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Old 06-19-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Infallibility, Master and the Guardian

1050. Infallibility of the Guardian is Not for Individual Believers to Limit or to Judge

"Shoghi Effendi was asked several times during his ministry to define the sphere of his operation and his infallibility. The replies he gave and which were written on his behalf are most illuminating. He explains that he is not an infallible authority on subjects such as economics and science, nor does he go into technical matters since his infallibility is confined to 'matters which are related strictly to the Cause'. He further points out that 'he is not, like the Prophet, omniscient at will', that his 'infallibility covers interpretation of the Revealed Word and its application', and that he is also 'infallible in the protection of the Faith'. Furthermore, in one of the letters, the following guideline is set forth:

"'... It is not for individual believers to limit the sphere of the Guardian's authority, or to judge when they have to obey the Guardian and when they are free to reject his judgment. Such an attitude would evidently lead to confusion and to schism. The Guardian being the appointed interpreter of the Teachings, it is his responsibility to state what matters which, affecting the interests of the Faith, demand on the part of the believers, complete and unqualified obedience to his instructions.'"

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to and individual believer, August 22, 1977)

1051. Authoritative Interpretation of the Teachings is the Exclusive Right of the Guardian after 'Abdu'l-Bahá

"It must always be remembered that authoritative interpretation of the Teachings was, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the exclusive right of the Guardian, and fell within the 'sacred and prescribed domain' of the Guardianship, and therefore the Universal House of Justice cannot and will not infringe upon that domain. The exclusive sphere of the Universal House of Justice is to 'pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed'. Apart from this fundamental difference in the functions of the twin pillars of the Order of Bahá'u'lláh, insofar as the other duties of the Head of the Faith are concerned, the Universal House of Justice shares with the Guardian the responsibility for the application of the Revealed Word, the protection of the Faith, as well as the duty 'to insure the continuity of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers, and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its Teachings.' However, the Universal House of Justice is not omniscient; like the Guardian, it wants to be provided with facts when called upon to render a decision, and like him it may well change its decision when new facts emerge."

(Ibid)

1052. The Distinction Between Authoritative Interpretation and Individual Understanding

"A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the 312 teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is stated, 'To deepen in the Cause means to read the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master so thoroughly as to be able to give it to others in its pure form. They, therefore, present it together with all sorts of ideas that are their own. As the Cause is still in its early days we must be most careful lest we fall into this error and injure the Movement we so much adore. There is no limit to the study of the Cause. The more we read the Writings, the more truths we can find in Them, the more we will see that our previous notions were erroneous.' So, although individual insights can be enlightening and helpful, they can also be misleading. The friends must therefore learn to listen to the views of others without being over-awed or allowing their faith to be shaken, and to express their own views without pressing them on their fellow Bahá'ís. "The Cause of God is organic, growing and developing like a living being. Time and again it has faced crisis which have perplexed the believers, but each time the Cause, impelled by the immutable purpose of God, overcame the crisis and went on to greater heights."

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, May 27, 1966)

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 311)
 
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:47 PM   #2
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So to my understanding The Master and the Guardian were infallible as regards interpreting the writings of Baha'u'llah, but not any further,

As to go further amounts to the knowledge only a Manifestation of God has.

But certainly Abdul-Baha showed great insight in world affairs, able to know a person unseen deeds etc, but then Abdul-Baha had achieved such a high spiritual ability the reason he was called the Master and the perfect exemplar.

This is my understanding.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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Bahaullah AbdulBaha Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice are infallible on all matters.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 01:53 PM   #4
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Even Bahaullah changed things like the Obligatory Prayers.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 01:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LogicalReason View Post
Bahaullah AbdulBaha Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice are infallible on all matters.
I do not agree with all your statement here.

And of course Baha'u'llah was infallible, and could change whatever He so desired.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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And as with the nature of the Manifestation of God, this is not something that can be resolved or defined through debate. All personal perspectives on these things are our own, and are acceptable and legitimate.

Even the definition of fallible and infallible are not something that any two of us are likely to agree upon - it is a debate that begins with words and ends with words - no point - and none of us can state that there is an official Baha'i position on this - there isn't one. A comprehensive look at the quotes on this subject (the ones I have seen) all leave some wiggle room.

And that is a good thing.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 02:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kernk View Post
And as with the nature of the Manifestation of God, this is not something that can be resolved or defined through debate. All personal perspectives on these things are our own, and are acceptable and legitimate.

Even the definition of fallible and infallible are not something that any two of us are likely to agree upon - it is a debate that begins with words and ends with words - no point - and none of us can state that there is an official Baha'i position on this - there isn't one. A comprehensive look at the quotes on this subject (the ones I have seen) all leave some wiggle room.

And that is a good thing.
Thank you friend, I agree.

I only posted this thread to make some matters clear, to our viewing public.
And basically because of certain claims re The Master, I considered wrong, I will repeat my personal view that the Master was infallible in all things is not correct. I once had a quote from Abdul-Baha on this theme but cant find it.

I had no intention to get into a debate about the Manifestations.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 02:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
Thank you friend, I agree.

I only posted this thread to make some matters clear, to our viewing public.
And basically because of certain claims re The Master, I considered wrong, I will repeat my personal view that the Master was infallible in all things is not correct. I once had a quote from Abdul-Baha on this theme but cant find it.

I had no intention to get into a debate about the Manifestations.
I appreciate that you started it. It is important to point out that Baha'is have different understandings of things - there isn't a dogma - and that is good.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 04:48 PM   #9
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Infallibility,as is also the case with the Pope, refers to spiritual matters only. Therefore it is on rare and specific occasions that The House will state something infallibly.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 05:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aidan View Post
Infallibility,as is also the case with the Pope, refers to spiritual matters only. Therefore it is on rare and specific occasions that The House will state something infallibly.
IMHO as well.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 06:00 PM   #11
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Everything is spiritual. I don't believe material exists.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 06:09 PM   #12
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Sorry for the confusion. Everything is material, spiritual doesn't exist.
 
Old 06-19-2014, 06:12 PM   #13
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Wait a minute. Now I'm confused.


Oh yeah! Baha has come!
 
Old 06-20-2014, 05:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
... my personal view that the Master was infallible in all things is not correct. I once had a quote from Abdul-Baha on this theme but cant find it..
Perhaps this one?

Quote:
The Guardian was meticulous about the authenticity of historical fact. One of the friends in Yazd wrote to him stating that the account given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in one of His Tablets about events related to the martyrdom of some of the believers in that place was in conflict with known facts about these events. Shoghi Effendi replied saying that the friends should investigate the facts carefully and unhesitatingly register them in their historical records, since 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself had prefaced His recording of the events in His Tablet with a statement that it was based on news received from Yazd.

(Letter from The Universal House of Justice, 1974 Jul 25, re. Infallibility of the Guardian)
 
Old 06-20-2014, 05:47 AM   #15
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Bahaullah didn't know that stuff either. See the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf and Kitabi Iqan where He says He doesn't know who said what (number of companions of Noah I think.). And in the "Wolf" He says "either thou or someone else has said..." He didn't care who said it.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 05:49 AM   #16
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The details of the event were unimportant to AbdulBaha.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen McGlinn View Post
Perhaps this one?
Thank you for your contribution Sen.

Yes there are many things to consider.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:29 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by LogicalReason View Post
Sorry for the confusion. Everything is material, spiritual doesn't exist.
No you appear to enjoy confusion.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:35 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by kernk View Post
I appreciate that you started it. It is important to point out that Baha'is have different understandings of things - there isn't a dogma - and that is good.
Dear friend, then point them out.

I started the thread for discussion, not to show my knowledge, but to learn from others, after all we are all not as knowledgeable as some, we are all at different levels.

I found your statement " it is a debate that begins with words and ends with words" a little dampening to learning. Although you did say concerning debating the infallibility of the Manifestation which this discussion is not about, although some wish to confuse.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:35 AM   #20
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Not at all.

I am in a complete state of certitude.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:41 AM   #21
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If you wish to insult me, please do so directly.
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by LogicalReason View Post
If you wish to insult me, please do so directly.
Dear friend It is not my wish to insult you. Sadly you do it to yourself.
Peace to you
 
Old 06-20-2014, 07:56 AM   #23
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Well thanks for the compliment, dearest friend.

Last edited by LogicalReason; 06-20-2014 at 10:05 AM.
 
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