Loving all of humanity?

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TheCatLady
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Loving all of humanity?

Postby TheCatLady » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:44 pm

Hi all,

I am struggling with something right now and that would be the whole "loving everyone" part. To clarify, I'm not racist or anything like that, but I am having a really hard time not getting angry at people and bitter. For example, there is a co-worker that I am having a LOT of problems with, and she is not the kind of person you can talk to. It is very stressful for me when I am around this person, and they make my job a lot harder as they don't really do what they are supposed to, while still thinking they are the best thing since sliced bread. I know right this moment I am talking about them, and that's a problem, I know I know I know. I'm feeling guilty for feeling so... hateful towards this person, but I just cannot no matter what find anything that I like about her, and it's just... it makes me feel horrible. And then there are times when people just... do really really crappy things like after I clean up a section at work someone comes and throws stuff around and I have to do it all over again, or when someone cuts you off, and just stuff like that. I am very easily stressed and... my feeling hurt, and I just get so mad at people. I feel like all of this anger is a huge part of why I don't think I can be Baha'i just now. I do want to get over this, I want to stop being so hateful and bitter and mean. I'm also like this towards Christians, and I make a lot of jokes at their expence. I'm just feeling so crappy right now, and I'm starting to hate myself. I just... I don't even know if there is a point in any of this except.. how can I not be like this anymore? People have told me to pray about it, but right now I'm not used to prayer and that's just not a solution I need just right now. How do you deal with people who make you mad? What can I do?

Thanks

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:04 pm

hi CatLady; It is unpleasant to feel this way towards certain people. There is
no easy answer. It doesn't make sense, to me, to pretend to love a person
when I am unable to see virtue in him. I know it is usually my blind-spot. No
doubt, there is virtue in most people. It is just a matter of being able to see
and appreciate it, even when side-by-side with qualities which are less admirable.

One enjoyable exercise is to spend time with people in whom you can, more
easily, see virtue. Practice seeing and appreciating those qualities. Notice that
the people you like also have idiosyncrasies and traits which you might occasionally
find annoying. Notice that, overall, you can accept such peculiarities and focus on
the things you find to be pleasing.

Don't worry about how long it takes. In time, the abilities you develop in these
enjoyable relationships might very well carry over to your more difficult ones.

Most important, perhaps, is to accept where you are at any moment, in your
progress towards God. Accept yourself at this stage and in future stages of your
unfoldment as a student of the Divine Educator.

-Peter

ps Here is a prayer you might enjoy. It is a name as well as a prayer -Baha'u'llah.

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:13 pm

O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane,
things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God,
for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you.
Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are
destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits,
to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace.

To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.



Baha’u’llah, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah
(Wilmette: US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1990 pocket-size edition)
P. 329.

Available from http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-153.html

Truth
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Truth » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:18 am

Funny you mention this CatLady, it's something i was thinking about a fair bit during the fast, as i also have the same problem!

I'll post more later, as i'm at work surrounded by people who irritate me and i can't think! haha! :x
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:34 am

Maybe you two could help me and support a very important cause at the same time.
It is called "Smacking Stupid People in the Face So hard They Might Get Smarter" and
I am working hard for it as a recruiter on www.facebook.com.

So far we have 787,492 members worldwide. No kidding. And donations of $55 total, to date.
So let's go guys. Get smacking. There is so much to be done in so little time.

-Peter

Ian Mayes
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Ian Mayes » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:26 am

Hey all,

There is one thing that I wanted to share regarding this topic, it is something that has been very meaningful and helpful for me. It is a process called "Nonviolent Communication" and it is a tool used to help one develop compassion and understanding, both with others as well as with yourself. I like it because it provides practical methods to use to help resolve conflicts, reduce tensions and build peace - it is a hands-on tool that it my eyes works well with the different values spoken of in the Writings.

You can find out more information about Nonviolent Communication online here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication

I hope that this helps!

- Ian

Zephyr
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Zephyr » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:32 am

Hi Everyone!

This is an important topic and I think one with which most people struggle at one time or another. I certainly do with certain people at certain times.

I often recite this prayer by Abdu'l Baha
O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.


Sometimes it's just one or two lines such as
I WILL be a HAPPY and JOYFUL being....I will not DWELL on the unpleasant things of life.
(emphasis added for my own benefit)
repeated like a mantra.

Furthermore, I try to remind myself that on whatever I focus my mind will influence my feelings and behavior.

If a man's thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then does he become saintly; if on the other hand his thought does not soar, but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world, he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better than that of a mere animal.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 17-18)


Changing ourselves is some of the hardest work. Prayer helps, but if one is not familiar with praying, it may feel "silly or artificial", and net "spiritual or uplifting". There is much written about using positive affirmations and positive thinking to change behavior in ourselves and thus in the response to us of those around us. For me, using a line or two from a prayer is like using a positive affirmation.

Sometimes just closing one's eyes and recalling a situation or place that made one feel calm and serene and even joyful can help settle one's nerves and help one get through the moment.

Above all, it is work. Whoever said applying spiritual principles was easy?

Hope this helps.

Dru

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:50 am

Ian; Good stuff. Did some reading at http://www.cnvc.org/

Challenging. Even the list of needs and feelings is quite helpful in communications.

-Peter

Ian Mayes
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Ian Mayes » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:50 pm

Heya Peter,

I'm delighted to see this about your interest in Nonviolent Communication (aka "NVC"). NVC has definitely made it possible for me to re-establish a relationship with the Baha'i Faith. If I do end up becoming a Baha'i again, it will be through me using NVC in such a way as to help me connect with the needs behind everything / everyone.

If you are interested, to get more of a sense as to where I am coming from with my comments on this, I invite you to check out this video on "NVC as a Spiritual Practice" - http://nvctraining.com/media/RG/spiritu ... nding.html

I am wishing you all the best!

- Ian

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:11 pm

Ian; I am a big fan of new and better ways for people to get along together. Otherwise,
everybody is left with the habits of their local culture, whether for good or for bad. I suppose
it is a part of the general rebellion in our society against old boring ways that don't work. I look
for something that is fresh and new.

Some of the ideas in the Non-violent Communication methods are familiar to me. I took part
in an experiential therapeutic program, in B.C., Canada, to improve my mental health. The program
used an eclectic selection of methods to help the group to learn how to function well emotionally in
social settings.

I learned how to distinguish a feeling from a thought or judgment. I learned to communicate on
a feeling level at those times when feelings were the central issue in good communications. It was
wonderful for me to gain some competence in these skills which were new to me. It was almost
analogous to discovering music in what had previously sounded like noise to me.

I suspect that, in this difficult era of transition from an old world to a new one, many people have
difficulty with religious community life because the rules of social interactions are being gradually
rewritten. That doesn't mean that everything old needs to be tossed away. It just means that
transition is what we are going through right now at every level of our relationships.

I will write a little more about this in the following post.

cheers; Peter

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:40 pm

Friends; What does it mean to have a relationship with a Faith?

The first thing that comes to mind, for me, is that I have a relationship with
a particular community of interest -in this case an interest in a way of life.
The fact that the shared interest is in a way of life has unusual challenges that are
not present when the shared interest is in a hobby -such as aquarium fish, for
example.

A cultural habit which I have noticed in my home region is that with religion
comes mutual expectations. The peculiar assumption is that the adherent of
a religion is supposed to be, somehow, different from a non-adherent, even if he
is new at it. This cultural habit comes from my region, not from my new Faith,
which is Baha'i. No doubt, if I settled in some far-away region, I would soon discover
another distinct set of cultural assumptions.

Another perspective on having a relationship with a Faith, is my personal relationship
with God through the Central Figures of my chosen Faith. This relationship, is distinct
from my relationship with my peers in my religious community. My peers might be very
nice or very nasty, yet God is changeless, constant and trustworthy and so is His chosen
Manifestation. He is teaching me virtues and sharing with me a divine revelation which is
distinct from what can be taught by anyone else but God.

What does my religious community have to do with my God. Well, my community is a kind
of workshop where skills are practiced and lessons are consolidated. Also, it is a field to be
cultivated, where seeds can be propagated so that good things continue to grow for countless
generations of my fellow human beings.

Another analogy for community is that it is like a new choir, united under a skillful choir-master.
The new choir is able to produce a cacophony of discordant notes under the patient tutelage
of the Master. It is truly united while making this annoying noise, because it recognized the
Master and accepts His guidance, step-by-step.

What happens when this type of unity prevails long enough for skills to increase? On the foundation
of unity, a new sound slowly emerges which is actually pleasant to hear. It is that harmony which
only comes of persistent efforts at learning while united under the care of the brilliant Master.

This is an excellent time to accept the noise which is the beginning of unity and a necessary part of
this wonderful current stage for us.

-Peter

brettz9
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby brettz9 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:24 pm

Hello Cat Lady and all,

First as a side note, I'd really recommend everyone take a serious look at http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file= ... ual_growth . It covers or relates a lot that has been touched upon I think. The Baha'i Writings explicitly point out that saying things such as our obligatory prayer have an impact on our relations with others.

Reading the Writings every morning and evening (mentioned as one the requisites in the statement above) may also help in this problem, as several of the Hidden Words (a book specifically intended to allow us to fulfill this duty and provide brief thoughts to read each morning and evening) deal with taking care not to find fault in others (P. is for Persian, A is for Arabic): P. 23-26, 44, 66, 68; A. 26-29, 31, being patient with them (P48, A48), and in trying to seek out those of good character and avoiding particularly negative people (P. 3, 52, 56-58)

CatLady, I think it is good that you are becoming frustrated. Because it means you recognize that the Baha'i standard (God's standard) is a very high one, and that you--as with all of us--are far from living up to it. Becoming a Baha'i can never mean becoming perfect first. Rather, it is more a recognition that we need to be a Baha'i in order to benefit more fully and directly in improving ourselves, as we will always need to do. That is a sign of progress.

"We must be patient with others, infinitely patient!, but also with our own poor selves, remembering that even the Prophets of God sometimes got tired and cried out in despair! ...He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone's life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to me."
(Letter written on 22 October 1949 on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer )

I especially like the last two lines in the above statement. We all have a dark side, so don't let the fact that you have dark thoughts sometimes get you down. Just turn your back to it. Dwell on the positive yet work hard to overcome, as Zephyr suggests.

Peter makes the good suggestion of trying to find the good in such people, or at least get practice with others for whom it is easier! For example, if someone is trying to get ahead of others, we can still recognize that this person shows a sign of God--the potential for spiritual ambition. This doesn't mean we should allow others to abuse us--on the contrary, we should not. But castingsuch behaviors in at least a potentially positive light can be helpful.

You said that a certain person makes your "job a lot harder as they don't really do what they are supposed to, while still thinking they are the best thing since sliced bread." The first thing we are supposed to do when feeling negative toward a person is to try to find the fault we are feeling toward them within ourselves. I am told that there is a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha where He says that we can only find (and get upset by) faults in others because we have the faults in ourselves. It is indeed easier to find fault in others, but you can use the thought to help you try to find your own faults, even if you feel the degree is not the same. If you feel tempted to compare yourself, consider also what advantages you may have had as far as a better education or even more peace-oriented genes! Only God knows which person tried harder, etc. Rather than getting upset that this person "thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread", try finding some humor in it--like the person is, as with all of us really, an immature child who needs a more mature but loving example which may eventually lead them out of their thinking (as we must have been at one point or still can be). Maybe praise, silence, patience, or seeing you doing hard work can help such a person.

However, despite the need to overcome our own reaction to such people, sometimes it does become necessary to deal with a situation administratively. As Baha'is, while we are to conceal the sins of others, we are not to show kindness toward the deceiver, thief, or tyrant. If someone is truly negligent, perhaps the company deserves to know what is going on. Or perhaps you could factually indicate to your superior what is not being done (without taking a tone of blame, because 1) It is not kind to the other person, and 2) Your manager will probably be less likely to trust your side).

As to the NVC Ian has discussed, it made me think of an excellent talk series about planning and the Baha'i Faith. One statement this person made was to the effect that all action originated with either a promise or a request. Being action and planning oriented really also helps take off a HUGE burden of social and psychological baggage, as rather than thinking so much about how we feel, we engage ourselves and others toward solving problems, proactively as well as reactively.

When I was a school-teacher, I finally realized that instead of raising my voice with elementary school kids who were not "behaving" (and thereby getting myself worked up), I could take an action-oriented approach to use reward and punishment (e.g., writing their name in my notebook when someone persistently didn't raise their hand before shouting out). I was the authority, so I didn't need to let myself become worked up over their actions. This approach worked pretty well, especially when reinforced by a more loving education focused on moral education. It's a lot harder with older students though (and adults) who can get personal, I know. Nevertheless, it never pays to punish oneself, when the real question is what choice we should take--since we really do very often have some kind of choice. Quit the job? Tell the boss? Silently laugh in loving pity at the person's childishness? Try to form a better relationship with the person at another time? There are so many possibilities we cannot begin to discuss here. Help can be obtained by prayer, but also following that, imagination and then action.

As far as workplace problems, perhaps one could spend effort making suggestions to one's managers if there are problems or inefficiencies with co-workers. Some companies have, or are open to, suggestions, and even rewarding useful suggestions (this worked pretty well for me in one company I worked). If you are thinking about the company (and even the whole society as a whole) as a single unit (though being composed of diverse parts), a lot of problems can be solved.

As far as our attitude toward Christians, it is really essential for a Baha'i to show kindness toward the followers of all religions. That is one requirement which our Writings state every person must do before becoming a Baha'i:

Indeed, the essential prerequisites of admittance into the Bahá'í fold of Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and the followers of other ancient faiths, as well as of agnostics and even atheists, is the wholehearted and unqualified acceptance by them all of the divine origin of both Islám and Christianity, of the Prophetic functions of both Muhammad and Jesus Christ, of the legitimacy of the institution of the Imamate, and of the primacy of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. Such are the central, the solid, the incontrovertible principles that constitute the bedrock of Bahá'í belief, which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is proud to acknowledge, which its teachers proclaim, which its apologists defend, which its literature disseminates, which its summer schools expound, and which the rank and file of its followers attest by both word and deed.

(Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day Is Come, par. 270 at http://www.bahai-library.com/writings/s ... tml#par270 )


I'm not certain in what areas you are tempted to make fun of Christians, whether it is due to some beliefs or practices they follow, or whether due to hypocrisies in their actions (and we can discuss specific concerns here if you like), but the Baha'i Faith should really help you to love them more, both to understand where they are coming from, increase your love and understanding of the mission of Christ for yourself, and also to be able to offer them a remedy which will lead them out of whatever negative man-made interpretations and dogmas they may hold back to the original pure teachings of Christ as restored by Baha'u'llah.

Peter, you brought up some interesting topics, though I think maybe we should discuss them in a new thread, if that's all right?

all the best,
Brett

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:46 am

thank you, Brett; Will do. -Peter

Ian Mayes
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Ian Mayes » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:24 am

Heya Brett,

I don't understand the Shoghi Effendi quote that you gave, in particular the part that you put in bold. Could you explain that to me? I have never before heard of the Baha'is talk about the importance of the Imamship or of Saint Peter.

Thanks, and I am wishing you all the best!

- Ian

coatofmanycolours
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:58 am

hi Ian; If I may, I would like to say something about that quote. It begins like this:

"As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation
that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of
Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully
recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is
confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended."
-Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come p. 109

This is a favorite quote of mine. I like to share it with my Christian friends, avoiding
unnecessary quibbling about how each of us interprets the words. I think that is why
Shoghi Effendi said "without any hesitation or equivocation".

He then goes on to state our "wholehearted and unqualified acceptance by them all of
the divine origin of both Islám and Christianity, of the Prophetic functions of both
Muḥammad and Jesus Christ, of the legitimacy of the institution of the Imamate, and
of the primacy of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. Such are the central, the solid,
the incontrovertible principles that constitute the bedrock of Bahá’í belief, which the Faith
of Bahá’u’lláh is proud to acknowledge, which its teachers proclaim, which its apologists
defend, which its literature disseminates, which its summer schools expound, and which
the rank and file of its followers attest by both word and deed."
-Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come p. 110

What this means, to me, is that Peter was given primacy by Jesus because of his clear
understanding of the station of Jesus and because of the purity of his heart. Of course,
this does not imply that the institution of the Papacy was given legitimacy by Jesus, as
Shoghi Effendi also points out. That would be quite a stretch of the imagination.

I also understand that the Imamate which really began with Ali, was legitimized by Muhammad.
Again, it does not follow, from this, that all institutions in Islamic history could claim to be
authorized by Muhammad, nor could all men, outside of the legitimate Imamate, make
such claims. However, "should their conduct conform to their professions" the clergy of
the world's religions are to be appreciated and their rank respected.

-Peter

Ian Mayes
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby Ian Mayes » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:35 pm

Heya Peter,

I find it interesting what you say about St. Peter and Ali. I was wondering - if Jesus and Mohammed both tagged them to lead their respective religions after their deaths, then how does this fit in with the Baha'i claim that Baha'u'llah was the only Manifestation of God that delineated a successor for after his death?

- Ian

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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby coatofmanycolours » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:48 pm

Ian; As I understand it, Baha'u'llah made His covenant unambiguous and in writing.
He clearly stated the authority that Abdu'l-Baha was given to interpret the teachings,
clearly, and to be the Center of the Covenant.

These wonderful gifts do not imply superiority of one Faith over another. It is the
decision of God and has to do with the capacity of mankind at this particular stage
in its spiritual and social evolution.

-Peter

brettz9
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Re: Loving all of humanity?

Postby brettz9 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:36 pm

This question is, I think, a very important one, and I'm for one glad to see it being raised. I believe it is important because

    1) It recognizes the historical precedents toward the Covenant today, yet highlights the uniqueness and greatness of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah;
    2) It helps us to appreciate better the valid points of the existing sects of the world, as well as better relate to its followers.

(FYI, Peter's point about the Baha'i Covenant being unique for being unambiguous and in writing is part of the following...)

'Abdu'l-Baha covers the Covenant's uniqueness over previous ones (specifically Christianity) in a talk in Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 385-386, while Shoghi Effendi covers it in good detail (including distinguishing it from the Imamate) on pp. 18-22 (There's also a bit in there about "humanitarian organizations" that you, Ian, might particularly appreciate) and pp. 145-146 of the World Order of Baha'u'llah (a collection of letters well worth reading). But here is a quotation which addresses it more succinctly (at least vis-a-vis the Christian Covenant):

"Now with regard to your questions. First concerning the statement of Jesus Christ 'Thou art Peter and upon this rock etc.'; this saying of Jesus establishes beyond any doubt the primacy of Peter and also the principle of succession, but is not explicit enough regarding the nature and functioning of the Church itself. The Catholics have read too much into that statement, and derived from it certain conclusions which are quite unjustifiable."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, September 7, 1938)


Appreciating the primacy of Peter is not only for factual accuracy, I would say, but perhaps points to the value of unity around a center, the need for loyalty, etc., as Catholics may often demonstrate:

"A Catholic background is an excellent introduction to the Faith, and one that Mrs. ... should feel gratified for having had. Though doctrines of the church today are no longer needed--as the Father Himself has come, and thus fulfilled the mission of Christ the Son--yet the foundation they lay of spiritual discipline, and their emphasis on spiritual values and adherence to moral laws, is very important and very close to our own beliefs."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to two believers, August 17, 1941)


Despite our recognizing the Primacy of Peter, it is also helpful to appreciate our perspective on the role of the Protestant Reformation:

"What contribution the Reformation did really make was to seriously challenge, and partly undermine, the edifice which the Fathers of the Church had themselves reared, and to discard and demonstrate the purely human origin of the elaborate doctrines, ceremonies and institutions which they had devised. The Reformation was a right challenge to the man-made organization of the Church, and as such was a step in advance. In its origins, it was a reflection of the new spirit which Islam had released, and a God-sent punishment to those who had refused to embrace its truth."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, December 28, 1936)


See also Chapter 34 of Some Answered Questions for 'Abdu'l-Baha pointing out the vast discrepancies between the behavior of many popes and the standard of Christ.

As far as why they did not succeed:

"In the Bayan the Bab says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. The only reason why they failed to attain that mark was the incompetence of their followers. He then proceeds to give a definite promise that this would not be the fate of the Revelation of 'Him Whom God would make manifest', that it will become universal and include all the people of the world. This shows that we will ultimately succeed. But could we not through our shortcomings, failures to sacrifice, and reluctance to concentrate our efforts in spreading the Cause, retard the realization of that ideal. And what would that mean? It shall mean that we will be held responsible before God, that the race will remain longer in its state of waywardness, that wars would not be so soon averted, that human suffering will last longer."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, February 20, 1932: Living the Life, pp. 3-4)


(There is another quote I recall but cannot find now where the Writings say to the effect that it is a mystery why God or Christ did not establish an inviolable Covenant, etc.; anyways, it does in no way diminish the station of these previous Manifestations, as they are all Themselves on the same plane--however, the measure of their Revelations does differ, such as the Bible itself recognizes in stating that Christ was greater than Moses.)

While bringing to light the above points, we might also keep in mind the following, however:

Nor should it be thought for a moment that the followers of Bahá'u'lláh either seek to degrade or even belittle the rank of the world's religious leaders, whether Christian, Muslim, or of any other denomination, should their conduct conform to their professions, and be worthy of the position they occupy. "Those divines," Bahá'u'lláh has affirmed, "...who are truly adorned with the ornament of knowledge and of a goodly character are, verily, as a head to the body of the world, and as eyes to the nations. The guidance of men hath, at all times, been and is dependent upon these blessed souls."...

(Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day Is Come, par. 271)


"The Guardian agrees with you that the Bahá'ís should be very careful not to criticize or rather attack the church. As we believe the church of Rome to be the inheritor, so to speak, of Christ's teachings, the direct line, however perverted by men's doctrines, it certainly does not befit us to show antagonism towards it. We know it is out-dated. Tact is required!"

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 22, 1950)


best wishes,
Brett


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