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Old 09-04-2011, 01:47 AM   #1
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2011
From: The Netherlands
Posts: 7
the ungodly

This is of great concern to me. I struggle with parts of Baha'i scripture about shunning the 'ungodly'.

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.

56. O MY SON!
The company of the ungodly increaseth sorrow, whilst fellowship with the righteous cleanseth the rust from off the heart. He that seeketh to commune with God, let him betake himself to the companionship of His loved ones; and he that desireth to hearken unto the word of God, let him give ear to the words of His chosen ones.

Beware! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire.

Wouldst thou seek the grace of the Holy Spirit, enter into fellowship with the righteous, for he hath drunk the cup of eternal life at the hands of the immortal Cup-bearer and even as the true morn doth quicken and illumine the hearts of the dead.
(Hidden Words)

1. In the passage "eschew all fellowship with the ungodly", Bahá'u'lláh means that we should shun the company of those who disbelieve in God and are wayward. The word "ungodly" is a reference to such perverse people. The words "Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies and a river of life eternal to My loved ones" should not be taken in their literal sense. Bahá'u'lláh's advice is that again we should flee from the enemies of God, and instead seek the fellowship of His lovers.
(Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 200)

Some toughts:

- My dad seems to be not too sure of the existence of some sort of higher power. It seems that if I want to follow this scripture I will have to start shunning him, but it strikes me as unjust to shun the man who has sacrificed himself to the extreme to take good care of me.

- It seems to me it is impossible to take part in today's society without meeting people who do not believe in God. At work, for example, chances are high we have to cooperate with people who do not. Do these texts imply we should look for a workplace where all believe in God? And what about our doctor, for example? Ask him/her if (s)he believes in God, and if the answer is no, look for one who does?

- Who are the 'wayward'? Everyone who sins?

What are your toughts on it?
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
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arthra's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2006
From: California
Posts: 4,303
Hi Pancake!

You may be interpreting "ungodly" too literally...Give your Dad a little slack and relax..

He's probably been through more in life than you know..

I don't of course really know your Dad but I'm guessing one reason he doesn't accept some of the popular conceptions of God is that they are obviously misconstrued conceptions and the result of vain imaginations and idle fancies that Baha'u'llah warns us about!

Why not share some of these verses with your Dad and see what he thinks..Have a good discussion with him. You won't regret it I'm sure!

To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress. Far be it from His glory that human tongue should adequately recount His praise, or that human heart comprehend His fathomless mystery. He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men. "No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision; He is the Subtile, the All-Perceiving."...

~ Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 46

"The birds of men's hearts, however high they soar, can never hope to attain the heights of His unknowable Essence."

~ Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 193
Old 09-04-2011, 07:33 AM   #3
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2011
From: The Netherlands
Posts: 7
If I am interpreting 'ungodly' too literally, how then should I interpret it?
Old 09-04-2011, 09:57 PM   #4
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arthra's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2006
From: California
Posts: 4,303
My recommendation is that you have a good talk with your Dad.. being put off by formal religion does not mean he is "godless"!
Old 09-05-2011, 12:37 AM   #5
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Rani's Avatar
Joined: May 2011
From: Australia
Posts: 507
Dear Pancake,

I also have struggled with this term and the first Hidden Word you cited.
The passage you quoted from Shoghi Effendo describes the ungodly as 'those who disbelieve in God and are wayward.' Note that he uses a two-pronged approach here: disbelieves in God and are wayward. Therefore not believing in God is not deemed reason on its own, or reason enough, to think of someone in such a light.

A dictionary search of the term 'wayward' came up with this:

(a.) Taking one's own way; disobedient; froward; perverse; willful.

When I think of the term 'wayward', it might mean off-course or immoral too perhaps.
I don't think 'wayward' means imperfect!, as, baha'is and people of other faiths, and many without a formal faith strive to be good people.

For me to think of someone as wayward, they would need to be engaged in some pretty extreme behaviour and have no remorse about it. I think there's quite possibly many shades of grey.

If someone is engaged in something that is quite abhorrent to us, they often will not feel much in common with us either. Like if they are spending a lot of their time looking at porn, how much in common will we have with them? Or if they are habitual liars as another example.

Although I don't know your Dad, I feel certain that just because he does not necessarily believe in God, does not make him ungodly. You say he has sacrificed himself for you greatly, so this surely shows he is a man of love.

I don't think we're meant to shun anyone (except that we don't hang out with covenant-breakers). We should be kind and loving to all people.
Perhaps another keyword here is 'fellowship'. I asked a catholic friend yrs back about this verse, and he said that he believes we should love all people, but that fellowship is having very close companionship. So for example, we probably won't spend a lot of time with those who are going out on the town drinking a lot and such. They might be nice people and we are friendly with them, but their lifestyle is very different.

We also need to be wise and to protect ourselves from those who may be harmful to us.
But my hunch is certainly that your Father does not fall into this category. Give him all of your love!

I think depending on God, and reading the prayers of both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha will help us.
This is a nice prayer:
O MY LORD, my Beloved, my Desire! Befriend me in my loneliness and accompany me in my exile. Remove my sorrow. Cause me to be devoted to Thy beauty. Withdraw me from all else save Thee. Attract me through Thy fragrances of holiness. Cause me to be associated in Thy Kingdom with those who are severed from all else save Thee, who long to serve Thy sacred threshold and who stand to work in Thy Cause. Enable me to be one of Thy maidservants who have attained to Thy good pleasure. Verily, Thou art the Gracious, the Generous.

(Compilations, Handmaidens of God - Baha'i Prayers for Women)

Last edited by Rani; 09-05-2011 at 12:42 AM.
Old 09-05-2011, 01:00 AM   #6
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Joined: Dec 2010
From: Australia
Posts: 2,056
Thankyou I found the above post very helpful...
Old 09-05-2011, 07:50 AM   #7
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Canada
Posts: 1,297
The Persian word which is translated as "ungodly" in some of the Hidden Words above, is "Ashraar" which literally means those who do harmful things to others and society intentionally. This does not necessarily mean those who don't believe in God, but those whose actions are harmful, which are basically the opposite of God's holy names and virtues (ungodly).

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