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Scholarship (BSB)

Compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice.

Published in Baha’i Studies Bulletin Vol 1-1

It is very easy indeed for him to understand how you, with your training, are often tested and irritated by your contact with some of the believers. But then you must remember that your advantages of a reasonable mind and a scientific education, have not been given to all, and you cannot expect acceptance of Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings to endow people with these things automatically! But think of the kind of human beings, if brought up in the society He envisages, and taught in homes, schools and universities which were the mirror and product of His teachings, which would be produced! There you would really have a new race of men.

Shoghi Effendi has for years urged the Bahá'ís (who asked his advice, and in general also), to study history, economics, sociology, etc., in order to be au courant with all the progressive movements and thoughts being put forth today, and so that they could correlate these to the Bahá'í teachings. What he wants the Bahá'ís to do is to study more, not to study less. The more general knowledge, scientific and otherwise, they possess, the better. Likewise he is constantly urging them to really study the Bahá'í teachings more deeply. One might liken Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to a sphere; there are points poles apart, and in between the thoughts and doctrines that unite them. We believe in balance in all things; we believe in moderation in all things -- we must not be too emotional, nor cut and dried and lacking in feeling, we must not be so liberal as to cease to preserve the character and unity of our Bahá'í system, nor fanatical and dogmatic. Very few people, as you as a psychologist know, have attained perfect equilibrium in their minds or their lives -- their acts -- the same is certainly true of the Bahá'ís, for anyone who believes in our teachings can become a Bahá'í and they represent all elements of the population.

He can see quite clearly both your point of view and that express' by those dear and devoted Baha’is whom you quoted in your letter. Both Mr. Remey and Mr. Holley are men of much experience and considerable learning in their way; what they no doubt meant was that the solution given to the world's problems by Baha’u’llah is the only solution - being Divine in origin - and most desperately needed; therefore we, the few who have caught the vision, should not waste our energies beating up and down the paths pursued by humanity,and which are not solving its ghastly present-day problems. We should concentrate on the Cause, because it is what is needed to cure the world. This is a sound attitude, for if we don’t devote ourselves to the Baha’i work and teaching who will?

On the other hand there is a big difference between this and learning. If the Baha'is want to be really effective in teaching the Cause they need to be much better informed and able to discuss intelligently, intellectually, the present condition of the world and its problems. We need Baha’i scholars,not only people far, far more deeply aware of what our teaching really are, but also well read and educated people, capable of correlating our teachings to the current thoughts of the leaders of society.

We Baha’is should, in other words, arm our minds with knowledge in order to better demonstrate to, especially the educated classes, the truths enshrined in our Faith. What the Guardian, however, does not advise the friends to do is to dissipate their time and energies in serving movements that are akin to our principles but not, we believe, capable of solving the present spiritual crisis the world finds Itself in. We can cooperate with such movements and their promoters to good effect,while at the same time openly standing forth as Baha’is with a specific program to offer society.

1947-07-05 To an individual believer re areas of study

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