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Old 10-25-2017, 12:59 PM   #1
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Abdul baha contradictions

Bahaullah says "shun not meat" abdul baha says that it is better to avoid meat? What are your opinions on this. I ask this as I want insights into your opinions on this that is all. My opinions is Bahaullah only told us to look to abdul baha when we struggled to understand any quotes not for everything
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Old 10-25-2017, 01:11 PM   #2
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As far as I know, 'Abdu'l-Baha has only said that one day mankind will no longer eat meat. That's not a moral judgement on the matter of meat eating.

Remember, 'Abdu'l-Baha was warning people that WWI would break out two years before it did. That didn't mean he was saying the advent of the war was a good thing. It's just a prediction of what is to come.

It's also not a statement on the hear-and-now. It's not that we should not eat meat now. Just one that in the future, people won't.

And this prediction is probably true. Farming plants is more efficient than herding animals, assuming you have arable land. But currently we still need meat (and can benefit from dairy) so we still need to produce it to get a balanced diet, and practicing vegetarians have to do careful measuring to make sure they get enough of the nutrients they would otherwise get from meat.

But as technology advances, and genetic modification becomes more and more a thing, we could very well engineer plants with the things we'd otherwise get from eating meat. Or perhaps synthetically grown meats will become more popular. This would allow us to turn to more efficient means growing food from the ground, other than ranching and herding.

As a result, I'd also predict (albeit without any divine aid) that eventually we'll be eating genetically enhanced, protein rich plants rather than meats. I also hope we genetically modify plants to be more low-carb, while we're at it. It'd sure make dieting easier.

Plus there are societies like the Inuit, or Greenlanders, or perhaps the Kazakhs or other Steppe nations, where vegetarianism is not currently even remotely viable, due to a lack of arable land. But, again, as agricultural technology expands and grows, we'll eventually be producing enough food for even the tundra nations to no longer physically need hunting and whaling for food.
Old 10-26-2017, 01:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for that

Thank you for clearing up my misconception! That's helped me God bless !
Old 10-26-2017, 07:32 PM   #4
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Before we make any comments it is necessary to check the original quote- can you please tell me where you read that Baha'u'llah said "shun not meat"?
Old 10-26-2017, 10:15 PM   #5
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" Say: O concourse of priests and monks! Eat ye of that which God hath made lawful unto you and do not shun meat. God hath, as a token of His grace granted you leave to partake thereof save during a brief period. He verily, is the Mighty, the Beneficent. Forsake all that ye possess and hold fast unto that which God hath purposed. This is that which profit you, if ye be of them that comprehend....."

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
Suriy-i-Haykal, no 154
Old 10-29-2017, 03:10 PM   #6
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There is quite a lot on meat-eating in the writings of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha, beginning with the Aqdas:

"If ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey, invoke ye the Name of God when ye send them to pursue their quarry; for then whatever they catch shall be lawful unto you, even should ye find it to have died."

This is expanded in Questions and Answers no. 24:

Other means, such as bows and arrows, guns, and similar equipment employed in hunting, are also included. If, however, traps or snares are used, and the game dieth before it can be reached, it is unlawful for consumption.

So the basic rule is, one should recite the name of God over the animal before slaughtering it, and the meat is then halal. The first exception is that reciting the name of God before releasing the hawk or firing the gun is also acceptable: the meat is halal. The exception to the exception is that meat taken from fatal forms of traps and snares is not halal, even if one recited the name of God over the trap. Because furs are not haram for Bahais, traps could still be used to catch animals for fur - but in my opinion the kind that trap one foot of the animal (gin traps) should be banned as dangerous to children and cruel to animals. But cruelty to animals is another topic.

Before you start wondering whether there is a Jewish or halal butcher in your neighbourhood, note that this is among the laws not at present binding on the Bahais in the West.

Baha'u'llah also writes:

O concourse of priests and monks! Eat ye of that which God hath made lawful unto you and do not shun meat. God hath, as a token of His grace, granted you leave to partake thereof save during a brief period.
(Summons of the Lord of Hosts 154; Athar-e Qalam-e 'a`ali, volume 1 p. 50 from line 6. )

"A brief period" is an interpretive translation - it says "certain days" which might refer to Fridays just as well as Lent. There are similar tablets of Abdu'l-Baha in Amr wa Khalq, saying not to abstain from eating meat and there is this section in Tablets of Abdu'l- Baha:

Reflect upon the inner realities of the universe, the secret wisdoms involved, the enigmas, the inter-relationships, the rules that govern all. For every part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance, nor any slackening whatever. In the physical realm of creation, all things are eaters and eaten: the plant drinketh in the mineral, the animal doth crop and swallow down the plant, man doth feed upon the animal, and the mineral devoureth the body of man. Physical bodies are transferred past one barrier after another, from one life to another, and all things are subject to transformation and change, save only the essence of existence itself -- since it is constant and immutable, and upon it is founded the life of every species and kind, of every contingent reality throughout the whole of creation.

Whensoever thou dost examine, through a microscope, the water man drinketh, the air he doth breathe, thou wilt see that with every breath of air, man taketh in an abundance of animal life, and with every draught of water, he also swalloweth down a great variety of animals. How could it ever be possible to put a stop to this process? For all creatures are eaters and eaten, and the very fabric of life is reared upon this fact. Were it not so, the ties that interlace all created things within the universe would be unravelled.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 157)

On the other hand, there's a report from Abdu'l-Baha (not my translation, I suspect it might be by Ahang Rabbani) that says:

Regarding the eating of animal flesh and abstinence therefrom, know thou of a certainty that, in the beginning of creation, God determined the food of every living being, and to eat contrary to that determination is not approved. For instance, beasts of prey, such as wolf, lion and leopard, are endowed with ferocious, tearing instruments, such as hooked talons and claws. From this it is evident that the food of such beasts is meat. If they were to attempt to graze, their teeth would not cut the grass, neither could they chew the cud, for they do not have molars. Likewise, God hath given to the four-footed grazing animals such teeth as reap the grass like a sickle, and from this we understand that the food of these species of animal is vegetable. They cannot chase and hunt down other animals. The falcon hath a hooked beak and sharp talons; the hooked beak prevents him from grazing, therefore his food also is meat.

But now coming to man, we see he hath neither hooked teeth or sharp nails or claws, or teeth like iron sickles. From this it becomes evident and manifest that the food of man is cereals and fruit. Some of the teeth of man are like millstones to grind the grain, and some are sharp to cut the fruit. Therefore he is not in need of meat, nor is he obliged to eat it. Even without eating meat he would live with the utmost vigor and energy. For example, the community of the Brahmins in India does not eat meat; notwithstanding this they are not inferior to other nations in strength, power, vigor, outward senses or intellectual virtues. Truly, the killing of animals and the eating of their meat is somewhat contrary to pity and compassion, and if one can content oneself with cereals, fruit, oil and nuts, such as pistachios, almonds and so on, it would undoubtedly be better and more pleasing.
"Khatirat-i Habib" p. 297

Now if I was a small furry creature (I was, about 30 kilos ago, and before male pattern baldness), I would be sticking "the killing of animals and the eating of their meat is somewhat contrary to pity and compassion" on bumpers all over the country. As a campaign slogan, it's not very catchy, but it's scripture.

My reading is that Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha are steering between the Cylla and Charybdis of believing that there is religious merit in abstaining from meat, or that it is a religious requirement, and the idea that it is unethical to eat meat. Abdu'l-Baha makes it a practical matter: meat is not necessary. But waste is also not a good thing, and there are large parts of the world suitable only for low-intensity pastoral farming, including much of the New Zealand hills and highlands. There are many animals that are farmed for fibre or leather, but also produce meat. Unless we imagine a much greater world population of the cat family, people are going to be eating meats.

~ sen

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