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Old 01-17-2017, 02:17 AM   #1
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New and confused

Hello, I met some local Baha'is, a very small group, it is mainly one family who live close to me, plus a floating 3 or 4 who drift in and out. For about the past 8 months I've been going to their weekly devotionals. I love talking with them, finding out about the faith and discussing all kinds of things. I have no particular religious background, but am a constant seeker. What attracts me to Baha'i is the idea of unity, the tolerance, the gentleness, the love. I love reading the texts and prayers. However, there are problems. We started working through the Ruhi books, completed Book 1, which was kind of fun. But now we've started on Book 2, and I'm starting to feel uneasy. I feel as if it's too much too soon, as if this book is really for people who have already made a full commitment and want to teach and proselytise. Also, I started looking on line at all I could find on the Baha'i faith, and I'm very concerned about certain things - mainly the attitude to gays and the whole idea of shunning covenant-breakers. This goes completely against a spirit of tolerance. I don't feel I can continue with the Ruhi books, although I still really like these lovely people and would like to keep finding out about the faith and sharing feelings and thoughts with them. I suppose I feel bad about letting them down, and wish I could get out of the Ruhi thing without losing touch with them altogether. But the whole thing now seems to have turned into a Ruhi books course. I'm not sure what to do, and would welcome any advice. Many thanks.
 
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Old 01-17-2017, 04:19 AM   #2
Jcc
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Esmeryld,

You could just tell the local Baha'is exactly what you said in the post, I don't think they will react badly to being called wonderful loving people.

As far as Covenant breakers, it is really a question of letting them go their own way if they want to, but not be influenced by them or try to influence them. Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, but to Baha'is anyone who says they believe in Baha'u'llah, whose main teaching is Unity, but tries to break off and create their own sect is really misguided. It's only a very small number of people compared with the number of Baha'is in the world who do that.
 
Old 01-17-2017, 11:42 AM   #3
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Thanks Edward, I will certainly talk to them. They are such nice people, and I want to be open and truthful with them. And I will certainly continue to learn about the faith.
 
Old 01-17-2017, 02:59 PM   #4
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Oh, the Ruhi 2 unease: that's a familiar phenomenon. You go through Book 1, and enjoy it, because it concerns important aspects of our lives as human beings, but then you start studying Book 2, only to realize that Book 2 presupposes that you already have accepted the Faith and have become a fully-fledged Bahá'í.

We have a sore need for Book 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, etc - books that are written for people who are interested in spiritual matters and are sympathetic to the Faith, but in no way have decided to take the full step forward and become Bahá'ís. And, indeed, it is not our main goal to proselytize and make everyone sign a membership card. Teaching the Faith is so much more: it entails sharing the treasures of our Faith with everyone, to the extent that each person is ready to accept. That is how we can make this world a better place - by spreading the message and inspiring everyone.

That's how 'Abdu'l-Bahá did it. How come that we have started to think that we can do better than He did?

Best

from

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Old 01-18-2017, 05:54 AM   #5
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Yeah the numbering of Ruhi books is really strange.

And I've been told that after the first the order you do them doesn't really matter.

Book 1: Basic overview on the Faith.
Book 2: About teaching tenets of the Faith.
Book 3: About teaching children.
Book 4: History of the Faith
Book 5: About teaching youth
Book 6: More about Teaching
Book 7: About the Ruhi Books

Yeah, I'd personally order it something like 1>4>2>6>3>5>7, or something like that.

And I wish there were more study materials focusing on tenets and scriptures and stuff like that, rather than an emphasis on teaching (which is rather strange if you're someone who still feels like you are learning)
 
Old 01-18-2017, 01:19 PM   #6
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Exactly, Walrus. I am still learning. I am deeply moved by the writings, but struggling with the strict rules, which is why I would like to hear more about the reasons behind, for example the ban on alcohol, the necessity to shun covenant-breakers, and the ban on homosexuality. My Baha'i friends have stressed that this religion welcomes debate and questions, and that one is always encouraged to reason for oneself rather than just accepting dogma. I need someone to explain to me the reasoning behind these things. I really want to understand.
 
Old 01-18-2017, 04:04 PM   #7
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Exactly, Walrus. I am still learning. I am deeply moved by the writings, but struggling with the strict rules, which is why I would like to hear more about the reasons behind, for example the ban on alcohol, the necessity to shun covenant-breakers, and the ban on homosexuality. My Baha'i friends have stressed that this religion welcomes debate and questions, and that one is always encouraged to reason for oneself rather than just accepting dogma. I need someone to explain to me the reasoning behind these things. I really want to understand.
In my own personal view, the ban on alcohol is easy to understand, in that this, as well as certain other Baha'i teachings are meant as a benefit or protection to society as a whole, not just the individual. Many people are able to use alcohol in moderation, but a significant percentage of people, particularly many native or aboriginal groups, have a strong tendency towards alcoholism, and alcohol will harm or totally destroy their life. By not having it as part of Baha'i culture it is a mercy to those people whose lives would be destroyed by it. Besides, even for many who are able to use it in moderation, they will still get drunk sometimes, which is demeaning to human dignity and is contrary to development of a strong mind.

The ban on homosexual activity is harder in my opinion, as for those people who do have homosexual orientation, it means they have to remain single to follow Baha'i law. Of course, there are many people who remain single by choice or simply because they never meet the right person, and they can have a very full life even if they never are married. In my personal view, the ultimate implication of the law is that the purpose of marriage and sexuality is to have children and people place too much emphasis on the pleasure aspect of it.

The other important thing to keep in mind is that our true self and real identity is not defined by gender, sexual orientation, race or any other factor that is tied to the physical body or material existence, it is our eternal soul that defines us. We only live on this earth for a short while but have eternity as a spirit, which has no material limitations.
 
Old 01-19-2017, 01:44 AM   #8
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Just for the record, there is no ban on sexual "orientation" in the Baha'i Faith

Kam
 
Old 01-19-2017, 03:36 PM   #9
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Exactly, Walrus. I am still learning. I am deeply moved by the writings, but struggling with the strict rules, which is why I would like to hear more about the reasons behind, for example the ban on alcohol, the necessity to shun covenant-breakers, and the ban on homosexuality. My Baha'i friends have stressed that this religion welcomes debate and questions, and that one is always encouraged to reason for oneself rather than just accepting dogma. I need someone to explain to me the reasoning behind these things. I really want to understand.
Greetings Esmeryld, great to have you here for a chat. Most welcome

Personally I have not been a fan of the Rhui as a course in teaching. To me it is what it was developed for, that is as a deepening tool for those that have accepted Baha'u'llah. To me it worked well in some areas using it as a teaching tool, but in other places it raises the feelings and reactions as you have felt. To be honest, I would feel that I was indeed proselytizing to you if I did this book with you and you had not yet accepted Baha'u'llah.

Your questions are very important and I would like to offer a reply.

"Shunning Covenant Breakers".

The first thing to consider with this subject that many very Loving attempts would have been made with an individual that was walking the path of Covenant Breaking, to show them that the path that they were on was but a cancer to the Faith of Baha'u'llah.

Think of all the religions past and what has happened when they have split into many different branches, all not agreeing with each other.

Baha'u'llah has Given a great elixir to this problem and that is His Covenant with us. Baha'u'llah has assured us that this Faith will not split if we follow the Covenant He has given us.

Thus when one starts to walk this path, the cancer of this thought of division spreads rapidly, as man turns to his own wants and needs and does not let go of his own ambitions or desires for the good of all.

After many attempts to cure this cancer and those attempts fail, the best for the whole body of man is to cut the cancer off. The great thing here is, that even then, Baha'u'llah still gives the person a chance to change, they are not cut off forever if they see the error in the division they were after. They can return to a unity of thought and action and ask to become a Baha'i again.

Baha'is are not perfect (though that is the aim ) and can have a conflict of opinion, but that conflict can never be manifested in a division of Faith.

"Ban on homosexuality"

This is a difficult subject in this day and age when Sex has dominated the thoughts of many in life. The way I see it is that Baha'u'llah has not banned Homosexuality, Baha'u'llah has given us a law that sexual relations are only permissibly between a Man and Woman that are legally married.

Thus if we are not fortunate to find a partner, do not choose in this life or it does not happen in this life that we get married to a person of the opposite sex, then we will have a life that is without a sexual bond. To me God has made this Law and as such, there is an answer for all, only if we submit to and obey the wisdom for the Love of God.

"Ban on alcohol"

The ban covers all Mind Altering drugs not covered by a medical Prescription.

Also I will say strong things on this subject, please do not see them as personal!

Firstly with this I have lived a lot of my Bahai life in places where alcohol is the prime destroyer of the communities I live in. This is so heart breaking to see children born with Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and if they survive this, then the abuse both Mental and Physical they face is much much worse. Also the spouses stand little chance of not being Beaten or physically abused on a regular basis.

A great percentage of these communities have never had a job, the whole life is directed as getting another drink or finding more drugs, thus Crime and Violence a way of life.

Given this I see nothing but Wisdom in Baha'u'llah's Law's on this. Oh that it was never made for man to forget His God.

I think One night in a home in one of the communities I live in would really touch anyones heart with this subject.

Hope that was not too strongly worded. Be well, be happy and Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-19-2017 at 03:39 PM.
 
Old 01-21-2017, 01:26 PM   #10
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Thanks for all comments. I am grateful, but still confused. About alcohol, for example. I have worked for a long time with alcoholics in rehab and have seen firsthand the damage, so point taken there. However, current scientific research maintains that, for example, red wine in moderation is actually of benefit. I know that Baha'is accept scientific research. I'm not sure why alcohol is subject to this total ban while tobacco, while discouraged, is not, when it is scientifically proven that tobacco is extremely dangerous and has no benefits at all. I am all in favour of education on alcohol, and on a change in licensing laws to protect the vulnerable. I just don't understand the total ban. Similarly science points distinctly to proofs that homosexuality is biological and natural. As a Baha'i, what should the attitude be when science actually contradicts a particular element of the Baha'i laws?
 
Old 01-21-2017, 01:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
However, current scientific research maintains that, for example, red wine in moderation is actually of benefit.
Yup. My father drinks red wine as it is prescribed by his doctor (he's not a Baha'i though).

However, red wine is the only alcoohol that Jesus Christ drank, and commanded his followers to drink. So, there may be something special about red wine...

Quote:
I just don't understand the total ban.
I don't either, but this ban is also applied in Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism (some schools), so we are not alone here.

Quote:
Similarly science points distinctly to proofs that homosexuality is biological and natural.
Not a problem of science. Religion opposes the world of nature. Anger is natural for instance, but we refuse it. Ego is natural, but we strive against it.
 
Old 01-21-2017, 03:12 PM   #12
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Thanks for all comments. I am grateful, but still confused. About alcohol, for example. I have worked for a long time with alcoholics in rehab and have seen firsthand the damage, so point taken there. However, current scientific research maintains that, for example, red wine in moderation is actually of benefit. I know that Baha'is accept scientific research. I'm not sure why alcohol is subject to this total ban while tobacco, while discouraged, is not, when it is scientifically proven that tobacco is extremely dangerous and has no benefits at all. I am all in favour of education on alcohol, and on a change in licensing laws to protect the vulnerable. I just don't understand the total ban. Similarly science points distinctly to proofs that homosexuality is biological and natural. As a Baha'i, what should the attitude be when science actually contradicts a particular element of the Baha'i laws?
I don't think the laws contradict science at all. The beneficial aspects of red wine can also be obtained from extracts that don't contain alcohol, and from other sources. However, if it is deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor, it is permissible for Baha'is to take medicines that contain alcohol, or even drink table wine. The same would apply to opioids even though opium is forbidden by Baha'u'llah, etc.

Even though tobacco is not forbidden in the same way, it's very clear from what Abdul-Baha said about it that Baha'is really must give it up and not use it, so you must not think of it as a double standard, the standard is not to use tabacco or alcohol.

As far as homosexuality, of course it is a naturally occurring variation in response among humans, but sexual expression of any kind outside of marriage is not conducive to spiritual development.
 
Old 01-21-2017, 05:55 PM   #13
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Ya Allah,

Marijuana also has benefits to it. Far more than a glass of wine. However, it may not physically harm you, but it can psychologically and mentally deter you. Bahá'u'lláh has made alcohol and mind altering drugs forbidden, for the reason that it mentally dehabilitates you. Tobacco does not.

You see, on the point of marijuana, I am Rastafari. I use marijuana hemp in shampoos and oils, in order to get the fullness and benefits without mentally dehabilitating my mind. One needs to be fully cognitive at all time and aware.


Homosexuality is a complicated subject. God has given man and woman their own reproductive organs for a reason. Biologically we may prefer certain things, however, would you not agree that it goes against the laws of evolution, that is, to reproduce the species by having homosexual intercourse? Love is different. Shoghí Effendí states that the love can be as fine as love can be, but sexual expression is wrong. It goes against the biological purpose and God's purpose for making us man and woman. Preference=/=necessary.

Last edited by Israel Meheret; 01-21-2017 at 05:57 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 11:22 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone. I do appreciate all your comments. I suppose I'm just a bit troubled by all the emphasis on the letter of the law. To me, God is a patient and understanding God for the whole world, a God of love. I find it hard to come to terms with a God who sets the bar so high that it excludes probably the majority of humanity. I think love in the heart is paramount, for all creatures, rather than total adherence to a strict code. I think of little towns in Italy, where the town square is full of the old people sitting very peacefully in the sun making a bottle of red wine and a big jug of water last between four or five for a whole afternoon, while discussing the events of the day; or a Rastafarian community which says, 'come let us reason', sits and smokes and attempts to solve disputes by talking together; or the old Zen monk Ryokwan, contemplating alone in his mountain hut, drinking wine and looking at the stars; or even the great philosophers of the ancient Greeks whose wise insights were often reached during the symposiums where alcohol was drunk; or the Native Americans, the Mexican and South American shamans, who made use of various powerful plants in their ceremonies. I find it hard to accept a code that excludes all these good people. Humanity is flawed and searching. God loves his creatures, with all their faults, I am sure. Love in the heart is more important than following the letter of the law surely? Peace and love to you all.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
I find it hard to accept a code that excludes all these good people.
The code does not exclude those people. Where did you read that ?
People of the past were not forbidden alcoohol or mind-altering drugs. But now, we have something better than their drugs. We have THE drug : God's name, and His Word.

Seriously, these things make you trip very hard. But they are good for health. We have developped the spiritual technology that makes wine obsolete.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 11:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kam View Post
Just for the record, there is no ban on sexual "orientation" in the Baha'i Faith

Kam
Most important needs saying again
bill
 
Old 01-22-2017, 12:22 PM   #17
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I'm sorry, I don't understand. I thought the Baha'i faith would not admit people who drank alcohol or took any kind of drug. Am I mistaken?
 
Old 01-22-2017, 03:06 PM   #18
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
I'm sorry, I don't understand. I thought the Baha'i faith would not admit people who drank alcohol or took any kind of drug. Am I mistaken?
Yes, Please consider we only give our view and ideas on a subject.

A person has to ne aware of the Laws and day by day try to understand and live the wisdom.

These matters are decided upon if the good name of the Faith is compromised by a person actions.

In light of what was said about Spiritual Capacity and elightment, please also consider was it God that gave the Inspiration or the drugs and alcohol!

I have had no drugs, ever and no alcohol for 35 years, am I missing God I can say I never have a day when I forget Him because I am drunk or on drugs.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-22-2017 at 03:38 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 04:20 PM   #19
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
I'm sorry, I don't understand. I thought the Baha'i faith would not admit people who drank alcohol or took any kind of drug. Am I mistaken?
People are welcome to enroll in the Faith even if they currently drink alcohol, with the understanding that they should gradually reduce and stop using it. God is patient, and so must we be patient with each other since noone is perfect.

To be a Baha'i is to believe that Baha'u'llah is a true Messenger of God, and that His teachings are the Will of God for mankind. There are often teachings that we don't fully understand, and in this sense, even some very loyal and dedicated Baha'is may have a "problem" with certain teachings. I say "problem" in quotes because this really is a humble acknowledgement of not having come to an understanding about it, rather than having decided that the particular teach is wrong.

As I indicated above, to me personally, it is clear that it would be better for society as a whole if alcohol were not used, for the sake of about 10-20% of us that are somewhat to severely harmed by it, and Baha'u'llah taught that our vision must be world embracing rather than confined to our own selves. As Jesus taught, we must be our "brother's keeper"

Faith in God is faith in something greater than oneself, and requires a humble acknowledgement that God knows more than we do. Every religion has certain mysteries that their adherents don't understand, but are required to accept on faith.This is also true of the Baha'i Faith, although we believe in the use of reason, and that noone should be required to accept a belief that is contrary to reason. The things we need to accept on faith mainly relate to spiritual realities, which can not be proved or disproved scientifically, so they are not contrary to reason they are beyond the reach of reason. In the case of the prohibition against alcohol and drugs, there is nothing contrary to reason about it as far as I can see.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 07:51 PM   #20
Kam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Thanks for all comments. I am grateful, but still confused. About alcohol, for example. I have worked for a long time with alcoholics in rehab and have seen firsthand the damage, so point taken there. However, current scientific research maintains that, for example, red wine in moderation is actually of benefit. I know that Baha'is accept scientific research. I'm not sure why alcohol is subject to this total ban while tobacco, while discouraged, is not, when it is scientifically proven that tobacco is extremely dangerous and has no benefits at all. I am all in favour of education on alcohol, and on a change in licensing laws to protect the vulnerable. I just don't understand the total ban. Similarly science points distinctly to proofs that homosexuality is biological and natural. As a Baha'i, what should the attitude be when science actually contradicts a particular element of the Baha'i laws?
Hi Esmeryld,

If I may interject here and ask you to consider the perspective from which Baha'u'llah's Revelation is approaching religion.

Baha'u'llah has not come to provide the latest scientific facts which will benefit the human body. He didn't say anything about vitamin and mineral supplements, didn't talk about how many reps of weights one must do at the gym, nor on how folate affects the growing foetus.

The purpose is to maximise the mind and spirit potential of the human temple.
The human capacity which differentiates it from all other animals is found in the mind, and this in turn has effects on the human soul.

Now please consider how tobacco effects the human mind (not the brain, the MIND) and how alcohol and marijuana effect the mind.

Baha'u'llah's Revelation intends to transform society with Laws which will bring out the best in the collective community. Laws do not say "yes" to some people and "no" to others. Hence making a Law which has all the caveats that science currently places on wine drinking is silly to be honest

Just read the first article that I googled on this:
Is wine good for you? | BBC Good Food

It's ifs and buts and maybes all over the place for different age groups and different health risks etc, and this is only the current research. I bet you next year these caveats will change again.
Science is always relative. Baha'u'llah's Laws are absolute for this Day and Age.

Hope that helps
Kam

Last edited by Kam; 01-22-2017 at 07:58 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 08:03 PM   #21
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Life on the rez...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
I'm sorry, I don't understand. I thought the Baha'i faith would not admit people who drank alcohol or took any kind of drug. Am I mistaken?
Esmeryld,
I grew up on an Indian Reservation, where alcohol destroyed lives. Not just Indians, but non-Indians as well. I lost a brother to an auto accident, and a few friends, due to this intoxicant. Countless families were destroyed, fetal alcohol syndrome, and so on.

Bob Dylan sang: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

But when people take alcohol, not even a weatherman can tell them which way the wind blows. There is an erosion of thought processes. This degrades the spiritual Temple which was created as a foundation of a healthy soul.

What is most important to realize is "Who", and maybe What, the Manifestation of God is. Far more than human, this Being emanates the Laws of Reality, of God, of the very nature of our own being. He "knows"... when we are clueless.

It is first for us to "recognize" and then to obey. Be patient with your own pace of understanding, and with Baha'is. We are all turning towards this Dawning Point of Reality. Baha'u'llah tells us about the independent investigation of truth. That's what you are doing. Good job!!
 
Old 01-22-2017, 08:27 PM   #22
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Ya Allah,



It is a Bahá'ís responsibility to follow Bahá'í laws. As long as they do not hurt the faith, such as getting drunk and getting arrested, there should be no problem. Only God, the All Forgiving and All Powerful is to judge, the UHJ or any Bahá'í organization or an individual Bahá'í will take no action against someone if they are not disrupting the peace and pureness of the Faith.

It is up to them to follow Bahá'í laws. Bahá'u'lláh's laws are for Bahá'ís, hence Bahá'í laws. If a Bahá'í chooses to break the law of Bahá'u'lláh, it is between him and the Almighty God.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 06:53 AM   #23
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Much food for thought here. Just to be clear, I don't drink or use drugs, nor am I gay,but I have friends who do and are. Good people. I have non-married friends who've been together in committed loving relationships for upwards of thirty years, who have raised lovely stable children who have grown to adulthood and are now doing good in the world. I know religious people who follow rules to the letter but do not display real love towards their fellows. I believe God is for ALL. If any faith is too difficult to follow for most people, it will not grow and thrive unless by draconian enforcement (leading to shunning etc) which does not encourage freedom of thought and expression. I prefer a broad to a narrow faith. Unity is indeed beautiful, but a unity maintained by fear or coercion is not. The Baha'i faith sadly is already divided,from what I understand from my wide reading. There are very many ex-Baha'is who still love Bahaullah and think that the UHJ is itself divisive in some of its judgements. Are all these people unworthy to be Baha'is? I was overjoyed to discover the Faith. I am saddened to find that the organisation behind mainstream Baha'i seems to exclude more readily than it includes. It promotes an austerity that most of humanity - dear messy imperfect humanity - cannot attain. It makes it easy for love, real love for our fellows, to take second place to pride and superciliousness. People are weak. People are imperfect. People bear terrible scars from early lives blighted by abuse and neglect, making it so much harder for them to attain the levels of purity demanded. The God I believe in opens His arms to all humanity, not just the strong.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 07:46 AM   #24
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Agreed. I have become disturbed at the UHJ. I am a follower of Bahá'u'lláh, not the UHJ.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 08:05 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Are all these people unworthy to be Baha'is?
"To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." ('Abdu'l-Baha), full stop. It doesn't even matter if a person has even heard the name of Baha'u'llah, the above is the complete and total standard for what a Bahá’í is. Anyone who matches it is a Bahá’í, no doubt about it nor questioning of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
What attracts me to Baha'i is the idea of unity, the tolerance, the gentleness, the love.
By this quote here, you are already a Bahá’í. The term is, strictly speaking, not intended as a religious identifier but as a term to identify anyone who works towards Unity. An atheist who has never even heard of any of the figures we recognize as Prophets, but who still wants to unite the whole of the world in love is still technically a Bahá’í. There's just that one standard.

Last edited by Walrus; 01-23-2017 at 08:08 AM.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 08:07 AM   #26
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I second the criricism of the UHJ, but I think that this community is going through a process of sanctification. Every "church" (ecclesia) in the world needs to go through that process. There are signs of this work in the Catholic Church, the Tibetan Buddhist community, the Sikh community and some Eastern communities as well.
Anyway, we are responsible for the leadership of our communities. We need to support them, to pray for them, and to uplift them from within through our own self-improvement.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 08:29 AM   #27
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I've made this comment before (and it's never really been popular) but we do know for objective fact that the UHJ can err. We know this because if they could not then the Guardian would never need a power to veto a UHJ decision... but the Guardian explicitly has that power.

It's something that must be changed from the inside, though. Fixing the system together is preferable (in the long run, and with the goal of Unity in mind), then fracturing into a thousand different sects with some of the sects being right and others wrong. There's a reason the UHJ is elected.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 08:34 AM   #28
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Wow! I love talking to you people, but I'm as confused as ever. You are all so kind. My poor little brain is spinning, but I'll continue to study. Peace and love.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 09:05 AM   #29
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Confusion is a typical symptom of the traveller who is experiencing the Valley of Search. I advise you to read the beginning of the Seven Valleys, for it provides very clear landmarks for a traveller such as yours.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 01:27 PM   #30
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Thanks, Goaforce, I have a copy and am about to start reading.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 03:24 PM   #31
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Dear friends, yes it is possible for the UHJ to make an error, but if the people obey and hold on to unity it will be corrected. I have had dealings with the UHJ and can tell you I love them dearly. Obedience brings Unity and love.
bill
 
Old 01-23-2017, 04:06 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
Dear friends, yes it is possible for the UHJ to make an error, but if the people obey and hold on to unity it will be corrected. I have had dealings with the UHJ and can tell you I love them dearly. Obedience brings Unity and love.
bill
I thought that the House is considered to be infallible when acting as a body
 
Old 01-23-2017, 04:20 PM   #33
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AidanK View Post
I thought that the House is considered to be infallible when acting as a body
Yes, that's true. You have to consider what the meaning of infallibility is in this context. I think it means that we can have faith that the decisions made by the UHJ are for the best at the time and we must follow them with complete confidence. Any decision made by the UHJ can be changed at a future time, and many will be. That doesn't make the current decision is wrong, it is right for this time.
 
Old 01-23-2017, 06:35 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
Dear friends, yes it is possible for the UHJ to make an error, but if the people obey and hold on to unity it will be corrected. I have had dealings with the UHJ and can tell you I love them dearly. Obedience brings Unity and love.
bill


So if we accept their error it will eventually become corrected?
 
Old 01-24-2017, 12:08 AM   #35
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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The Universal House of Justice has said in a letter; ".....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....”

Regards Tony
 
Old 01-24-2017, 03:14 AM   #36
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Israel Meheret View Post
So if we accept their error it will eventually become corrected?
I look at it another way: how can we be so sure that a particular decision is wrong? From our limited perspective, we may think that the House of Justice missed a fact and made a decision that would have been different if it had all the facts, but maybe it is me who is missing a piece of information or failing to give proper weight to something we think is less important.

Really this applies even when discussing something with a friend, and have a difference of opinion. How can I be so sure that I am right? Having a humble attitude and looking it from the perspective of someone who is learning and trying to understand is more conducive to finding the truth.
 
Old 01-24-2017, 09:17 PM   #37
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Independent Investigation of Truth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmeryld View Post
Wow! I love talking to you people, but I'm as confused as ever. You are all so kind. My poor little brain is spinning, but I'll continue to study. Peace and love.
Esmeryid, It may sound simple, the matter of "Independent Investigation of Truth", but it is in one sense the backbone of our spiritual development, not to depend upon "others", such as priests, mullahs, gurus, and various theological "experts", most of whom disagree with each other while designating themselves as authority figures.

Hence, to be a Baha'i is to think for oneself, and accept that responsibility. Various opinions and takes will be expressed by other Baha'is, whether here or elsewhere in your encounters. Take it with a grain of salt, and take it upon yourself to read the Writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and Abdul Baha. In 37 years I've not found a single flaw in Their Writings, or the logic and cohesion of the sacred texts.

I initially disagreed with a number of things, but gradually came to recognize that it was my error, and not the Manifestations of God.

The Administrative Order laid down by Baha'u'llah and explained and interpreted by Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi allows humanity to individually and prayerfully have a say in who is elected on the Local Spiritual Assemblies. This is God's Will for us, that we have a say in the affairs of our community. Through the election of delegates who then elect our National Spiritual Assemblies, the process is repeated.

Finally, the Universal House of Justice is elected by the members of the National Assemblies, and this is God's Will, that we are governed by our own selves, without electioneering, campaigning, and influence peddling. It is a pure system, and when we follow it, we are guaranteed that this car will stay on the road, for both the car and the road are according to a divine blueprint.

Those of us who have truly recognized Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God understand that He expresses God's Will and creates Laws and ordinances for the unfoldment of a Divine Civilization. We experience confirmations when we adhere to these ordinances and observe His commandments.

This happens over time, as we learn to pray every day, read the Writings, observe the fast, teach the Faith, etc.
 
Old 01-25-2017, 05:28 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Israel Meheret View Post
So if we accept their error it will eventually become corrected?
Well, it's democratic. The basic thesis of democracy is that, while it may not do everything right all the times, it is a system that can bring about the best results in the end. It's a system that exists so that if there is an error, people can correct it with their voices. There's a reason the UHJ is elected.
 
Old 01-25-2017, 10:39 AM   #39
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Well, it's democratic. The basic thesis of democracy is that, while it may not do everything right all the times, it is a system that can bring about the best results in the end. It's a system that exists so that if there is an error, people can correct it with their voices. There's a reason the UHJ is elected.
A point to clarify.

The Universal House of Justice if we read the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Writings of Abdul'baha on the results of their consultations, there is no error or wrong.

I posted what the Universal House of Justice said above. They have done all they can with all the information provided. Thus in the end the result is what was intended at that time.

There would be a wisdom in it all.

Why would we need to consiser 'Correcting with our voices', is that not Old World Order thoughts!

There is no thought we should have of the Elected Body of the Universal House of Justice, that would need correcting.

That body as a whole has checks and balances in the writings for each individual that is chosen to serve.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-25-2017 at 10:41 AM.
 
Old 01-25-2017, 11:11 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
The Universal House of Justice if we read the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Writings of Abdul'baha on the results of their consultations, there is no error or wrong.
Further clarification is needed, I think.

(So none can misconstrue: I'm not saying it shouldn't be followed, but that doesn't mean it can't be wrong. I'm not saying it doesn't have a degree of Ismah, but that doesn't mean it has the same level of Ismah as others)

But the UHJ clearly can make an incorrect ruling:

Quote:
Originally Posted by World Order of Baha'u'llah, Shoghi Effendi
Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances.
If it is, as Shoghi says, the Guardian's duty to insist reconsideration to the members of the UHJ for the above stated reason, then it necessitates that it is possible for the UHJ for them to create an "enactment [in] conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances."

Furthermore, I posit that the fact the UHJ is elected must be of importance. If this fact was not somehow important in how God wanted the UHJ to function, then God would not have made a UHJ that was elected. The fact that all Baha'is are ordained to be part of the process proves that the participation of the Baha'is is a necessary component of that process. God is not arbitrary, and he declared it elective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Why would we need to consiser 'Correcting with our voices',
Perhaps I used the wrong wording. Perhaps "votes" rather than "voices". As to why?? Because God ordains that we should do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
is that not Old World Order thoughts!
No, it is explicitly New. God wants us to elect. That is our proscribed duty. Clearly this duty must then have a purpose.

I propose that God either intends the elective structure as a part of a process to ensure the Ismah of the whole institution, OR the elective structure serves some other process. Either way, the election is an important part and our participation in it divinely mandated.

We should use our votes to guide the UHJ and trust that God guides us through our votes as he guides them in theirs. It's all part of the same Plan.
 
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