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Sean H.
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:25 pm

Re: Covenant and fundamentalism (Universal House of Justice)

Postby Sean H. » Sun Nov 26, 2006 3:47 am

BW (& other moderators),

The following URL links to a post I made some time ago that documents your distortions and hostile tone:

http://bahai-library.com/forum2/viewtop ... ight=#5135

I would start compiling a comprehensive list of your distortions and misrepresentations, but my expectation is that Jonah would "lock" any such thread with some kind of comment about "past grievances". (???)

Question to Jonah: have you modified your statement that this site is "independent", and so forth? Is this site being either directly or indirectly supported, financially or otherwise, by people that are demanding that specific forms of censorship be practiced by yourself or other moderators? Is your statement that you have not been subject to "editorial interference" (or similar) still correct? Or are you getting pressure from Baha'i institutions (including indirectly via powerful or prominent individuals in Baha'i leadership) to censor critics on this forum?

(more ....)

Baha'i Warrior wrote:
epierce wrote:You appear to have either no idea what science actually is about in its totality (did you actually state on this forum that you are a pre-med student???), or you are fabricating a ridiculous distortion in order to avoid the real point, which is that the Baha'i teachings are clear that doctinal rigidity, fundamentalism ,etc, is incompatible with Baha'i theology.

I never disagreed with this point ("the Baha'i teachings are clear..."), so I don't know what you're talking about.

What I was talking about was something that you decided to not respond to:

"Lets pause a moment and think about what is to follow in what you wrote.

What follows completely disregards the whole point that the Guardian is making, that science and religion, faith and reason, are complementary.

It completley discards the Guardian's advice to stay current on the leading advances in science and philosophy.

It is a distortion, and is an invitation to ignorance and insularization.

In other words, it is an attempt to make the Baha'i Faith into exactly the same things that its enemies have made of their religions. "

I also previously pointed out the following, which you did not respond to:

"...Abdu'l-Baha said that misintepretations of religious belief that are in conflict with science/reason should be discarded in favor of science. "

In addition, you did not respond to the quote I posted from the Universal House of Justice in which it is stated that "living with ambiguities" is unavoidable/inescapable/etc., when dealing with issues of faith&reason/science&religion.

Rather, you stated the following interpretation, which to me is significantly at variance (rigid, narrow) with what the Baha'i writings contain and what the Universal House of Justice has said:

"Yes, we persue knowledge from all sources. We disgard the ones that don't work or that are not compatible with the Baha'i teachings. But what philosophers (or science) says bears no weight if what is said is a direct contradiction of some aspect of the Writings. Remeber: UNITY. "

What is extremely curious about your statement is that it utterly fails to address the issue at hand: the Universal House of Justice's recommendation of "integrative paradigms" as being something that Baha'is should contribute to.

Your statements also fail to address the Gaurdian's statements about how Baha'is should keep current on science and philosophy.

Your statements fail to address the Universal House of Justice's warning about Baha'i fundamentalism.

I have posted voluminous material that adresses specific issues, but you state that I'm being "vague". The other moderators have been clear that they do not want detailed criticisms of Baha'i institutions posted on this forum, yet you keep insisting that I provide them, and then somehow use the fact that I'm complying with Jonah's directives as "evidence" that I haven't "made my case".

I find your overall position to be extremely peculiar. The impression I get is that you have no interest in any ideas that are not expressly in support of a narrow, doctrinally narrow, conformist interpretation of the Baha'i teachings, and beyond that, you are more than willing to express hostility toward anyone that points out that such narrow/rigid interpretations are not consistent with Baha'i writings/guidance.

When that fails, you engage in baiting.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:
epierce wrote:The fact is that you have repeatedly disregarded basic points made by the Universal House of Justice and in the Baha'i writings, and have refused to admit your errors, or apologised for misleading people or for your frequent distortions and insults.

What "errors"? Obviously I have made errors, and I readily admit to them. That you think I made errors is your opinion, and besides that you are vague and frankly I don't know what you're talking about or what you're getting at.

Yes, I agree. You are frequently in error, and do not apear to understand the issues. Why you continue to insist on commenting on matters that your do not understand (or refuse to acknowledge) is frustrating.

epierce wrote:This is of course a serious and disturbing distortion of my previous statements. What I've done is describe patterns and tendencies in the dominant form of Baha'i culture that I've seen for over three decades in a dozen places across north america as well as in europe. I've talked to somewhere around 50 people, half of whom are Baha'i scholars, that have similar observations, and read material from that many more. I've had numerous friends attacked, usually viciously, by narrow-minded Baha'is that were abusers of authority. The rhetoric used is predictable. I've seen it used in public meetings, as well as behind the scenes. I've seen some of the worst abusers removed from their positions in Bahai administration by the World Center itself after years of complaints from the friends and famlies of those attacked and abused.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:The ex-Baha'i "rhetoric" is no less predictable.

This is offensive, hostile and completely non-responsive to the point.

epierce wrote:There is plenty of "evidence" on this forum that Baha'is are closed minded, many of your responses provide perfect examples.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:Many of my responses are based on my knowledge of the Writings, which while limitied nevertheless try to be in accord or harmony with the Teachings.

Again, this is a weird conflation. Instead of responding to the large number of points I've made from Baha'i writings/guidance, you attempt to use the writings, in some generic rhetoric sense, to validate your viewpoint.

Your logic is overly circular.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:If I fail in this, then by all means please let me know. But so far all you can say is that there is plenty of "evidence" in my responses that Baha'is are closed minded, which certainly leaves the reader with a sense of vagueness in your posts.

I've actually done that numerous times, and you rarely address specific points.

As I stated further above, if Jonah gives permission, I'll start compiling all the attacks, distortions and misrepresentations that you've posted in response to my statements about the plight of critics, non-conformists and reformers in the Baha'i community.

As you probably know, searching the forums' archives it is a tedious, time consuming process.

I will however attempt to complete the task given the extremely disturbing fact that that you claim to have become a moderator.

epierce wrote:Make no mistake, I do not think that you (BW) have any idea what I'm talking about

Baha'i Warrior wrote:If that's the case, I think I'll be forgiven for having no idea of what you're talking about,

This is starting to sound like the Three Stooges. Are you actually saying that you have no idea what I'm talking about when I state that I don't think you know what I'm talking about?


Baha'i Warrior wrote: ...
as you obviously are not here on this forum to create unity among Baha'is, but rather to distort their intentions, generalize all of them into your categories, and through disunity try to make Baha'is look like they are disunited.

There is no "real" unity in your approach as far as I can tell, just conformism and hostility to "outside" ideas and criticism.

It is readily apparent to most people that Baha'is are "faking" it a lot of the time, and that their high rhetoric is typically not matched by much of anything "real" in the world.

The reality is that I've seen what happens after "mass teaching", and it isn't pretty seeing the disillusionment of the new converts once they realize how empty the rhetoric usually is. The ones that dare to persist in their complaints (who resist the usual brainwashing) are "labeled" as being "spiritually unworthy", or similar.

In other words, the experience is dehumanizing.

Hardly a spiritually mature version of anything remotely resembling any kind of "real" unity.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:If I may ask, why do you post on this forum anyway? Do you try to cover up the real reason you are on the forum by attacking individual Baha'is?

Again, your are posting insults and distortions, and attempting to impugn my motives.

The only people I've "attacked" (got mad at) are people that are hostile and that have insulted me and distorted my statements.

For the record: there is no "cover up".

You have a pattern of attacking people that point out the flaws, problems and inconsistencies in your viewpoint.

As I've stated before, your behavior is highly consistent with a long pattern of behavior that I've seen in the Baha'i community. There must be some reason that the same kind of dysfunctional, conformist ideas and behavior tend to pop up over and over in various places whenever there are even a small number of Baha'is.

The one single consistent factor that I've seen critics point out is the "gravity well of Shiism" that is a legacy of Baha'i history.

Secondary factors include the tendency toward liberal bureaucratic solutions, and the inordinate influence of evangelism and fundamentalism.

epierce wrote:Since I have no idea who your family members are, I can't comment on the specifics of their "hatred". If they are fundamentalists or evangelicals or conservatives, it is obvious why they would "reject the Faith". Besides that, if they have formed their opinions about Baha'i as a result of conversing with you, I can see why they might have some very negative reactions to it, or at least your presentation of it.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:Nice try. These are distant family members who I almost never meet, and had become ex-Baha'is long before I discussed the Faith with them.

"Nice try", how?

Are you going to actually tell us why theose people "hate" Baha'i, or not?

epierce wrote:The problem with most of your points on the topic as I see it is that you are incapable of admitting that the myth that "Baha'is are perfect", or "Baha'i institutions are perfect", or "Baha'i culture" is perfect, is incorrect.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:Obviously you wouldn't have said that if you had actually looked at my previous posts, including the most recent ones.

No, the reason I said that is precisely *because* I've looked at your posts.

You are unwilling to admit any SERIOUS flaws as far as I can tell, but what the heck, feel free to surprise me and post something to the contrary (including URLs to the pertinent thread, I can't spend all my time randomly searching the forum's archives)

For background, please note that one of the founding supporters of this web site, John Cornell, had a "pet peeve" about the prickly, defensive tendency that many Baha'is have about admitting imperfections.

Cornell was very open, at least to me, about the decades of attacks (starting in the 1950s?) that he and his family had to endure from Baha'is in order to make their contributions about legal issues, administrative reforms, etc.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:Now:

The U.H.J. is infallible when all the members are together to decide on certain Baha'i issues. The individuals themselves are not perfect, but the U.H.J.'s decisions are infallible.

I never said N.S.A.s were perfect, and I mentioned this in one of my most previous posts (where I said some N.S.A.s were shut down because of internal conflicts, disunity, etc.).

And also I never said Baha'is were perfect. You are most mistaken in that.

Ok, then how would you personally characterize the main imperfections that exist in the Baha'i community, Baha'i culture, etc.?

Is it that Baha'is aren't working hard enough to convert the world, or is there anything else?

Have your read or heard Glenford Mitchell's harsh analysis of the american Baha'i community several years ago? Particularly on the theme of the Guardian's "double crusade" message?

Do you think that a member of the Universal House of Justice was attempting to "create disunity" when he criticised american Baha'is?

Are you aware that the Guardian was very direct in stating that the american Bahais needed to "internally purify" themselves from ingrained habits, corrupt tendencies and cultural influences before they have any chance of making any kind of difference in the world?

Baha'i Warrior wrote:
Personally, I'm not going to make any personal attacks (including fabrications) on you as you have done with me, because I'm not going to sink to that low of a level.

Actually you just did severals times.

Baha'i Warrior wrote:This is the Baha'i difference, my friend.

Actually the difference is that you refuse to acknowedge the abundant statements from the Baha'is writings that I've provided recently and in the past that show that your viewpoint is inconsistent with a number of core areas of Baha'i belief.

I'm also still waiting for you to show that you have a well informed idea of what science is.


ps, why don'y you use your real name?

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Postby Jonah » Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:50 am

Jonah, have you modified your statement that this site is "independent"

No, Eric, the site is under no-one's control but my own. Brett, Baha'i Warrior, and Zazaban have kindly agreed to help delete spam on this forum, and Brett works tirelessly behind the scenes to help with the programming, but other than that it's just me.

Eric, I know you and I have corresponded occasionally for more than a decade now, and I recall an enjoyable phone call in 2000 or 2001 when you explained much of your political understandings and your history with the Baha'i community. I value your input.

At the same time, I wish for this forum to be civil and respectful, and these days I find I have less patience for discord -- mostly because I have less time and energy than before to help manage any conflicts. Eric, please take a breather before responding and please keep anything ad hominem to private emails and private messaging, or I'll have to keep locking threads after you join them. And if that continues, for my own peace of mind I'll choose to ask you to take a week off from the forum. :ai2

Thanks, -Jonah

P.S. As Eric predicted, I'm going to lock this thread now, with some comment about not airing personal grievances.

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