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Old 03-28-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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The Anti-Religion Movement

The anti-religion, and especially the anti-Islam movement, is gathering momentum. Personally, I know enough about Islam to praise it when talking to Muslims and to discuss some key topics. But I'm definitely not knowledgeable enough to defend it in front of its enemies.

Of late, I've experienced an increased number of social events where these issues have been discussed and the antireligious sentiments have been expressed and agreed upon. I really don't wish to turn a family gathering or a meeting with friends into a polemic and heated discussion about religion. At the same time, however, I feel very uncomfortable about just being diplomatic, trying to choose another topic, while I just calmly maintain basic positions like the Muslim God being the same as the Christian.

I'm not looking for arguments here, to be used the next time. I'm rather thinking about something else. I think we Bahá'ís should apply the principle of unity in this context – unity among ourselves and unity with other Faiths. I believe that as a community we shouldn’t just be passive in front of such a general attack against religion. I think that we should act.

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Old 03-28-2016, 03:26 PM   #2
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I agree 100%! I have been studying Islam for the last year as part of understanding my own Faith. This has led me to many antitheist articles as well as pro-Islamic sites.

I really recommend reading Islam and the Future of Tolerance. It is a short read but is full of useful terms for discussing Islam in today's world. One of the authors was the most famous critic of Islam before he cowrote it, but the experience of collaborating with a knowledgeable reformist Muslim author changed his attitude (though not his beliefs) toward Islam and how it should be addressed in the public discourse.

I also recommend reading content by Quilliam.
 
Old 03-28-2016, 03:27 PM   #3
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The introduction to the Haleem translation of the Qur'an has some great defenses against common criticisms of Islam.
 
Old 03-28-2016, 04:05 PM   #4
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Oh yes, one could do that. But as I said, I'm really not looking for arguments in favour of Islam to be used in closed circles. What worries me a lot more is the general tendency of intolerance against religion, of building up a morality entirely based on the material side of things. I trongy feel a need for us Bahá'ís to act as a collective. I don't feel that this is an individual enterprise.

At the same time, it is easy to see the reasons behind these sentiments. As late as today, I walked with a friend in the centre of Stockholm. In one of the central squares, a black man had put his prayer rug on the ground and was doing his Salaat. My friend wanted to kick his behind. And, honestly, I could see the reason. Things are changing so rapidly - women all over the city wearing niqab, in the suburbs you often see entirely veiled women. People feel that they are taking over, which in fact is the case in certain areas.

But the counter reaction often is to turn against Islam and religion as a whole. As a Bahá'í, it is absolutely impossible to agree then. I try not to be polemic, but feel obliged not in any way to agree. This is not an individual matter. It is a matter for the whole of the community, to say the least.

And personally, I feel immensely saddened, because I see the repercussions. Once people openly turn against religion as such, it looks as if they change very rapidly. They kind of lose interest in intangible values and turn to material values. Communication becomes very boring.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 03-28-2016 at 04:38 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2016, 06:30 PM   #5
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Or to make the question more straightforward: should we join hands and stand up openly for God, or should we just go on, trying to fend this off on an individual level? The floor is open.
 
Old 03-28-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Brother,

It is a complicated issue and complicated times we live in but I happen to believe that one of the best defenses of islam is to not defend Islam. Islam is going through a process now, and I am hopeful and optimistic that it will come out of this process renewed. It will not long survive in its current manifestation and that is a good thing. In the end, it is my prayer that Islam will start to be more like islam, and islam is not in need of defense and the point will become moot. At least that is my prayer that it will.

Cheers

Last edited by Fadl; 03-28-2016 at 06:54 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2016, 06:51 PM   #7
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Brother,

It is a complicated issue and complicated times we live in but I happen to believe that one of the best defenses of islam is to not defend Islam. Islam is going through a process now, and I am hopeful and optimistic that it will come out of this process renewed. It will not long survive in its current manifestation and that is a good thing. In the end, it is my prayer that Islam will start to be more like islam, and islam not in need of defense and the point will become moot. At least that is my prayer that it will.

Cheers
Oh, but I'm not only talking about defending Islam. I also think of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism. We are all under attack, and so is God. I'm beginning to wonder if this is not the bottom line, where we should do something.

gnat
 
Old 03-28-2016, 06:57 PM   #8
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Oh, but I'm not only talking about defending Islam. I also think of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism. We are all under attack, and so is God. I'm beginning to wonder if this is not the bottom line, where we should do something.

gnat
I see your point. But I think God is safe and in no need of defense from his feeble creatures, and in fact, it is more than likely that the reverse situation is true.

Cheers
 
Old 03-28-2016, 07:05 PM   #9
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I see your point. But I think God is safe and in no need of defense from his feeble creatures, and in fact, it is more than likely that the reverse situation is true.

Cheers
Oh, that is still not what I'm thinking of. Indeed, God doesn't need us to defend Him. Indeed. In such case, He might not even need us to teach His Faith? I don't quite understand your logic. To me, this is a kind of teaching opportunity, but really something more demanding than individual teaching.

gnat
 
Old 03-28-2016, 11:26 PM   #10
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The anti-religion, and especially the anti-Islam movement, is gathering momentum. Personally, I know enough about Islam to praise it when talking to Muslims and to discuss some key topics. But I'm definitely not knowledgeable enough to defend it in front of its enemies.

Of late, I've experienced an increased number of social events where these issues have been discussed and the antireligious sentiments have been expressed and agreed upon. I really don't wish to turn a family gathering or a meeting with friends into a polemic and heated discussion about religion. At the same time, however, I feel very uncomfortable about just being diplomatic, trying to choose another topic, while I just calmly maintain basic positions like the Muslim God being the same as the Christian.

I'm not looking for arguments here, to be used the next time. I'm rather thinking about something else. I think we Bahá'ís should apply the principle of unity in this context – unity among ourselves and unity with other Faiths. I believe that as a community we shouldn’t just be passive in front of such a general attack against religion. I think that we should act.

Best

from

gnat
Much Like Backbiting discussions, got to move them away from the subject matter or bring in the goodness of the subject

Unity is the way to move that type of Topic, demonstrate how the world needs Unity in all we say and all we think. Amazing how Unity then becomes the Focus of the discussion

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-29-2016, 07:26 AM   #11
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I try to elevate the conversation by teaching the people I engage with. I don't tell them what to believe, but I correct their false assumptions with facts. I defend Islam not by rationalizing it, but by differentiating between different sects and ideologies within it. I defend the Qur'an not by saying it is of God, but by referring to various translations I know that disagree with a claimed meaning. I try to remind people how complex the world is, how it is not black and white, so that the lost can realize they are lost. And hopefully, they will eventually begin to seek on their own.
 
Old 03-29-2016, 08:35 AM   #12
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If you gave people a fruit tree with a fruit that would cure cancer, some schmuck would chop it down and make spears out of it and there'd be a blood rending melee over the products.

I understand the anti-religion movement. I really do. It's easy to just give up on the spiritual ideal and say "This is it, this is all there is" and try to work hard and build a better world from a humanist standpoint.

But humans, being what they are, make a pretty dismal foundation to build anything on. I mean, I know as members of the Baha'i faith, our teachings point us to try to love humanity. I get that. I kind of loathe people in general, though, it's a personal fault.

but as far as the anti-religious, if they build a better world after all, would it be really so bad? So much of the teachings seem to point to results/actions rather than beliefs.

Belief can be an excuse not to think, throwing one's burden upon someone else to interpret your beliefs and then tell you who to hate, who to attack, and when to not follow your own divinely given intellect. I don't really care what anyone believes in anymore, just would like to see a better world getting underway.
 
Old 03-29-2016, 12:28 PM   #13
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If you gave people a fruit tree with a fruit that would cure cancer, some schmuck would chop it down and make spears out of it and there'd be a blood rending melee over the products.

I understand the anti-religion movement. I really do. It's easy to just give up on the spiritual ideal and say "This is it, this is all there is" and try to work hard and build a better world from a humanist standpoint.

But humans, being what they are, make a pretty dismal foundation to build anything on. I mean, I know as members of the Baha'i faith, our teachings point us to try to love humanity. I get that. I kind of loathe people in general, though, it's a personal fault.

but as far as the anti-religious, if they build a better world after all, would it be really so bad? So much of the teachings seem to point to results/actions rather than beliefs.

Belief can be an excuse not to think, throwing one's burden upon someone else to interpret your beliefs and then tell you who to hate, who to attack, and when to not follow your own divinely given intellect. I don't really care what anyone believes in anymore, just would like to see a better world getting underway.
That is why this is a Faith of Deeds and not Words

Look at me Follow Me be as I am - Abdul'Baha

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 03-29-2016, 05:32 PM   #14
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Oh, that is still not what I'm thinking of. Indeed, God doesn't need us to defend Him. Indeed. In such case, He might not even need us to teach His Faith? I don't quite understand your logic. To me, this is a kind of teaching opportunity, but really something more demanding than individual teaching.

gnat
Yes, I would even suggest that God does not need us to teach his faith. In fact, according to the Qur'an, God would have made us all one faith were it his will.

I guess what I am hinting at is that a more nuanced approach is probably better then joining sides in the fight.
 
Old 03-29-2016, 06:38 PM   #15
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Yes, I would even suggest that God does not need us to teach his faith. In fact, according to the Qur'an, God would have made us all one faith were it his will.

I guess what I am hinting at is that a more nuanced approach is probably better then joining sides in the fight.
Well, that would be very very close to denying one's faith. The anti-religious want nothing more, nothing less than total capitulation. I've already turned down one job offer because it was hinted that I should stop engaging in those religious activities.

gnat
 
Old 03-29-2016, 07:08 PM   #16
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Well, that would be very very close to denying one's faith. The anti-religious want nothing more, nothing less than total capitulation. I've already turned down one job offer because it was hinted that I should stop engaging in those religious activities.

gnat
Perhaps that depends on one's faith. For me, the nuanced middle feels more faith affirming than denying.
 
Old 03-29-2016, 07:41 PM   #17
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Well, that would be very very close to denying one's faith. The anti-religious want nothing more, nothing less than total capitulation. I've already turned down one job offer because it was hinted that I should stop engaging in those religious activities.

gnat
That's the way gnat, Leave them to themselves

or.... take them on to see if it was a bluff, teach them the Faith and all is good.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-30-2016, 03:03 AM   #18
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So, to cut a long story short: it seems like the general opinion here is that this anti-religious wave that is gaining strength is a phenomenon that each Bahá'í should handle on an individual basis, whereas there is no reason to face it collectively, as a community.

gnat
 
Old 03-30-2016, 03:37 AM   #19
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So, to cut a long story short: it seems like the general opinion here is that this anti-religious wave that is gaining strength is a phenomenon that each Bahá'í should handle on an individual basis, whereas there is no reason to face it collectively, as a community.

gnat
Gnat there is study Material on this - Called Crisis and Victory, have you read it? Link follows if you have not.

Crisis and Victory

It has to be individual in some cases, Groups, Local and most likely National in some case.

Do we not tackle it now as Baha'is and with the Rhui Process? By inviting more into the process we are tackling the issue are we not? That is on a global scale as well.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-30-2016, 04:03 AM   #20
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Yes indeed, if we talk about the Ruhi process, but absolutely not, if we talk about the Ruhi material as it is now.

But you're absolutey right in one sense: it is probably so that the Ruhi approach is the antidote to be applied. And that is a very good anwere to my question. Thus, we do not need to think out new activities to counter this tendency in society. The institute process and the Ruhi programme already exist. It reamins for us to develop them.

Thanks a lot for your reply. It was very helpful. I'm really concerned about this, and I'm not satisfied with just dealing with these matters on an individual level. And now I know what I could say as an individual in such discussions: "If you are really interested in understanding these things better, and don't just wish to propagate a ready-made viewpoint, I have an offer: join me in a study group". Or something like that. :-) Interesting, because then it's not just me. I also lean on the community.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 03-30-2016 at 04:21 AM.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 06:46 AM   #21
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well my experience is rather limited, what are some examples of Baha'is doing things as a community? (apart from study circles and feasts) Especially in the broader sense. I know there are five year plans, etc, but apart from sounding in an interesting way like some sort of relic of cominterm planning, I dont know much about that stuff.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 10:29 AM   #22
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Yes indeed, if we talk about the Ruhi process, but absolutely not, if we talk about the Ruhi material as it is now.

But you're absolutey right in one sense: it is probably so that the Ruhi approach is the antidote to be applied. And that is a very good anwere to my question. Thus, we do not need to think out new activities to counter this tendency in society. The institute process and the Ruhi programme already exist. It reamins for us to develop them.

Thanks a lot for your reply. It was very helpful. I'm really concerned about this, and I'm not satisfied with just dealing with these matters on an individual level. And now I know what I could say as an individual in such discussions: "If you are really interested in understanding these things better, and don't just wish to propagate a ready-made viewpoint, I have an offer: join me in a study group". Or something like that. :-) Interesting, because then it's not just me. I also lean on the community.

gnat
Gnat - In the Solomon Islands there is a need for Maybe a course about the Laws the Faith. I have found there is not a lot of Immersion in the Ocean of Baha'u'llahs Word as the book resource and literacy levels are not here. So yes the resource needs to be expanded.

I guess the problem is the Baha'i world did not embrace the Rhui as it should have, I know I did not anyway, if we had the process could have been much advanced.

In reality I think the world reflects the slowness of is embracing the significance of this Revelation and the ultimate healing powers it has.

How many cities contain lots of Baha'is and not far out of them in smaller towns and villages where the reception would be greater, there are little or no Baha'is. Honiara is like this, Australia is like this......We are still not grasping what needs to be done in this Faith. Disperse from the cities to the fertile country and teach, teach like never before. The process is Rhui, it is the consolidation aid in my opinion.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 03-30-2016 at 10:33 AM.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 10:37 AM   #23
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Gnat - In the Solomon Islands there is a need for Maybe a course about the Laws the Faith. I have found there is not a lot of Immersion in the Ocean of Baha'u'llahs Word as the book resource and literacy levels are not here. So yes the resource needs to be expanded.

I guess the problem is the Baha'i world did not embrace the Rhui as it should have, I know I did not anyway, if we had the process could have been much advanced.

In reality I think the world reflects the slowness of is embracing the significance of this Revelation and the ultimate healing powers it has.

How many cities contain lots of Baha'is and not far out of them in smaller towns and villages where the reception would be greater, there are little or no Baha'is. Honiara is like this, Australia is like this......We are still not grasping what needs to be done in this Faith. Disperse from the cities to the fertile country and teach, teach like never before. The process is Rhui, it is the consolidation aid in my opinion.

Regards Tony
Indeed. I think the Ruhi process is the main thing. And then the needs are entirely different, depending on the country and the target group. So, we should be ready to consider new books and media for different audiences. I'm very grateful for your comment, because it made me see how the individual level can be connected to the community level.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 03-30-2016 at 10:40 AM.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 10:50 AM   #24
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Indeed. I think the Ruhi process is the main thing. And then the needs are entirely different, depending on the country and the target group. So, we should be ready to consider new books and media for different audiences. I'm very grateful for your comment, because it made me see how the individual level can be connected to the community level.

gnat
Gnat, yes the material could be better if it was designed for each area it was being implemented.

Where are the Resources to do this?

Oh so much to do What a bounty of a message, how much of self can we all muster to give?

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-30-2016, 01:49 PM   #25
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Initially I was reluctant to undertake Ruhi. I didn't think it would meet my needs our suit my style of learning and it seemed a little simplistic. I have since grown to love it, presently on book six and growing with each book , each chapter in fact.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 01:52 PM   #26
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Initially I was reluctant to undertake Ruhi. I didn't think it would meet my needs our suit my style of learning and it seemed a little simplistic. I have since grown to love it, presently on book six and growing with each book , each chapter in fact.
Yes it is amazing how much we relearn each time we study a book. Book 6 was a great book, I also like the Covernant series book 8

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-30-2016, 02:41 PM   #27
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why does Baha'i = Ruhi?
 
Old 03-30-2016, 03:44 PM   #28
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why does Baha'i = Ruhi?
It does not, it is a tool that was much needed.

There was too much teaching and no systematic Consolidation. Many of the parts of the world suffered because of this in 70's, 80's and 90's, many Souls found the cause and never visited again and thus moved away from the Faith again. Lots of Travel teaching but no program of follow up. Rhui worked in a place, tried elsewhere worked and it has been implemented as a tool for this Deepening and consolidation.

The more input it gets the better it will become. A system for consolidation is needed.

How far Rhui will go into the future only time will tell. It may be different parts of the world adopt different tactics, but where are the people to consider this?

I think it is important it is monitored. I see people using the whole series for teaching and to me a lot of the material is not applicable as it is aimed at deepening people that have accepted Baha'u'llah and not to those searching

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-30-2016, 04:02 PM   #29
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I see people using the whole series for teaching and to me a lot of the material is not applicable as it is aimed at deepening people that have accepted Baha'u'llah and not to those searching

Regards Tony
And once again I completely agree. I don't believe in a focus on proselytizing. I believe in teaching as a means to spread the treasures hidden in the Faith: to share them in a systematic fashion. As a by-product, of course, there wil be new members. But the main thing is to find a way to give people exactly as much as they are ready for and do with it as they may see fit. The present Ruhi series of books already from Vol. 2 onward presupposes that the paticipants have accepted the Faith. We'd need Vols 1-10 intended for people who'd like to know more about the Faith and its implications for the world and our world views, without necessarily embracing it. Now there are even priests of other denominations who are really interested. A month ago, I met a priest at a Bahá'í meeting, who said "I might even be one of you! That's the spirit!

What a worthy cause to spend one's life on! Then, I'd like to see a Swedish Temple being built, but that's another story. Totally unworthy of course, as I am, but someone must do these things. I'm one of those, you know - life gives me terrible blows, but I'm beyond caring: "Another personal disaster - great, let's carry on!"

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 03-30-2016 at 04:06 PM.
 
Old 03-30-2016, 04:11 PM   #30
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And once again I completely agree. I don't believe in a focus on proselytizing. I believe in teaching as a means to spread the treasures hidden in the Faith: to share them in a systematic fashion. As a by-product, of course, there wil be new members. But the main thing is to find a way to give people exactly as much as they are ready for and do with it as they may see fit. The present Ruhi series of books already from Vol. 2 onward presupposes that the paticipants have accepted the Faith. We'd need Vols 1-10 intended for people who'd like to know more about the Faith and its implications for the world and our world views, without necessarily embracing it. Now there are even priests of other denominations who are really interested. A month ago, I met a priest at a Bahá'í meeting, who said "I might even be one of you! That's the spirit!

What a worthy cause to spend one's life on! Then, I'd like to see a Swedish Temple being built, but that's another story. Totally unworthy of course, as I am, but someone must do these things. I'm one of those, you know - life gives me terrible blows, but I'm beyond caring: "Another personal disaster - great, let's carry on!"

gnat
The spirit is there and we have to find ways of tapping into it. Yes an introductory series would be great.

Start with the basics of Love and Do unto others in all scriptures working u through ever more complex Truths to maybe Prophecy? What you find is everyone likes to talk about different aspects.

By the way God Loves you, keep those disasters rolling in...... (Yet to find that balance myself )

P/S Would love help build a temple anytime soon as well! At least we get to say prayers where they will be...is that not a Foundation stone? I will be far from this Temple site for some time now :-(

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 03-30-2016 at 04:14 PM.
 
Old 03-31-2016, 02:28 PM   #31
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I think anyone coming from a "people of the book" background have a wonderful platform to begin working and praying the Ruhi course. For me , it's a wonderful act of worship and praise of God as well as teaching the Faith
 
Old 03-31-2016, 05:30 PM   #32
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I think anyone coming from a "people of the book" background have a wonderful platform to begin working and praying the Ruhi course. For me , it's a wonderful act of worship and praise of God as well as teaching the Faith
Exactly. We are getting somewhere in this discussion. Hope that I'll have the opportunity to do this as well.


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