|06-23-2012, 10:37 AM||#1|
Joined: May 2011
Someone on fb posted a link about this Swiss scientist who became a baha'i in 1920:
Auguste Forel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I saw in Wiki that he had this to say about the Faith: 'This is the true religion of human social good, without dogmas or priests,..'
I thought to myself that we surely have dogmas in the Faith.
1. A doctrine or a corpus of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by a church.
2. An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true. See Synonyms at doctrine.
And I also found this in Lights of Guidance:
"A dogma is a principle, tenet or teaching, especially an authoritative teaching, and in these senses it is apparent that the Faith has 'dogmas'. The word is also used, however, to describe that body of rigid doctrines that have accumulated in a religion after the passing of the Founder; such man-made dogmas are entirely absent from the Bahá'í Faith, nor can it ever acquire them.
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 476)
Bearing this last quote in mind, it would seem to me that we do have dogmas that have accumulated after the passing of the Founder, Baha'u'llah, in that the teachings of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice are also considered to be authoritative.
I am thinking of one example, that being the 'rule' or request, not law actually, as I understand it, in my country that a baha'i shouldn't share a house or apartment with just one other person of the opposite gender. Now unlike how it was in the US for a long time at least, in Australia, mixed-gender household sharing is officially seen as okay if there are at least 3 people in the household. It is listed as such in our LSA handbook.
To be clear I am just talking about sharing the house and am *not talking about the case when 2 in the house have an intimate sexual r'ship.. but rather simply the sharing of expenses and living space and friendship.
So, isn't this a kind of dogma that has been acquired after the passing of the Founder? Baha'u'llah doesn't talk about sharing rent.
I mention it because I believe that I went through a lot of hardship and a kind of homelessness for quite a period of time trying to always keep to that rule. At least where I was living it seemed that many girls wanted to share with guys instead in a two-person h'hold, (and I didn't know a baha'i girl to share with) and there are lots of factors to consider such as affordability and more considering I had quite a serious health issue.
And now I feel that trying to live up to the rule had a detrimental impact in various ways as I was unable to acquire some moral support when needed leading to a total worsening of symptoms.
Aren't some of these rules a bit stringent? Again aren't they in a sense dogma that have been acquired after the passing of the Founder?
If I was going to my National Convention, I might have brought it up for discussion.
If this was a ramble, apologies; it is an early hour in the morning.
Last edited by Rani; 06-23-2012 at 10:48 AM.
|06-23-2012, 11:15 AM||#2|
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Leiden, the Netherlands
... the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, .... that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation.
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 9)
I think that "dogma" is not the right heading here: you have encountered rigidity in the application of administrative guidelines that have become outdated, and may have been a bad idea in the first place.
Last edited by Sen McGlinn; 06-23-2012 at 11:16 AM. Reason: typo
|06-23-2012, 12:20 PM||#3|
Joined: May 2011
For fairness and accuracy I might also add that it was an individual who first told me about that 'rule', and that a local Assembly never approached me about the said issue. At first I found it quite strange as I felt that as long as I was behaving well and living according to good conscience, why should it matter what people might think. Today, people might think two women living together are lesbian for all I know. People will often think what they wish to.
So, maybe we should be careful about what individual baha'is say to us. Still, as a young baha'i I felt compelled to live up to the spirit of the teachings /rules as best I could, and yes, I feel I suffered as a a result.
Last edited by Rani; 06-23-2012 at 12:25 PM.
|06-23-2012, 12:27 PM||#4|
Joined: May 2011
Sadly, I might add, the person who told me about the 'rule', came out some months later -maybe 6, saying that she was living in a defacto r'ship. So, there I was just in a share situation, with no involvement with my flatmate; and she was living with someone, not married but living as married. Lesson again: be careful what one individual might say to us.
However I moved out soon after anyway.
|06-23-2012, 07:59 PM||#5|
Joined: Jun 2006
My experience has been that Dogma is uaually thought of as concerning a belief ... say a creedal belief as in the Trinity or someting along those lines which might be recited collectively congregationally as in a service.
So we have no creedal statements or dogmas that we require Baha'is to believe in...
Living arrangements wouldn't come under that heading in my opinion..
|06-23-2012, 11:07 PM||#6|
Joined: May 2011
I suppose I could have just called it 'Rules and regulations'..
Some of them seem a bit stringent, if they only exist out of concern about what others might think.
|06-24-2012, 10:23 AM||#7|
Joined: Mar 2010
From: Rockville, MD, USA
|06-24-2012, 10:15 PM||#8|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Tropical North Queensland Australia
It is hard for a Westerner to understand some of the rigid Laws that have been revealed as they have not been brought up in the Culture of strict religious observances.
It is the same for those that were brought up with strict religious observances. They find it hard to see why some were relaxed and others done away with.
Put this all together and what Baha'u'llah has done has given us Laws that balance both sides of this issue. We also have the bounty that all the Laws were not enacted straight away in the Western World, We have been given time to adjust.
So when the Universal House of Justice enacts a Law of Baha'u'llah, we as Baha'is know that the time is right for that Law and it is up to us to be obedient to the Law.
In the absent of a specific Law The National Spiritual Assembly from time to times offers Guidance to believers how to best conduct themselves (as does the UHJ). This guidance is given on careful study of all the Authoritative Writings on that particular subject. If no current Baha'i Law it triggered, the Guidance given is just that Guidance. It would be up to the believer to enact that Guidance.
It is possible that a believer may choose not to partake of that guidance and if this was the case I would suggest the following.
A believer is able to liaise with their LSA to help with the particular question
If they are not satisfied with this outcome the believer can approach the NSA for an answer and finally if they are not happy with this they can approach the UHJ. The answer from the UHJ becomes a benchmark for future situations.
In saying that, for the harmony of the cause, any suggestion given by an LSA should be followed. I understand this is not always going to work in the Faith's Early Years. Thus a reply from an NSA should be sufficient to believers. Only in extreme situations, IMHO, would I think that the NSA should be involved.
The last thought is one of bringing the Faith into disrepute. One must weigh heavily on their actions and what it may look like to people outside of the Faith. Is what we do taking away from the Principals of the Faith?
So in conclusion - Laws that are enacted are there for us to follow and Each Baha'i should do so to the best of their ability. Other Guidance has been given most likely as past actions in the Baha'i community may have necessitated this guidance. Though not law it would be prudent to act as if it was. If an individual thinks this now needs to be changed, then the avenue is open to do just that.
Best of luck with it all - Regards Tony
Last edited by tonyfish58; 06-24-2012 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Spelling
|06-25-2012, 06:33 PM||#9|
Dedicated to Orthodoxy
Joined: Sep 2010
From: New Zealand
Yet the bahai faith has an absolute dogma that you must accept Mirza Al Husayn as a prophet, you can differ on anything else (the nature of God and the like) so long as you just don't contradict the universal council of Justice which must represent the people, thus truth is subject to democratic election.