Bahai Forums

Go Back   Baha'i Forums > Baha'i Forums > Beliefs

Beliefs Unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humankind

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-17-2011, 01:13 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
ConureDelSol's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
From: Richmond, VA
Posts: 17
Liberal/Reformist vs Conservative Baha'i?

Are there variations in the Baha'i faith that tend to be more liberal or conservative? If so, what do they believe differently from the other?

Also, I've read a little about the Universal House of Justice. Is it true that if a Baha'i doesn't believe in their decisions and such that they can become ex-communicated and shunned by the Baha'i community? Is this a necessary tenant of the faith?

Are most Baha'i (in America at least) today considered conservative or liberal/reformist?

Forgive my ignorance as I am still trying to comprehend much of the Baha'i faith. God bless.
 
Join Baha'i Forums


Welcome to Baha'i Forums, an open Baha'i Faith community! We welcome everyone and the community is free to join so register today and become part of the Baha'i Forums family!


Old 08-17-2011, 02:09 PM   #2
chief bottle washer
 
Fadl's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2011
From: "Here am I, Here am I"
Posts: 1,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
Are there variations in the Baha'i faith that tend to be more liberal or conservative? If so, what do they believe differently from the other?

Also, I've read a little about the Universal House of Justice. Is it true that if a Baha'i doesn't believe in their decisions and such that they can become ex-communicated and shunned by the Baha'i community? Is this a necessary tenant of the faith?

Are most Baha'i (in America at least) today considered conservative or liberal/reformist?

Forgive my ignorance as I am still trying to comprehend much of the Baha'i faith. God bless.
Hi, welcome to the forum!

We do not have conservative/ liberal Baha'is, but the Baha'i faith can and does accomodate convservative/liberal individuals as well as individuals from all different spectrum of humanity and human ideas and beliefs, if that makes sense.

If you are speaking of conservative/liberal as in American politics, there may be Baha'is who lean liberal, Baha'is who lean conservative, and Baha'is may vote in elections for the candidates of their choice whether liberal conservative, democrat republican, independent or whatever other candidate they choose, but we do not belong to any politcal parties or participate in partisan politics.

If you are speaking of conservative / liberal in terms of religious practices, there are elements of the faith that are quite liberal, such as our views on the equality of men and women, and the equality of all races, and elements that are quite conservative and traditional such as prayer and fasting, and a revealed religion with a body of scriptures and laws that may not fit in with contemporary societal trends.

As for being excommunicated or shunned, this is possible, but not that common. There is room for individual ideas and beliefs, but we are a religion that follows a succesorship of authority form the revealed word of God, up to (up in sequence, not in rank) the Universal House of Justice. There are severe acts that could result in an individual being expelled, (as is true in any organized faith) but there are also less severe and temporary offenses that could result in an individual losing their administrative rights, such as voting. Expulsions from the faith are not common, and it wouldn't be any easy thing to get expelled, you'd have to really work at it, and there would be many intermediary steps and attempts to come to a different outcome, as this is something nobody likes to happen.

For the ordinary day to day stuff, we are all human and try to walk this path the best we can, and Baha'is are very supportive and forgiving of each other and we try to grow together, as a community and as individuals the best we can!
 
Old 08-17-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
cire perdue's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Louisiana
Posts: 1,758
To the Sun Bird!

The unity of this Faith has to be experienced to be believed. Those with a firm spiritual connection avoid contention and stirring up things by fighting their own individual spiritual battles. One can disagree with things, but as I have done I put them on a back burner and go on with my life, and eventually an answer will come that can surprise the heck out of me.

We do not have theologians much to the chagrin of many who love their own views too much. There are those who are impatient with their own agendas who cannot give up their own ideas and go by the wayside. One can become very upset that all the Writings have not been translated and may not be in a very great while. If one believes Baha'u'llah is the Promised One of All the Ages then one accepts much on faith. I can remember fearing new publications, afraid there would be something that would be unacceptable to me. Since 1973 that has not happened. The more I find out, the more confirmation I find.

There may not be answers for all who argue, but with those too concerned with the argument I find they don't really want answers, they are waiting to refute anything one says. In the years to come the life of Baha'is is going to be in great contrast to the world around them. We will be calm and happy and at peace with ourselves. Merci, CP
 
Old 08-17-2011, 05:47 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
arthra's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2006
From: California
Posts: 4,289
ConureDelSol wrote:

Are there variations in the Baha'i faith that tend to be more liberal or conservative? If so, what do they believe differently from the other?

My reply:

Unity is the hallmark of being a Baha'i..so unlike other religions the stress is on unity rather than sectarianism.

Conure:

Also, I've read a little about the Universal House of Justice. Is it true that if a Baha'i doesn't believe in their decisions and such that they can become ex-communicated and shunned by the Baha'i community? Is this a necessary tenant of the faith?

My reply:

The House of Justice deals with issues that are not directly mentioned in the Writings or where questions come up about implementing various principles.. The House itself is elected among representatives of all the National Spiritual Assemblies around the world so it is the focal point of our unity. Those who arrogate authority to themselves and seek to divide the friends could be considered breaking the Covenant by the House but very few have been designated as such.

Loss of "administrative rights" mentioned above is not excommunication but has more to do with situations where a Baha'i may be breaking a Baha'i law and usually there are ways to restore these rights so it is a temporary situation.

Conure:

Are most Baha'i (in America at least) today considered conservative or liberal/reformist?

My reply:

I think people who are unfamiliar with the Baha'i Faith see what they think are liberal, conservative aspects in it...but the Baha'is themselves are not polarized as in other groups between conservative or liberal.

Conure:

Forgive my ignorance as I am still trying to comprehend much of the Baha'i faith. God bless.

My reply:

And may God bless you as well! and thanks for posting..

Last edited by arthra; 08-17-2011 at 05:53 PM.
 
Old 08-18-2011, 01:39 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
ConureDelSol's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
From: Richmond, VA
Posts: 17
Huh, did the site get attacked? Weird.

To all of you (aside from spammers), you have no idea how refreshing and excited that makes me that this faith is so united! With all the conflicting values and beliefs I see in Christianity and Islam alone, I actually find myself getting anxious over the divisions and wars that are caused as a result.

Like, really, you all have made my day! If and when I am ready to declare my belief in Baha'u'llah and join the Baha'i faith, this alone will remove what (to me at least) is a tremendous burden.

Also, please correct me if I am wrong, I just want to confirm what my basic understanding is about what the UHJ is and does:

So basically, is the UHJ a way for the Baha'i faith to grow and adjust to changing times and continue to learn from scriptures we already have? Are they more like the ones who tell Baha'is what is right in modern times? Or are they more like interpreters? Or a little of both?
 
Old 08-18-2011, 02:10 PM   #6
chief bottle washer
 
Fadl's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2011
From: "Here am I, Here am I"
Posts: 1,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
Huh, did the site get attacked? Weird.

To all of you (aside from spammers), you have no idea how refreshing and excited that makes me that this faith is so united! With all the conflicting values and beliefs I see in Christianity and Islam alone, I actually find myself getting anxious over the divisions and wars that are caused as a result.

Like, really, you all have made my day! If and when I am ready to declare my belief in Baha'u'llah and join the Baha'i faith, this alone will remove what (to me at least) is a tremendous burden.

Also, please correct me if I am wrong, I just want to confirm what my basic understanding is about what the UHJ is and does:

So basically, is the UHJ a way for the Baha'i faith to grow and adjust to changing times and continue to learn from scriptures we already have? Are they more like the ones who tell Baha'is what is right in modern times? Or are they more like interpreters? Or a little of both?
The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing body of the faith, and the highest authority we have, other than the revelation of God itself.

The House is elected by delegates appointed by every National Assembly in the world, and they manage all the affairs of the faith, and legislate on matters not expressly revealed in the text.

That's it in a nutshell, but they are really an incredible and spiritually guided institution, and one of the many gifts of Baha'u'llah that we have to be thankful for.
 
Old 08-19-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
arthra's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2006
From: California
Posts: 4,289
Thanks Conure for your kind words...

You asked:

So basically, is the UHJ a way for the Baha'i faith to grow and adjust to changing times and continue to learn from scriptures we already have? Are they more like the ones who tell Baha'is what is right in modern times? Or are they more like interpreters? Or a little of both?

Personally I prefer to use the name "House of Justice" or the full name rather than the "UHJ" initials.

But anyway to me the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice is a good summary of what it is:

The provenance, the authority, the duties, the sphere of action of the Universal House of Justice all derive from the revealed Word of Bahá'u'lláh which, together with the interpretations and expositions of the Centre of the Covenant and the Guardian of the Cause - who, after `Abdu'l-Bahá, is the sole authority in the interpretation of Bahá'í Scripture - constitute the binding terms of reference of the Universal House of Justice and are its bedrock foundation. The authority of these Texts is absolute and immutable until such time as Almighty God shall reveal His new Manifestation to Whom will belong all authority and power.


There being no successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, the Universal House of Justice is the Head of the Faith and its supreme institution, to which all must turn, and in it rests the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the unity and progress of the Cause of God.

Further, there devolve upon it duties of directing and coordinating the work of the Hands of the Cause, of ensuring the continuing discharge of the functions of protection and propagation vested in the institution, and of providing for the receipt and disbursement of the Huququ'llah.

Source:

Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

Last edited by arthra; 08-19-2011 at 04:26 PM.
 
Reply

  Baha'i Forums > Baha'i Forums > Beliefs

Tags
bahai, conservative, liberal or reformist, reformist, uhj

Thread Tools
Display Modes



Facebook @bahaiforums RSS


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 Bahai Forums. All rights reserved.