversity of action rather than insist on a single course of action. People will support activities they like and Baha’i activity will naturally evolve.
    -Eliminate the emphasis on teaching/conversion, focus on developing alliances instead on key issues.
    -Use fund money for the Faith to become self-sufficient, developing revenue generating businesses, like what the Mormons and Exclusive Brethren do.
    -Establish or reinstate a Baha’i scholars/theologian network/conferences, papers etc, allow academic freedom without sensorship, which is open to all interested parties, includes peer review, and follows academic standards. Anything and everything should be freely questioned and challenged.

  • Craig Parke

    Bird wrote:

    [quote comment="52716"]

    Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    Grover,

    I would also add to your list the imposition of STRICT TERM LIMITS through legislation by the UHJ as is one of their duly constituted official powers and… DUTIES.

    No one should ever be permitted to serve more than two five year terms on the Universal House of Justice of the Baha’i Faith in their entire LIFETIME. Period.

    No one should ever be permitted to serve more than eight years (eight terms) on a National Spiritual Assembly anywhere in the world in their entire LIFETIME. Period.

    No one should be permitted to serve more than three consecutive terms on a Local Spiritual Assembly anywhere in the world. After that they are not eligible for two consecutive years and then may serve again for another three years if re-elected in the repeating cycle. Period.

    But as we all know this will NEVER be done. EVER. The Baha’i Faith in it’s present administrative form is a religion of organization addicts and weak borderline personalities with no moral vision or courage whatsoever.

    So what is going to have to happen is the development of a bottom up culture of moral revulsion worldwide where anyone who serves beyond these moral and spiritual term limits is held in the greatest contempt as a human being who has utterly usurped the Cause of God for their own selfish egotistical needs as a completely self centered, neurotic, passive-aggressive sociopath and even in some glaring cases, a full blown psychopath who has completely disgraced themselves and their families in world history.

    Mark my words, that bottom up system of morality is going to slowly develop from the rank and file worldwide over time. It will be one of the judgments brought by the planetary rise of the Internet. It cannot be stopped unless the Baha’i Faith does go to total planetary collapse which is a very real possibility at this point.

    The people now currently serving in positions of lifetime incumbency from the hijacking of the Faith by the Closed ITC Administrative Apparatus will be held in the greatest contempt in the future and their families and descendants held in total moral disgrace.

    It will happen as the Faith is further and further enervated and dissipated in spiritual energy to eventual total spiritual death until their is a return to Spirit and the Cosmic Laws of Spirit.

    Meanwhile, the power of the World Age will go on in all human affairs in the quickening of Spirit worldwide.

    The entire world is now completely passing by the once cutting edge Baha’i Faith with the passing of every hour.

    It is a great tragedy. But it is the truth of the present hapless situation.

    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

  • Craig Parke

    Bird wrote:

    [quote comment="52716"]

    Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    Grover,

    I would also add to your list the imposition of STRICT TERM LIMITS through legislation by the UHJ as is one of their duly constituted official powers and… DUTIES.

    No one should ever be permitted to serve more than two five year terms on the Universal House of Justice of the Baha’i Faith in their entire LIFETIME. Period.

    No one should ever be permitted to serve more than eight years (eight terms) on a National Spiritual Assembly anywhere in the world in their entire LIFETIME. Period.

    No one should be permitted to serve more than three consecutive terms on a Local Spiritual Assembly anywhere in the world. After that they are not eligible for two consecutive years and then may serve again for another three years if re-elected in the repeating cycle. Period.

    But as we all know this will NEVER be done. EVER. The Baha’i Faith in it’s present administrative form is a religion of organization addicts and weak borderline personalities with no moral vision or courage whatsoever.

    So what is going to have to happen is the development of a bottom up culture of moral revulsion worldwide where anyone who serves beyond these moral and spiritual term limits is held in the greatest contempt as a human being who has utterly usurped the Cause of God for their own selfish egotistical needs as a completely self centered, neurotic, passive-aggressive sociopath and even in some glaring cases, a full blown psychopath who has completely disgraced themselves and their families in world history.

    Mark my words, that bottom up system of morality is going to slowly develop from the rank and file worldwide over time. It will be one of the judgments brought by the planetary rise of the Internet. It cannot be stopped unless the Baha’i Faith does go to total planetary collapse which is a very real possibility at this point.

    The people now currently serving in positions of lifetime incumbency from the hijacking of the Faith by the Closed ITC Administrative Apparatus will be held in the greatest contempt in the future and their families and descendants held in total moral disgrace.

    It will happen as the Faith is further and further enervated and dissipated in spiritual energy to eventual total spiritual death until their is a return to Spirit and the Cosmic Laws of Spirit.

    Meanwhile, the power of the World Age will go on in all human affairs in the quickening of Spirit worldwide.

    The entire world is now completely passing by the once cutting edge Baha’i Faith with the passing of every hour.

    It is a great tragedy. But it is the truth of the present hapless situation.

    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Grover,
    most of the ideas you put forward can be grouped under “transparency”. That is if the institutions were more transparent, telling Baha’is of their deliberations and decisions and meetings. Of course, personal matters (such as divorce proceedings, et al) would be kept confidential but matters which are relevant to the community should not be private. There is no reason for us to not know how many meetings LSA/NSA members attended, how they voted on decisions, how/why they decided certain things, etc. We are seeing some improvement regarding this but it is in spite of the AO’s wishes and because of technologies such as this medium we are using to communicate. I find it rather sad that although Shoghi Effendi had the vision to foresee the development of the internet, most members of the institutions behave like cantankerous Amish farmers, getting confused and angry when actually confronted with it. They have no idea what it is, how powerful it can be and how it can help the Faith. I would agree with Craig that term limits would also be extremely helpful.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Grover,
    most of the ideas you put forward can be grouped under “transparency”. That is if the institutions were more transparent, telling Baha’is of their deliberations and decisions and meetings. Of course, personal matters (such as divorce proceedings, et al) would be kept confidential but matters which are relevant to the community should not be private. There is no reason for us to not know how many meetings LSA/NSA members attended, how they voted on decisions, how/why they decided certain things, etc. We are seeing some improvement regarding this but it is in spite of the AO’s wishes and because of technologies such as this medium we are using to communicate. I find it rather sad that although Shoghi Effendi had the vision to foresee the development of the internet, most members of the institutions behave like cantankerous Amish farmers, getting confused and angry when actually confronted with it. They have no idea what it is, how powerful it can be and how it can help the Faith. I would agree with Craig that term limits would also be extremely helpful.

  • anonymouz

    I just would like to chime in here.

    What you are all are suggesting sounds very interesting and if this Faith was some sort of open source network where anyone can just come in and recommend or make changes at their own whim or the whim of the majority that would be fitting to your needs.

    However, as much as I know you all do not like to hear it, the Baha’i Faith as it is today, with its institutions and the Universal House of Justice at the helm, is the direct result of strict and faithful obediance to the directions and laws of Baha’u’llah Himself.

    Its just that simple.

    The opening paragraph of the Kitab’i’Aqdas clearly says

    The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.

    Your opinions and justifications for the way you think things should be are a reflection of your own understanding and perceptions. This beautiful gift from God has been given in the past to men and not until this most mighty Dispensation has it been guaranteed to be under the hand of God Himself.

    I see you all complaining about censorship, injustice, top downism, etc. The reality of the matter is this: You are witnessing a page in the history of the Faith and you have chosen to focus on a specific punctuation or word when there is yet volumes to be written. The Author of this massive work needs no critiquing nor direction.

    Ask yourself this question: Why do the overwhelming majority of Baha’is don’t see it the same way? Perhaps they are trusting in God and acting on the directions and instructions given by their loving and wise Institutions who themselves were conceived by the very same central figures you all seem to say you believe in.

    Craig, you say you are a former military man. Guess what…me too. Let me ask you this, for a unit to function and moral to be there, is there any room for that one or those few enlisted men to always be doubting, questioning, complaining, rolling their eyes, dragging their feet and being the weakest link? There is always room for redress and mechanisms in place to voice formal complaints, but what if the grunt just keeps running his mouth and blanketing doubt on the whole mission and discouraging his fellow soldiers? What do you do?

    grover,

    I don’t know what to say to you, man. Each one of the things you mention are factors in a formula for full blown schism. What amazes me is that you don’t give those smart people in Haifa the benefit of the doubt. None of you do. You don’t think that they mention such things in their extensive and thorough consultations? Don’t you think that these people too have experience with secular traditions and see the benefits of such steps? Give them some credit for taking the words of a Persian some 150s ago and making it into a global religion with adherents in more countries than any other in the World. Managing the affairs of the Faith and adhering strictly to the guidelines and laws in the Holy text is no easy task, especially when the work you do is constantly undermined by questioning know-it-alls who see this is some parliamentary debate club.

    I am so glad to be part of the Administration, while I hold no office, I see the genius in it. You all seem to think that what you hear on NPR or read/watch on the news regarding politics, government and statesmanship is fair, democratic and ideal. WOE BE UPON YOU. I know now than non of you has ever served in a political position or part of a party organization. This system we Baha’is have is amazing. organically elected, collectively authoritative, wisely fluid and ultimately essential for maintaining and promoting the core belief of unity.

    Your contempting dissent and skeptical attitudes should be re-directed toward your secular leaders and your own egos.

    Are the LSAs and NSAs perfect? Do they always act as they should and in the best interests of the community? Most of the time. What do you do when they don’t? May I remind you there are mechanisms in place within the Baha’i administrative process for processing grievances and appeals. How is the system to work for you when you don’t use it?

    before you all start posting back with your rebuttals wait 5 minutes and think about this: Is what I say or think the result of my collective experiences in a western secular society, or as a trusting servant of Baha’u’llah?

  • anonymouz

    I just would like to chime in here.

    What you are all are suggesting sounds very interesting and if this Faith was some sort of open source network where anyone can just come in and recommend or make changes at their own whim or the whim of the majority that would be fitting to your needs.

    However, as much as I know you all do not like to hear it, the Baha’i Faith as it is today, with its institutions and the Universal House of Justice at the helm, is the direct result of strict and faithful obediance to the directions and laws of Baha’u’llah Himself.

    Its just that simple.

    The opening paragraph of the Kitab’i’Aqdas clearly says

    The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.

    Your opinions and justifications for the way you think things should be are a reflection of your own understanding and perceptions. This beautiful gift from God has been given in the past to men and not until this most mighty Dispensation has it been guaranteed to be under the hand of God Himself.

    I see you all complaining about censorship, injustice, top downism, etc. The reality of the matter is this: You are witnessing a page in the history of the Faith and you have chosen to focus on a specific punctuation or word when there is yet volumes to be written. The Author of this massive work needs no critiquing nor direction.

    Ask yourself this question: Why do the overwhelming majority of Baha’is don’t see it the same way? Perhaps they are trusting in God and acting on the directions and instructions given by their loving and wise Institutions who themselves were conceived by the very same central figures you all seem to say you believe in.

    Craig, you say you are a former military man. Guess what…me too. Let me ask you this, for a unit to function and moral to be there, is there any room for that one or those few enlisted men to always be doubting, questioning, complaining, rolling their eyes, dragging their feet and being the weakest link? There is always room for redress and mechanisms in place to voice formal complaints, but what if the grunt just keeps running his mouth and blanketing doubt on the whole mission and discouraging his fellow soldiers? What do you do?

    grover,

    I don’t know what to say to you, man. Each one of the things you mention are factors in a formula for full blown schism. What amazes me is that you don’t give those smart people in Haifa the benefit of the doubt. None of you do. You don’t think that they mention such things in their extensive and thorough consultations? Don’t you think that these people too have experience with secular traditions and see the benefits of such steps? Give them some credit for taking the words of a Persian some 150s ago and making it into a global religion with adherents in more countries than any other in the World. Managing the affairs of the Faith and adhering strictly to the guidelines and laws in the Holy text is no easy task, especially when the work you do is constantly undermined by questioning know-it-alls who see this is some parliamentary debate club.

    I am so glad to be part of the Administration, while I hold no office, I see the genius in it. You all seem to think that what you hear on NPR or read/watch on the news regarding politics, government and statesmanship is fair, democratic and ideal. WOE BE UPON YOU. I know now than non of you has ever served in a political position or part of a party organization. This system we Baha’is have is amazing. organically elected, collectively authoritative, wisely fluid and ultimately essential for maintaining and promoting the core belief of unity.

    Your contempting dissent and skeptical attitudes should be re-directed toward your secular leaders and your own egos.

    Are the LSAs and NSAs perfect? Do they always act as they should and in the best interests of the community? Most of the time. What do you do when they don’t? May I remind you there are mechanisms in place within the Baha’i administrative process for processing grievances and appeals. How is the system to work for you when you don’t use it?

    before you all start posting back with your rebuttals wait 5 minutes and think about this: Is what I say or think the result of my collective experiences in a western secular society, or as a trusting servant of Baha’u’llah?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz, the Faith is a living breathing entity, implicit in that is a need for transformation, adaptation, growth. You are mistaking the directives of the sacred texts to be straightjackets, they are not. We have many instances where such changes occurred and no doubt will see them in the future. For example, the way LSA’s are elected today is not how they were elected initially. Nor were they called by that name but local houses of justice. As well, initially women did not serve on neither LSAs or NSAs. These things all changed. I’m sure if we would climb aboard a time machine there would back then, be similar Baha’is as yourself arguing the same things and pushing for the status quo! But we would also find other Baha’is who were agitating for change, like Corinne True during the Master’s time.

    None of the things which I suggested are against any of the Baha’i teachings. In fact, the UHJ has already made tentative movements towards term limits, albeit for lower institutions, not themselves.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz, the Faith is a living breathing entity, implicit in that is a need for transformation, adaptation, growth. You are mistaking the directives of the sacred texts to be straightjackets, they are not. We have many instances where such changes occurred and no doubt will see them in the future. For example, the way LSA’s are elected today is not how they were elected initially. Nor were they called by that name but local houses of justice. As well, initially women did not serve on neither LSAs or NSAs. These things all changed. I’m sure if we would climb aboard a time machine there would back then, be similar Baha’is as yourself arguing the same things and pushing for the status quo! But we would also find other Baha’is who were agitating for change, like Corinne True during the Master’s time.

    None of the things which I suggested are against any of the Baha’i teachings. In fact, the UHJ has already made tentative movements towards term limits, albeit for lower institutions, not themselves.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52716"]Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    Yes, and the key is the concept of civil society.

    “Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state’s political system) and commercial institutions.”
    Civil Society – Wiki

    I like to think of civil society as being all the stuff that exists between the level of the individual and the level of the state.

    On pretty much any definition, the Baha’i Faith, as a whole, is part of civil society. The Baha’is rely on the good will of state for their survival:

    “…a civil society can exist only in a state guaranteeing the freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.”
    Civil Society, the State, and Political Culture

    Which is why The Baha’is are complaining big-time about the Iranian regime giving it such a hard time.

    Hold that thought.

    There’s also a civil society within Baha’i. Again, it exists between the individual and the state (in this case, the administrative order) and it flourishes only if it is guaranteed freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

    I think building up a flourishing civil society within the Baha’i Faith is the way to effect change, (although we can’t predict what that change will be) and that this blog’s discussions are a part of that process.

    Craig sums my argument up in two words every time he says, “Keep posting”.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52716"]Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?[/quote]

    Yes, and the key is the concept of civil society.

    “Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state’s political system) and commercial institutions.”
    Civil Society – Wiki

    I like to think of civil society as being all the stuff that exists between the level of the individual and the level of the state.

    On pretty much any definition, the Baha’i Faith, as a whole, is part of civil society. The Baha’is rely on the good will of state for their survival:

    “…a civil society can exist only in a state guaranteeing the freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.”
    Civil Society, the State, and Political Culture

    Which is why The Baha’is are complaining big-time about the Iranian regime giving it such a hard time.

    Hold that thought.

    There’s also a civil society within Baha’i. Again, it exists between the individual and the state (in this case, the administrative order) and it flourishes only if it is guaranteed freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

    I think building up a flourishing civil society within the Baha’i Faith is the way to effect change, (although we can’t predict what that change will be) and that this blog’s discussions are a part of that process.

    Craig sums my argument up in two words every time he says, “Keep posting”.

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    …and Jesus summarised my argument in 20 words:

    [quote]Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
    (Matthew 12:25)[/quote]

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    …and Jesus summarised my argument in 20 words:

    [quote]Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
    (Matthew 12:25)[/quote]

  • Andrew

    Bird asked:

    “Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community?”

    I am now of the opinion that it is neither possible nor desirable.

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. I sincerely hope and pray that the Baha’i World Faith continues on its present course, as I am confident that it will. Hopefully, in another generation or two, these anti-BWF sentiments will simply disappear, i.e., will disappear into relative oblivion and statistical marginality (as I feel reasonably certain they will) in the absence of any substantive entity against which to direct them. May God hasten that glorious day and may She shower Her blessings upon all humankind (except for Covenant-breakers and other Enemies of the Faith, upon whom a great catastrophe will fall, and they will lose everything, though they abhor it so, the lightnings of the anger and the fury of the wrath of God, the noise of the thunder of the violation of the Covenant, the earthquake of doubts, the hail of torments, beat upon them, the wicked violators of the law, etc., etc., and etc.). Let’s all be happy, okay?

  • Andrew

    Bird asked:

    “Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community?”

    I am now of the opinion that it is neither possible nor desirable.

    Anonymouz wrote:

    “But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. I sincerely hope and pray that the Baha’i World Faith continues on its present course, as I am confident that it will. Hopefully, in another generation or two, these anti-BWF sentiments will simply disappear, i.e., will disappear into relative oblivion and statistical marginality (as I feel reasonably certain they will) in the absence of any substantive entity against which to direct them. May God hasten that glorious day and may She shower Her blessings upon all humankind (except for Covenant-breakers and other Enemies of the Faith, upon whom a great catastrophe will fall, and they will lose everything, though they abhor it so, the lightnings of the anger and the fury of the wrath of God, the noise of the thunder of the violation of the Covenant, the earthquake of doubts, the hail of torments, beat upon them, the wicked violators of the law, etc., etc., and etc.). Let’s all be happy, okay?

  • anonymouz

    Andrew,

    HAHAHA! That last sentence really was funny. Covenant breakers, like Mirza Yahya, Mirza Muhammad Ali, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Mason Remey, Fred Glaysher all sincerely believe in what they are doing or did. I have faith in the mercy of God to show them thier failures in full, but wrath of God?? Who knows. It all comes down to this: Humility, trust in God, willingness to work with what you are given, patience and an understanding that schism is something of the past. All our work should be focused on promoting love. Not resentment, contempt and paranoia.

  • anonymouz

    Andrew,

    HAHAHA! That last sentence really was funny. Covenant breakers, like Mirza Yahya, Mirza Muhammad Ali, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Mason Remey, Fred Glaysher all sincerely believe in what they are doing or did. I have faith in the mercy of God to show them thier failures in full, but wrath of God?? Who knows. It all comes down to this: Humility, trust in God, willingness to work with what you are given, patience and an understanding that schism is something of the past. All our work should be focused on promoting love. Not resentment, contempt and paranoia.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    A,
    Fred Glaysher was deemed a CB by the UHJ? really? I didn’t know that. can you provide some reference or source for this please? Thank you.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    A,
    Fred Glaysher was deemed a CB by the UHJ? really? I didn’t know that. can you provide some reference or source for this please? Thank you.

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    I don’t think it is appropriate to categorize whether someone has been or not formally declared a covenant breaker. It doesn’t matter, only for administrative purposes. He has shattered the covenant with Baha’u’llah with his heretical attempts of creating schism. Period. Fred Glaysher is the absolute definition of a covenant breaker. He shattered his covenant with God by his heretical attempts at schism. It makes no difference if one is ?declared? a covenant breaker or not…

    But, go ahead side with him…

  • anonymouz

    Baquia,

    I don’t think it is appropriate to categorize whether someone has been or not formally declared a covenant breaker. It doesn’t matter, only for administrative purposes. He has shattered the covenant with Baha’u’llah with his heretical attempts of creating schism. Period. Fred Glaysher is the absolute definition of a covenant breaker. He shattered his covenant with God by his heretical attempts at schism. It makes no difference if one is ?declared? a covenant breaker or not…

    But, go ahead side with him…

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52731"]Baquia,

    I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.[/quote]

    I bet the folks with the power in seventeenth century Europe were saying much the same thing. The printing press messed it up for them. Now the Internet and folks like Baquia are making sure that the voices of ordinary Baha’is are being heard. I suggest that you learn to live with it, because there’s no going back.

    [quote]The emergence of the press in Europe in the seventeenth century made public opinion possible for the first time. “Without journalism – without a steady, reliable flow of independent information, public opinion would not be possible and self-government would disappear. Journalism and self-government rise and fall together,” said Kovach, adding that the public needs to understand and accept journalism’s role as a valid one, and the only way to ensure that is for those who work in the profession to act with the responsibility that independence requires.

    “A journalist is never more true to democracy, is never more engaged as a citizen – is never more patriotic – than when aggressively doing the job of independently verifying the news of the day; questioning the acts of those in authority; disclosing information the public needs to know but that others wish to keep secret.”
    ‘Trust me, I’m a journalist…’[/quote]

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="52731"]Baquia,

    I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process.[/quote]

    I bet the folks with the power in seventeenth century Europe were saying much the same thing. The printing press messed it up for them. Now the Internet and folks like Baquia are making sure that the voices of ordinary Baha’is are being heard. I suggest that you learn to live with it, because there’s no going back.

    [quote]The emergence of the press in Europe in the seventeenth century made public opinion possible for the first time. “Without journalism – without a steady, reliable flow of independent information, public opinion would not be possible and self-government would disappear. Journalism and self-government rise and fall together,” said Kovach, adding that the public needs to understand and accept journalism’s role as a valid one, and the only way to ensure that is for those who work in the profession to act with the responsibility that independence requires.

    “A journalist is never more true to democracy, is never more engaged as a citizen – is never more patriotic – than when aggressively doing the job of independently verifying the news of the day; questioning the acts of those in authority; disclosing information the public needs to know but that others wish to keep secret.”
    ‘Trust me, I’m a journalist…’[/quote]

  • Grover

    Hi Anonymouz,

    [quote post="500"]Each one of the things you mention are factors in a formula for full blown schism. [/quote]

    It works fine else where, why not the Baha’i Faith? I agree that normally there are a bunch of well meaning individuals on LSAs etc, but it bothers me when they think the Assemblies are not accountable to the Baha’is, only to God, and when they think they can handle legal wrangles between Baha’is by throwing quotes at them or child abuse cases etc by shutting the victims up and pretending it didn’t happen. As the saying goes, the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

    [quote post="500"]What amazes me is that you don’t give those smart people in Haifa the benefit of the doubt. None of you do. You don’t think that they mention such things in their extensive and thorough consultations? Don’t you think that these people too have experience with secular traditions and see the benefits of such steps?[/quote]

    I did give them the benefit of doubt until we got Ruhi, cluster meetings, the 3 portals, and all the jargon that went with it. Siyonara Baha’i Faith, hello ugly monster.

    [quote post="500"]You all seem to think that what you hear on NPR or read/watch on the news regarding politics, government and statesmanship is fair, democratic and ideal. [/quote]

    Hardly, I’m even more distrustful of politicians and the media.

    [quote post="500"]I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process[/quote]

    Anonymouz, sooner or later you’re going to realise that having faith in something is like a card castle. When something comes along and pulls out a card, the whole castle crumbles, the blinkers come off, and you look at everything with new eyes. You don’t understand yet, but eventually something will happen to you that will push you over the edge, something that you can’t ignore.

    Anyway, all this ranting provides a way in which everything we’ve experienced can be rationalised. It’s certainly been helpful for me, because having doubts about the Faith is pretty isolating. Being able to talk about it on the blog with people in similar positions, rather than bottling it up and going mad, has been most beneficial.

  • Grover

    Hi Anonymouz,

    [quote post="500"]Each one of the things you mention are factors in a formula for full blown schism. [/quote]

    It works fine else where, why not the Baha’i Faith? I agree that normally there are a bunch of well meaning individuals on LSAs etc, but it bothers me when they think the Assemblies are not accountable to the Baha’is, only to God, and when they think they can handle legal wrangles between Baha’is by throwing quotes at them or child abuse cases etc by shutting the victims up and pretending it didn’t happen. As the saying goes, the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

    [quote post="500"]What amazes me is that you don’t give those smart people in Haifa the benefit of the doubt. None of you do. You don’t think that they mention such things in their extensive and thorough consultations? Don’t you think that these people too have experience with secular traditions and see the benefits of such steps?[/quote]

    I did give them the benefit of doubt until we got Ruhi, cluster meetings, the 3 portals, and all the jargon that went with it. Siyonara Baha’i Faith, hello ugly monster.

    [quote post="500"]You all seem to think that what you hear on NPR or read/watch on the news regarding politics, government and statesmanship is fair, democratic and ideal. [/quote]

    Hardly, I’m even more distrustful of politicians and the media.

    [quote post="500"]I am not saying things have to stay this way, nor should they. But all this ranting really comes off as deep seated distrust and contempt of the process[/quote]

    Anonymouz, sooner or later you’re going to realise that having faith in something is like a card castle. When something comes along and pulls out a card, the whole castle crumbles, the blinkers come off, and you look at everything with new eyes. You don’t understand yet, but eventually something will happen to you that will push you over the edge, something that you can’t ignore.

    Anyway, all this ranting provides a way in which everything we’ve experienced can be rationalised. It’s certainly been helpful for me, because having doubts about the Faith is pretty isolating. Being able to talk about it on the blog with people in similar positions, rather than bottling it up and going mad, has been most beneficial.

  • Anonymouz

    Grover,

    I have sympathy for you but your faith must not be dependent on anything that can be perceived by your senses is ultimately intellectual and ergo inconsequential.

    “The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.”

    I do not feel this blog has contributed to my spiritual growth at all. On the contrary, it simply confirms by hypothesis that coming online and talking about these sorts of things is rarely conducive to meaningful spiritual progress, which is categorically different from intellectual progress (which isn’t even a big deal).

    If I had the money, I would sponsor people to go on teaching and service trips; get out into the 3rd world and teach children’s classes and mend fishing nets with the locals…

  • Anonymouz

    Grover,

    I have sympathy for you but your faith must not be dependent on anything that can be perceived by your senses is ultimately intellectual and ergo inconsequential.

    “The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.”

    I do not feel this blog has contributed to my spiritual growth at all. On the contrary, it simply confirms by hypothesis that coming online and talking about these sorts of things is rarely conducive to meaningful spiritual progress, which is categorically different from intellectual progress (which isn’t even a big deal).

    If I had the money, I would sponsor people to go on teaching and service trips; get out into the 3rd world and teach children’s classes and mend fishing nets with the locals…

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="52738"]It makes no difference if one is ?declared? a covenant breaker or not…
    But, go ahead side with him…[/quote]

    First of all, please do not put words in my mouth. I didn’t say I sided with Fred but simply asked whether he was declared a CB as you asserted. Whether you or I think someone is or is not a CB is irrelevant – that decision is not ours to make. And you better believe it makes a difference! usurping such authority in direct violation of the Will & Testament of the Master, ironically puts one at odds with the lesser covenant. Neither is it conducive to unity or amity. I can understand you strongly disliking what Fred has said or done but to call him a CB when he has not been declared one by the institution that has that exclusive authority is simply wrong. Allahu’Abha
    :-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    [quote comment="52738"]It makes no difference if one is ?declared? a covenant breaker or not…
    But, go ahead side with him…[/quote]

    First of all, please do not put words in my mouth. I didn’t say I sided with Fred but simply asked whether he was declared a CB as you asserted. Whether you or I think someone is or is not a CB is irrelevant – that decision is not ours to make. And you better believe it makes a difference! usurping such authority in direct violation of the Will & Testament of the Master, ironically puts one at odds with the lesser covenant. Neither is it conducive to unity or amity. I can understand you strongly disliking what Fred has said or done but to call him a CB when he has not been declared one by the institution that has that exclusive authority is simply wrong. Allahu’Abha
    :-)

  • Anonymouz

    Agree to disagree. The spirit of covenant breakers is as odorous as a foul stench from the sewers. You can smell it a mile a away. I do not go around declaring people CBs, but you have to understand having that label formally applied is really only a formality. some people withdraw from the Faith before they can actually be declared CBs, but they do EXACTLY the same things once as those who have been formally declared. It is 1 part administrative, 9 parts spiritual and intellectual.

  • Anonymouz

    Agree to disagree. The spirit of covenant breakers is as odorous as a foul stench from the sewers. You can smell it a mile a away. I do not go around declaring people CBs, but you have to understand having that label formally applied is really only a formality. some people withdraw from the Faith before they can actually be declared CBs, but they do EXACTLY the same things once as those who have been formally declared. It is 1 part administrative, 9 parts spiritual and intellectual.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz,
    forgive a small bout of quotitis:

    In this wonderful age, according to the divine texts, ye must befriend all nations and communities. Ye must not look upon violence, force, evil intentions, persecutions or hostility, nay rather, ye must raise your eyes to the horizon of glory and see that each one of these creatures is a sign of the Lord of Signs and has stepped upon the arena of existence through divine favor and supreme energy. Thus they are known and not unknown, are friends and not strangers. We must deal with all according to the above criterion.

    Can you see how destructive it is and it would be if we were to see nothing wrong in going around calling each other CB’s willy nilly? or to use such reprehensibly insulting words like “stench” etc.? This is the same “us vs. them” ideology that has riven the world. And the same illness that all Manifestations of God have come to remedy.

    Steve,
    I’m not technically a journalist: do not have the requisite education, apprenticeship, experience or skills. On the internet one can easily become one or at least appear to be one. While this frees me from a stylistic point of view, I prominently keep in my mind the words of Baha’u’llah:

    In this day the mysteries of this earth are unfolded and visible before the eyes, and the pages of swiftly appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world; they display the doings and actions of the different nations; they both illustrate them and cause them to be heard. Newspapers are as a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech; they are a wonderful phenomenon and a great matter.

    But it behooves the writers and editors thereof to be sanctified from the prejudice of egotism and desire, and to be adorned with the ornament of equity and justice. They must inquire into matters as fully as possible in order that they may be informed of the real facts, and commit the same to writing. Concerning this wronged one, what the newspapers have published has for the most part been devoid of truth. Good speech and truthfulness are, in loftiness of position and rank, like the sun which has risen from the horizon of the heaven of knowledge.

    Although far from perfect, this helps me to not only talk about ideas and issues, rather than personalities and ad hominems but also to always be truthful. I hope that over time, with consistent application of Baha’u’llah’s guidance, my work will speak for itself.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Anonymouz,
    forgive a small bout of quotitis:

    In this wonderful age, according to the divine texts, ye must befriend all nations and communities. Ye must not look upon violence, force, evil intentions, persecutions or hostility, nay rather, ye must raise your eyes to the horizon of glory and see that each one of these creatures is a sign of the Lord of Signs and has stepped upon the arena of existence through divine favor and supreme energy. Thus they are known and not unknown, are friends and not strangers. We must deal with all according to the above criterion.

    Can you see how destructive it is and it would be if we were to see nothing wrong in going around calling each other CB’s willy nilly? or to use such reprehensibly insulting words like “stench” etc.? This is the same “us vs. them” ideology that has riven the world. And the same illness that all Manifestations of God have come to remedy.

    Steve,
    I’m not technically a journalist: do not have the requisite education, apprenticeship, experience or skills. On the internet one can easily become one or at least appear to be one. While this frees me from a stylistic point of view, I prominently keep in my mind the words of Baha’u’llah:

    In this day the mysteries of this earth are unfolded and visible before the eyes, and the pages of swiftly appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world; they display the doings and actions of the different nations; they both illustrate them and cause them to be heard. Newspapers are as a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech; they are a wonderful phenomenon and a great matter.

    But it behooves the writers and editors thereof to be sanctified from the prejudice of egotism and desire, and to be adorned with the ornament of equity and justice. They must inquire into matters as fully as possible in order that they may be informed of the real facts, and commit the same to writing. Concerning this wronged one, what the newspapers have published has for the most part been devoid of truth. Good speech and truthfulness are, in loftiness of position and rank, like the sun which has risen from the horizon of the heaven of knowledge.

    Although far from perfect, this helps me to not only talk about ideas and issues, rather than personalities and ad hominems but also to always be truthful. I hope that over time, with consistent application of Baha’u’llah’s guidance, my work will speak for itself.

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]I have sympathy for you but your faith must not be dependent on anything that can be perceived by your senses is ultimately intellectual and ergo inconsequential.

    ?The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.?[/quote]

    Be careful before making broad sweeping statements like that.

    Like most others on this blog, I’ve done my fair share of service, youth year of service, teaching, time on the LSA, an assistant to the ABM, local and national committees etc. I was even an advocate for institutes before Ruhi came along. So I’ve seen enough to know the Faith isn’t one happy happy joy joy place, but a mess of well meaning, happy clappy, but ignorant Baha’is, making one big hash of the Baha’i Faith.

    What you are advocating is blind faith, which ‘Abdu’l-Baha and co asked us to avoid. Faith has to be reinforced by the intellect otherwise how are you able to defend it or know that it isn’t just superstition? Religion must be in accordance with science and reason according to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, therefore the intellect obviously plays a major role in anyones faith. Many people become Baha’is because of their intellect, e.g. Hand of the Cause William Sears (see Thief in the Night). Would you tell him his intellect was inconsequential?

    [quote post="500"]?The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.”[/quote]

    Maybe you should send that to the UHJ so next time they pen a Ridvan message it is short and to the point (sorry being cheeky ;P ).

  • Grover

    Anonymouz wrote:

    [quote post="500"]I have sympathy for you but your faith must not be dependent on anything that can be perceived by your senses is ultimately intellectual and ergo inconsequential.

    ?The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.?[/quote]

    Be careful before making broad sweeping statements like that.

    Like most others on this blog, I’ve done my fair share of service, youth year of service, teaching, time on the LSA, an assistant to the ABM, local and national committees etc. I was even an advocate for institutes before Ruhi came along. So I’ve seen enough to know the Faith isn’t one happy happy joy joy place, but a mess of well meaning, happy clappy, but ignorant Baha’is, making one big hash of the Baha’i Faith.

    What you are advocating is blind faith, which ‘Abdu’l-Baha and co asked us to avoid. Faith has to be reinforced by the intellect otherwise how are you able to defend it or know that it isn’t just superstition? Religion must be in accordance with science and reason according to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, therefore the intellect obviously plays a major role in anyones faith. Many people become Baha’is because of their intellect, e.g. Hand of the Cause William Sears (see Thief in the Night). Would you tell him his intellect was inconsequential?

    [quote post="500"]?The essence of faith is fewness in words and abundance in deeds.”[/quote]

    Maybe you should send that to the UHJ so next time they pen a Ridvan message it is short and to the point (sorry being cheeky ;P ).

  • Anonymouz

    Intellect is a means to end, and in this case, faith. It can be the vehicle to come to the Supreme Realization, but if we are not detached from it, it will ultimately lead us astray. I have never judged the Baha’i Faith based on the behavior of the Baha’is, however a lot of people do. This is a mistake.

  • Anonymouz

    Intellect is a means to end, and in this case, faith. It can be the vehicle to come to the Supreme Realization, but if we are not detached from it, it will ultimately lead us astray. I have never judged the Baha’i Faith based on the behavior of the Baha’is, however a lot of people do. This is a mistake.

  • Johan
  • Johan
  • farhan

    Concourse wrote:
    “Moreover, Bahai characterization of modern Western society as some sort of grotesque dystopia of rampant immorality and debauchery is so exaggerated that it borders on the insane.”

    I agree, Concourse; there is a gross exaggeration amongst Baha’is from Eastern origin, terrorized by the pulsions they discover in themselves facing a liberty they have not been accustomed to, and who need to repell, and who need to “immunize” themselves from the mermaid’s songs.

    In fact the West has been greatly praised by Abdu’l-Baha who mused how the faith would ahve been developped, had the ?message of Baha’u’llah appeared in the West: a quote I cannot find right now.

    The Mufti of Australia actually replied to a query about assault by saying it was the women’s fault: if you leave meat lying around, you should not be surprised about dogs getting at it. Sad vision of men as dogs and women as meat.

    As we have already said, Baha’u’llah arose in the East, not because Westerners were not as deserving, but because Easterners needed His message most.

    Bird wrote:

    “Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?”

    Yes, Bird, we can, but it is a slow process, it takes generations; we need patience and fore bearance, but this does not mean that we should stop our efforts. We can planttrees without expecting to taste the fruits ourselves.

    Change is a painfull process; Only love and example can help people change; criticisme, harsh words, and violence entrench people in their routine behaviours. All change is perceived as a cultural shock, it requires the dismanteling of a mental structure and the elaboration of a new one.

    Baquia wrote:

    ?Farhan, although I do agree with you regarding the benefit of the elimination of a ?top down? structure, there is no evidence that this is currently being implemented in the Baha’i administration. In fact, we have ample evidence of exactly the opposite.?

    Baquia, it will take some generations before we can reverse what has been practiced for centuries. I entirely agree with the view expresed by Peter Khan in Toronto, 2nd August 2006:

    ?The core activities, as I see it, have a certain basic significance. There are, I believe, two or three points. The first is that it is a vehicle to avoid the dichotomy of the active leader with a passive congregation that follows him. That problem has never been solved in religious history. Every religion that we know about has either started off or after a fairly short time settled down into the active leader, who is on the edge of a nervous breakdown because he is so busy, and the passive congregation that is expected just to sit there and do what it’s told. Bah??’u’ll??h has broken that dichotomy down to create an active participating community of believers from which administrators are elected or appointed for limited periods. We have a lot of work to do to break down this tendency of Bah??’? communities to fall into that pattern of super-active individuals who either are exalted or who exalt themselves, and the passive rest of us who do what we’re told and try not to make too much trouble. We have to break that down as our teachings tell us it is not the right pattern. We have a lot of work to do to absorb it within our bones, to make it an integral part of our functioning; it will take generations to do that. Our core activities rest upon the fact that we do not have any leader or guru who tells us what the words mean, but rather we rely on the power of consultation and understanding in order to develop a deeper vision of what the Creative Word is about. This is quite different from the elected Assemblies with their decision-making powers in the realm of action, and the appointed Counsellors and their helpers to provide advice, encouragement and counsel.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Concourse wrote:
    “Moreover, Bahai characterization of modern Western society as some sort of grotesque dystopia of rampant immorality and debauchery is so exaggerated that it borders on the insane.”

    I agree, Concourse; there is a gross exaggeration amongst Baha’is from Eastern origin, terrorized by the pulsions they discover in themselves facing a liberty they have not been accustomed to, and who need to repell, and who need to “immunize” themselves from the mermaid’s songs.

    In fact the West has been greatly praised by Abdu’l-Baha who mused how the faith would ahve been developped, had the ?message of Baha’u’llah appeared in the West: a quote I cannot find right now.

    The Mufti of Australia actually replied to a query about assault by saying it was the women’s fault: if you leave meat lying around, you should not be surprised about dogs getting at it. Sad vision of men as dogs and women as meat.

    As we have already said, Baha’u’llah arose in the East, not because Westerners were not as deserving, but because Easterners needed His message most.

    Bird wrote:

    “Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?”

    Yes, Bird, we can, but it is a slow process, it takes generations; we need patience and fore bearance, but this does not mean that we should stop our efforts. We can planttrees without expecting to taste the fruits ourselves.

    Change is a painfull process; Only love and example can help people change; criticisme, harsh words, and violence entrench people in their routine behaviours. All change is perceived as a cultural shock, it requires the dismanteling of a mental structure and the elaboration of a new one.

    Baquia wrote:

    ?Farhan, although I do agree with you regarding the benefit of the elimination of a ?top down? structure, there is no evidence that this is currently being implemented in the Baha’i administration. In fact, we have ample evidence of exactly the opposite.?

    Baquia, it will take some generations before we can reverse what has been practiced for centuries. I entirely agree with the view expresed by Peter Khan in Toronto, 2nd August 2006:

    ?The core activities, as I see it, have a certain basic significance. There are, I believe, two or three points. The first is that it is a vehicle to avoid the dichotomy of the active leader with a passive congregation that follows him. That problem has never been solved in religious history. Every religion that we know about has either started off or after a fairly short time settled down into the active leader, who is on the edge of a nervous breakdown because he is so busy, and the passive congregation that is expected just to sit there and do what it’s told. Bah??’u’ll??h has broken that dichotomy down to create an active participating community of believers from which administrators are elected or appointed for limited periods. We have a lot of work to do to break down this tendency of Bah??’? communities to fall into that pattern of super-active individuals who either are exalted or who exalt themselves, and the passive rest of us who do what we’re told and try not to make too much trouble. We have to break that down as our teachings tell us it is not the right pattern. We have a lot of work to do to absorb it within our bones, to make it an integral part of our functioning; it will take generations to do that. Our core activities rest upon the fact that we do not have any leader or guru who tells us what the words mean, but rather we rely on the power of consultation and understanding in order to develop a deeper vision of what the Creative Word is about. This is quite different from the elected Assemblies with their decision-making powers in the realm of action, and the appointed Counsellors and their helpers to provide advice, encouragement and counsel.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52773"]Bird wrote:

    “Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?”

    Yes, Bird, we can, but it is a slow process, it takes generations; we need patience and fore bearance, but this does not mean that we should stop our efforts. We can planttrees without expecting to taste the fruits ourselves.

    Change is a painfull process; Only love and example can help people change; criticisme, harsh words, and violence entrench people in their routine behaviours. All change is perceived as a cultural shock, it requires the dismanteling of a mental structure and the elaboration of a new one.[/quote]

    Farhan,

    As I said, I am growing fond of you. Your sincerity and ernestness is honest. But as you know from my posts, I disagree with this view point.

    This is the completely counter-productive total disconnect YEAR ZERO MENTALITY that has kept the Baha’i Faith from connecting with the real issues in the world except for during the 1960’s and 1970’s when even the hermeticly sealed passive-aggressive “Baha’i Faith organization” could not escape the vital social activitism in the streets.

    This mentality that the Baha’is are some kind of “Baha’i World Miss Manners” agency responsible for completely changing society and human nature has been and will continue to be completely fatal for the Baha’i Faith.

    The whole mentality of marching everyone into the jungle/concentration camp/gulag of one kind or another to change their thinking has been tried by Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin and many lessor others on various scales. It is, well, oh so 20th Century now in thinking. It has been tried over and over ending in total catastrophe for millions of human beings. It has been done.

    If you want to change the world, GET CONNECTED TO WHAT IS GOING ON.

    The Baha’is don’t need to try to “change” or “transform” anyone. That whole mentality is bunk and has caused the Faith to lose opportunity after opportunity. The whole Ruhi mechanical automaton paint-by-numbers mentality is now the final, dismal, barren and fruitless wretchedness of this hapless micro managed groupthink control freak approach to everything.

    The simple fact is that society worldwide IS changing much, much faster than the Baha’is toward the world brought by Baha’u’llah going through that spiritual portal in the 19th Century. (Yes- I am a Shirley MacLaine Baha’i and proud of it.)

    The VERY LAST people on Earth to implement that sublime spiritual power now is the “Baha’i organization” itself! What an irony!

    So please do not quote Peter Khan on ANY topic on this site for ANY reason as a kindness to our spirits. The man is the very embodyment of the very things he speaks against about in his pontifications about the changes the Baha’i Faith must make in everybody and everything in the world. In your quote he states that it will take centuries for the apparently poor, poor hapless, corrupted Baha’is to not sit passively before self appointed leaders who explain to them what the words mean, when THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE HIMSELF DOES! He, himslef, is the GREAT ALL HIGHEST EXPLAINER in the BAha’i Faith today! So pleeeaaaassse spare us from his endless, endless, endless words on EVERY TOPIC under the Sun in the known and unknown Universe as he travels the world on everyone’s money.

    But thanks for meaning well. I do appreciate your effort.

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="52773"]Bird wrote:

    “Bloggers:
    Do you think it is possible for anyone of us to effect change in the Bahai community? If so how?”

    Yes, Bird, we can, but it is a slow process, it takes generations; we need patience and fore bearance, but this does not mean that we should stop our efforts. We can planttrees without expecting to taste the fruits ourselves.

    Change is a painfull process; Only love and example can help people change; criticisme, harsh words, and violence entrench people in their routine behaviours. All change is perceived as a cultural shock, it requires the dismanteling of a mental structure and the elaboration of a new one.[/quote]

    Farhan,

    As I said, I am growing fond of you. Your sincerity and ernestness is honest. But as you know from my posts, I disagree with this view point.

    This is the completely counter-productive total disconnect YEAR ZERO MENTALITY that has kept the Baha’i Faith from connecting with the real issues in the world except for during the 1960’s and 1970’s when even the hermeticly sealed passive-aggressive “Baha’i Faith organization” could not escape the vital social activitism in the streets.

    This mentality that the Baha’is are some kind of “Baha’i World Miss Manners” agency responsible for completely changing society and human nature has been and will continue to be completely fatal for the Baha’i Faith.

    The whole mentality of marching everyone into the jungle/concentration camp/gulag of one kind or another to change their thinking has been tried by Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin and many lessor others on various scales. It is, well, oh so 20th Century now in thinking. It has been tried over and over ending in total catastrophe for millions of human beings. It has been done.

    If you want to change the world, GET CONNECTED TO WHAT IS GOING ON.

    The Baha’is don’t need to try to “change” or “transform” anyone. That whole mentality is bunk and has caused the Faith to lose opportunity after opportunity. The whole Ruhi mechanical automaton paint-by-numbers mentality is now the final, dismal, barren and fruitless wretchedness of this hapless micro managed groupthink control freak approach to everything.

    The simple fact is that society worldwide IS changing much, much faster than the Baha’is toward the world brought by Baha’u’llah going through that spiritual portal in the 19th Century. (Yes- I am a Shirley MacLaine Baha’i and proud of it.)

    The VERY LAST people on Earth to implement that sublime spiritual power now is the “Baha’i organization” itself! What an irony!

    So please do not quote Peter Khan on ANY topic on this site for ANY reason as a kindness to our spirits. The man is the very embodyment of the very things he speaks against about in his pontifications about the changes the Baha’i Faith must make in everybody and everything in the world. In your quote he states that it will take centuries for the apparently poor, poor hapless, corrupted Baha’is to not sit passively before self appointed leaders who explain to them what the words mean, when THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE HIMSELF DOES! He, himslef, is the GREAT ALL HIGHEST EXPLAINER in the BAha’i Faith today! So pleeeaaaassse spare us from his endless, endless, endless words on EVERY TOPIC under the Sun in the known and unknown Universe as he travels the world on everyone’s money.

    But thanks for meaning well. I do appreciate your effort.

  • farhan

    Craig,
    “The simple fact is that society worldwide IS changing much, much faster than the Baha’is toward the world brought by Baha’u’llah going through that spiritual portal in the 19th Century.(..)
    The VERY LAST people on Earth to implement that sublime spiritual power now is the “Baha’i organization” itself! What an irony!”

    Craig, We lack data to confirm what you say, but let us admit that the Baha’is were behind others, we must realise that those who _become_ Baha’is, and they are usually more numerous than those born into Baha’i families, become Baha’is because they are attracted by those luminous principles we almost all adhere to on this blog.

    Where differences arise, is in the path we want to follow towards that ideal. and the point brought up by Bird is very valid to me, if we all very badly want peace and unity, which is the path we can take and how can we invite the masses of humanity into joining hands with us?

    When I see the democratic process in the US, between a couloured man and a woman, I am proud to see youthful dreams, in the mids of the Vietnam war, clasping hands and singing with Joan Baez “we shall overcome some day” is coming true.

    I cannot imagine that the message of the Bab and Baha’u’llah and the wide scattering of the seeds by Abdu’l-Baha were not involved in this change.

    But as we stand, with all this love and emotion, the next step is to see how can we give a structure and form to this outburst of love. Here is where Bird’s question comes in: how can we build a new structure that formalises this change? From what I gather, the nexts step is to organise a structure taking roots in the soil of pure hearts, at grass roots. Here is in my view where the institute process comes in.

    Craig wrote:
    ?As I said, I am growing fond of you. Your sincerity and ernestness is honest. But as you know from my posts, I disagree with this view point.?

    Craig the feeling is mutual, and believe it or not, on this blog I have met deep love for God and His creation, a love much deeper than the luke-warm love one sometimes sees exhibited by bigotted self-lovers we all suffer from.

    I had deep feelings of gratitude on the 6th of June, anniversary of the sacrifices of the allies on the beaches Normandy, for the ideas you defend, but I had no internet access on that day;

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Craig,
    “The simple fact is that society worldwide IS changing much, much faster than the Baha’is toward the world brought by Baha’u’llah going through that spiritual portal in the 19th Century.(..)
    The VERY LAST people on Earth to implement that sublime spiritual power now is the “Baha’i organization” itself! What an irony!”

    Craig, We lack data to confirm what you say, but let us admit that the Baha’is were behind others, we must realise that those who _become_ Baha’is, and they are usually more numerous than those born into Baha’i families, become Baha’is because they are attracted by those luminous principles we almost all adhere to on this blog.

    Where differences arise, is in the path we want to follow towards that ideal. and the point brought up by Bird is very valid to me, if we all very badly want peace and unity, which is the path we can take and how can we invite the masses of humanity into joining hands with us?

    When I see the democratic process in the US, between a couloured man and a woman, I am proud to see youthful dreams, in the mids of the Vietnam war, clasping hands and singing with Joan Baez “we shall overcome some day” is coming true.

    I cannot imagine that the message of the Bab and Baha’u’llah and the wide scattering of the seeds by Abdu’l-Baha were not involved in this change.

    But as we stand, with all this love and emotion, the next step is to see how can we give a structure and form to this outburst of love. Here is where Bird’s question comes in: how can we build a new structure that formalises this change? From what I gather, the nexts step is to organise a structure taking roots in the soil of pure hearts, at grass roots. Here is in my view where the institute process comes in.

    Craig wrote:
    ?As I said, I am growing fond of you. Your sincerity and ernestness is honest. But as you know from my posts, I disagree with this view point.?

    Craig the feeling is mutual, and believe it or not, on this blog I have met deep love for God and His creation, a love much deeper than the luke-warm love one sometimes sees exhibited by bigotted self-lovers we all suffer from.

    I had deep feelings of gratitude on the 6th of June, anniversary of the sacrifices of the allies on the beaches Normandy, for the ideas you defend, but I had no internet access on that day;

    warmest

    Farhan

  • DNA

    Grrrrrr!! I resent people speaking of the Supreme a body in that manner. They have their power, authority and infallibility invested in them by Baha’u’llah Himself. An attack on them is an attack on Him.

    Now about the subject of Baha’is. We are people. Just ordinary people with all the faults, weaknesses & shortcomings that come with every imperfect human being. We are no different to anyone on this planet. It’s what we believe in and the Baha’i Teachings that are glorious and exalted.

    I’ve been treated worse by Baha’is than anyone in my entire life! Baha’is get up to the exact same things that every other human being in this planet does. Drinking, gambling, companionate marriage, crime, drugs, violence, divorce and the list goes on and on. There is nothing that great that really sets us apart from the rest of humanity that people are rushing to us to get some of it. Often our character repulses people.

    But to spiritualise humanity the world needs to purify and cleanse itself from corruption. How can it do this when there isn’t an organisation in the entire world free from corruption. Except one.

    I understand people’s skepticism about a body in today’s world being free from error and undefiled. We trusted the Popes what did we get? We trusted Catholic priests what have they been doing secretly to our children? We trusted world leaders and kings and all they brought us were two world wars and the nuclear age. So is it possible to trust again? For some the hurt is just too deep to ever trust again. But it’s our only hope. It’s either that or the destruction of civilisation.

    Humanity’s last throw of the dice is the Universal House of Justice ‘the last refuge for a tottering civilisation ‘. Don’t we trust Baha’u’llah knows what He’s doing? Don’t we trust the assurances of Abdul-Baha? Do you really think that God’s Cause is not in His Hands that God would allow His Faith to be subverted? Look at our history? When has evil triumphed in the end? Never.

    The House of Justice cannot err because it is Divinely guided. Baha’is need to trust in the Word of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha and the Guardian because their opinions do not originate from the same place ours do. Their knowledge derives from an infallible source not human reasoning my friends. Your human reasoning is speculation vs true knowledge. The nature of the decisions of the Universal House of Justice are not on your level of finite knowledge. They are Divinely inspired unlike our weak human rationality. Our opinions, views and ideas all come from human and finite sources not divine. The way some of you speak about the Supreme Body is as if you are higher than or equal to God or simply don’t acknowledge that there is a wonderful God Who created the universe. The House of Justice knows that we are very much worldly so have embarked upon a worldwide spiritualisation course in Ruhi. If it only makes us a bit better people it’s done its job. Humanity rejected Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha and the Guardian so they also reject Ruhi and us Baha’is so what’s new about being rejected by humanity? Was Baha’u’llah any less a Manifestation because the world did not all become Baha’is in His Lifetime? He blamed us for not obeying.

    In our pride and stubbornness and in our refusal to concede that our knowledge is only derived from self while the Supreme Body’s decisions come from Divine inspiration from the Bab and Baha’u’llah we contest and hotly object to anything they do which is not in agreement with our fallible minds.

    I trust them completely because I know exactly where my knowledge comes from and exactly where their inspiration comes from and you all should try and understand that trying to judge the House of Justice is laughable because they are divinely inspired and we are not. There is a knowledge above the powers of reasoning. Its knowledge that is Divinely inspired. Divine knowledge is not equivalent to human reasoning.

    You guys are judging Divine inspiration with human finite reason and logic which you cannot possibly match. You’re making the exact same mistakes the clergy made against all the Prophets. They only saw the human side so crucified Christ and exiled Baha’u’llah. We know better now don’t we? I hope it doesn’t take you all hindsight to see the Divine inspiration coming from the House of Justice. I would hate myself an eternity if I found out I had wilfully rejected a Divine source of inspiration and wish for my non-existence. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t believe people attacking the House of Justice because it may be something you’ll regret an eternity. Believing that human knowledge trumps divine inspiration and opt for it instead does not reflect real intelligence.

    Job knew where the buck stopped and it wasn’t with him. In the end He acknowledged God’s sovereignty and his inability to grasp everything. The House of Justice is not God but God, through His Manifestation has asked us to trust them so if we are honest that we are not divinely guided ourselves then we should trust them.

  • AmadodeDios

    Hi, DNA – You start by growling. I growl, too, but when I am trying to communicate with my dogs, in my capacity as their alpha male…
    If you are angry, some psychologists believe that anger is rooted in fear. If you are willing to believe blindly (ascribing infallibility to a bunch of gentlemen who are obviously fallible) this may also reflect fear.
    Actually, one can wish the 9 guys in Haifa were doing a better job without attacking Baha’u’llah.
    And we all have to come to terms with our fears; perhaps realize that God will, in fact, eventually help things turn out better; and acknowledge that this may not be according to what we think today…
    When you want to growl, breathe deeply!
    Amado
    By the way, I know what “DNA” stands for (the National Dyslexia Association).

  • DNA

    AmadodeDios this is the Day that will not be followed by night. In the past, religious dispensations did not leave written instructions or appoint successors to guide their followers. This is the first time a Prophet of a God has appointed a successor as well as established His Own a Divine Administration, outlined their duties to administer the affairs of the Cause as well as duties to humanity. He has given them authority to adjudicate and guide the Baha’i Community.

    He said this wondrous system has never been witnessed by mankind before. Its a Divine system not a man made one which us why it won’t fail like all our systems now are.

    We should, if we accept Baha’u’llah’s Words as the Word of God, accept what He Has Written because of Who He is. If I believe He is speaking not His Own Words but as God has instructed Him then its belief with knowledge not blind belief.

    Its a Divinely Guided System as Pen of Baha’u’llah described it in The Most Holy Book that separates it from man made systems which have failed mankind. This Divine System will not and cannot fail because it was created by God not man.

  • AmadodeDios

    Thanks for your response. Please excuse me for saying that I might have answered just the same, not so long ago! Shoghi Effendi said that we “deepen” precisely because we understand things better and better!
    Let me try to be clear: it is perfectly possible to accept Baha’u’llah’s Words as God’s guidance without swallowing everything that has come afterwards as un-changeably ideal.
    Of course, you can accept someone else’s understanding blindly (read the Kitab-i-Iqan to see what Baha’u’llah thought about blind acceptance!) but that ultimately requires you to relinquish your individual spiritual obligation to think about what you are doing!
    So you think that Baha’u’llah’s Revelation has new features – I agree.
    And you think we haven’t messed it up or misunderstood or veered, even so slightly, from our course – and I don’t agree!

    And you think the 9 guys in Haifa do everything right, always – and this is obviously not the case…

  • DNA

    Yes you are correct in saying that WE deepen as individuals but to maintain harmony and order within a community you require an administration and laws. Baha’u’llah has given us laws and told us that the authority of the House of Justice carries the same authority as the Most Holy Book. The institution the Universal House of Justice is inspired by both the Bab and Baha’u’llah and freed from errors we have no right to question or go against their decisions. If we can’t accept that we resign as simple as that.

    The Baha’i Faith comes like that we are not forced to be Baha’is if we don’t like that or can’t agree. But we are not Baha’is if we do not accept the covenant and its entirety which includes the infallibility of the House of Justice. If we don’t like it resign.

    I accept it because I agree that an All Knowing God has established it and I trust God. There’s rheems of writings about the infallibility of the House of Justice. I still deepen as a Baha’i and learn more everyday but as an individual. The members of the House of Justice are NOT infallible. They make mistakes and can even be dismissed from the Body for misconduct etc

    Infallible guidance is only promised to the Body as an entirety not the individuals. Its possible that a member of any institution misuse authority and create problems but the House of Justice cannot err as a Body.

    It’s got nothing to do with independent investigation of truth. Or conscience. The difference between you and I is that I can accept there is an All Knowing God Who’s Knowledge is beyond question and you cannot. If you’re looking for Utopia you’re looking in the wrong place. The Baha’i Faith is here to assist us to progress and develop ourselves and a better world not create a perfect world.

    This is the first time in human history a Prophet of God Has documented in writing conferring infallibility on an administrative body. People are wary and don’t trust. That’s understandable after the popes and Mullas and Hitler etc but it’s not happening with the House of Justice as its a promise of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha. That doesn’t mean they won’t make decisions you and others won’t like. You can call God a criminal too if you want but that doesn’t make him one in anyone’s eyes but yours.

    In my eyes I am blest and honoured to be alive to witness such a glorious institution ‘the like of which has never been witnessed’. If you think different then fine go your way and spread your gospel.

    We either trust Baha’u’llah or we don’t. I believe from my investigation He is a mouthpiece of a God and His Words are not like our words but creative. I accept The authority He has invested in the House of Justice