We need to consult, can we?

Sep 2012
358
Panama
Thinking about it some more, if we're going to practice consultation between Baha'is about social and global issues, for whatever reason, I would rather discuss what we might be able to do to help support UN programs and international agreements related to those issues, educate people about those, and help spread the ideas coming from the Baha'i International Community, or at least start with that. If anyone has any objections to what the UN and the BIC are promoting, or other ideas they want to discuss, we could look at those and discuss what we might want to do if we agreed with them.
There's a lot there --a few decades ago the UN quantified its development goals which were largely met. New goals have been adopted recently but the process of defining them is still in progress. My daughter is working on helping folks get the facts, a video she made that explains the project--

 
Likes: jimhabegger
Jan 2012
711
China
@Pete in Panama Could you explain again what you invited me here for? My best guess now is that you've seen Baha'is debating in ways that might impair teaching efforts, and you had some idea about Baha'is practicing consultation with each other, to help remedy that. That's all related somehow to participating in the discourses of society. The consultation would be about some current events and social issues. I'm volunteering to go with you wherever you want to go. I'm ready whenever you are. If you're inviting me to choose a topic for discussion, what would interest me would be a discussion about what we might be able to do to help educate people about UN goals, International agreements, and statements from the BIC. In the Religious Forums I've invited you to have a discussion with me about what we might be able to do to help remedy the disease of sectarian hatreds.

In the OP you said "... the social ills we run into beg for our help." In "One Common Faith," the House of Justice said "the accelerating breakdown in social order calls out desperately for the religious spirit to be freed from the shackles that have so far prevented it from bringing to bear the healing influence of which it is capable," and talked about our responsibility in the matter. It said that If we are to respond to the need, we need to "draw on a deep understanding of the process by which humanity’s spiritual life evolves." It said that "Bahá’u’lláh’s writings provide insights that can help to elevate discussion of religious issues above sectarian and transient considerations." It said that it commissioned "One Common Faith" for that purpose, for us to better understand how humanity's spiritual life evolves, to help us elevate discussion of religious issues above sectarian and transient considerations. That looks to me like exactly what you're saying that you want to do, except that it's about religious issues, and not about current events and social issues in general. Even so, I see the House of Justice saying that part of our response to all the issues needs to be to help free the religious spirit from its shackles, which means to elevate discussion of religious issues above sectarian and transient considerations, which means to deepen our understanding of how humanity's spiritual life evolves, which means to thoughtfully study "One Common Faith." The House of Justice says that it commissioned "One Common Faith" specifically for that purpose, and that it commends it to us for thoughtful study. That looks to me like a good place to start, and the best possible common ground that I can see, for followers of Baha'u'llah to respond to the social issues that, in your words, "beg for our help." I hope that anyone who wants to consult here about any of those issues will study that document again, thoughtfully. That's what I'll be doing now.
 
Jan 2012
711
China
I want to post some thoughts as they come to me, from my study of "One Common Faith." It might raise questions in people minds to think about when they study it. This is what I remember from reading it before. There was something about accompanying people wherever they are, on their own path of spiritual progress. I'm thinking now that might be one of the best and most consequential things we can do in Internet discussions, walking along with people on their spiritual paths, in whatever ways they are learning to free the religious spirit from its shackles. That might be part of what people are searching for when they talk about being "spiritual but not religious." Part of what is needed to heal all the social illnesses is the healing influence of the religious spirit, freed from its shackles. There might be ways in Internet discussions that we can see people trying to help free that spirit from its shackles in their own religions, and to encourage and support them in that.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Jan 2012
711
China
I’m feeling like a kid who runs onto a playground just in time to see all the other kids running out of it. Is it because I’m posting too much? Suddenly I’ve lost all my enthusiasm for this. I was invited here, and I didn’t come here to talk to myself.
 
Sep 2010
4,486
Normanton Far North Queensland
I’m feeling like a kid who runs onto a playground just in time to see all the other kids running out of it. Is it because I’m posting too much? Suddenly I’ve lost all my enthusiasm for this. I was invited here, and I didn’t come here to talk to myself.
Jim, all I can say that life is busy and I try to balance the time I spend on the net with that busy life. It has been quite on this site for some time, I have not seen the regulars come by very often over the last year.

The ebb and flow of life permeates all things. You may be on a flow, when others ebb :)

Regards Tony
 
Likes: jimhabegger
Oct 2014
1,797
Stockholm
Consultation implies a search for truth. It is a tremendous task to bring together a group of people to actually do that. I believe that successful consultation begins with much smaller issues than climate change.

gnat
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Sep 2012
358
Panama
Consultation implies a search for truth...
Absolutely, in fact it's not hard to get the impression that the search for the truth is the entire point:
...The purpose is to emphasize the statement that consultation must have for its object the
investigation of truth...

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, 2nd ed.(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), pp. 72-73)
For that reason I'm tempted to say that when Baha'i are not consulting they're engaging in frivalous banter.
...It is a tremendous task to bring together a group of people to actually do that. I believe that successful consultation begins with much smaller issues than climate change...
In the past that may seem to be the situation when the friends' opinions were diverse, but there've been a number of cases where institutions with like-minded members have taken extraordinary measures --for example assemblies at the national level publicly calling for say, elimination of 'fossil fuels'. This is controversial and there are many good reasons imho why we want to step back. In fact, later guidance from the World Centre seemed far more thoughtful, that a religion is to be involved with religious --not scientific-- issues:
when a scientific question was asked of Shoghi Effendi, he responded in a letter written on his behalf that “we are a religion and not qualified to pass on scientific matters.”
---and while Baha'is need to be involved in---
...full and active participation in the search for solutions to the pressing problems facing humanity...
---we need to expect and be happy with different opinions--
Different Bahá’ís will, given their range of backgrounds, understand ideas about science and climate change in different ways and feel impelled to act differently, and there is no obligation for them to have uniformity of thought in such matters.
 

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