Women on the UHJ

Nov 2019
50
Hamburg
Admittedly, I lean towards discussions with atheists but when I open up my threads to believers as well as atheists I often discover just how much Baha'is have in common with Christians, and in fact many things they have I would like to have, like their faith and love for God. I was not raised in any religion, so I find that hard to come by... :(
I don't want to give you a Christian answer to this now, because it wouldn't belong here, but I want to point you to a passage that can be found in "Prayers and Meditations". There it says "and Thy grace excelleth Thy justice" (81:4). Meditating on this passage in particular can help to understand inwardly what you felt in this encounter.
 
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Jul 2017
527
Olympia, WA, USA
I don't want to give you a Christian answer to this now, because it wouldn't belong here, but I want to point you to a passage that can be found in "Prayers and Meditations". There it says "and Thy grace excelleth Thy justice" (81:4). Meditating on this passage in particular can help to understand inwardly what you felt in this encounter.
I understand what you mean about God's grace, on an intellectual level, but it is difficult to believe in God's grace with all the suffering I see in the world.
I tend more towards logic than belief and logic cannot accomodate an omnipotent benevolent God that allows so much suffering.
 
Nov 2019
50
Hamburg
God gave us complete freedom to shape creation, to nurture it. Unfortunately, we have built an unjust world, with strong socio-economic disparities. Another part of suffering is related to the transience of the world. Every human being will experience a compensation after his death.
 
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Jcc

Mar 2013
597
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
God gave us complete freedom to shape creation, to nurture it. Unfortunately, we have built an unjust world, with strong socio-economic disparities. Another part of suffering is related to the transience of the world. Every human being will experience a compensation after his death.
I agree that we will be compensated after death in the spiritual realm, this is an expression of both God’s justice and mercy. This is the only comfort when we see the suffering of innocents in this world. If we act to try to reduce the suffering of others, that also may provide some comfort, and provides a glimpse into perhaps the wisdom behind God permitting suffering to exist, whether man made suffering, or natural disasters, etc. In other words, it provides us the opportunity to act to change things, and that will make humanity better as a result.

Looking at it from another perspective, God has provided guidance through prophets and scripture, but the standard of justice seems to change over history. One major example is slavery. Slavery was explicitly allowed in the Hebrew Scriptures, and also permitted in the New Testament, and the Quran. Christians practiced slavery for 1800 years, believing it was natural and just. Baha’u’llah was the first Prophet to bring God’s Word that slavery must end and is forbidden.

So, clearly the standard for what is just and how people should treat one another has changed as humanity has developed, and in particular has changed dramatically in the past 200 years. The topic here is the equality of men and women, and Baha’u’llah has also declared that men and women have equal rights and abilities. They should have equal access to education and in fact should learn all the same subjects. Furthermore, in situations where a family does not have enough money to educate their boy and girl children, they should give priority to the girls, since they are the mothers of the next generation. That of course, should not be the case in the future since all children should be educated, but that has practical consequences now in many parts of the world.

Membership of the Universal House of Justice seems to stand out as an odd exception to the principle of equality, and it is a mystery as to the reasons behind it, but in reality it is not an exception to full equality. The reasons why it does not violate equality are: 1. members of the House of Justice do not individually have any authority, only the body as a whole does. 2. The institutions of the Faith where individuals do have certain responsibilities, such as Counsellors and Hands of the Cause (the institution of the “learned”), plus the Letters of the Living, who were the Bab’s Apostles, are open to both men and women. 3. The institutions of local and national governance of the Faith, as well as all future secular governmental institutions, including the International Tribunal that will maintain world peace in the future will have men and women. 4. Every commercial sector of society will benefit from the leadership of women as well as men.

For anyone who still can not reconcile themselves the composition of the Universal House of Justice, I would suggest that you pray and be patient and work toward the great advances in equality that still need to be realized in the world.
 
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Feb 2019
252
Chicago
I have a problem with what Abdu'l-Baha said and as I told you before, I speak directly, I do not beat around the bush.

Question: Are not all Christians Bahá’ís? Is there any difference?
Answer: When Christians act according to the teachings of Christ, they are called Bahá’ís. For the foundations of Christianity and the religion of Bahá’u’lláh are one. The foundations of all the divine Prophets and Holy Books are one. The difference among them is one of terminology only. Each springtime is identical with the former springtime. The distinction between them is only one of the calendar—1911, 1912 and so on. The difference between a Christian and a Bahá’í, therefore, is this: There was a former springtime, and there is a springtime now. No other difference exists because the foundations are the same. Whoever acts completely in accordance with the teachings of Christ is a Bahá’í. The purpose is the essential meaning of Christian, not the mere word. The purpose is the sun itself and not the dawning points. For though the sun is one sun, its dawning points are many. We must not adore the dawning points but worship the sun. We must adore the reality of religion and not blindly cling to the appellation Christianity. The Sun of Reality must be worshiped and followed. The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 247-248

“No other difference exists because the foundations are the same. Whoever acts completely in accordance with the teachings of Christ is a Bahá’í.”

This makes no logical sense at all. That would be like saying that if a Baha’i acts completely in accordance with the teachings of Christ then that Baha’i is a Christian. A person is not a Baha’i unless they recognize Baha’u’llah as a Manifestation of God:
Abdu'l-Baha was a saintly soul. You have a problem with what he said and it makes no sense to you because he was relying on esoteric spiritual truths underlying all religions while you are limiting yourself to exoteric meaning of Christian, Bahai, Muslim etc. For most people Islam is a religion founded by Prophet Mohammed. But those who have studied Islam will tell you the word actually means an absolute and unconditional surrender to the will of God. That is a condition of the heart and can be attained by any person regardless of his/her religion. When Jesus was about to be crucified, he said "It is not my will but Thine shall be done". He surrendered his human will to the Divine will. So you can say that in a esoteric sense, Jesus was practicing Islam (surrendering to God) and so in that sense Jesus was a Muslim. Yes, Jesus practiced Islam long before Mohammed did. But in a exoteric sense a Muslim is someone who follows the teachings of Quran, so Jesus can never be called a Muslim.
 
Aug 2012
20
u.s.
Does anyone have any ideas what I can say to a nonbeliever who thinks that the Baha'i Faith is harmful and anti-human because it excludes women from the UHJ? He says we exclude half the human population from leadership roles but of course he does not understand that women are only excluded from the UHJ because he is in such a huff and he has made up his mind that the Baha'i Faith is no good based upon this one thing. :eek:
You can start by proving that this does not have to do anything with equality between men and women. You can prove this by citing many quotes from the Writings and draw on many examples in the history of the Faith.

Afterwards, you will proceed to show that servitude to humanity occupies the highest rank in the Faith.

Then, having put the issue of equality to rest, and presented the paramount importance of servitude, you can present this exclusion as a TEST: Those who want to join the Baha'i Faith, are they joining out of desire for leadership or service? If service, it is for them. If leadership, this test will block them!

Now why not 9 women and 9 men? Because, in my humble opinion, men are less spiritually mature than women in these matters.
 
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Jul 2017
527
Olympia, WA, USA
You can start by proving that this does not have to do anything with equality between men and women. You can prove this by citing many quotes from the Writings and draw on many examples in the history of the Faith.

Afterwards, you will proceed to show that servitude to humanity occupies the highest rank in the Faith.

Then, having put the issue of equality to rest, and presented the paramount importance of servitude, you can present this exclusion as a TEST: Those who want to join the Baha'i Faith, are they joining out of desire for leadership or service? If service, it is for them. If leadership, this test will block them!

Now why not 9 women and 9 men? Because, in my humble opinion, men are less spiritually mature than women in these matters.
Thanks, but he and I have moved onto greener pastures. He is a stubborn one but he finally dropped that subject of women on the UHJ, so I do not want to bring it up again. We are now discussing the Bible, he loves to talk about the Bible, strangest atheist I have ever known, but a really nice man. He lives in Denmark.

He will read anything I post about the Baha'i Faith, all the links to books and articles, a very curious person, a seeker.
 
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Jul 2017
527
Olympia, WA, USA
Abdu'l-Baha was a saintly soul. You have a problem with what he said and it makes no sense to you because he was relying on esoteric spiritual truths underlying all religions while you are limiting yourself to exoteric meaning of Christian, Bahai, Muslim etc. For most people Islam is a religion founded by Prophet Mohammed. But those who have studied Islam will tell you the word actually means an absolute and unconditional surrender to the will of God. That is a condition of the heart and can be attained by any person regardless of his/her religion. When Jesus was about to be crucified, he said "It is not my will but Thine shall be done". He surrendered his human will to the Divine will. So you can say that in a esoteric sense, Jesus was practicing Islam (surrendering to God) and so in that sense Jesus was a Muslim. Yes, Jesus practiced Islam long before Mohammed did. But in a exoteric sense a Muslim is someone who follows the teachings of Quran, so Jesus can never be called a Muslim.
I understand what you mean but that could be misleading when speaking to a large audience.
Abdu'l-Baha was a very spiritual man, but he was also a PR man, very unlike His Father who never would have minced words or said anything that could be misconstrued or confusing.

I tend to be a literalist so in my mind a Christian is not a Baha'i because he/she has rejected Baha'u'llah.

“The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, or to become the instruments for its promotion. These few have been endued with the Divine Elixir that can, alone, transmute into purest gold the dross of the world, and have been empowered to administer the infallible remedy for all the ills that afflict the children of men. No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.” Gleanings, p. 183
 
Nov 2019
50
Hamburg
Looking at it from another perspective, God has provided guidance through prophets and scripture, but the standard of justice seems to change over history. One major example is slavery. Slavery was explicitly allowed in the Hebrew Scriptures, and also permitted in the New Testament, and the Quran. Christians practiced slavery for 1800 years, believing it was natural and just. Baha’u’llah was the first Prophet to bring God’s Word that slavery must end and is forbidden.
I have two thoughts about that. Recently I read in a relatively recent book on the development of religions that religions have changed through the development of society. Societies all over the world do not develop identically, they go through different phases of development. If I imagine that society cannot react appropriately, but has to adhere to a concrete legal requirement for 1000 years, this does not correspond to my understanding of progression.

Prophets are, at least in our western tradition, a relatively young phenomenon compared to the duration of human existence. The development of early religion, from burial rites and territorial demarcations, knew no prophetic phenomena. This is a young phenomenon in our Western tradition. There does not seem to be a recurring cycle.
 
Feb 2019
252
Chicago
I understand what you mean but that could be misleading when speaking to a large audience.
I have explained in very simple terms. Those who are seeking truth will get it. Those who are set in their beliefs will never get it.


Abdu'l-Baha was a very spiritual man, but he was also a PR man, very unlike His Father who never would have minced words or said anything that could be misconstrued or confusing.
He was also very direct and blunt at times. For example, he said a man who does not meditate is lower than a beast. You don't find too many saints being so blunt.

I tend to be a literalist so in my mind a Christian is not a Baha'i because he/she has rejected Baha'u'llah.
You speak your mind freely and don't hide your feelings. Some people seem to believe "God gave us the ability to speak to enable us to hide our feelings" and you are not among them. You and I had our differences because I found that you interpret Bahaullah's words literally while I try to glean the hidden esoteric meaning. Sometimes I may not be successful but I try. As I said, in this particular instance, you are having a problem with Abdul Baha's perspective because he is taking the esoteric approach while you are going with exoteric and literal meaning. I agree with Abdul Baha in this case. The problem is in your own mind because you have created a certain understanding of the Bahai teachings in your mind and the truth that Abdul Baha expressed is not fitting in to your understanding. If the truth is too big for our understanding, we have to expand our consciousness to receive the truth but God and his saints will not alter the truth to fit our understanding.

“The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, or to become the instruments for its promotion.
People were no different in Jesus's time. He said “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few"

These few have been endued with the Divine Elixir that can, alone, transmute into purest gold the dross of the world, and have been empowered to administer the infallible remedy for all the ills that afflict the children of men.
Jesus had only 12 disciples.

No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.” Gleanings, p. 183
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand" - Jesus Christ

Do you see how similar the teachings of Bahaullah and Jesus are. The teachings of Krishna are also like that. If you take time to meditate and glean the true meaning of Bahaullah's words, you will automatically understand and love the teachings of Jesus, Moses, Krishna, Buddha etc. If you stick to literal meanings, you will have disagreements not just with non-Bahai but also Bahai because not all Bahai are literalists.
 
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