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All research or scholarship questions
Baha'i Warrior
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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:07 am

I'm lost...is this your own personal story? You mention "the wife and the husband."

Anyhow, it is saddening to think that there are people who don't think at all about the meaning of life... However, as the story poignantly illustrates, if there is an excess of time devoted to thinking about these things when one should be doing his job instead, then that's a problem, and so the boss and wife are somewhat justified in their vexation. If a man can't provide for his wife because he thinks too much, it is perhaps better for him not to think for a while till he's back on his feet.

Sean H.
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substitute "drink" for "think"

Postby Sean H. » Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:49 am

To state what is presumably obvious, it is a joke: substitute "drink" for "think".

(where "drink" means alcoholic beverage)

The humor lies in equating "thinking" as a addictive/dangerous/unacceptable social activity with alcohol consumption.

Since I 'm not up on posts for the last couple of months, I can't say how pertinent the story is as satire, but if richard felt a need to post it, I would guess the pertinence level is quite high. :)

As I've pointed out before, research indicates that most people in the Baha'i community self-identify as having a dominant need for a sense of "group belonging". (see the article on this web site titled "Common Threads"). I've seen this as "too much warm/fuzzy", feel good fluff, if not excess expressions of self-congratulatory smugness about the superiority of Baha'i culture.

Unfortunately in some cases when "group belonging" is the dominant need in a community, hostility to a minority of other people primarily interested in intellectual, mystical or artistic persuits, or giving services, arises. I've seen a consistent pattern of anti-intellectualism in many Baha'i communities.

On the other hand, some anti-intellectualism is simply an expression of displeasure with some of the more silly, elitist or snobby aspects of academia, or with political correctness, and so forth.

Hope everyone has been well lately.

Regards,
Eric
Sacramento

ArtemKostin
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yes richard

Postby ArtemKostin » Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:25 am

Please continue Richard,
im listening.

Benny

ArtemKostin
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Postby ArtemKostin » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:11 am

Thanks Richard.
Is there a particular writing you would suggest ?

Baha'i Warrior
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Re: substitute "drink" for "think"

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:47 am

epierce wrote:As I've pointed out before, research indicates that most people in the Baha'i community self-identify as having a dominant need for a sense of "group belonging". (see the article on this web site titled "Common Threads"). I've seen this as "too much warm/fuzzy", feel good fluff, if not excess expressions of self-congratulatory smugness about the superiority of Baha'i culture.


Yes, we need "group belonging." We need even more of this, my friend. Every group needs more group belonging. Without a sense of beloning, we are not united.

epierce wrote:Unfortunately in some cases when "group belonging" is the dominant need in a community, hostility to a minority of other people primarily interested in intellectual, mystical or artistic persuits, or giving services, arises. I've seen a consistent pattern of anti-intellectualism in many Baha'i communities.


Baha'is strive for unity, my good fellow. "Intellectualism" that is disruptive cannot be tolerated.

epierce wrote:On the other hand, some anti-intellectualism is simply an expression of displeasure with some of the more silly, elitist or snobby aspects of academia, or with political correctness, and so forth.


As long as it's not one of "those" aspects, then it's okay. Also if it's not subversive.

Baha'i Warrior
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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:58 pm

Richard:

Just wondering, you have mentioned that you don't like organized relgion because of sectarianism. But there are no sects of the Baha'i Faith. Have you looked into it by any chance, gone to Baha'i firesides/devotionals and other Baha'i gatherings? I don't know if there are any firesides in your area, but that'd be an opportunity to share your thoughts/beliefs, see what the Baha'i beliefs are, etc. From what little you've shared, I take it that you have high regard for the Baha'i Faith. You also seem to be strongly devoted to God, and seem interested in the extramundane, so perhaps this would be the next step? What do you think? :)

—BW

Sean H.
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false unity vs. real unity, group fascism

Postby Sean H. » Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:36 am

Baha'i Warrior wrote:
epierce wrote:As I've pointed out before, research indicates that most people in the Baha'i community self-identify as having a dominant need for a sense of "group belonging". (see the article on this web site titled "Common Threads"). I've seen this as "too much warm/fuzzy", feel good fluff, if not excess expressions of self-congratulatory smugness about the superiority of Baha'i culture.


Yes, we need "group belonging." We need even more of this, my friend. Every group needs more group belonging. Without a sense of beloning, we are not united.


There is a reason that the term "group think" does not have positive connotations. It represents the tendency toward smug self-congratulatory blather and narcissism that can lead to stasis, conformism and repression.

As history amply demonstrates, "group belonging" can easily go bad and reanimate tribal impulses and lead to the patterns of thought that are pre-cursors of fascism, totalitarianism, etc. and lead to dehumanizing, dysfunctional bureaucratic systems that attempt to maintain their own survival/power in ways that actually conflict with such organization's original legitimate purposes, good intentions, and so forth.

But my main point is that "group belonging" is one of many "needs" that typically arise within "diverse" groups of people, and appear to be part of our species evolutionary adaption. Placing one form of "need" above others, to the point where other needs are excluded, becomes "unhealthy", stops necessary "feedback loops", and so forth.

When people with "other needs" (such as artistic, mystical, intellectual) attempt to assert those needs in a community that has placed "all its marbles" in a narrow, confined version of "group belonging", the group's "comfort zone" is upset, and the community has to either go through a perdiod of hard work and self-examinination (known as "chaos" to people that study organizational change), or impose conformity (which creates false unity, not "real unity").

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC29/Peck.htm

The Joy Of Community
Are organizations beset by "demons" and in need of "exorcism"?
M. Scott Peck says they are -
and that community is their salvation
an Interview with M. Scott Peck, by Alan AtKisson
One of the articles in Living Together (IC#29)
Summer 1991, Page 26
Copyright (c)1991, 1996 by Context Institute
. . .


Baha'i Warrior wrote:
epierce wrote:Unfortunately in some cases when "group belonging" is the dominant need in a community, hostility to a minority of other people primarily interested in intellectual, mystical or artistic persuits, or giving services, arises. I've seen a consistent pattern of anti-intellectualism in many Baha'i communities.


Baha'is strive for unity, my good fellow. "Intellectualism" that is disruptive cannot be tolerated.



"Unity", like "group belonging" is easily distorted and abused and then, once corrupted, can be used to manipulate weak-minded people into betraying the higher principles of their group's belief system, or to weaken internal accountability, silence critics and thwart reformers.

Every single despotic, fascist or totalitarian system that has ever existed, including the ones that persecuted Babis' and Baha'is, used exactly the same kind of language about "disruptive" forms of "intellectualism" to repress critics and reformers (such as Baha'is).

To see Baha'is using such terminology is *extremely* disturbing, but sadly in my experience, not unexpected.


Baha'i Warrior wrote:
epierce wrote:On the other hand, some anti-intellectualism is simply an expression of displeasure with some of the more silly, elitist or snobby aspects of academia, or with political correctness, and so forth.


As long as it's not one of "those" aspects, then it's okay. Also if it's not subversive.


I'm not completely sure what the "it" is that you are referring to, but apparently "it" is "intellectualism".

Obviously people are going to have wildly different definitions of "subversive".

In most cases, "subversives" exist because there is some form of abuse of power or authority, and/or a system or organization has become highly dysfunctional. Dysfunctional organizations lack transparency, promote a culture of lies and distortions, sometimes to the point of becoming cult-like, are incapable of executing their goals and vision with much effectiveness, and are easily exploited by corrupt leaders who take all the credit for the hard work of exploited believers.

When an exclusionary version of "group belonging" is coupled with abuses of power and dysfunctional organizational culture, anti-intellectual forms of repression and conformism are inevitable by-products.

People with an over-abundance of ego and ambition can find such circumstances to be full of opportunities for advancement as long as they are willing to take on the role of thought police, and trash critics, non-conformists and reformers who dare to challenge the status quo.

As I posted several months ago, Abdu'l-Baha warned specifically about corrupting tendencies and the dangers of power and leadership within the Baha'i community. Unfortunately those words do not appear to have sunk in very deeply. I have appended them below.

Regards,
Eric


- - -

No obstacle should be placed before any soul which might prevent it from finding the truth. Baha'u'llah revealed his directions, teachings and laws so that souls might know God, and not that any utterance might become an obstacle in their way.

Holding to the letter of the law is many times an indication of a desire for leadership. One who assumes to be the enforcer of the law shows an intellectual understanding of the Cause, but that spiritual guidance in them is not yet established.

The alphabet of things is for children, that they may in time use their reasoning powers. "Following the spirit" is a guidance by and through the heart, the prompter of the spirit. The Pharisees were extremely orthodox, holding strictly to the law. They were the cause of the condemnation and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus. . . .

The ones in real authority are known by their humility and self-sacrifice and show no attitude of superiority over the friends.

Some time ago a tablet was written stating that none are appointed to any authority to do anything but to serve the Cause as true servants of the friends-and for this no tablet is necessary; such service when true and unselfish requires no announcement, no following, nor written document.

Let the servant be known by his deeds, by his life!

To be approved by God alone should be one's aim.

When God calls a soul to a high station, it is because that soul has supplicated to be taken into His service. No envies, jealousies, calumnies, slanders, plots, nor schemes, will ever move God to remove a soul from its intended place, for by the grace of God, such actions on the part of the people are the test of the servant, testing his strength, forbearance, endurance, and sincerity under adversity. At the same time those who show forth envies, jealousies, etc. toward a servant, are depriving themselves of their own stations, and not another of his, for they prove by their own acts that they are not only unworthy of being called to any station awaiting them, but also prove they cannot withstand the very first test-that of rejoicing over the success of their neighbor, at which God rejoices. Only by such a sincere joy can the gift of God descend unto a pure heart.

Envy closes the door of Bounty, and jealousy prevents one from ever attaining to the Kingdom of Abha.

No! Before God! No one can deprive another of his rightful station, that can only be lost by one's unwillingness or failure to do the will of God, or by seeking to use the Cause of God for one's own gratification or ambition.

No one save a severed soul or a sincere heart finds response from God.

By assisting in the success of another servant in the Cause does one
in reality lay the foundation for one's own success and aspirations. Ambitions are an abomination before the Lord!

How regrettable! Some even use the affairs of the Cause and its activities as a means of revenge on account of some personal spite, or fancied injury, interfering with the work of another, or seeking its failure. Such only destroy their own success, did they know the truth.

Star of the West, vol. 6, no. 6 (June 24, 1915)

---end---

Sean H.
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Postby Sean H. » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:32 am

Baha'i Warrior wrote:Richard:

Just wondering, you have mentioned that you don't like organized relgion because of sectarianism. But there are no sects of the Baha'i Faith.
. . .

—BW


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectarianism

Sectarianism means that one religious group is hostile towards another religious group, it isn't about whether or not there are "sects" in the Baha'i Faith.

Note to Baha'is: no one else in the universe cares
about the lack of "sects" in the Baha'i Faith anyway.

In spite of the usual utopian Baha'i rhetoric, if you are a Christian, it is just a matter of time before you hear Baha'is (usually from leftist or liberal backgrounds) insulting Christianity.

Similar for Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

My wife (Catholic, spanish national) was insulted and berated, in spanish, for not "converting" to Baha'i after we got married.

It is not unusual for Baha'is to place much more emphasis on converting people from other religions than really understanding them.

Regards,
Eric

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:23 am

Dear Eric,

I am frankly a little puzzled about your purposes for visiting this forum. (I say this without any hostility, by the way--it is just a frank question and curiosity.)

From what I have seen, you have never challenged the authority of the Faith's infallible Centers, but rather have tended to even use them to support your point of view. While I understand you may simply be using them to correct what you see as harmful tendencies among Bahá'ís for the sake of improving one segment of society (the Bahá'í community) without needing to hold any belief in it, I am puzzled as to whether you may still hold a belief in its validity but simply challenge the actions of individual Bahá'ís.

If the latter, I wonder whether you are also aware of the Bahá'í Writings which urge us to work within the Bahá'í community, as a "laboratory" by which we can develop our own spiritual virtues in the process of learning to work with others in unity--utilizing the social and administrative channels we have at our disposal and within which our Writings urge us to work--or the Bahá'í Writings which urge us to channel any frustrations we may have with our fellow Bahá'ís into teaching and service--or the Writings which urge us to show discretion about revealing evidence of disunity and placing an overemphasis on the negative and shortcomings of our fellow Bahá'ís (which are shortcomings I would presume an "integralist" approach would recognize as being negative tendencies present in all human beings). I mean if you are an actual full proponent of the (infallible) Bahá'í Writings, then it would only make sense, I would say, to try to abide by these exhortations as well, no? (This is not to say that we would not welcome--as our Writings encourage us to do--a constructive examination of such potential for negative behavior among Bahá'í representatives (or even just teachers) for the abuse of power and so on, which our Writings certainly do not rule out as possible, and in fact, as you seem to me to be saying, Bahá'í Writings do exist about speaking about the importance for Bahá'í representatives to demonstrate great detachment and have procedures for removal from office, etc.)

If on the other hand, you do not believe in whole in the Bahá'í system, then I wonder why you bother to use Bahá'í quotations favorably to support your points. I mean if the Bahá'í Faith is, in your view, a sham (as it must be if it is not infallible), then why work within it? Presumably you would need to show the fallacy of the system itself in order to be fully effective in your aim.

In any case, do you think that words you make such as in this thread, "There is plenty of "evidence" on this forum that Baha'is are closed minded", will be effective to quelling fanatical tendencies from within the Bahá'i community (or not exacerbate them)? Your statement (and similar ones elsewhere) was not at all nuanced like "Bahá'ís can also be close minded"; what you said is rather a sweeping generalization such as partisan pundits make in the media and who pit citizens against each other. Do you think that such strong statements will win over Bahá'ís and convince them to look seriously at the cases where there can in fact be--as is present in any congregation of human individuals--certain degrees of abusive assertions (whether they are as simple as closing off discussion on a point the person doesn't wish to consider or something more serious)?


epierce wrote:Note to Baha'is: no one else in the universe cares
about the lack of "sects" in the Baha'i Faith anyway.


Well our Writings (which again you often cite) do go to the trouble of making such assertions:

A schism, a permanent cleavage in the vast body of its adherents, they could never create.

(World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 196)


And it seems to me that if people within the Faith are capable of embracing such points, then people can also be attracted into the Bahá'í Faith for such reasons. Polls have been done which highlight distaste of people with partisanship and sectarianism (yes, sectarianism can also occur between religious groups and obviously Bahá'ís are advised to avoid this too--and countless Bahá'ís are participating in good faith in interfaith councils and in other joint efforts with those of other Faiths; I'm not sure if you have such a wide experience with Bahá'í communities that you could not be aware of such efforts, unless perhaps you will categorize and dismiss these as "feel-good" activities).

epierce wrote:In spite of the usual utopian Baha'i rhetoric, if you are a Christian, it is just a matter of time before you hear Baha'is (usually from leftist or liberal backgrounds) insulting Christianity.


Yes, Bahá'ís are fallible creatures. The Bahá'í Faith doesn't pretend to magically and completely transform people the instant they enter the Faith. Given the strong power of fear for keeping traditionally-minded people within their own Faiths (at least so long as their religious leaders do not endorse it, as has happened in a few communities), it would only stand to reason that the Bahá'í Faith would find more adherents from more non-traditional backgrounds. Do our Writings seek to correct tendencies to go to extremes and reject challenges to the Founders of these Faiths or even to those noble exponents of these Faiths that still exist today? Yes, they do. Do our administrative representatives all ignore this? No. In the U.S., to take one example, there is a program on presenting the Faith to Christians which points out this sometime tendency and our need to address it and overcome it. The Bahá'í Faith, as I'm sure you would agree, does not operate in a vacuum, and it is only inevitable that the excesses of secularism afflicting society today (excesses which our Writings attribute to the failure of preexisting religious hierarchies) will encroach into SOME individual Bahá'ís lives. If one wishes to correct such negative tendencies (which are by no means universal), then attacking them externally will be even less effective than half-hearted attempts to convince people otherwise. We might also ask here whether there is any religious or intellectual community in the world which does not possess individuals with shortcomings--or whether it is possible that we ourselves do not possess shortcomings and are in a better position to first correct them internal to ourselves? From my own experience with those disgruntled with or alienated from the Faith, there is often a tendency to view Bahá'ís as separate from theirselves, even during their time as Bahá'ís. While it is understandable we may, as newcomers (or even those born in the Faith), hold such points of view, what our Faith really calls us to do is to take ownership for the Faith--both as individuals, as well as our identificiation with our own local, national, and international community and institutions.

epierce wrote:My wife (Catholic, spanish national) was insulted and berated, in spanish, for not "converting" to Baha'i after we got married.


If this was not due to a misunderstanding or something else, then that is truly unfortunate and obviously contrary to our teachings. But again, Bahá'ís are not immune to prejudice, unfortunate as that is, nor do our Writings at all claim we would be. We are in fact advised to realize that there is a difference between character and faith, but we are advised to work within the Bahá'í system, whether by taking a lead in deepening the community (which, as our Writings indicate, is the real solid foundation for overcoming these kind of problems) or by proposing to our institutions to address any such tendencies):

Shoghi Effendi has made several statements on this important subject, and we have been asked to share with you the following two excerpts from letters written on his behalf to individual believers:

'There is a difference between character and faith; it is often very hard to accept this fact and put up with it, but the fact remains that a person may believe in and love the Cause--even to being ready to die for it--and yet not have a good personal character, or possess traits at variance with the teachings. We should try to change, to let the Power of God help recreate us and make us true Bahá'ís in deed as well as in belief. But sometimes the process is slow, sometimes it never happens because the individual does not try hard enough. But these things cause us suffering and are a test to us in our fellow-believers, most especially if we love them and have been their teacher!'

'The process of becoming a Bahá'í is necessarily slow and gradual. The essential is not that the beginner should have a full and detailed knowledge of the Cause, a thing which is obviously impossible in the vast majority of cases, but that he should, by an act of his own will, be willing to uphold and follow the truth and guidance set forth in the Teachings, and thus open his heart and mind to the reality of the Manifestation.'"

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, June 7, 1974: Bahá'í News of India, p. 2, July/August, 1974, in Lights of Guidance, no. 264)


and

If we Bahá'ís cannot attain to cordial unity among ourselves, then we fail to realize the main purpose for which the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh and the Beloved Master lived and suffered. In order to achieve this cordial unity one of the first essentials insisted on by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá is that we resist the natural tendency to let our attention dwell on the faults and failings of others rather than on our own. Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being "perfect as our heavenly father is perfect" and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy. If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate on his own task. If he looks to this side and that to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked. On no subject are the Bahá'í teachings more emphatic than on the necessity to abstain from faultfinding and backbiting while being ever eager to discover and root out our own faults and overcome our own failings. If we profess loyalty to Bahá'u'lláh, to our Beloved Master and our dear Guardian, then we must show our love by obedience to these explicit teachings. Deeds not words are what they demand, and no amount of fervour in the use of expressions of loyalty and adulation will compensate for failure to live in the spirit of the teachings.

(From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, in Living the Life, no. 1272)


epierce wrote:It is not unusual for Baha'is to place much more emphasis on converting people from other religions than really understanding them.


Yes, such negative activity can happen. We welcome discussion here of many topics, and if you want to get to the bottom of it and dialog with us on how to improve this, or any other shortcoming, let's do that. But you can't expect to do anything besides draw out even more opposition among some people by making sweeping statements, and statements which often paint things as though they are endemic, universal, and hopelessly entrenched within our individuals, communities, or institutions. If they are in fact hopeless, then it is presumably a waste of all our time to bother discussing it. If there is hope, then let us do so in a constructive manner whereby we can all learn something. Were you able to witness any positive developments during your time with Bahá'ís? While a "sin-covering eye" does not ignore problems, I would also humbly suggest that you might find that greater moderation in your words (as with all of us here) could also meet with better influence for some of the valid points you are trying to make.

in sincere hope of dialogue,
best wishes,
Brett

Baha'i Warrior
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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:20 pm

epierce wrote:In most cases, "subversives" exist because there is some form of abuse of power or authority, and/or a system or organization has become highly dysfunctional. Dysfunctional organizations lack transparency, promote a culture of lies and distortions, sometimes to the point of becoming cult-like, are incapable of executing their goals and vision with much effectiveness, and are easily exploited by corrupt leaders who take all the credit for the hard work of exploited believers.


As you say, "in most cases," but not in all cases. In fact, I would say that in most cases "subversives exist because there is some perceived form of abuse of power or authority."

epierce wrote:Note to Baha'is: no one else in the universe cares
about the lack of "sects" in the Baha'i Faith anyway


I personally know of many people who were were dissatisfied with sectarianism and the disunity that it created in their own faiths, and hence found the Baha'i Faith more appealing. But, according to you, this is not the case. Just a question: when you were in Baha'i communities, did you talk to Baha'is and ask them what they found appealing in the Baha'i Faith and why they joined? Because I can't figure out how you come up with outlandish statements like that.

epierce wrote:My wife (Catholic, spanish national) was insulted and berated, in spanish, for not "converting" to Baha'i after we got married.


So all Baha'is just want to convert others and don't care about the individual? Aren't you aware of the importance the central figures place on showing absolute kindness to others when teaching them the Faith? Or even being exceedingly benign to those who want to inflict upon us harm?

Here is how 'Abdu'l-Baha says we should treat people outside of the Baha'i community:

    "For example: If every one of the friends (believers) were to establish relations of friendship and right dealings with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and meanwhile through good conduct and moral behaviour lead him to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into knowledge."

    ("Tablets of Abdul-Bahá Abbas", vol. 2, p. 391)

Now, had the Baha'is in your community followed the Master's advice (or should I say command), you would have probably remained a Baha'i, and your wife might have become one as well. So, from firsthand experience you yourself can see how destructive it is when so-called "Baha'is" don't do what they are supposed to do: not only through such negativity and confrontation do they alienate others from the Cause, but also lose their own. Epierce—we don't consider others "Baha'is" when they go against the Writings and do things that bring about disunity. Far from it; don't the Writings say that when religion becomes a source of disunty, that it shouldn't be abandoned? That it is better to do bad things without having a religion than when being a member of a religious persuasion? Some N.S.A.s have been shut down by the U.H.J. I believe for this very reason. But perhaps if you remained a Baha'i, or re-enter the Faith some day, you could hold some kind of meeting with the Baha'is and discuss teachings that talk about the importance of unity within the Faith. When others are ignorant of these teachings, and you aren't, then you should as a Baha'i inform them, through some sort of devotional or whatever it may be.

So I am sorry to hear that your wife was insulted by Baha'is for not becoming a Baha'i, if that did happen. But remember again, Epierce: just because someone declares and states that he is a Baha'i, that doesn't mean he really is a Baha'i, at least in the sight of God. If some Baha'is did that to your wife, then those individuals weren't Baha'is according to our Writings, since they blatantly disregarded the above-mentioned teachings. Now, as you might or might not be aware, there are many non-Baha'is who are active participants in the Baha'i communty—and I've lived in many different communities—either because they have a spouse who is a Baha'i, or they are just good friends (same in the university Baha'i clubs). And this sort of thing never happened, that is, not once did the Baha'is show any negative emotions toward the non-Baha'is. In fact, the happiest people seemed to be the non-Baha'is themselves! They really didn't feel intimidated. Not that what you mentioned doesn't happen, but for anyone to generalize a few isolated incidents to the whole community is most illogical and indeed in great error.

epierce wrote:It is not unusual for Baha'is to place much more emphasis on converting people from other religions than really understanding them.


As Brett pointed out, if Baha'is act in this way, then they are wrong. And, indeed, not all Baha'is act this way, because there are many who read the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha and know of the importance that He places on letting non-Baha'is empty their cups, etc. And what about the many interreligious events that Baha'is organize? From what you are saying, if I was a non-Baha'i visiting this forum, I'd have gotten the impression that Baha'is are very isolated and never strive at fellowship with members of different faiths. Good thing the Baha'is on this forum (Brett, Jonah, etc.) are here disprove the many distortions that are presented regarding the Baha'i Faith.

epierce wrote:But my main point is that "group belonging" is one of many "needs" that typically arise within "diverse" groups of people, and appear to be part of our species evolutionary adaption. Placing one form of "need" above others, to the point where other needs are excluded, becomes "unhealthy", stops necessary "feedback loops", and so forth.


What are the other "needs" that you are referring to? Freedom to attack the Baha'i Faith? Freedom to be a "reformer"?

epierce wrote:As I posted several months ago, Abdu'l-Baha warned specifically about corrupting tendencies and the dangers of power and leadership within the Baha'i community. Unfortunately those words do not appear to have sunk in very deeply. I have appended them below.


"Holding to the letter of the law is many times an indication of a desire for leadership. One who assumes to be the enforcer of the law shows an intellectual understanding of the Cause, but that spiritual guidance in them is not yet established."

Yes, as you say, it is unfortunate that this statement hasn't "sunk in very deeply" for Baha's. I might also add, unfortunately it also hasn't "sunk in very deeply" for others, including ex-Baha'is who were once a part of the community and who left it. Because, as you know, many ex-Baha'is and even Covenant Breakers hold "to the letter of the law" for "a desire for leadership." So this can just as well apply to Baha'is as it can to ex-Baha'is and Covenant Breakers.

Best Regards.

Sean H.
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Postby Sean H. » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:22 pm

Brett,

The following statement is an extremely offensive distortion.

---

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:27 am

Baha'i Warrior

Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 554
Location: U.S.A.

Since when do Baha'is "vehemently" hate "an integral approach"? If you mean integrating anti-Baha'i ideas with Baha'i ones, then it should be obvious why those partciular ideas wouldn't be accepted.

Epierce, we are all "longing," but it is unproductive to long for something and get depressed that it won't happen in your lifetime. We Baha'is know that a world federation won't happen in our lifetimes, but that doesn't mean we don't work toward it. We don't become dejected and collapse along with the crumbling old world order.

--- end excerpt---

There are many similar distortions that have been posted by BW in response to my posts about the common hostility in the Baha'i community to critics, non-conformists and reformers.

Here is a "recent" one:

http://bahai-library.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=1346

excerpt:

. . .
Baha'i institutions that don't like recusants attacking their Faith are "extremists" and "fanatics"? You make it sounds like Baha'is (and Baha'i institutions) who don't agree with subversives are setting off car bombs or something like that.
. . .

---end excerpt---

BW and some other guy went so far as to directly attack me and state that ex-Baha'is are evil for rejecting Baha'u'llah (I'm paraphrasing, but the statements were very close to that).

You clearly have not established in the minds of these characters that there will be negative consequences for attacking critics, non-conformists and reformers.

You have clearly not establish in their minds that they should stop distorting the statements and intentions of critics.

In spite of previous clear statements from yourself and/or Jonah, BW continues to state and imply that my lack of citing specific examples of abuses by Baha'i institutions and leaders (which you have prohibited, for good reason), is "proof" that my viewpoint is invalid.

I find it extremely curious that the moderators have allowed Baha'i fanatics to use this forum as a vehicle to attack critics and post distortions of their statements and motives, but as soon as a critic expresses indignation over such attacks, the moderators suddenly see a need to impose order.

I'll address your other concerns later if I have time.

Regards,
Eric

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:42 pm

epierce wrote:BW and some other guy went so far as to directly attack me and state that ex-Baha'is are evil for rejecting Baha'u'llah (I'm paraphrasing, but the statements were very close to that).


Epierce, it is offensive that you accuse me of stating that "ex-Baha'is are evil for rejecting Baha'u'llah." Your "paraphrasing" is more accurately distorting and fabricating. Please find a statement where I say that "ex-Baha'is are evil for rejecting Baha'u'llah." I deny that I ever said such a thing. So you are distorting, or "paraphrasing" in your own words one of my statements to further attack Baha'is and make them look like "fanatics."

epierce wrote:In spite of previous clear statements from yourself and/or Jonah, BW continues to state and imply that my lack of citing specific examples of abuses by Baha'i institutions and leaders (which you have prohibited, for good reason), is "proof" that my viewpoint is invalid.


I never said that Baha'i institutions/leaders have never used their power to abuse others. All you need to do is look at the second-last post I made in this thread, where I state:

"That it is better to do bad things without having a religion than when being a member of a religious persuasion? Some N.S.A.s have been shut down by the U.H.J. I believe for this very reason."

So I would suggest that you do less of your "paraphrasing" of what others say.

epierce wrote:I find it extremely curious that the moderators have allowed Baha'i fanatics to use this forum as a vehicle to attack critics and post distortions of their statements and motives, but as soon as a critic expresses indignation over such attacks, the moderators suddenly see a need to impose order.


I have to say, Epierce, I myself am a moderator, and if I were a "fanatic" as you imply, then I'd have deleted your post the instant I saw it. But I won't, because I want others to see how you, Epierce, distort things and accuse Baha'is of saying things that they didn't say for your own purposes.

Regards.

Jonah
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Postby Jonah » Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:39 pm

Thank you to Richard for starting this very interesting discussion.

It seems to me that this thread has run its course, and has veered into off-topic personal grievances. I'll lock it now.

As Baha'i Warrior noted, we are always willing to allow people to express offensive viewpoints on this forum, if they don't directly contravene Baha'i teachings -- but we also reserve the right to keep such discussions from going too far.

Thanks, -Jonah


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