But perhaps the gf is *not* undermining the infallibility of the UHJ. Perhaps she is in a Bahai community in which people do not understand what infallibility *means* -- and she is simply saying that she does not believe in that. We do not know how deepened the Bahai community is, we cannot jump to the conclusion that the gf is wrong.
I was thinking of a story about Abdu'l-Baha, that he met an atheist and told him "the God you do not believe in, I do not believe in either."
Abdu'l-Baha's approach sends the person who *thinks* that they reject a religious doctrine back to the books, to find out what the teaching really is. Maybe they then find they really cannot agree with what is in the scriptures. Or maybe the process of study leads them to change their minds. Or maybe they find they do agree with the scriptures, but not with what religious people have been telling them is religious teaching.
I think this is a more constructive approach than judging someone we do not know, and telling someone else not to associate with them. Besides, it keeps the door open and gives two good outcomes against one bad one.
The touchstone always is -- what would Abdu'l-Baha do? What would he approve of?
All research or scholarship questions
british_bahai wrote: When all members of the UHJ reach a decision, it is infallible. Its as simple as that. Whether one wants to accept it or not is a reflection of their faith.
Fine, it's a reflection of their faith. If a person expresses difficulty accepting the infallibilty of the House, what can be done to assist them? I personally do not believe that it is particularly effective to simply say that "it's as simple as that" to them. We have to find a way to work with people's spiritual journey; otherwise the issue is simply swept under the rug, they feel fearful ("gosh, I'm not supposed to express any doubts, but I have some, guess I'd better hide them") and then the person never finds a way to certitude, they remain in doubt for the rest of their lives, and that's unsatisfactory. Human minds and souls work differently. What works for you or me may not work for everyone. People approach things differently. It helps to read the Four Valleys, where Baha'u'llah comments on some of the different approaches of seekers after God. The matter of the relationship of the believer to the House of Justice is a supremely important one, and not everyone approaches it the same way.
For example, suggesting that the woman pray fervently and repeatedly for guidance, and that she read and re-read the Master's Will, as well as Shoghi Effendi's comments on it, (and maybe offer to spend time with her doing so and discussing it in depth) may lead her to not merely accept this at an intellectual level, but to actually work with it, face an inner struggle, and resolve it not intellectually or by forcing herself to just accept it; but rather a growing love can emerge, or a spiritual realization based on that struggle generated by the prayer. Each person has to seek his or her own level of relationship. I think we have to open up our communities a bit, so that the believer who asks questions, including deep and challenging questions, isn't seen as undermining the House. Granted, there are times when challenges are disguised as questions, but we have to distinguish the sincerity of the person, and there are plenty of sincere believers who struggle with this, and we can't just shut them down. We have to respect people's search. There are answers, satisfying answers, for the sincere.
This is also one of the functions of the Protection Board -- to answer the questions of the friends, and to assist them in attainment of certitude. You might refer her there.
Sen McGlinn wrote:But perhaps the gf is *not* undermining the infallibility of the UHJ. Perhaps she is in a Bahai community in which people do not understand what infallibility *means* -- and she is simply saying that she does not believe in that. We do not know how deepened the Bahai community is, we cannot jump to the conclusion that the gf is wrong.
The lack of a person/community's deepening is no basis to decide whether something is "right" or "wrong".
Besides, there is no "right" or "wrong" - it has clearly been stated that the UHJ is infallible.
I'm not judging anyone, Sen! Re-read my posts, I am emphasising the fact that the UHJ is infallible.Sen McGlinn wrote:I think this is a more constructive approach than judging someone we do not know, and telling someone else not to associate with them. Besides, it keeps the door open and gives two good outcomes against one bad one.