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Old 10-10-2017, 03:10 PM   #1
djg
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How to eschew fellowship courteously

We are to eschew fellowship with the ungodly.

Suppose there is a person who spent the first part of his life devoid of the Revelation of God. He has accumulated a number of ungodly friends. Then he receives the Word of God and becomes illumined. He is then faced with the task of eschewing the fellowship of his former friends -- while simultaneously demonstrating "the utmost of courtesy," as we are enjoined to do at all times.

Perhaps someone can offer some ideas on how this might be accomplished.
 
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:53 PM   #2
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I think just spending more and more time and having fellowship with those who actively want to live out the godly virtues will naturally create a healthier balance, as it naturally leaves you with less time to spend with the former friends. Maybe sometimes it may come to ending it abruptly, but of course we are always there for them, never turning our backs on them, just not having that intimate 'fellowship' where we take on their values and habits in life. It's something I'm still learning to do myself.

Last edited by divan9; 10-10-2017 at 07:56 PM.
 
Old 10-11-2017, 12:39 AM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
We are to eschew fellowship with the ungodly.

Suppose there is a person who spent the first part of his life devoid of the Revelation of God. He has accumulated a number of ungodly friends. Then he receives the Word of God and becomes illumined. He is then faced with the task of eschewing the fellowship of his former friends -- while simultaneously demonstrating "the utmost of courtesy," as we are enjoined to do at all times.

Perhaps someone can offer some ideas on how this might be accomplished.
We have to look closely at this passage as in its fuller context I think this passage is referring to Covenant Breaking.

Regards Tony
 
Old 10-11-2017, 01:37 AM   #4
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I don't think that this passage means to avoid fellowship with Atheists and Humanists. 'Abdu'l-Bahá says in Some Answered Questions that there are people trying their best to live a good life and that this effort is admirable although they "live in ignorance of God". Only those who show satanic tendencies, negative character traits and a desire to harm themselves or others are truly "ungodly". So you can have strong connections and shared values with Atheists and Humanists. Even the House of Justice says that for common effort religion is unimportant as long as the goals are the same - e.g. emancipation of women, universal education, environment protection or safeguarding Human Rights.
 
Old 10-11-2017, 01:36 PM   #5
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Well, it's not so hard. Whenever you get an offer to go for a beer, you just reply: "Sorry, I'm planning to spend an evening reading holy books and prayers."

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 10-11-2017 at 07:03 PM.
 
Old 10-25-2017, 08:06 PM   #6
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If one has received new found faith in GOD then it will be the focus of all their intimate conversation between friends. Those who's inclination is of a more negative persuasion will naturally make themselves thin. Either that; or hopefully they will be perceptive or receptive to some of your words; bringing them back to mind later perhaps, by the will of GOD.
Also; ones characteristics and interests being changed will also either deflect or draw people regardless of past standing or friendship.

Don't worry about it. Be patient and humble.

peace
 
Old 10-28-2017, 10:31 PM   #7
djg
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Thanks to all for the thoughts and perspective.
 
Old 11-07-2017, 12:12 AM   #8
djg
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In my continued thoughts on the subject, I came upon the pages on the Bahai9 compendium which provide a number of selections from various Baha'i writings. These selections shed further light on the topic. URLs to the relevant pages are provided below for anyone wishing to pursue a deeper understanding of the topic than what has been covered so far:

https://bahai9.com/wiki/Eschewment_o...p_with_ungodly
https://bahai9.com/wiki/Ungodly

Especially relevant seem these two quotations:

"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 neighbour, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly."

(Bahá'u'lláh, Summons of the Lord of Hosts, Súriy-i-Mulúk, par. 60)



"At lunchtime the Master came to the table and said, `Your cabins below are not good, you must move up.' We explained that although there were better cabins on the second deck, because we were from the East, they had not given them to us. `They treat us as poorly as they can because they do not believe in God or in salvation.' `Abdu'l-Bahá replied: `If some of them appear to behave with trustworthiness and honesty, it is merely for personal esteem, in order to be held in favorable regard, and for name and fame, rather than for the sake of promoting humane values, righteousness, the fear of God and love of truth.'"

(Mahmúd's Diary, p. 18)

---

However, in a letter from the UHJ, it is noted that upon the Research Department's perusal of the writings on the topic of the definition of "ungodliness", it could find little in the way of authoritative guidance, as explained here:

http://bahai-library.com/uhj_self-de...fallibility#s3

The translation of Mahmud's Diary provided here is stated as having been not officially "approved", per se, but that it was read and revised at the Baha'i World Centre.

It seems hard to say whether the context of the quote from the Summons of the Lord of Hosts is such that the quote should not be considered general advice to be applied in every conceivable scenario, or whether we can indeed apply the principle generally. Perhaps someone can offer some more input on this.

---

Susan Gammage has put together a collection of quotes on the topic as well:

http://susangammage.com/who-are-the-...-we-avoid-them

Last edited by djg; 11-07-2017 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Add final section
 
Old 11-07-2017, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
We have to look closely at this passage as in its fuller context I think this passage is referring to Covenant Breaking.

Regards Tony
No, there is a letter in behalf of Shoghi Effendi that says differently. It intends wayward souls.
 
Old 11-07-2017, 05:17 AM   #10
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From djg:
Quote:
The translation of Mahmud's Diary provided here is stated as having been not officially "approved", per se, but that it was read and revised at the Baha'i World Centre.
djg:

Thank you for your posts on this thread. Referring to Mahmud's Diary, and intending no disrespect for those doing the good work at the Baha'i World Centre, what specifically does "revised by the Baha'i World Centre" mean or include?

-LR
 
Old 11-30-2017, 11:42 PM   #11
djg
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Larry,

I don't know much about that subject; I was simply relaying something which I had read.

I have continued to ponder and revisit this topic, and have been blessed with a new insight. In this thread from some years back, user InvestigateTruth claimed the following:
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).
This is interesting. The English dictionary definition of "ungodly" is "immoral or irreligious." So, it seems that the two definitions clash somewhat. Many people are either immoral or irreligious; a much smaller number of people intentionally harm people and society intentionally, certainly not on a regular basis.

If the above interpretation of "Ashraar" can be confirmed by a somewhat authoritative source, it will ease my mind greatly. To me, it has the ring of truth. To not be friends with anyone who is not religious would be quite restrictive, and would perhaps deprive a person of opportunities to teach the Faith.

However, the situation described in this thread reminds us that some people commit immoral deeds not out of a generally malicious nature or character, but rather out of a negligent one, which lacks a deep commitment to God's virtues. These people may not go out of their way to be harmful, but rather commit selfish acts out of a lack of thoughtfulness, comprehension, or caring for others. Unfortunately, these acts can clearly have effects on those who keep these people as friends. This lends credence to a broader interpretation of the word "ungodly." Indeed; it goes against reason to suppose that many people derive some special pleasure from committing acts which are harmful to others; no, it is clearly mere selfishness which allows them to commit such acts. Their unholy deeds are motivated by the perceived benefit to self. And it is unjust for a righteous person to suffer as a result of these deeds.

Last edited by djg; 11-30-2017 at 11:55 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2017, 05:27 AM   #12
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Well, after all, this is not such a dramatic issue. Isn't this what we all do in our daily lives? We select people. We select those whom we wish to invite home for dinner. We influence our children to make sure that they play with the right children. We choose the colleagues with whom we go out for lunch. Here, another criterion of selection is offered.

gnat

P. S. And, by the way, once you have left school and university, friends no longer come in heaps and bundles. They rather come in small trickles. Therefore, the problem of eschewing friends doesn't feel like such a big issue nowadays - just maintaining the few you have is hard enough.

Last edited by gnat; 12-01-2017 at 04:39 PM.
 
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